Scientific Publication

Characteristics of food environments that influence food acquisition and diets of women in low-and middle-income countries: a scoping review protocol


Objective: This scoping review aims to identify and map characteristics of food environments that influence food-acquisition practices and dietary intake of women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries.

Introduction: Due to the disproportionate burden of malnutrition on women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries, accelerated progress in improving women's nutrition is required to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 "Zero hunger" by 2030. Food environments are increasingly recognized as the key interface between consumers and food systems; however, little is known about the characteristics that influence women's food acquisition and diets in low- and middle-income countries, especially during physiological stages of heightened nutritional requirement, such as pre-conception, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

Inclusion criteria: This review will consider quantitative, qualitative, mixed method, or review studies that report on the influence of food environment characteristics on food-acquisition practices and dietary intakes of women aged 15 to 49 years in any low- and middle-income country, as defined by the World Bank in 2021. Studies published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French from January 2010 onwards will be included.

Methods: Twenty-one databases across EBSCO, Web of Science Core Collection, and PubMed will be searched. Screening, selection, and data extraction will be performed in duplicate by 2 members of the team, with any discrepancies resolved by group discussion. The patterns of food-acquisition and dietary intake in relation to food environment characteristics will be charted, mapped, and summarized in tabular and graphical formats. Findings will inform the refinement of effective food environment conceptual frameworks for this nutritionally vulnerable group.