The focus of APH researcher Joreintje Mackenbach, Assistant professor at Amsterdam UMC, has recently shifted from the food environment with its countless food providers to social and policy issues. She advocates for government policies that work well. "The influence of the food industry is much greater than we realized," she says.

Mackenbach's research on the food environment combines epidemiology, geography, and psychology. It deals with comprehending the geographic distribution of food providers as well as the way customers interact with that environment. In its broadest definition, the obesogenic environment is one that encourages behaviors that contribute to the development of obesity. People sit more, are not encouraged to move, and eat more. These are the most important factors, together with lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and stress.

Studies on these variables were primarily cross-sectional in the past, therefore causal linkages were not investigated. Her research has demonstrated the causal link between the factors and the state of health. In addition, she looks into the impact of healthy food availability on people's health, taking into account geography, expense, and quantity.

Dr. Mackenbach: "It is unacceptable that so many people in the Netherlands cannot afford a healthy meal. The unhealthy food environment is starting to become so harmful that it is really up to the government to protect citizens from it. That is not patronizing, that is making sure that citizens can again make a freer choice and are just a little less influenced by commerce."

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