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Dr Kathryn Backholer

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Dr Kathryn Backholer

Food Pricing as a policy lever to improve cardiovascular health

Dr Kathryn Backholer, Deakin University

2018 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2019-2024

Suboptimal diet is a leading risk factor for death and disability in Australia and globally. An unhealthy diet greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as a range of other vascular conditions. Social and environmental factors shape dietary behaviours and population-based policy approaches will be crucial to achieve broad improvements in diets and diet-related disease.

Price is a key determinant of food and beverage choice yet remains a relatively understudied area for policy intervention. This fellowship aims to investigate the role of pricing policies in shaping food and beverage choices. It will do so by identifying what types of pricing policies will work to improve population diets, for whom, and whether these policies are cost-effective.

Key outcomes include:

  1. the first comprehensive and low-resource ready-to-use platform to monitor the affordability of diets across time and contexts - essential to ensure a healthy diet remains affordable
  2. empirical evidence quantifying the impact of food and beverage pricing policies on food and beverage choice and business profits - required to support and catalyse community action at scale and
  3. evidence on the population health equity impact and cost-effectiveness of a range of pricing policies - essential to support government prioritisation and implementation of pricing polices to ensure a healthy diet remains affordable, for all.

The research will culminate with a food policy forum with key stakeholders, including decision makers. Ultimately this research will lead to improved population diets and an improvement in population heart health, for all Australians.

Last updated12 July 2021