On the 18th September 2014 the WHO Regional Office for Europe adopted the WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015 – 2020. The goal of the Action Plan is to avoid premature deaths and significantly reduce the burden of preventable diet-related noncommunicable diseases, obesity and all other forms of malnutrition still prevalent in the WHO European Region.
The Action Plan focuses on food and nutrition as the leading factors in health and wellbeing in the European Region, with particular attention to the associated burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). It covers all forms of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity, throughout the life-course.
Specifically, it aims to address:
- Inequitable access to proper nutrition throughout the life-course and the inequitable distribution of overweight, obesity, diet-related NCDs and malnutrition;
- Continuing lack of easy-to-understand nutritional information about food products, which can make the healthy choice the easy choice and inadequate knowledge, skills and competence about nutrition and healthy diets, which limit the population’s ability to act upon this information;
- Unhealthy food environments in key settings such as schools, public institutions, catering establishments and retail environments;
- Pervasive marketing to children of foods and drinks high in energy, saturated fats, trans fats, sugar or salt and inappropriate marketing of follow-on foods and complementary feeding for infants and young children;
- A continuous requirement to ensure that health and social care systems have the tools and resources to prioritize health promotion and disease prevention, with a view to addressing nutrition challenges and diet-related diseases; and
- Continuing lack of alignment between health goals and global, regional and local trade and food supply chain policies, which influence the nutritional quality of foods that are available and affordable and, therefore, food and nutrition security for the population.
One of the goals of the WHO is to develop and implement national policies to ban or virtually eliminate trans fats from the food supply, with a view to making the European Region trans fat-free. According to the WHO, a generalized ban would eliminate concern about potentially high intake by the most vulnerable groups. It should be implemented in the context of improvements to the overall nutritional quality of food products, notably with no increase in saturated fats.
Download here the Action Plan.