Skip Navigation

Global Obesity Prevention Center

Assessing the Impact of Zoning Policies on Fast-foods Around Schools

Principal Investigator: Philippe J. Giabbanelli, PhD



uk flagFollowing growing local concerns and increasingly frequent recommendations in national policy documents in the United Kingdom, local policymakers have expressed that they are preparing restrictions for fast-food outlets. Hot food takeaways are categorized as "class A5 premises" or "A5 units" and are regulated either in Development Plan Documents (DPDs) or Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). 

fast food in englandThe impact of fast-foods on obesity and food consumption varies over space, and particularly depending on the deprivation of the area. Consequently, there is a strong and growing need to estimate the impact of these measures and combine them to unlock effects that are greater than the sum of individual measures, while paying close attention to deprivation. This pilot project aims to address this need through the first agent-based model for fast-food planning around schools in England. Specifically, the overarching aim for this project is to use a quantitative systems approach to understand how combined planning measures around schools affect the English food landscape across different levels of deprivation. This main aim can be further divided into two main phases:

Phase One:  Developing and utilizing the first agent-based model of the dynamic of regulating fast-food outlets to identify how policy scenarios interact

The food landscape around schools is part of a complex system of interrelationships influencing food consumption and obesity. As this landscape is targeted by myriad different regulations that can each take a range of values, our model will serve to quantify the expected impacts of these regulations together with their interactions. Capturing interactions will indeed be essential to bring a systems science approach into local regulations, and our previous research on obesity and other chronic conditions has shown that these interactions can be particularly informative about the system as a whole.

Phase Two: Providing policymakers with sets of synergistic scenarios depending on the intended local priorities regarding changes in food exposure

Creating a tool that can be used by policymakers is central to this project. Rather than providing a 'one-size-fits-all' recommendation, we consider that local councils seek to prioritize different aspects and we thus aim to provide a set of synergistic scenarios that could achieve their own targets. Additional Information


Additional Information:
To learn more and find out how to get involved, please email the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins directly here.