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Promoting healthy diets -WHO

A healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as a range of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and other conditions. However, increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are now consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars and salt/sodium, and many people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.

Diet can depend on an individual’s food choices, but also the availability and affordability of healthy foods and sociocultural factors. Therefore, promoting a healthy food environment requires involvement across multiple sectors and stakeholders, including government, the public and the private sector.

Governments have a central role in creating a healthy food environment that enables people to easily adopt and maintain healthy dietary practices. Effective actions by policy-makers include:

  • Coordinating trade, food system and agricultural policies with the protection and promotion of public health;
  • Encouraging consumers’ demand for healthy foods and meals; and
  • Promoting healthy nutrition across the life course.

The WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health was adopted in 2004 by the World Health Assembly. It called on governments, WHO, international partners, the private sector and civil society to take action at global, regional and local levels to support healthy diets and physical activity.

Check the WHO page and the resources here: Promoting healthy diets

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The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released a new IARC Evidence Summary Brief, titled “The Nutri-Score: A Science-Based Front-of-Pack Nutrition Label”. This report, led by scientists from IARC and partners, shows that the Nutri-Score, a clear and simple front-of-pack nutrition label that rates the nutritional quality of food products, is an effective tool to guide consumers towards healthier food choices.

Based on scientific evidence, the IARC Evidence Summary Brief stresses the superiority of the Nutri-Score to other nutrition labels, and calls for its widespread and systematic adoption in Europe and beyond, to help consumers lower their risk of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer.

Read IARC Press Release 301

Read the Evidence Summary Brief about the Nutri-Score 

Read more about the IARC Evidence Summary Briefs series 

 

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"The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year."

Please follow the link for the article: Impact of COVID-19 on people's livelihoods, their health and our food systems

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A total diet study in Benin, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria investigated what people eat, and their exposure to a selection of 800 of the chemicals that can be found in food.

Also in this episode: the impact of the current pandemic on the spices industry in India, and how the European Food Safety Authority communicates food safety in 23 languages.

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