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A concise overview of national nutrition action plans in the European Union Member States

  • Carl Lachat (a1) (a2), John Van Camp (a1), Stefaan De Henauw (a3) (a4), Christophe Matthys (a3), Yvan Larondelle (a5), Anne-Marie Remaut–De Winter (a1) and Patrick Kolsteren (a1) (a2)...
Abstract
Objective

This study presents an overview of national nutrition action plans in the member states of the European Union (EU), before its enlargement in 2004. In addition, their compliance with key recommendations of the World Health Organization, as documented in the First Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy and the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, has tentatively been evaluated on the basis of the policy documents published.

Design

Literature review of publicly available policy national plans on nutrition and physical activity.

Setting

Member states of the EU before enlargement in May 2004.

Results

The development of national nutrition action plans is gaining momentum. Six of the 15 EU member states – namely, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, The Netherlands and the UK – have an operational nutrition policy and four of them have published an elaborated description of their nutrition policy in English. By the end of 2004, another four countries are expected to have their plan finalised. The available nutrition action plans generally seem to comply with international recommendations, although large variations are observed between the member states in terms of terminology, nutritional recommendations, institutional framework, nutritional scope, social groups targeted and monitoring and evaluation structures.

Conclusions

Although the importance of nutritional surveillance, a comprehensive approach to nutritional problems and stakeholder involvement is recognised by the action plans, the justification for it is vaguely described. This paper advocates for proper evaluation and documentation of interventions in public health nutrition and nutrition policies.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email john.vancamp@Ugent.be
References
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Public Health Nutrition
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