WHO Calls for Comments on the Draft Guidelines for Total Fat Intake for Adults and Children

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Escalating rates of overweight and obesity are a threat to the health of billions of people across the globe.  Being overweight or obese increases risk for developing many noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers, and suffering from premature death and disability. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence reviews indicate that obesity is an important, independent prognostic factor, and patients with obesity are at increased risk for adverse outcomes of COVID-19.  Modifiable risk factors such as unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are major causes of unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to the development of overweight and obesity. The amount of fat in the diet may be one factor contributing to unhealthy weight gain. 
To address the role of dietary fat in unhealthy weight gain, the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, through the work of the WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) Subgroup on Diet and Health, has developed updated guidance on total fat intake. Development of this updated guideline is part of a larger body of work aiming to update the dietary goals for the prevention of noncommunicable diseases originally established in 1989 by the WHO Study Group and later updated by the 2002 Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases.  As a result of this work, WHO has already released updated guidance on intake of sodium, potassium and free sugars, and is preparing to release the final updated guidance on saturated fatty acid and trans-fatty acid intake shortly. 

The draft guideline on total fat intake for adults and children was developed in accordance with WHO’s procedures for evidence-informed guideline development. As part of this process,  Member States and all interested stakeholders are invited to comment on the draft guideline. The call for comments has been open from 1 to 30 April 2021. During this time, the draft guideline will also undergo peer-review by an external expert group. Once the peer-review and call for comments are complete, the guideline will be finalized and reviewed by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee for final clearance prior to its official release. Those interested in providing comments will be requested to complete, sign and submit a declaration of interest (DOI) form, and consent to having their name, organization/affiliation, country of residence, and comments posted to the website of the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.

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