Healthy diets

  • Unhealthy diets are responsible for 11 million preventable deaths globally per year
  • The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016
  • Many countries face burdens from multiple forms of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity, undernutrition and stunting, and lack of fruit and vegetables

 

A healthy diet is critical to preventing malnutrition and a range of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. However, shifting diets and the rise of processed foods are contributing to an increase in NCDs around the world.

Once considered a problem for high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries. This has contributed to a dramatic surge in NCD risk factors including overweight and obesity, and created a double burden of disease for countries that continue to deal with undernutrition.

In the Pacific – where healthy traditional foods have been replaced with imported, processed foods – three out of four adults are considered obese. This has led to disastrous consequences for people and economies throughout the region, where NCDs are now responsible for 80% of deaths.

To ensure that everyone is able to maintain a healthy diet – and to meet global commitments, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals – governments must use law to promote a healthy food environment and give people the information they need to make informed decisions about what they eat.

Implementing evidence-based policies that make healthier dietary options available, affordable and easily accessible to all people is vital to promoting health, preventing NCDs, and protecting lives.

Our contribution

  • Our alumni have worked on introducing a number of laws and policies such as Sugar-Sweetened Beverage taxes and other regulatory measures around the world, including Malaysia, Solomon Islands, and the Philippines.
  • We have strengthened knowledge around the role of law to prevent NCDs within civil society organisations, co-organising events and delivering keynote presentations on the topic.
  • We provide strategic advice to organisations such as the World Cancer Research Fund Policy Advisory Group, contributing to the Building Momentum Series Reports.

Our publications