AJPM Focus (Sep 2023)

CO-Creation and Evaluation of Food Environments to Advance Community Health (COACH)

  • Jillian Whelan, PhD,
  • Julie Brimblecombe, PhD,
  • Meaghan Christian, PhD,
  • Carmen Vargas, MPH,
  • Megan Ferguson, PhD,
  • Emma McMahon, PhD,
  • Amanda Lee, PhD,
  • Colin Bell, PhD,
  • Tara Boelsen-Robinson, PhD,
  • Miranda R. Blake, PhD,
  • Meron Lewis, PhD,
  • Laura Alston, PhD,
  • Steven Allender, PhD

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 3
p. 100111


Read online

Introduction: Food environments are a key determinant of food intake and diet-related health. This paper describes the development of an iterative, adaptive, context-specific framework for health-enabling food environments embedded in cocreation theory. Methods: A 3-stage multimethod framework for the coproduction and prototyping of public health interventions was followed in an iterative manner during the development of the framework. These 3 stages were (1) evidence review, including systematic review, consultation with experts, and observation of current work; (2) codesign of the framework prototype with multiple stakeholders; and (3) coproduction through refinement of the prototype through stakeholder workshops and expert reviews with incorporation of researcher notes and workshop evaluation. We use the term prototype during the development phase and the term framework to report on the final product. Results: COACH (CO-creation and evaluation of food environments to Advance Community Health) is a process framework that describes what best practice application of cocreation in health-enabling food retail environments should involve. COACH consists of 10 interdependent factors within a 4-phase continuous quality improvement cycle. The 4 phases of the cycle are engagement and governance establishment, communication and policy alignment, codesign and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Conclusions: Utilizing cocreation theory represents an innovative step in research and practice to improve the healthiness of food retail environments. COACH provides a specific, unique, and comprehensive guide to the utilization of cocreation to improve the healthiness of food environments in practice.