Overcoming obstacles to adoption of Brazil’s national Dietary Guidelines
The increased production, availability, marketing, and consumption of ultra-processed food and drink products have profoundly changed food systems and are leading causes of today’s pandemics of obesity and non-communicable diseases. Brazil has developed a classification system of foods based on the nature, extent, and purpose of industrial processing, and has adopted it as the basis of the Ministry of Health’s 2014 Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population. These guidelines provide a framework and an opportunity to strengthen regulatory action and public policies to improve diets by changing the nation’s food system.
A collaboration with local partner the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Protection, this project will identify and test public policies and market practices that can overcome the obstacles to healthy diets identified in the guidelines in the areas of information, culinary skills, supply, marketing, and price policies. Studies of national policies on food labeling, salt and sugar reduction, food prices, and marketing will be complemented with community-education studies and evaluation of local retail environments.
The ultimate goal is to improve population health and environmental sustainability by creating tools that can transform the food environment, locally and nationally, in ways that improve the ability of Brazilians to follow the dietary guidelines and adopt healthy diets. Studies will include assessing the impact on the most vulnerable populations and on the sustainability of the food supply. The Brazilian Guidelines are considered unique and innovative. The policies and practices that enable their adoption may provide models for other countries, especially in the Latin American region.