Diets vary greatly from place to place based on food availability, eating habits and culture. Yet, when it comes to food, there is a lot that we know about what is and what is not good for us and this is true no matter where we live. Societal changes, however, are making these choices more complicated. While many countries are still dealing with undernutrition, more and more people around the world are eating energy-dense, high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt foods. Urbanization, more sedentary types of work and changing modes of transportation are decreasing people’s levels of physical activity, creating entire populations at risk of obesity, overweight and related diseases.
Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 and with it the increase of health-related problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. This trend is not confined to high-income countries. In fact, in low- and middle-income countries, the number of overweight and obese people is on the rise at an even faster rate. At the same time, in many cases, low- and middle-income countries also have to deal with high rates of stunting, wasting and micronutrient deficiencies.
At a time when obesity is on the rise, dietary guidelines are that much more important. Based on the latest available evidence, guidelines are a country’s recommendations to its population for eating better and being healthier.
FAO’s website contains the most comprehensive compilation of dietary guidelines worldwide. More than 100 countries have developed dietary guidelines that are adapted to local food situations and populations…