Seminar on Public Health Policies to Promote a Healthy Diet: Challenges and Way Forward

On December 21, 2023, at Hotel Bengal Blue Barry in Gulshan 2, Dhaka, a seminar titled “Seminar on Public Health Policies to Promote a Healthy Diet: Challenges and Way Forward” was organized jointly by the CLPA, ARK Foundation, Public Health Law Network, and C-Net. The seminar emphasized the critical role of policy measures in promoting healthy diets, highlighting that 70% of deaths in Bangladesh are attributed to NCDs linked to dietary habits. Various speakers underscored the need for comprehensive strategies beyond mere awareness-raising campaigns, advocating for measures, including taxation on unhealthy foods, bans on misleading advertising, improved packaging and labeling systems, and market regulation to deter unhealthy eating habits. Moreover, the seminar stressed the importance of integrating nutrition education into the country’s educational system and fostering healthy food habits at home. The event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from governmental bodies, academia, public health organizations, and civil society. Of the attendees, there were 19 male and 10 female participants. The seminar’s outcomes included a call for increased taxes on unhealthy foods, improved packaging and labeling practices, and stringent regulations on advertising unhealthy foods to children, while also emphasizing the need for gender-inclusive policy implementation to ensure equitable access to healthy food choices and information.  The representative from Public Health Nutrition and the Project Director from the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority advised CLPA to generate more evidence on food packaging and labeling, which will guide them in making decisions for policymakers.

CLPA has shared a post-evaluation survey through the link on Google Surveys to receive participants’ feedback on the event, and most of the respondents (80%) declared that the seminar enhanced their knowledge of the topics discussed. News of the meeting was published in eight (8) online and daily newspapers.

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