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WTO releases first draft of strategy report

Our Bureau

New Delhi , March 30

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has released the first draft on `Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health'. After consultations with all the stakeholders and member-countries, the governing body will take it up for final approval in May.

It will not be mandatory for countries to adopt the strategy but it will provide the principles and the path to be followed by various countries for developing public health, diet and physical activity policies, said the WHO Assistant Director General, Dr Catherine Le Gales-Camus.

The key areas covered in the draft are national strategies for diet and physical activities, national dietary guidelines, national physical activity guidelines, information on environment such as health claims, marketing and labelling of food products.

The draft recommends a five-point agenda on diet to help prevent diseases. These are: restricting energy intake from fat and shifting consumption away from saturated fats and trans-fatty acids towards unsaturated fats, increase consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and nuts, restricting intake of refined sugars and salt and to achieve energy balance for weight control.

The draft recommends that individuals should engage themselves in adequate levels of physical activities throughout life, as this is a key determinant of energy expenditure and thus fundamental to energy balance and weight control.

It also includes the challenges in areas of national food and agriculture policies, including pricing, food programmes and push-and-pull mechanism as well as ways of building up prevention mechanism in a country's public health services system.

The whole exercise was undertaken by the WTO following requests from member States and the final report will help the countries to formulate their own country-specific strategies based on inputs from various nations where similar situations had existed in the past, Dr Gales-Camus said.

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