The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has begun an initiative to reduce fat, sugar and salt content in the food items produced in the country as well as the imported items.
“We have organised a workshop for experts in the food sector from both the public and private sector with two international experts in nutrition from the World Health Organisation (WHO),” said Dr Kholoud al-Mutawaa, senior consultant, community medicine and head of non-communicable disease, MoPH.
The three-day workshop is being held for public entities for the first two days and on the third day, the private entities will take part in the deliberations.
“As for the reduction of salt and sugar in the imported food items, we will take the opinion of the experts, considering the international practices. We have also a session for the private entities.
Depending on the outcomes and recommendations from these workshops, we will plan our future strategies,” explained Dr al-Mutawaa.
“We want to know the best international practices and recommendations to implement in Qatar. We will also look into the directives for restaurants. Through this initiative we want to prevent the non-communicable diseases to the maximum possible,” said the official.
The initiative comes under MoPH’s ongoing efforts to promote awareness among various segments of the society about adopting healthy lifestyles.
It is also part of the implementation of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Action Plan and in line with the National Health Strategy 2018-2022 which places great importance on the field of nutrition and physical activity.
The workshops aim to review the current situation in Qatar for policies and programmes to reduce the consumption of saturated and hydrogenated fats, sugar and salt and to develop an action plan to implement the objectives of the initiative.
The efforts of MoPH are based on the implementation of WHO recommendations to reduce the consumption of fat, sugar and salt to support healthy lifestyles and prevent the risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases.
Dr Ayoub al-Jawaldeh, WHO regional officer for nutrition, and Dr Karen McCall, international adviser nominated by the WHO will review what has been applied in reducing the consumption of saturated and hydrogenated fats, sugar and salt in food and beverage products in Qatar and examine the challenges facing the producers and finding appropriate solutions.
The WHO recommends reducing salt consumption to five grams per day and reducing the consumption of sugar to a maximum of 35gm per day for adults and 25gm for mothers and children.
It also advises to reduce the intake of hydrogenated fats by less than 1% of the daily needs of energy and reduce consumption of saturated fat by less than 10% of the daily energy needs.
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