News & Updates

Meeting health authorities in the Gulf states

June 16th, 2017

Obesity and diabetes rates in the Arab Gulf area are among the highest in the world; a harsh climate, high income and a rapid nutrition transition all contribute to this alarming situation. Choices visited Kuwait and Qatar and discussed the options for NCD prevention actions with the health authorities. The proposal for a joint country-wide effort for labelling, education and promotion of physical activity was welcomed with high interest.

New Diet & Physical Activity Model

June 16th, 2017

You might remember that the WHO call in 2004 against NCDs included diet and physical activity. Many actions took place since then on diet and many addressed physical activity, but the combination is lagging behind. To generate significant impact, an approach that seeks the synergy between both is obvious. Choices International, in collaboration with the Dutch Knowledge Center for Sport, has therefore developed a model for the country-wide promotion of healthy food (including the use of the Choices logo) and mobilizing people for physical activity. Of course the actions and interventions in this model are evidence based, require a sustained effort and a broad stakeholder commitment. For more information, please contact the Choices Secretariat.

Dutch Choices logo gets one year extra

June 16th, 2017

As has been notified in October 2016, the Dutch Health Minister decided to terminate the use of the Dutch Choices logo “Het Vinkje” by October 2017. Upon request by dozens of companies that use this logo on 7000 products, the Minister has given an extra year to phase out the use of the logo, in order to avoid the need to waste products and packaging materials. In her letter to the Dutch Parliament on this subject, she also announced an initiative to bring more coherence in the reformulation initiatives in The Netherlands, including the use of the Choices criteria and the input of the Dutch Choices Scientific Committee. In addition, a scientific publication will be prepared by the Dutch Choices Foundation about the impact of the criteria revisions, that took place every four years and made the criteria stricter in a stepwise approach, on the composition of logo-bearing products.

Belgian Choices Criteria Gets an Update

June 16th, 2017

The Belgian Scientific Committee for Choices is pleased to announce the latest revision of its national criteria, that will be published on the Choices website shortly. Many of the changes, such as listing all nutrient measurements in grams per 100g, tightening sodium levels, and including added sugars where relevant, align with the most recent international criteria. In other changes, such as changing criteria from sodium to salt and proposing upper limits for artificial sweeteners, the Committee took their own decisions compared with the international criteria. The next step is to present the criteria to the Belgian Ministry of Health as contribution to the national conversation on front-of-pack labelling. We are grateful for the scientific committee members for their dedication and support.

Choices Compliant diet helps Portuguese consumers

June 16th, 2017

It appears that eating according to the Choices criteria will lead to a substantial improvement in nutrient intake in Portugal. This can be concluded from the study by Roxana de Sousa, nutrition student at the University of Porto. The aim of this study was to indicate the impact of a Choices compliant diet on the Portuguese nutrient intake. The study calculated the changes in nutrient intake when typical daily menus of the Porto region (North Portugal) were substituted by comparable Choices compliant products. A substantial reduction in intakes of energy (-14%), SAFA (-32%), trans fatty acids (-56%), added sugar (-22%) and sodium (-30%) and an increase in fiber intake (15%) have been demonstrated. After an energy adjustment, the results were smaller but still showed a substantial shift on nutrient intakes towards a more favorable direction. The findings of this study support previous studies that evaluated the potential impact of Choices criteria on nutrient intakes in 9 other countries. The study will be submitted for publication in a scientific journal.

Nigerian Heart Foundation Celebrates World No Tobacco Day 2017

June 16th, 2017

The President Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), Mrs Francesca Emanuel, stated that African countries are overwhelmed by the threats that tobacco industries poses to the Sustainable Development of all countries, including the health and socioeconomic well-being of citizens especially the young population. She made the statement at the event to mark the 2017 World-No-Tobacco Day on the 31st of May 2017 in Lagos.

The Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional office for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, urged African countries to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco. Dr. Moeti’s message was read by Dr. Meimuna Esan of WHO Lagos office who also implored individuals to help make a sustainable tobacco – free world, either by quitting the habit or by never to use tobacco products.

The activities were organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), the Nigerian Heart Foundation, the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) and Youth Action on Tobacco Control and Health (YATCH).

The event also featured student’s arts competition and exhibition. The artworks were submitted by students from eleven junior and senior secondary schools in Lagos. The best artwork attracted a bicycle as the prize and it was won by Lawal Ayobami a junior secondary school (JSS) student of Debiruss College Ajah, Lagos.

Photograph of the President of NHF Mrs Francesca Emanuel, Executive Director NHF, Dr. Kingsley K. Akinroye, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni of UNAN, Dr Mrs. Meimuna Esan of WHO and Mr.Seyi Soremekun of UNIC, Mr.Seye Omiyefa of YATCH and others with participating students of Lagos Junior and Senior Secondary Schools during the event marking the 2017 World-No-Tobacco Day in Lagos

Labelling Impact Session at Global Nutrition Conference (15-20 October 2017, Buenos Aires)

June 15th, 2017

Now that so many governments and companies are considering the use of front-of-pack labelling, the need for data on impact becomes stronger and stronger. Around the world, the four major interpretive labelling schemes are positive logos, color-coded GDA, star ratings and warning labels. At the International Congress on Nutrition (15-20 October, Buenos Aires) these four labelling schemes will be discussed based on new findings of impact studies on reformulation, consumer attitudes and market data. Some promising results can be expected! The session program can be found using this link.


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