Policy councils on food, nutrition and physical activity: the UK as a case study.
Lang T., Rayner G., Rayner M., Barling D., Millstone E.
International experience of Policy Councils on food and nutrition has developed over recent decades but they have not received the attention that is due to them. The 1992 International Conference on Nutrition recommended that governments create Food Policy Councils but few have been created. There has been more experience in local and sub-national policy councils, particularly in North America. Developing country experience of attempting to improve food policy integration stems from the 1970s. The UK's House of Commons' (Parliamentary) Health Committee, in its 2004 report on obesity, reviewed current policy determinants of the rise in obesity, concluding that national food and health policy lacked coherence, integration and effectiveness. To address this vacuum, it proposed the creation of a new 'Council of Nutrition and Physical Activity to improve co-ordination and inject independent thinking into strategy'. The case for creating such a Council in the UK is reviewed, as are possible organisational options, functions and remit. A Council could be created under the forthcoming Public Health Act. The purpose of the new Council would be to provide independent advice and strategic advice as well as monitor the linkages between policies on food, nutrition and physical activity, noting their environmental implications.