Modifying the Food and Built Environments to Combat Non-Communicable Diseases in Argentina
This project will evaluate the Healthy Municipalities and Communities health promotion program, which is designed to improve eating and activity levels to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks in Argentina. Increase in unhealthy hearts CVDs cause an estimated 100,000 deaths and 250,000 coronary heart disease and stroke events each year in Argentina. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition rates-all risk factors for CVDs-have increased over the last decade. Healthy municipalities and communities The Pan American Health Organization launched the Healthy Municipalities and Communities health promotion program in 1990. It has since been widely implemented across Argentina and Latin America. The program focuses on improving the food and built environments at the municipal level to address unhealthy diet and physical inactivity as major CVD risk factors. The built environment refers to human-made surroundings, such as buildings, green spaces, neighbourhoods, cities, and the infrastructure in place to support them. The need for evaluation So far the impact of the program has not been measured. The project team will conduct the evaluation. The main objective is to strengthen capacity and accountability for promoting healthier food and built environments at the municipal and national levels in Argentina. This is a mixed-methods study that will rely on multiple data sources: -review of the program's documentation -interviews with key informants -survey of committees from the 1,001 municipalities enrolled in the program -benchmarking the food and built environments in two municipalities affiliated with the program since 2003 -health indicators and behaviours data from a cohort study involving 1,000 participants in each of the two communities Better monitoring, improved decision-making Improved program monitoring and evaluation offers the potential to enhance decision-making and resource allocation for non-communicable disease prevention in Argentina. This study is also an opportunity to evaluate the influence of food and built environments on individual lifestyles in Argentina. There are valuable implications for other developing countries, given that most of the evidence gathered in this area to date has come from high-income countries.