Guidelines, recommendations and reports | World Obesity Federation

Guidelines, recommendations and reports

In this section, we compile reports, strategies, and recommendations that have been published to inform, and support decision-makers to take action towards transforming food systems.

The EAT-Lancet report seeks to transform eating habits, improve food production and reduce food waste. The publication assesses the components of a sustainable ‘healthy diet’, and the actions that can propel food system transformation. The publication was authored by 37 state-of-the-art scientists to answer, ‘can we feed a future population of 10 billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries?’

Read it here.

The report assesses food systems in the European Union (EU) and the UK on nutritional challenges, agriculture, food loss, and food waste, based on the Food Sustainability Index. Findings highlight the high prevalence of overweight and obesity and insufficient levels of physical activity, and while dietary guidelines are published and updated, in a few cases they integrate environmental concerns. Furthermore, agriculture is responsible for 10% of GHG emissions in the region, but the EU is at the forefront of global climate actions with the European Green Deal. In addition, every citizen generates around 60 kg of food waste per year, but important measures include guidelines on food donations and feed use, and a new common methodology for measuring food loss and waste. Bringing the EU food system on a sustainable path requires a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach to adopt healthy and sustainable diets, address social, economic, health, and environmental issues through integrated policy, and build a new generation of responsible global citizens.

Learn more about the state of the art of Europe’s food systems by reading the Barilla Center for Nutrition (BCFN) report here.

‘The SOFI report presents the first evidence-based global assessment of chronic food insecurity in the year the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and spread across the globe.’

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report is a joint annual publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with colleagues at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UNICEF, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The 2021 edition builds on the current evidence base that reiterates the need for double and triple-duty actions to transform food systems and address malnutrition in all its forms. It outlines six ‘transformational pathways’ to achieve food security, improve nutrition, and secure access to healthy diets globally. These pathways address key food systems drivers such as climate change, conflict, economic challenges, and COVID-19.

The SOFI report calls for policies, guidelines, and controls to be put in place in combination with cross-sector collaboration and dialogue. The empowerment of women and youth and technological advances are also seen as central to food system transformation.

Read it here.

The National Food Strategy was commissioned by the UK government, and led by Henry Dimbleby to set out a ‘vision and a plan for a better food system’. The two-part publication addresses the issues of malnutrition and ill-health exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of Brexit on food trade deals.

The second report published in July 2021 makes 14 recommendations to create a shift in food culture, optimise land use, reduce the burden of diet-related inequalities, protect the NHS and help individuals escape the junk food cycle. Using a systems approach, it delves into the complex, inter-related mechanisms that are hindering food system transformation. The proposals include an extension of free school meal eligibility, ‘Community Eatwell’ initiatives to support low-income populations, and fruit and vegetable prescription schemes.

The report was guided by consultations with organisations and individuals of all age groups at conferences, roundtables, farms, food banks, schools, and hospitals.

Read the report here.

‘The report is an attempt to better understand how agriculture and food systems can contribute to and mitigate against the rising incidence of overweight and obesity’. It presents evidence-based policies and double-duty actions that serve to address both overweight and obesity, and undernutrition and/or micronutrient deficiencies.

Framed around the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the report investigates the link between diet quality and four food system subsystems: agricultural production, food storage; transport and trade; food transformation; and food retail and provision.

Read the report here.

In January 2019, the Lancet Commission on Obesity published its first report entitled ‘The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition and Climate Change’.

This ground-breaking report explores the paramount challenge these three pandemics present for human and planetary health and highlights the fact that these three pandemics co-exist and are driven by dysfunctions within the same systems – food, transport, urban design, and land use.

Focusing on the intersection between these three global health challenges, the report highlights triple duty actions that can address all three of these global health challenges which in turn presents us with a real opportunity to protect human health, the environment, and our planet. In addition to the report, we have published a policy briefing that focuses on the key policy recommendations of the report.

Read the report and policy brief.

‘The paper puts forward climate and health solutions that focus on changing food systems, governmental initiatives, and financial incentives to deliver a ‘farm to mouth’ ecosystem that supports both human health and reduces damaging environmental impacts. Efforts to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees must go together with securing fundamental health benefits.’

In addition to outlining how climate, health, and diet are connected, it presents 5 recommendations to deliver healthy diets, and improve planetary health.

Read the paper here.

The report is a joint initiative between civil society organisations working on food systems, animal welfare, health, consumer co-operatives, farming, fisheries, development, social justice, climate, and forestry. In response to the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, the report outlines 10 key priorities for MEPs to endorse. This includes the need for urgent, bold action, and to make healthy and sustainable food choices the easy one.

‘The signatory civil society organisations urge MEPs to support an ambitious Farm to Fork Strategy which can deliver this much-needed change.’

Read it here.

The SOFI report is a joint publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and the World Health Organization. It serves as a gold-standard resource for up-to-date data on and trends of food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition at all levels. In 2020, the publication focused on the impact of COVID-19 on global food systems and quantifying the degree to which the pandemic impedes progress on Sustainable Development Goal targets. 

‘The report urges the transformation of food systems to reduce the cost of nutritious foods and increase the affordability of healthy diets.’ They urge governments to mobilise to save lives and livelihoods, to strengthen social protection systems for nutrition, and to invest in a sustainable future.

Read the report here.

‘The 2020 Global Nutrition Report looks beyond global and national patterns, revealing significant inequalities in nutrition outcomes within countries and populations. Based on the best available data, in-depth analysis, and expert opinion rooted in evidence, the report identifies critical actions to achieve nutrition equity.’

The publication is framed in the context of COVID-19, a pandemic that has elevated the urgency to transform food and health systems to support the most vulnerable and build a resilient planet that can withstand future infectious disease outbreaks.

Read the report here.

The report summarises key discussions and takeaways from a meeting held in Brussels in 2019. 50 experts convened to discuss the policy agenda in response to the Lancet commission's Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition and Climate Change’ publication. Competing policy agendas, triple-duty policy solutions, examples of progress and trade-offs, and how to address these to build resilient food systems were discussed. 

Read it here.

The Beacons of Hope initiative showcases the inspiring stories of changemakers that are taking action to transform food systems in effective and compelling ways. They give us beacons of hope that global targets including the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are feasible. 

The supplementary ‘Food Systems Transformation Toolkit’ provides key questions to facilitate conversation, reflection, and action on the future of food.

Download the report here.

Recognising that food systems are essential to supporting diet quality among children and adolescents but that their nutritional needs are rarely prioritised in efforts to reorient food systems, UNICEF, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) convened a ‘Global consultation on food systems for children and adolescents’ in November 2018 to identify priority actions for food systems and diet quality among children and adolescents The consultation was hosted with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

The results are published in the flagship report here. A pivotal result of the consultation was the development of the ‘Innocenti Framework’, depicting the drivers and determinants that shape children and adolescents’ diets, and how they interact with one another. The same drivers are applicable for adults.

‘Diets for a Better Future investigates current food consumption patterns and the efficacy of national dietary guidelines in G20 countries compared to the Planetary Health Diet. It also explores the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by shifting toward more healthy and sustainable diets and how this could lead to a more equitable distribution of the global “carbon budget” for food.’

Read the report and supplementary academic research paper that informed the modelling used in the report.

This report investigates ways in which food systems can be transformed to support both human and planetary health and provides guidance to policymakers in how to implement these changes. Read more.

This policy review from the World Health Organization provides an in-depth analysis of the current policy environment relating to nutrition, through the comprehensive surveying of 176 WHO member states.

Read more.

This policy guidance note is part of the Policy Guidance Series produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This report provides direction to policymakers on how to utilise food systems to tackle malnutrition in all its forms, with a particular focus on overweight and obesity.

Read more.

This technical brief from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a broad introduction to the concept of sustainable food systems - investigating the structure of food systems, how they can be altered, the benefits of a systems approach, and how sustainable food system development can be achieved.

Read more.

This report makes 14 recommendations to improve food systems through policy and practice and advocates for a more interconnected approach to food system improvement.

Read more.

This policy brief investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the functionality of food systems, focussing on global food security issues and what effect this may have on all forms of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity.

Read more.

This brief investigates the role food systems play in shaping consumer behaviour and how food systems contribute to global malnutrition.

Read more.