Regional Workshop on Nutrition Labelling to Promote Healthy Diets, Bangkok, Thailand, 17-19 April 2018

Regional Workshop on Nutrition Labelling to Promote Healthy Diets

Nutrition labelling is a key policy option to prevent and control diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Thus, labels should provide factual and non-misleading information and, enable consumers to make healthier choices and also encourage industry to reformulate foods to a more nutritious composition. A recent review of nutrition labelling in Asia report a diversity of practices. In most countries, nutrition labelling remains voluntary, unless a health or nutrient content claim is made. Few countries have implemented regulations on nutrition information on labels. Front of pack labelling schemes are rare, and of those available, few are industry led. The increasing availability and consumption of pre-packaged processed foods in Asia makes it imperative to provide technical support to improving country labelling policies.

A Regional Workshop was organized in Bangkok Thailand, to provide technical support to 15 countries to review and imporve their labelling practices to promote healthy diets. Ten country teams from WHO South -East Asia Region and five teams from WHO Western Pacific Region participated in the three day workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand.

Regional Consultation to Protect, Promote and Support Breastfeeding with a Focus on Baby Friendly Hospital Practices, WHO/SEARO, New Delhi, India, 4-6 December 2017.

Regional Consultation to Protect, Promote and Support Breastfeeding with a Focus on Baby Friendly Hospital Practices, WHO/SEARO, New Delhi, India, 4-6 December 2017.

A three day consultation on promotion, protection and support for breastfeeding, which focused on BFHI was held as a collaborative effort between WHO HQ and the Regional Office Nutrition and Health for Development Units, with technical contributions from UNICEF, IBFAN Asia and Alive and Thrive and invited experts. The workshop objective was to strengthen breastfeeding practices in MS and provide technical support to implement the revised baby friendly hospital programme. Twenty four national programme managers of nutrition and maternal and child health from 10 countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated. Key actions to improve breastfeeding in maternity facilities and activities related to the Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes were identified by country teams.

Strategic Action Plan to reduce the double burden of malnutrition in the South-East Asia Region 2016-2025

The Strategic Action Plan to Reduce the Double Burden of Malnutrition in the South-East Asia Region 2016–2025 aims to provide guidance to Member States on comprehensive approaches to prevent malnutrition. This plan will serve Member States as an advocacy and reference tool to ensure that interventions covering all forms of malnutrition are addressed comprehensively in country policies, strategies and actions.

Work Programme of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, 2016-2025

The General Assembly resolution called upon FAO and WHO to identify and develop a work programme based on the Rome Declaration and its Framework for Action, along with its means of implementation for 2016–2025. The first draft of the Work Programme for the Nutrition Decade is now publicly available. This Work Programme is a living document and is being developed through an inclusive, continuous and collaborative process, building upon and connecting the independent initiatives of governments and their many partners.

Recent Highlights

Eliminating the consumption of trans fats in South-East Asia: An implementation brief

Eliminating the consumption of trans fats in South-East Asia: An implementation brief

Adverse effects of trans fats on cardiovascular disease has led to the WHOs recommendation of eliminating trans fats from the food supply chain. Other country experiences indicate that establishing legal thresholds for trans fats in food ingredients or foods is likely to be the most effective option for decreasing population mean intake of trans fats, over other measures such as food reformulation with low trans fats and labelling of products. This implementation brief presents trans fats intake in South- East Asia; policy options are given for eliminating or reducing trans fats in the food-supply chain along with step by step implementation guidance.

WHO Nutrient Profile Model for South-East Asia Region

The definition of ‘unhealthy’ is debatable, and therefore, an objective method of describing foods as healthy or unhealthy is needed. A nutrient profile model just does that and, therefore, a nutrition profile model for South-East Asia Region has been developed. The model is consistent with international guidance for preventing chronic disease and is a simple model with clear cut-offs for defining foods not suitable for advertising to children.

A practice guide to effective population-based food policy actions to promote healthy diets

This publication provides directions for a logical, evidence informed approach to selecting, developing, implementing and monitoring population-based interventions within the context of the double-burden of malnutrition in South-East Asia. The focus of this guide is on processed or ultra-processed pre-packaged foods. Implicit is the understanding that natural or minimally processed foods are best and their consumption should be encouraged whenever possible. This document also emphasizes that interventions are likely to be most effective when used in a coherent, integrated way to address underlying drivers and barriers to a healthy diet.

Highlighted publications and meeting reports

Global nutrition policy review 2016-2017

Sodium intake and iodized salt in the South-East Asia Region

Regional Report on Nutrition Security in ASEAN - Volume 2

WHO Ambition and Action in Nutrition 2016-2025

Technical consultation: "addressing and managing conflicts of interest in the planning and delivery of nutrition programmes at country level"

Guideline - Daily iron supplementation in postpartum women

Regional Director

My vision

I propose an ambitious “1 by 4” plan. The 1 refers to a more responsive WHO in the Region and the 4 refers to the 4 strategic areas:

  1. Addressing the persisting and emerging epidemiological and demographic challenges.
  2. Advancing universal health coverage and robust health systems.
  3. Strengthening emergency risk management for sustainable development.
  4. Articulating a strong Regional voice in the global health agenda.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh
Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia

Meetings and Events

Regional workshop on strengthening national surveillance capacities on global nutrition monitoring framework in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, New Delhi, 27-29 June 2017

Contact us
Nutrition for Health and Development
World Health Organization
Regional Office for South-East Asia
Indraprastha Estate
Mahatma Gandhi Marg
New Delhi, 110 002 India
Tel : +91 11 2337 0804
Fax : +91 11 2337 8510