Preparation and use of food-based dietary guidelines

Joint FAO/WHO Consultation (WHO Technical Report Series 880)

World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Publication details

Number of pages: 108
Publication date: 1998
Languages: Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish
ISBN: 92 4 120880 5



Joint FAO/WHO Consultation, Nicosia, Cyprus, 1995.

Good nutrition is important for health. But establishing dietary guidelines is no easy task. Different population groups have different lifestyles involve different diets, and not only food that is eaten but also the way it is prepared and patterns of food consumption affect nutritional status.

Because most people think in terms of food, not nutrition, FAO and WHO held a consultation to help countries draw up guidelines for nutrition based on food consumption and diet. This report contains the findings of that consultation, bringing together the views of an international team of experts. The report reviews the scientific evidence for the health impact of diet and outlines four steps to choosing food-based strategies that will improve nutrition.

It describes the different kinds of data that are needed, and how to collect them, and explains how to use data on food intake to assess the intake of nutrients. The report takes the reader through the successive stages of reviewing information, drawing up guidelines and putting them into practice. It stresses the importance of advice that is not only easy to understand but is also culturally acceptable to those for whom it is intended. The report also shows how food-based dietary guidelines can be used as a basis for educational materials and media campaigns on nutrition.

Diet is only one factor among many that determine health. But it is a significant factor. This book shows not only why diet is important but also how people can be given practical help in improving the nutritional content of their diet and, ultimately, improving their health.