Stefanie Vandevijvere

Stefanie Vandevijvere
Sciensano · Epidemiology and public health

PhD, MSc, public health nutritionist

About

297
Publications
90,370
Reads
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8,806
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
Sciensano
Position
  • Senior Researcher
January 2018 - present
University of Auckland
Position
  • Senior Researcher
January 2015 - December 2017
University of Auckland
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (297)
Article
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We investigated associations between changes in national food energy supply and in average population body weight. We collected data from 24 high-, 27 middle- and 18 low-income countries on the average measured body weight from global databases, national health and nutrition survey reports and peer-reviewed papers. Changes in average body weight we...
Article
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To assess government actions to improve the healthiness of food environments in New Zealand, based on the healthy food environment policy index. A panel of 52 public health experts rated the extent of government implementation against international best practice for 42 indicators of food environment policy and infrastructure support. Their ratings...
Article
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To achieve WHO's target to halt the rise in obesity and diabetes, dramatic actions are needed to improve the healthiness of food environments. Substantial debate surrounds who is responsible for delivering effective actions and what, specifically, these actions should entail. Arguments are often reduced to a debate between individual and collective...
Article
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‘New media’ refers to digital technologies, which offer unmatched opportunities for food companies to engage with young people. This paper explores the emergence of food marketing using new media, the potential impact of this marketing on young people, and current and potential policy responses to limit exposure to these promotions. Foremost in any...
Article
The Big Soda segment is central in modern food systems, and they invest heavily in digital marketing, but little is known about it. We aimed to analyze the digital marketing on Facebook of the soda brand with a major worldwide reach. Countries were described in terms of soda brand presence and popularity on Facebook according to countries’ socio-de...
Article
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Introduction The advertising of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages is a common feature in obesogenic food environments. Such advertising, within and around settings where children live, learn, and play, negatively affects their food acquisition and consumption. We examined the extent and nature of food and beverage advertising around p...
Article
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Objective To assess the relationship between market concentration and diversity, as indicators of market structure, and the healthiness of food and beverage sales across Europe. Design Market share data per country were used to calculate market concentration, assessed by the four firm concentration ratio and market diversity, assessed by the numbe...
Article
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Background: There is evidence that corporations try to delay, weaken, and avoid the adoption of measures that would protect and improve population health. This is particularly true and problematic for health harming industries, such as those producing ultra-processed foods, alcohol, and cigarettes. Financial conflicts of interest (COI) are also pro...
Article
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Background: This study aimed to estimate annual health care and lost productivity costs associated with excess weight among the adult population in Belgium, using national health data. Methods: Health care costs and costs of absenteeism were estimated using data from the Belgian national health interview survey (BHIS) 2013 linked with individual...
Preprint
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Introduction : Low back pain (LBP), neck pain (NKP), osteoarthritis (OST) and rheumatoid arthritis (RHE) are among the most disabling musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders. The current study aims to analyse the health and economic impact of these MSK disorders in Belgium, providing a summary of morbidity and mortality outcomes from 2013 to 2018, as well...
Article
Objective To identify the corporate political activity (CPA) strategies used by food industry actors during the development of two public health nutrition policies in Central America: Law #570 (taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages) in Panama, and Bill #5504 (labeling and food marketing regulations) in Guatemala. Design We triangulated data from p...
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Background: Children are susceptible to the food environment. This research assessed changes in retail food environments near schools in Flanders between 2008 and 2020 and associations with children's and adolescents' weight status. Methods: The food environment within a 500 m and 1000 m road network distance to all primary and secondary schools...
Article
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Background This study benchmarked and quantitatively assessed the transparency, specificity and comprehensiveness of nutrition-related commitments and related practices of the major companies within the French food industry. Methods To evaluate the nutrition-related commitments and practices across policy domains such as product reformulation, lab...
Article
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Background Benchmarking the implementation of healthy food environment public policies against international best practices may accelerate the government response to prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the countries. The aim of the study was to determine the extent of food environment policy implementation in Guatemala and to id...
Article
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Background: Poland is facing the growing problem of overweight and obesity in the population, which makes it necessary to conduct a thorough assessment of the existing food environment policies. The aims of the study were: (1) to depict the strength of healthy food environment policies in Poland and identify implementation policies and infrastruct...
Article
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Objectives: Food companies could play an important role in improving population diets, but often escape accountability through unspecific commitments. This study evaluated nutrition-related commitments and estimated performance of the largest packaged food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, supermarkets and quick-service restaurants (QSR) in...
Article
Background: There is evidence that corporations try to delay, weaken, and avoid the adoption of measures that would protect and improve population health. This is particularly true and problematic for health harming industries, such as those producing ultra-processed foods, alcohol, and cigarettes. Financial conflicts of interest (COI) are also pro...
Article
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As scientists working and publishing in the field of front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL) for many years, we have read with interest and concern the narrative review regarding their effectiveness by Muzzioli et al. [...]
Article
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There is widespread agreement among experts that a fundamental reorientation of global, regional, national and local food systems is needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals Agenda and address the linked challenges of undernutrition, obesity and climate change described as the Global Syndemic. Recognising the urgency of this imperativ...
Preprint
Background Children have been found to be extra susceptible to the food environment. This research assessed changes in food environments near schools in Flanders between 2008 and 2020 and associations with children’s and adolescents’ weight status. Methods The food environment within a 500m and 1000m road network distance to all primary- and second...
Article
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Background To benchmark and quantitatively assess the transparency, specificity and comprehensiveness of nutrition-related commitments, as well as related practices of the largest Belgian food companies. Methods The ‘Business Impact Assessment on Obesity and population-level nutrition’ (BIA-Obesity) was applied to evaluate nutrition-related commit...
Article
Objective To evaluate the extent of implementation of public policies aimed at creating healthy eating environments in Senegal compared to international best practice and identity priority actions to address the double burden of malnutrition. Design The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) was used by a local expert panel to assess the...
Article
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Background: This work aims to identify policies implemented for healthy food environments in Italy within The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) project. Methods: Food-EPI tool, which includes two components, thirteen domains and fifty good practice indicators, was adapted for the Italian context. Evidence for implementation was ga...
Article
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Background: Food environments impact on diets, obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Government policies are essential to create healthy food environments. This study aimed to assess the strength of European Union (EU)-level policies, and identify and prioritize actions for the EU to create healthy food environments. Methods: The Healthy...
Article
Over the last two decades, many African countries have undergone dietary and nutrition transitions fueled by globalization, rapid urbanization and development. These changes have altered African food environments and subsequently, dietary behaviors, including food acquisition and consumption. Dietary patterns associated with the nutrition transitio...
Article
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Objectives: Government policies are essential to create food environments that support healthy diets. The aims of this study were 1) to benchmark the implementation of Dutch government policies influencing food environments, and 2) to identify and prioritize actions to improve food environments in the Netherlands. Methods: The Healthy Food Environm...
Article
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Over the last two decades, many African countries have undergone dietary and nutrition transitions fueled by globalization, rapid urbanization and development. These changes have altered African food environments and subsequently, dietary behaviors, including food acquisition and consumption. Dietary patterns associated with the nutrition transitio...
Article
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Socioeconomic inequalities in diets need to be tackled to improve population diets and prevent obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases. The potential of food environment policies to reduce such inequalities has to date however not been appraised. The objective of this umbrella review was to assess the impact of food environment policies...
Preprint
Background: To benchmark and quantitatively assess the transparency, specificity and comprehensiveness of nutrition-related commitments and related practices of the major companies within the French food industry. Methods: To evaluate the nutrition-related commitments and practices across policy domains such as product reformulation, labelling, mar...
Preprint
Background: The energy imbalance gap (EIG) represents the average daily difference between energy intake and energy expenditure. The maintenance energy gap (MEG) captures the increased energy intake needed to maintain a higher average bodyweight compared with an initial distribution of bodyweight. This study quantified the dynamics of the EIG and M...
Article
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Background The INFORMAS [International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Research, Monitoring and Action Support] Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) was developed to evaluate the degree of implementation of widely recommended food environment policies by national governments against international best pract...
Article
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Objective: To evaluate the healthiness of New Zealand school food environments. Methods: In 2016, primary and secondary schools were invited to complete a cross-sectional questionnaire. School nutrition policies were analysed using an adapted Wellness School Assessment Tool. Canteen menus were analysed using the National Food and Beverage Classifi...
Article
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Objective This study aimed to evaluate policies and actions for food environments by the Japanese Government using the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI). Design Public health experts rated the extent of implementation of food environment-related the Policy and the Infrastructure-support components, compared to international best pra...
Article
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Background In Belgium, confinement measures were introduced on the 13th of March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These measures may affect health behaviours of the population such as eating habits, physical activity and alcohol consumption, which in turn can lead to weight gain resulting in overweight and obesity, inc...
Article
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Background: Delhaize, a major Belgian retailer, started implementing electronic shelf labels (ESL) with Nutri-Score since May 2019. Nutri-Score rates the healthfulness of packaged foods with five colours/letters from red/E (least healthy) to green/A (most healthy). This study evaluated the impact of ESL on consumer purchases, overall, and by food c...
Preprint
Background The energy imbalance gap (EIG) represents the average daily difference between energy intake and energy expenditure. The maintenance energy gap (MEG) captures the increased energy intake needed to maintain a higher average bodyweight compared with an initial distribution of bodyweight. This study quantified the dynamics of the EIG and ME...
Article
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Introduction Manufacturers, such as producers of cigarettes, drugs or ultra-processed foods, influence health policy, research and practice. This influence is one of the main barriers against the implementation of public health policies around the world. Our goal was to identify existing mechanisms to limit this influence. Methods We conducted a s...
Article
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Background The prevalence of obesity worldwide has been steadily increasing. This has generated an uptake in research determining the cause of obesity. One of the primary drivers that have been identified is the “obesogenic environment', which is an environment that contains features that increase excess weight in individuals or populations. Obesog...
Article
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Food systems that deliver healthy diets without exceeding the planet’s resources are essential to achieve the worlds’ ambitious development goals. Healthy diets need to be safe, accessible, and affordable for all, including for disadvantaged and nutritionally vulnerable groups such as of smallholder producers, traders, and consumers in low- and mid...
Article
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The relative cost of healthy and sustainable diets is key for their adoption in different countries. Using a newly developed modelling tool that generates different diet baskets, we compared the costs of diets following the EAT–Lancet healthy reference diet, the Mexican dietary guidelines and locals’ current food intake. On average, the cost of the...
Article
This study aims to estimate cost variations according to diet quality and sociodemographic characteristics in children. Data (n = 1,596; 5-17 y) from the Belgian National Food Consumption Survey were used. The "Kidmed index" and dietary patterns (DP) identified through principal component analysis were used to assess diet quality. Daily diet cost w...
Article
Background: Iron deficiency affects thyroid hormones synthesis by impairing the activity of the heme-dependent thyroid peroxidase. The prevalence of iron deficiency is elevated particularly in pregnant women. This study aimed to investigate the effects of iron status on thyroid function in a nationally representative sample of mildly iodine-deficie...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background This study aimed to estimate annual health care and lost productivity costs associated with excess weight among the adult population in Belgium, using national health data. Methods Health care costs and costs of absenteeism were estimated using data from the Belgian national health interview survey (BHIS) 2013 linked with individual hea...
Article
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Background: This study describes the rationale, adaptation, and final protocol of a project developed to address the increase in obesity and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCDs) in Ghana. Code-named the Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability, and Leadership Support for NCDs (MEALS4NCDs) project, it aims to measure and support publ...
Article
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Background/Objectives Evidence on whether healthy diets are more expensive than less healthy diets is mixed. The relative cost of meeting healthy diet guidelines in Belgium was estimated. Subjects/Methods Data from the nationally representative food consumption survey (FCS) 2014–2015 (n = 3146; 3–64 years) were used. Dietary data were collected th...
Article
Childhood overweight and obesity have significant short- and long-term negative impacts on children's health and well-being. These challenges are unequally distributed according to socioeconomic status (SES); however, previous studies have often lacked standardized and objectively measured data across national contexts to assess these differences....
Article
Background: Prices of foods can influence purchase and, therefore, overall quality of diet. However, a limited number of studies have analyzed the cost of diets according to the overall quality of diets taking into account sociodemographic characteristics. Objective: Our aim was to estimate cost variations according to diet quality and to identi...
Article
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Background: The use of health and nutrition claims on front-of-pack labels may impact consumers' food choices; therefore, many countries have established regulations to avoid misinformation. This study describes the prevalence of health and nutrition claims on the front-of-pack of food products in retail stores in Mexico and estimate the potential...
Article
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Objective To compare the costs and climate impact (greenhouse gas emissions) associated with current and healthy diets and two healthy and environmentally friendly dietary patterns: flexitarian and vegan. Design Modelling study Setting Aotearoa (New Zealand). Main outcome measures The distribution of the cost and climate impact (kgCO 2 e/kg of f...
Article
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Background: To examine the proportion of healthier and less healthy food promotions in circulars of major Belgian supermarket chains. Methods: Food promotions were collected from all circulars over 1 year from the five largest Belgian supermarket chains. Foods promoted were classified according to the World Health Organization Europe nutrient profi...
Article
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Background: Food environments are influenced by food industries (packaged food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers; supermarkets and quick service restaurants). An important source of this influence is the significant market power held by a limited number of food companies. Market structure analysis, as part of a broader market power research...
Article
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Background/objectives: Iodine deficiency and excessive salt intakes have adverse health consequences. The objective was to measure sodium and iodine concentrations in urine spot samples among a representative sample of Belgian adults and compare those to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. Subjects/methods: Spot urine samples were coll...
Article
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Background Sustainable healthy diets are those dietary patterns that promote all dimensions of individuals’ health and well-being; have low environmental pressure and impact; are accessible, affordable, safe, and equitable; and are culturally acceptable. The food environment, defined as the interface between the wider food system and consumer’s foo...
Article
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Background The global policy discourse on sustainability and health has called for dietary transformations that require diverse, concerted actions from governments and institutions. In this article, we highlight the need to examine sociocultural influences on food practices as precursors to food policy decisions. Discussion Sociocultural food prac...
Article
Diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity are the leading contributors to poor health worldwide. Efforts to improve population diets need to focus on creating healthy food environments. INFORMAS, established in 2012, is an international network that monitors and benchmarks food environments and related policies. By 2020, INFORMAS was...
Technical Report
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De laatste jaren wordt steeds vaker gesuggereerd dat de bewerking van voedingsmiddelen, meer bepaald het type, de intensiteit en het doel van de bewerking, kan gelinkt worden aan de nutritionele kwaliteit van voedingspatronen en aan gezondheid. De zogenaamde ‘ultrabewerkte voedingsmiddelen’ komen steeds meer aan bod in de wetenschappelijke literatu...
Technical Report
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Ces dernières années, l’existence d’un lien entre, d’une part, notre santé et la qualité nutritionnelle de notre alimentation et, d’autre part, la transformation des aliments, et plus spécifiquement son type, son intensité et son but, est de plus en plus souvent évoquée. La littérature scientifique et les médias accordent une attention croissante a...
Preprint
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Background: The INFORMAS Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) was developed to evaluate the degree of implementation of widely recommended food environment policies by national governments against international best practice, and has been applied in New Zealand in 2014, 2017 and 2020. This paper outlines the 2020 Food-EPI process and co...
Article
Objective To assess food insecurity and its association with changes in nutritional habits among Belgian adults during confinement due to COVID-19. Design Three cross-sectional online health surveys were conducted during March-May 2020. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to determine associations between self-reported changes in frui...
Article
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Background The effectiveness of Front-of-Pack nutrition Labels (FoPLs) may be influenced by national context. In light of the ongoing efforts to harmonize FoPLs across Europe, this study aimed to compare the effectiveness of five FoPLs (Health Star Rating system, Multiple Traffic Lights, Nutri-Score, Reference Intakes, Warning symbols) on consumer...