Using Agent-Based Models to Develop Public Policy about Food Behaviours: Future Directions and Recommendations

Philippe J. Giabbanelli*, Rik Crutzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Most adults are overweight or obese in many western countries. Several population-level interventions on the physical, economical, political, or sociocultural environment have thus attempted to achieve a healthier weight. These interventions have involved different weight-related behaviours, such as food behaviours. Agent-based models (ABMs) have the potential to help policymakers evaluate food behaviour interventions from a systems perspective. However, fully realizing this potential involves a complex procedure starting with obtaining and analyzing data to populate the model and eventually identifying more efficient cross-sectoral policies. Current procedures for ABMs of food behaviours are mostly rooted in one technique, often ignore the food environment beyond home and work, and underutilize rich datasets. In this paper, we address some of these limitations to better support policymakers through two contributions. First, via a scoping review, we highlight readily available datasets and techniques to deal with these limitations independently. Second, we propose a three steps' process to tackle all limitations together and discuss its use to develop future models for food behaviours. We acknowledge that this integrated process is a leap forward in ABMs. However, this long-term objective is well-worth addressing as it can generate robust findings to effectively inform the design of food behaviour interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5742629
Number of pages12
JournalComputational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY
  • SOCIAL-INFLUENCE
  • ENVIRONMENTAL-INFLUENCES
  • NATURAL EXPERIMENT
  • BUILT ENVIRONMENT
  • SYSTEMS SCIENCE
  • ENERGY-BALANCE
  • OBESITY
  • HEALTH
  • DIETARY

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