Provide policy options based on the results of a survey on food security status, the willingness to pay for healthy food and food choices and their association with some of the risk factors of chronic diseases associated with obesity in Ardabil
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Background and Aim: Improving food security is an important challenge for nutrition policymakers. The aim of this study was to provide policy options based on the results of the food security situation, the willingness to pay for healthy food and food choices and its relationship with a number of risk factors for chronic obesity-related diseases. Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed among 500 individuals in Ardabil who were selected by random sampling method. Food status, willingness to pay for healthy food, and factors influencing people's food choices were collected using relevant questionnaires. The Logit model was used to estimate the willingness to pay and the random coefficient model was used to examine the factors influencing food choices. The Delphi two-step method was used to provide policy options. Results: 48.6% of the subjects were food secure and 51.4% were insecure. In terms of weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and serum triglycerides, there was a significant difference between individuals in food security group (P <0.05). The most important factors influencing the willingness to pay healthy food were price, access to healthy food, food security, people's weight and waist circumference. The taste of dairy products was one of the most important factors in choosing dairy products. Increasing physical activity in the community, non-cash subsidies for healthy food, and a free meal plan for low-income people were chosen as the best ways to reduce obesity and food insecurity. Conclusion: About half of the subjects were insecure. Food prices were the most important factor influencing the willingness to pay for healthy food. The taste of dairy products was one of the most important factors influencing people's food choices. The best policy options to improve food security are to subsidize healthy food and distribute it free of charge. The most effective policy option to prevent obesity is to use methods that increase people's physical activity.