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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The evidence suggests people who want to eat well use nutrient lists to choose healthier options. Interpretative labels help them when they find the labels hard to understand. Nutrition labels also create incentives for food manufacturers to reformulate their products, so helping populations more broadly by increasing the availability of food of higher nutritional value.
Clear standards are also needed on the use of nutrient and health claims. Evidence shows these claims alter the perception people have of these products – making it essential that they do not mislead.
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*Most other countries follow Guideline CAC/GL 2-1985 from the Codex Alimentarius Commission in requiring nutrition labels only when a nutrition or health claim is made and/or on food with special dietary uses
Producers and retailers are required by law to provide a list of the nutrient content of pre-packaged food products (with limited exceptions), even in the absence of a nutrition or health claim. The rules define which nutrients must be listed and on what basis (eg per 100g/per serving).
Huang L et al. (2015) A systematic review of the prevalence of nutrition labels and completeness of nutrient declarations on pre-packaged food in China. Journal of Public Health 37(4), 649-658
In 2010, the Nutrition Section of the Ministry of Health of Bahrain developed voluntary menu labelling recommendations for fast food chain restaurants. Nutrients are mostly displayed per portion and include calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, salt and sugar. Menu labelling may be done in a variety of ways such as on panels at ordering counters and checkouts or on food tray sheets. The main fast food chains operating in Bahrain have implemented the menu labelling recommendations (such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Diary Queen, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway and Jasmi’s).
We know from the evidence that making fruit and vegetables available in schools increases consumption. There is also evidence that food standards to restrict availability have the effect of reducing consumption of the restricted food.
For these actions to be effective for all children, they need to be sustained over time and accompanied by complementary behaviour change communication techniques, such as "modelling", school gardens, and communication to all stakeholders involved in the provision and consumption of school food. Worksites and healthcare also present strong potential for improved eating among adults.
The Ministry of Health of Bahrain has developed a mandatory list of permitted, prohibited and conditionally allowed food for public elementary and secondary schools. According to the 2016–17 Food Canteen List, only unsweetened 100% fruit juice, water, milk and milk drinks are permitted; fruit drinks and nectar, soft and energy drinks are prohibited. Permitted food includes fresh fruit and vegetables, while conditionally allowed food products have to comply with criteria such as not using trans fat, using low-fat cheese instead of cream cheese for sandwiches and limiting portion size. Banned food includes processed meat, potato chips, mayonnaise, puff pastries, sweets and candies (but not chocolate which is a conditionally allowed food).
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.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has introduced an excise tax which went into effect on 30 December 2017 after the Implementation Regulations of Excise Tax were issued with the Resolution of the Minister of Finance (Resolution No. 17, 2017) and published in the Official Gazette on 28 December 2017. The excise tax rate imposed by the law is a 100% tax rate on energy drinks and a 50% tax rate on soft drinks. Soft drinks are defined as any aerated beverage except unflavoured aerated water and include any concentrates, powder, gel, or extracts intended to be made into an aerated beverage. Any person intending to import or produce the excisable goods are required to register for the tax.
The neighbourhood food environment – the retailers and other outlets where we buy our food – are the means through which people access the food supply. There is clear evidence that this environment influences the decisions we make about what we eat.
Since 2010, the nutrition section of the Ministry of Health in Bahrain recommends that fast food chain restaurants offer 100% fruit juices (fresh or packaged) in serving sizes no larger than 250ml as default options in children’s menus instead of carbonated drinks. The main fast food chains operating in Bahrain have implemented the menu labeling recommendations (such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway and Jasmi’s).