A review of environmental influences on food choices

Nicole Larson, Mary Story

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

363 Scopus citations


Background: Diet-related environmental and policy interventions are being advocated at a population level because individual change is more likely to be facilitated and sustained if the environment within which choices are made supports healthful food options. Purpose: This study aims to review research that examines factors having an influence on food choices in social environments, physical environments, and macroenvironments. Methods: A snowball strategy was used to identify relevant peer-reviewed studies and reviews, with a focus on research completed in the US and published within the past 10 years. Results: Research has identified a number of environmental factors associated with dietary intake; however, the majority of completed studies have methodological limitations which limit their credibility to guide interventions and policy changes. Conclusions: Future research will need to emphasize multilevel investigations, examine how associations vary across population subgroups, develop a standard set of measures for assessing food environments and policies, and improve dietary assessment methodology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S56-S73
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This paper was supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research Program.


  • Dietary intake
  • Eating behavior
  • Environment
  • Policy
  • Social norms


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