The important role of food composition in policies and programmes for better public health : a South African case study

06 Mar 2017

Most governments have committed to the set of Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations (UN) to be achieved by 2030. Subsequently the governments have drafted, or are in process of drafting, policies and programmes which aim to answer to these global requests. South Africa provides a unique case study: despite economic growth, undernutrition has not improved when compared to other industrialised nations, while at the same time, diet-related non-communicable diseases and obesity have exponentially increased. Access to healthy food is a constitutional right of all South Africans, and towards increasing food security and improving population health, various policies, programmes and regulations have been developed and implemented by the government to rectify the situation. The paper presents an overview of food composition within these public health policies, programmes and regulations and unpacks the important role of accurate food composition data.