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A Position Statement of Indian Organisations Protecting Public Health

With India facing a public health crisis as a result of rising obesity, diabetes, cancers, hypertension, cardiac diseases, renal disease and mental health issues there is huge concern of people dying due to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Out of total deaths of about 9 million the current estimate shows nearly 5.8 million people die from NCDs, which is about 60% of annual deaths. The comprehensive national nutrition survey (CNNS) 2016 revealed that more than half of the 5–19 year-olds show biomarkers of NCDs.

There is substantial scientific evidence showing that increased consumption of ultra-processed unhealthy food/drink products (UPFs) is associated with high risks of NCDs leading to mortality.

More than 4 servings daily of ultra-processed foods is high consumption and has been independently associated with a 62% relatively increased hazard for all cause mortality. To create healthy food environment global experts called for warning labels on such food products.

According to the World Heart Federation, “Poor diet is responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other risk factor, and is a leading cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease”.

Kidney Warriors Foundation associated itself with Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and twenty other Indian organisations working for public health to create a joint statement to focus on Front-of-Pack Labelling (FOPL) on Unhealthy Food/Drink Products.

For FOPL some behavioral change may be needed with a well-conceived communication to achieve specifically desired public health goals, to tackle reduction of overweight and obesity through reduced consumption of foods that
could bring down NCDs as per standards set by the WHO (PAHO, 2021).

FOPL should draw the attention of consumers making a quick purchase with a clear warning signal. Currently in use are Nutrient warning labels, color-coded traffic lights, Nutri-Score, Health Star Ratings, and Guidelines for Daily Allowance (GDA).

The Global Evidence of Impact of Different Labels has shown several Latin American countries such as Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru as well as Israel have accepted the use of warning labels as FOPL that has demonstrated change in consumption and outcomes. Consumption of sugary beverages decreased in Chile by about 24% after the introduction of this policy change.
The signatories to Position Statement stand in appreciation of work by FSSAI and NITI Aayog with regard to policy measures on the FOPL.

Apart from being a signatory, KWF members took to short video messages to endorse the campaign, “Yes, we need warning labels.” After all its only affected people who can really start the movement of change; one that our country and people will realize was best in the interests of generations to come.

Developed by:

Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPi)
Endorsing Organisations

  1. Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)- Kisan Swaraj Network
  2. Association of Physicians of India (Malwa Branch)
  3. Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI)
  4. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
  5. Commonwealth Association for Health and Disability(COMHAD)
  6. Consumer Voice
  7. Cuts International
  8. Epidemiology Foundation of India (EFI)
  9. Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP)
  10. Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine (IAPSM)
  11. Indian Public Health Association (IPHA)
  12. Indian Rheumatology Association (IRA)
  13. Initiative for Health & Equity in Society (IHES)
  14. Kidney Warriors Foundation
  15. Non Communicable Diseases Prevention Academy (NCDPA)
  16. Obesity Surgery Society of India (OSSI)
  17. Pediatric and Adolescent Nutrition Society (PAN) -IAP Nutrition Chapter
  18. People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
  19. Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
  20. Public Health Resource Society (PHRS)
  21. The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
  22. Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPi)

(Position Statement prepared based on published information as listed in the document attached.)

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