Assessing general public and policy influencer support for healthy public policies to promote healthy eating at the population level in two Canadian provinces

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  • Objective: To assess and compare the favourability of healthy public policy options to promote healthy eating from the perspective of members of the general public and policy influencers in two Canadian provinces. Design: The Chronic Disease Prevention Survey, administered in 2016, required participants to rank their level of support for different evidence-based policy options to promote healthy eating at the population level. Pearson’s χ2 significance testing was used to compare support between groups for each policy option and results were interpreted using the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ intervention ladder framework. Setting: Alberta and Québec, Canada. Participants: Members of the general public (n 2400) and policy influencers (n 302) in Alberta and Québec. Results: General public and policy influencer survey respondents were more supportive of healthy eating policies if they were less intrusive on individual autonomy. However, in comparing levels of support between groups, we found policy influencers indicated significantly stronger support overall for healthy eating policy options. We also found that policy influencers in Québec tended to show more support for more restrictive policy options than their counterparts from Alberta. Conclusions: These results suggest that additional knowledge brokering may be required to increase support for more intrusive yet impactful evidence-based policy interventions; and that the overall lower levels of support among members of the public may impede policy influencers from taking action on policies to promote healthy eating.

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    © The Authors 2019