A balanced diet: key to sustaining health and growth25-06-2016
A balanced diet: key to sustaining health and growth
The French Ministry of Agriculture has taken an active stance in improving the nutritional quality of food products. This initiative is based on three major areas of focus:
- Hold operators to account on nutritional issues through the introduction of themed working groups
- Seek firm commitments from these operators in terms of sustainable food supplies, nutrition and sustainable development through collective agreements
- Measure and evaluate these initiatives through the French food quality watchdog, the Observatoire de la qualité de l’alimentation.
In 2012, the French Government launched an initiative to promote eating unprocessed foods and improve the quality of processed foods. Its aim was to make unprocessed foods more accessible, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, by analysing the challenges and key factors that may determine consuming these foods. Using collective scientific expertise, this resulted in a number of pilot projects conceived by a cluster group representative of the entire industry – including public authorities, consumers and operators – selected to respond to national expectations.
A number of concrete actions were introduced to make fruit and vegetables more accessible, including enhancing the image of vegetables among the most vulnerable, disadvantaged groups, making baskets of fruit available in hospitals and distributing fruit at break times in schools.
France’s Food Strategy
France’s Food Strategy addresses national issues including maintaining culinary traditions and social links, ensuring everyone has access to quality foods, guaranteeing food safety and public health and protecting France’s agricultural model; four pillars which form the basis of the PNA and translate into specific public actions implemented on a national scale:
- Food (origin, composition, wholesomeness and availability)
- Consumer (education, information, behaviour towards food)
- Food sector operators (range, production conditions, research, competitiveness)
- Culture and food heritage
France’s National Nutrition and Health Program 2011 – 2015
Launched nationally in 2011, this public health plan aims to improve the nation’s state of health with nutrition as a determining factor in health. According to the program, nutrition is based essentially on the balance of foods taken in and what we expend during physical activity. This has resulted in a series of concrete and scientifically proven recommendations that will help consumers and professionals within the agrifood sector to decode sometimes misleading nutritional information.
In nutritional terms, these quantified objectives have been classified according to four key areas:
- Reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among the population
- Increase physical activity and reduce a sedentary lifestyle for all age groups
- Improve eating habits and nutrition, particularly among those groups considered at risk
- Reduce the incidence of nutritional disease such as undernourishment and problems linked to eating habits.