Food guides. At the end of July, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a webinar entitled “Food-based Dietary Guidelines (FDBG) as a support tool for combating obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)”, with the aim of sharing experiences, knowledge and information on the role of food guides in the transformation of food systems. The meeting was attended by experts and representatives of different governments of the Latin American region.
Food guides aim to provide practical advice to ensure a healthy diet, taking into account local cultural specificities, as well as economic, political and environmental factors. Among the advantages of the food systems approach, the multisectoral and multidisciplinary nature and cross-cutting monitoring that allows the integration of more actors in the fight against hunger stand out. The webinar highlighted the experiences of countries that redesigned their food guides (GABA) to base them on food systems (GABSA), including the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Both countries implemented specific policies to transform GABA into Food Systems Based Dietary Guidelines (FSDBGs). It was also noted that 29 of the 33 countries already have GABA, so that, despite the difficulties inherent to the region, this fact represents an advantage for the transition to GABSA in the region.
FAO’s Food Security Policy Officer, Daniela Godoy, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic, aggravated by the economic difficulties generated by the war in Ukraine, has not been favorable for the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Likewise, the agency’s nutrition officer, Israel Ríos Castillo, stressed the need to work on actions to guarantee food security and nutrition for vulnerable groups, including children, the elderly, people with disabilities and indigenous peoples. The need to address issues related to the gender gap in food insecurity was also mentioned.
FAO recommended addressing the design, updating, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of food guides under the food systems approach, in order to include consumers, and focus on the supply chain and the food environment. The international organization is expected to work closely with the governments of the region for this update.