With the latest report published in March by the High Council of Public Health, the french government is focusing on nutrition and prevention through food in 2019. Deciphering the objectives set for 2023, and the actions planned to achieve them.
An observation that leads to action: obesity and overweight are too frequent among the French
While the merits of a balanced diet and physical activity for good health, malnutrition and excess weight are no longer being promoted, the figures are somewhat alarming.
In France, overweight affects 47% of adults, 17% of whom are obese. Among children, 17% are considered overweight, and 4% obese. We are seeing an increase in undernutrition among seniors who are losing the desire to eat, and the number of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and type 2 diabetes is increasing over the years.
Ambitious targets to improve health through diet and physical activity by 2023
To address this, the government intends to build on the two pillars of a healthy lifestyle: healthy food and physical activity and sport.
Overall objectives have been defined, with the aim of achieving them by 2023. The government’s main focus is on obesity and undernutrition.
The objectives are:
- Reduce obesity by 15% and stabilize overweight in adults
- Reduce overweight and obesity in children and adolescents by 20%
- Reduce the percentage of undernourished elderly people living at home or in institutions by at least 15% for those over 60 years of age and by at least 30% for those over 80 years of age
- Reduce by 20% the percentage of undernourished inpatients discharged from hospital
Concrete actions to achieve the objectives through food
In concrete terms, what can we expect to achieve these objectives? Concerning food, the objectives are in line with food education so that everyone can know the right food reflexes, the fight against undernutrition and the improvement of the nutritional quality of food products.
- Improve the nutritional quality of all processed foods and promote the Nutri-score in order to better identify healthy and unhealthy products
- Reduce salt consumption by 30%, the adverse effects of which on blood pressure and cardiovascular health are well known
- Protect children and adolescents from exposure to advertising for non-recommended foods and beverages by regulating food marketing
- Enable everyone to benefit from quality collective catering in complete transparency, so that school meals or meals in professional canteens are not a source of food imbalance
- Organize from 2020 the national “Les coulisses de l’alimentation” day based on the model of the Journées du Patrimoine, in order to introduce people to the other side of the food world and educate consumers in a fun way
- Extend food education from kindergarten to high school so that it becomes a fundamental academic subject, accompanying future generations throughout their entire schooling
- Ensuring the nutrition of our seniors: preventing undernutrition that affects more and more people
- Promote and share innovative local actions at national level to show that each initiative is important
- Extend the obligation to donate unsold food to catering and industry and encourage donations to limit food waste, which is still too high despite the implementation of regulations
- Ensure the quality and reliability of digital applications that guide consumers in their food choices
Multiple means to achieve this
To achieve these food and public health objectives, we can mention several plans and programmes that work in this direction.
The PNNS, whose 4th version was recently released, which aims to improve food practices by providing information on nutritional intakes, particularly among at-risk populations. These recommendations are generally used as a basis for defining what healthy eating is.
The Poverty Prevention and Control Strategy promotes access to sufficient, healthy and sustainable food for people in precarious situations, especially children.
The National Food Programme supports the health education programme on the food part during and outside school hours.
Finally, the Ambition bio 2022 programme aims to promote organic and short circuits in school canteens.