Public settings, such as schools, childcare centres, nursing homes, hospitals and correctional facilities and all other canteens of public institutions, can play a key role in ensuring people are provided with healthy food and helping prevent the 8 million annual deaths currently caused by unhealthy diets.
A new WHO Action framework for developing and implementing public food procurement and service policies for a healthy diet aims to increase the availability of healthy food through setting nutrition criteria for food served and sold in public settings. The action framework also aims to reduce preventable diseases and deaths from high consumption of sodium and salt, sugars and fats, particularly trans fats, and inadequate consumption of whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit.
“Public places that serve the entire community, including our most vulnerable populations, must be places where healthy diets are promoted not discouraged,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Now is the time for governments to lead by example through ensuring that the food served or sold in public settings contributes to healthy diets and saves lives. No public funds should be spent on food contributing to unhealthy diets.”
Consuming a healthy diet from pre-birth to the last days of life is vital to prevent all forms of malnutrition as well as diabetes, cancers and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The new action framework serves as a tool for governments to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate public food procurement and service policies that align with the core principles of healthy diets as outlined in existing WHO recommendations. World Health Organisation