Eighteenth Session

Rome, 9-10 February 2004

Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases


Developing a strategy for promoting healthy diets and lifestyles was an essential element of the World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition adopted at the International Conference on Nutrition, in Rome, in 1992. As part of their joint normative work, WHO and FAO were to organize three Expert Consultations in 2001 and 2002. The joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases was held in Geneva on 28 January -1 February 2002. The overall objective of the Consultation was to review and update international recommendations on the subject by evaluating the latest scientific evidence and lessons learned from implementing national intervention strategies to reduce the burden of these diseases. Thirty experts, half from developing countries and countries in economic transition where diet-related chronic diseases are an increasing public health problem, participated in the Consultation. A report, with four background papers on major diet-related chronic diseases, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, was prepared by the experts and peer reviewed. Round-table consultations were also held to obtain feedback from non-governmental organizations and food industry associations. In total, more than 120 sets of comments from governments, representatives of the scientific community, non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises and interested individuals were received and reviewed. They were posted in their entirety on WHO’s website for public scrutiny, and incorporated into the final Expert Consultation report. The report was published in the WHO Technical Report Series, and formally launched by the Directors-General of FAO and WHO at FAO headquarters in Rome on 23 April 2003.