Nevin Manimala Statistics

Changes in the number and outcome of takeaway food outlet planning applications in response to adoption of management zones around schools in England: A time series analysis

Health Place. 2024 Apr 1;87:103237. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2024.103237. Online ahead of print.


Physical exposure to takeaway food outlets (“takeaways”) is associated with poor diet and excess weight, which are leading causes of excess morbidity and mortality. At the end of 2017, 35 local authorities (LAs) in England had adopted takeaway management zones (or “exclusion zones”), which is an urban planning intervention designed to reduce physical exposure to takeaways around schools. In this nationwide, natural experimental study, we used interrupted time series analyses to estimate the impact of this intervention on changes in the total number of takeaway planning applications received by LAs and the percentage rejected, at both first decision and after any appeal, within management zones, per quarter of calendar year. Changes in these proximal process measures would precede downstream retail and health impacts. We observed an overall decrease in the number of applications received by intervention LAs at 12 months post-intervention (6.3 fewer, 95% CI -0.1, -12.5), and an increase in the percentage of applications that were rejected at first (additional 18.8%, 95% CI 3.7, 33.9) and final (additional 19.6%, 95% CI 4.7, 34.6) decision, the latter taking into account any appeal outcomes. This effect size for the number of planning applications was maintained at 24 months, although it was not statistically significant. We also identified three distinct sub-types of management zone regulations (full, town centre exempt, and time management zones). The changes observed in rejections were most prominent for full management zones (where the regulations are applied irrespective of overlap with town centres), where the percentage of applications rejected was increased by an additional 46.1% at 24 months. Our findings suggest that takeaway management zone policies may have the potential to curb the proliferation of new takeaways near schools and subsequently impact on population health.

PMID:38564989 | DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2024.103237

By Nevin Manimala

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