/ New Delhi, February 14 (ANI): The World Health Organization has congratulated Nepal for restricting levels of industrially produced trans fatty acids in the food supply through legislation, a move aimed at promoting health and saving lives.
“Elimination of trans fatty acids is a cost-effective measure with great health benefits in preventing premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases,” said Saima Wazed, WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia.
Prioritizing the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Southeast Asia region, WHO has been supporting countries to eliminate trans fatty acids from national food supplies, along with other measures. With Nepal’s legislation, almost 80 percent of the region’s population (1.6 billion people) will now be potentially protected from the harms of trans fatty acids.
Globally, 540,000 deaths each year can be attributed to the ingestion of industrially produced trans fatty acids. High intake of trans fats significantly increases the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
Trans fats have no known health benefits.
In the WHO South-East Asia Region, non-communicable diseases cause 69 percent of the nearly 9 million deaths each year. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the main causes of death.
In 2018, WHO published REPLACE a guide of six strategies to help achieve the elimination of industrially produced trans fatty acids. In collaboration with Resolve to Save Lives, REPLACE protocols are being implemented throughout the Region.
By 2022, Thailand, India and Bangladesh had adopted regulations for the elimination of trans fatty acids in the food supply. Indonesia had complementary policy measures. Sri Lanka issued a regulation in 2023.
Nepal issued the legislation on trans fatty acids on February 8.
Restriction of trans fatty acids is one of the measures of the WHO South-East Asia Region ‘SEA HEARTS’ program that emphasizes the joint effort of all partners and stakeholders to accelerate aligned and effective actions aimed at reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
Nepal’s trans fatty acid legislation will add 30 million people to SEA HEARTS’ goal of protecting two billion people from the harmful effects of trans fatty acids through best practices or complementary WHO REPLACE policy measures by 2025.
WHO has been urging countries in the Region to focus on best practice policies, monitoring and surveillance to drive progress against trans fatty acids.
Last month, Thailand was among the first five countries to receive the WHO certificate validating progress in eliminating industrially produced trans fatty acids.
Removing trans fatty acids from the food supply will improve people’s health and well-being and will also help achieve the SDG targets of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one-third by 2030. (ANI)
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