China's policy continuity has proved critical to effectively addressing the issue of unhealthy diets and all forms of malnutrition, said an official from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently.
Lynnette Neufeld, director of the Food and Nutrition Division of the FAO, made the remarks during the 14th Asian Congress of Nutrition, which concluded in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on Sunday.
Neufeld praised China's policy continuity, contrasting it with many other parts of the world where policies change too frequently as governments change.
That continuity is a strength in China, she said. She gave the example of the existence of data on dietary intake, nutritional status and health continually since 1982. This provides the much-needed basis for policies and programs and allows China to keep track of progress toward improved nutrition and health. China has a strong capacity and important track record in research. The research and evidence generated is a gift to China and the world. United Nations agencies only develop guidance as quickly as the evidence is presented in the scientific literature. China has been an important contributor to this for many decades, she said.
With the theme "Feeding the future by sustainable future", the four-day congress drew more than 3,000 participants from international organizations such as the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, the World Health Organization, the FAO, the UN Children's Fund, as well as more than 40 Asian academic organizations, domestic and foreign research institutions and universities.
It has been 28 years since the Chinese mainland hosted the 7th Asian Congress of Nutrition in 1995.
Like Neufeld, many representatives of participating international organizations spoke positively of China's work in the field of nutrition.
Juliawati Untoro is the nutrition technical lead of the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.
She said that the WHO would like to applaud China on the successful reduction of the prevalence of malnutrition, stunting and also wasting. The reductions are on track to achieve the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of "ending all forms of malnutrition "particularly on stunting and wasting.
These are significant achievements and have been great examples for many countries in the world to learn from China on how the country's leadership and well-designed programs could effectively address malnutrition.
China plays a very crucial role and significantly contributes to global progress, as the country has a huge population she said.
The Healthy China 2030 Plan emphasizes the importance of nutrition and health promotion, including addressing obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases.
With the track record and successful achievement of addressing malnutrition, we hope to also learn from China's leading roles on the future success of addressing obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases, she said.