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 24 October 2018), 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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In effect since 1 May 2016, St Vincent and the Grenadines applies a value added tax of 15% to brown sugar. The measure was put in place to help encourage a reduction in sugar consumption. Revenue from the tax goes to a consolidated fund to help finance initiatives to treat diabetes.
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.
Food-based dietary guidelines are an information and communication tool involving the translation of recommended nutrient intakes or population targets into recommendations of the balance of food that populations should be consuming for a healthy diet. They typically promote increased intake of fruit and vegetables and limited intake of salt/sodium and sugar. They may also include guidance on physical activity and healthy weight, and provide guidelines for different population groups. Countries use various formats of presenting the guidelines including cooking pots (Guatemala, Paraguay), pineapples (Fiji), pyramids (Australia, India, US), plates (Colombia, UK), pagodas (China), spinning top (Venezuela), traditional African house (Benin) and circles (Argentina). Some countries have started to include sustainability criteria in their dietary guidelines (eg Germany in 2013, Finland and Brazil in 2014, Sweden and Qatar in 2015, the Netherlands and UK in 2016). Brazil’s revised dietary guidelines, launched in 2014, present food- and meal-based recommendations that take into account cultural dimensions and promote the consumption of minimally processed food as well as health, wellbeing and sustainable food systems, and recommend avoiding ultra-processed food. Details on the content of national dietary guidelines can be found on the FAO database on Food-based dietary guidelines.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) celebrates Caribbean Wellness Day every year on 13 September to raise awareness of healthy lifestyle options, including promoting healthy food choices. The main slogan is “Love that body” and the campaign elements include posters, stickers, a logo, a jingle, a website and public service announcements.