Diet and nutrition
Diet and nutrition play a major role in health and disease. It is generally recognised that poor diet and nutrition can lead to ill health and sometimes to premature death. In many countries of the world, including the UK, overweight and obesity are now major public health problems but there are also problems with malnutrition and food poverty.
Various initiatives are underway to try and encourage people to adopt a healthier diet. In England, the last Government’s Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A call to action on obesity in England document set out how action on obesity would be delivered over the coming years. It outlined the Government’s national ambitions for a downward trend in excess weight in both children and adults by 2020 and set out how, by working together, a wide range of partners would be able to make these ambitions a reality
Another initiative is the NHS Change4Life programme in England and Wales which offers advice and tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, including eating well. The Eatwell Guide is often used to show which food types and proportions make up a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Food businesses too can play their part, for example by providing accurate nutrition labelling and or reformulating their products to reduce the levels of salt and sugar.
Local authorities can use their public health funding to provide healthy living services and create healthier food environments. Examples of actions that can be taken by local authorities to provide healthier food environments are given in the following publications:
Further information on obesity can be found on the following websites:
Public Health England
Public Health Wales
Northern Ireland Government