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UK Food Policy & Nutrition: Tracking Progress

On 10th February 2016, the Food Foundation reviewed the policy and practice of Government and business on nutrition by looking at 3 new bodies of evidence:

The Global Nutrition Report’s data on UK progress on global nutrition targets;

The Access to Nutrition Index which ranks food manufacturers on the extent to which they are supporting good nutrition outcomes; and

The Food Foundation’s research applying the Food Environment Policy Index to the UK.

Our Storify of the event can be found below. The Food Foundation’s main take aways from the session were:

  1. Responsibility or Accountability? Improving our diets requires shifting from a focus on (corporate) responsibility to accountability. The new childhood obesity strategy needs to reflect this shift. Several tools can support this– the Global Nutrition Report which tracks 80 nutrition indicators for all countries of the world and allows the UK to be compared to its neighbours, the Access To Nutrition Index which monitors the nutrition action of the 22 largest food companies and the Food Environment Policy Index which tracks and evaluates food-related policy. More work is needed to make these tools support better accountability in the UK.
  2. World leading or world trailing? While the UK has among the worst obesity rates in Europe and the worst breastfeeding rates in the world, many countries look to the UK for leadership on food policy and in some areas our policies are ahead of the curve (such ason labelling).
  3. Malnutrition in all its forms. The upcoming Rio Olympics summit on nutrition is a great opportunity to secure commitments for nutrition. The UK government needs to make commitments to improve nutrition at home as well as abroad.