Food Outlets Dietary Risk (FODR) assessment tool: study protocol for assessing the public health nutrition risks of community food environments

Claire Elizabeth Pulker, Georgina S.A. Trapp, Mark Fallows, Paula Hooper, Heather McKee, Christina Mary Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Availability and accessibility of nutritious foods can vary according to the food outlets present within a neighbourhood or community. There is increasing evidence that community food environments influence food choice, diet and the risk of diet-related chronic disease, however contemporary community food environments assessments (e.g. unhealthy fast food outlets versus healthy supermarkets or fruit and vegetable shops) may be too simplistic to accurately summarise the complexities of their impacts on food choice. This study protocol describes the development of the Food Outlets Dietary Risk (FODR) assessment tool for use by local government in Perth, Western Australia. Methods: Similar to food safety risk assessment, the FODR assessment tool rates the potential harmful public health nutrition impact of food outlets by identifying and characterising the issues, and assessing the risk of exposure. Scores are attributed to six public health nutrition attributes: 1) availability of nutrient-poor foods; 2) availability of nutritious foods; 3) acceptability and appeal; 4) accessibility; 5) type of business operation; and 6) complex food outlet considerations. Food retail outlets are then classified as having a low, medium, high or very high dietary risk based on their total score. Discussion: A local government administered tool to rate the public health nutrition risk of food outlets requires data which can be collected during routine assessments or sourced from the internet. The ongoing categorical classification of foods available within food outlets as either unhealthy or nutritious will require nutrition scientists’ input. An objective risk assessment of the dietary impact of food retail outlets can guide local government planning, policies and interventions to create supportive community food environments. It is intended that locally relevant data can be sourced throughout Australia and in other countries to apply the local context to the FODR assessment tool. Utility and acceptability of the tool will be tested, and consultation with environmental health officers and public health practitioners will inform future iterations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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