Governments can play a critical role in creating a healthy food environment which generates demand for improved dietary behaviours resulting into better nutritional outcomes. Ministries of Health and Nutrition across the world are well positioned to enable people to adopt and maintain healthy dietary practices. In an attempt to develop a policy framework for implementing relevant strategies, World Health Organization (WHO)’s MPOWER strategy is a case in consideration.
WHO launched the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) to assist countries in developing programs and policies for tobacco control. With the objective of providing technical resources and tools for implementing the convention, WHO further recommended the MPOWER strategy. MPOWER strategy is a policy framework that outlines a multi-sectoral action plan that may be relevant for public health campaigns, including those aimed at controlling the spread of chronic disease like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases through reduced demand for unhealthy food and beverages.1
Adapting the MPOWER strategy to promote healthy dietary behaviours, nutrition advocates can convene multi-stakeholder policy forums with decision makers, academia, practitioners and technical institutions for knowledge translation and policy adoption on following strategic interventions:
M- onitor diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases
P- rotect people from unhealthy foods
O – ffer help for healthy eating
W- arning about high calorie foods
E- nforce bans
R- aise taxes on unhealthy foods and beverages
To compliment the policy advocacy effort for healthy diets, test out some of the following solutions to generate demand and public support for the above interventions, aimed at creating a “Healthy Food Environment”.