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Making nutrition guidelines fit for purpose

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 16 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1579

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Re: Making nutrition guidelines fit for purpose

Despite having limited data, different countries are successful in the development of dietary guidelines. Many countries follow a strict strategy of developing dietary guidelines to make those guidelines relevant to their Public health issues and dietary patterns.

Likewise, in the US a Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee (DGAC) [1] follows a framework that is mostly guided by two fundamental realities. First, Poor dietary patterns, overconsumption of calories, and physical inactivity directly contribute to major preventable, chronic diseases, overweight or obesity and health issues. Second, individual nutrition and physical activity behaviours and other health-related lifestyle behaviours. Positive changes in individual diet and physical activity behaviours could substantially improve health outcomes. Develop Conclusion statements (a brief summary statement to answer questions that are framed and grade the evidence. Finally, Identify research recommendations and dietary guidelines. This committee also recommends the need for future research. These guidelines are revised every 5 years to inform revisions to the current guidance or new guidance.

Similarly, in Australia [2] dietary guidelines are developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Advisory committee. The NHMRC working group has one representative from the consumer area and one from industry, as well as a number of public health and nutrition and dietetics experts. Recommendations supported by discussion they developed a unique process of consultation i.e Establishment of an interactive website containing information about the Review of the Dietary Guidelines and submissions from the public. Submissions were considered by the workgroup, submission documents and guidelines then proceeded to the Health Advisory Committee of the NHMRC and the Council of the NHMRC for final approval and release.

In New Zealand [2] a similar process is used for the development of dietary guidelines but under the Food and Nutrition Advisory committee (FNAC).

Current Global patterns [3] of developing dietary guidelines:
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has promoted the preparation and use of food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) in Asia, the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa. On the close look of these dietary guidelines, we can see significant differences among FBDG since these are determined by the specific health, behaviour, culture and economic conditions within a country.

In Brazil, they have recognised different nutritional needs within the country and created separate dietary guidelines for different age groups. In Bangladesh and Nigeria, they have incorporated advice for specific target groups in their general guidelines. Some countries like Guatemala have focused on developing a Multisectoral committee to decide on their main objectives of dietary guidelines. Countries with limited resources must take a lesson from Namibia--despite their lack of information they found a way to formulate their guidelines.

In very large countries with extremely diverse populations like India, they developed separate guidelines for different segments of the population. In large countries dissemination of these guidelines is a challenge. India faced this problem very effectively by using its extensive health, agriculture and education networks for disseminating information. Special events such as ‘national nutrition week’ and ‘agriculture field days’ were used to promote the guidelines.

Chile is the country that developed better monitoring and evaluation tools for their dietary guidelines to ensure that these are reaching the target populations.

Although these countries developed and implemented their guidelines there is a need for more research specific to nutrition.

2. Katrine I. Baghurst.
3. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2007;51(suppl 2):2–7 D OI: 10.1159/000103560.

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 May 2019
Dr. Satyanarayana Labani
Scientist G
Dr. Vishal Busa
National Institute of cancer prevention and research centre(NICPR)
NICPR, I-7, Behind noida city metro station, Noida, UP, India.