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- Published Nov 3, 2023
Benchmarking Policies For Creating Healthy Food Environments To Prevent Diet-Related Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) In Uganda
Uganda, just like other Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) is facing a double burden of malnutrition and diet-related Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The consumption of fast foods including unhealthy diets that are energy-dense and nutrient-poor is fast increasing. This, coupled with urbanization and globalization of food production and marketing exacerbates the burden of obesity and other diet-related NCDs. There is growing evidence that unhealthy food environments drive unhealthy diets. Accordingly, comprehensive government actions are needed to create healthier food environments; to support people to consume healthier diets, and to reduce obesity and other diet-related NCDs.
We assessed the extent of implementation of food environment policies in Uganda and identified priority actions for the government to implement, with its partners, to create healthier food environments. The methodology is based on the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) by INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support). A Food-EPI expert trained a team of Researchers from EPRC to adapt and use the Food EPI tool in Uganda between March 2020 and December 2021. We collected evidence on the extent of government action to implement food environment policies across 13 policy and infrastructure support domains and 55 related indicators of good practice, of which 12 were double-duty action indicators. As part of the process, a panel of 24 local experts rated the extent of government action on each indicator of good practice against in-country planning and development cycle (‘initiation’, ‘in development’, ‘implementation’ or ‘evaluation’), and against international best practices (‘excellent’, ‘very good’, ‘low-medium’ or ‘very little’). Using an importance and feasibility criterion, we identified and prioritized actions for the government to improve food environments in Uganda.
We compared the extent of implementation of food environment policies and infrastructure support with in-country planning and development cycle and international best practices. Gaps and opportunities for creating healthier food environments were also identified.
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