Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death globally, accounting for more than a third of premature deaths. Policies to improve dietary patterns and provide affordable healthy diets are needed. As well as actions to eliminate industrially produced products, such as trans fatty acids, from the global food supply. Since, trans fat intake is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease. Now, learn more about these data from excess trans fat in the world population.
Trans fat elimination policy
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the elimination of trans fats as one of its priority targets in 2018, aiming at the elimination of industrially produced trans fats by 2023. Since then, WHO has provided additional resources to support actions in countries. A policy tracking map has been established to monitor global progress toward the goal in 2023.
Countries are responding to this call to action by creating a global push around the elimination of trans fats. Mandatory limits or bans are currently in place for 3.4 billion people in 60 countries. Of these countries, 43 have best practice policies in place, covering 2.8 billion people worldwide, or approximately 36% of the world’s population.
In 2022, three countries – India, Oman and Uruguay – implemented best practice policies. This is a smaller number than in the previous year (October 2020 – September 2021), when 27 countries implemented it. However, the policies recently implemented in these three countries have doubled the size of the population that is protected to 2.8 billion people (compared to 1.4 billion the previous year). More than 99% of the increase is contributed only by the population of India. The goal is that by 2023 100% of the population will be covered by trans fat policies.
WHO recommendation on excess trans fat
For the year 2023, WHO recommends that countries implement best practice policies to set trans fat limits or ban partially hydrogenated oils. As well as investing in monitoring and surveillance mechanisms such as laboratories with the ability to measure the content of trans fatty acids in food. It will be essential to start the discussion on substitute oils and fats and specific alternative techniques to develop a replacement roadmap.
WHO will strengthen its support for countries working to eliminate industrially produced trans fats by providing regulatory capacity support to accelerate best practices, policy development, implementation and enforcement. This includes strengthening laboratory capabilities to evaluate food content. As well as, support countries to identify and implement trans fat replacement feasible and maximize health.
The food and beverage industry is expected to meet its commitments to eliminate industrially produced trans fats. The goal of covering 100% of the global population with trans fat elimination policies is still far away, however, it is critical to reduce the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
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