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Global Centre for Healthy Food Environments: Reflections on 2022 and plans for 2023

As 2023 approaches it is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on plans for the year ahead, as well as the achievements of 2022. 

In terms of the next steps for the Global Centre for Healthy Food Environments (GCHFE) in 2023, we have three focus areas: 

  1. To build our global community of member organisations, with the aim of working together to develop and/or evolve the Healthy Food Environments within their organisations. 
  2. Continue our research programme through a project exploring how we practically implement Healthy Food Environments in health care settings. 
  3. Launch our virtual Education Programme, which will equip attendees with the knowledge and skills to improve the food environment within their organisation. 

We are tremendously excited by the prospect of these, and if any of them are of interest then please do contact me via e.maile@sprink.co.uk.

Looking back on 2022, the highlight was October’s launch of both the GCHFE and our first research report, ‘Defining a Healthy Food Environment within a Health Care Setting’, which can be downloaded here. We hosted two webinars with attendees from countries including Abu Dhabi, Australia, Belgium, India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, UK, USA and more. The Sprink team introduced the GCHFE and launched our research report, and we were honoured to be joined by two eminent international speakers who offered their perspectives on food environments in health care systems in their countries.

First, Veronica Graham spoke about inspiring work she has been involved in at the Victorian Department of Health in Australia. Specifically, she spoke about a combination of top-down policy interventions and bottom-up work by health care organisations which have resulted in significant steps forward in the food environment within the Victorian health care system. 

Figure 1: From Vernonica Graham’s talk on how the Victorian Department of Health in Australia is creating a healthy food environment. 

Phil Shelley, Chair of the Independent Review of Hospital food in England, joined us for the second event. Phil spoke about his work leading the drive for improved hospital food in England, including initiatives to inspire and engage staff such as the national NHS Chef competition and recruitment of exemplar hospitals who are leading the way in food provision.

Figure 2: Slide from Philip Shelley’s talk on how the NHS in the UK is inspiring and engaging staff to create healthy food environments in health care settings.

We also hosted a vibrant Q&A session, tackling topics such as whether any level of unhealthy food in a health care organisation is acceptable, and the relevance of our report to low and middle-income countries.

Thank you for your support and engagement during 2022, and we wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.

If you are interested in learning more about this work or would like to discuss future opportunities to get involved in the Global Centre for Healthy Food Environments (GCHFE), please get in touch with Ed Maile, Associate Director of the GCHFE (e.maile@sprink.co.uk), or Matt Salt, Senior Project Manager within the CGHFE (m.salt@sprink.co.uk).

You can also download the 2022 report ‘Defining a Healthy Food Environment in a Health Care Setting’ published by the Global Centre of Healthy Food Environments here: https://www.sprink.co.uk/global-centre-for-hfe/publications-and-events/#download

Ed Maile

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