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Guiding principles for sustainable healthy diets

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Malnutrition and degradation of environmental and natural resources are major challenges to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Both challenges are affected by and in turn influence the food systems that enable availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability of food. In response to this problem, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released guiding principles for sustainable healthy diets.Sustainable healthy diets are defined as “dietary patterns that promote all dimensions of individuals’ health and wellbeing; have low environmental pressure and impact; are accessible, affordable, safe and equitable; and are culturally acceptable.” The guiding principles are the result of a robust review of evidence and an international consultation held in July 2019 at FAO headquarters in Rome. The document includes a set of principles on what constitutes diets that are both healthy and sustainable, and non-technical information and messaging that can be used in policy-making and communications. The principles are food-based and take account of nutrient recommendations, while considering environmental, social/cultural and economic sustainability. The ultimate aim is to support countries to transform food systems to nourish both people and the planet.

 

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Endnotes

1 FAO and WHO. 2019. Sustainable healthy diets – Guiding principles. Rome. www.fao.org/3/ca6640en/ca6640en.pdf

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Guiding principles for sustainable healthy diets. Field Exchange 62, April 2020. p14. www.ennonline.net/fex/62/guidingprinciplessustainablehealthydiets

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