Africa: UN Food Systems Summit Should Provide an Opportunity to Strengthen Policy Interventions On Ultra-Processed Foods That Cause Disease


For the first time, governments are convening around the issue of food as part of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. This is rightfully happening against the backdrop of a global pandemic, which accentuated the vulnerability of immunocompromised populations and weak global health systems.

Camila Corvalán is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA) at the University of Chile. She also serves as Director of the Research Center on Food Environment and Prevention of Chronic Diseases (CIAPEC) at INTA, University of Chile.

In the last decades, changing diets have fuelled significant increases in diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. The summit gives us all the opportunity to discuss what policy interventions are required to reduce ultra-processed food distribution and consumption, while simultaneously making fresh or minimally processed foods more available, accessible and affordable.

South Africa has already provided the rest of the world with evidence of the impact of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. (Photo: Moyan Brenn via Flickr)

This is a global challenge; however, it is particularly urgent in low middle-income countries that do not have the capacity to cope with an obesity and NCDs epidemic on top...

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