It is now widely accepted that poor nutrition plays a major role in the epidemic of various diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and CVD. There has also been much research regarding the role of related factors such as advertising and food prices. Many intervention studies have been carried out where attempts have been made to persuade people to modify their behaviour, such as by making dietary changes, in order to enhance health (health promotion). There has also been much debate on the potential of government policy as a tool for achieving these goals. Various proposals have been made, such as a tax on sugary drinks, the redirection of food subsidies and how the salt content of food can be reduced. However, the great majority of previous papers have considered only single aspects of the topics discussed here. The present paper reviews strategies for improving public health, both health promotion interventions and the use of government policy approaches. Topics discussed include providing advice for the general population and the design of food guides and food labels. This leads to the conclusion that we need an overall strategy that integrates this diverse body of information and formulates a comprehensive action plan. I propose the term ‘strategic nutrition’. The implementation of this plan opens up a path to a major advance in public health.