We developed the NOURISHING framework to highlight where governments need to take action to promote healthy diets and reduce overweight and obesity.
The framework is accompanied by a regularly updated database (last updated 8 May 2019), providing an extensive overview of implemented government policy actions from around the world.
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Empirical estimates show that food prices influence, to a varying degree, how much food people buy. Targeted subsidies have been shown to help overcome affordability barriers to healthy food for people on low incomes. Incentives, like financial rewards or price discounts, have also been shown to encourage people to switch to healthier options.
Emerging evidence from implemented taxes, as well as modelling studies, indicate the potential for effectiveness to reduce consumption. Given food choices are influenced by a whole host of factors, especially in modern, complex food markets, taxes must be designed very carefully to maximise effectiveness.
Please note, $ refers to USD.
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As of 2013, Tonga taxes soft drinks containing sugar or sweeteners at 1 Pa’anga per litre (around $0.50). The 2013 taxes on animal fat products (eg lard and drippings) were increased in 2016 from 1 Pa’anga to 2 Pa’anga per kilogram (around $0.90), and on turkey tails from 1 Pa’anga to 1.5 Pa’anga (around $0.70).
In 2016, Tonga implemented an import duty of 15% on turkey tails, lamb flaps and lamb breasts.
In 2013, as part of a broader package of fiscal measures, Tonga lowered import duties from 20% to 5% for imported fresh, tinned or frozen fish in order to increase affordability and promote healthier diets.
Policies within this category aim to harness the whole food system, and the sectors which influence it, to ensure coherence with healthy eating. This is because the food system, and the policies that affect it, influence our food environment.
What our food industry produces is in part a response to incentives in the supply chain. Sectors outside of health influence our ability to take policy action. Likewise, if governments implement policies contained in NOURISHING, they have repercussions upstream for the actors and activities in food systems. This wider relationship to the food supply chain presents an opportunity to support all the policies in NOURISHING with actions in the food supply chain.
Community food projects are in place to promote the domestic cultivation of fruit and vegetables in place of imported food products.
Awareness is one precursor to eating well. The evidence suggests that public campaigns can boost awareness. To influence consumption, they need to be sustained and use multiple channels.
The Tonga Health Promotion Foundation runs 30-minute weekly healthy lifestyle programmes on TV and radio and has issued posters in print media promoting healthy ways of living.
Governments in these countries manage, or are involved in, fruit and vegetable campaigns that promote the consumption of a certain number of fruit and vegetable portions a day, often "5 a day" (eg Argentina, Chile, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Tonga) but also "6 a day" (Denmark), "Go for 2&5" (Western Australia), “Fruits & Veggies – More Matters” (United States) or 5–10 (France).
Capacci S, Mazzocchi M (2011) Five-a-day, a price to pay: An evaluation of the UK program impact accounting for market forces. Journal of Health Economics 30(1), 87-98
Carter OBJ et al. (2011) ‘We’re not told why – we’re just told’: qualitative reflections about the Western Australian Go for 2&5® fruit and vegetable campaign. Public Health Nutrition 14(6), 982-988
Pollard CM et al. (2008) Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption: success of the Western Australian Go for 2&5® campaign. Public Health Nutrition 11(3), 314-320
*Civil society organisations have also developed public awareness campaigns on unhealthy food. For example, Cancer Council Victoria in Australia has a social marketing team that runs campaigns related to cancer prevention, including on diet and obesity. In January 2013, it launched the Rethink Your Sugary Drink campaign on YouTube and social media focused on the amount of sugar in soft drinks. In Mexico, the civil society network Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria ran a public campaign against soft drinks in May–August 2013. A series of adverts were posted on buses, billboards and in the subway showing 12 heaped spoonfuls of sugar next to a bottle of soda. The adverts asked "Would you eat 12 spoonfuls of sugar? Why do you drink soda?”
The Tonga Health Promotion Foundation launched the campaign A Mouthful of Sugar in 2012, which used print and video to discourage the consumption of soda. The print campaign features a bottle of soda with the label "diabetes", from which sugar – rather than liquid – is poured. The poster features healthier alternatives, such as water or coconut water.