Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Ecuador

Official name

Food-based dietary guidelines of Ecuador (Spanish: Guías alimentarias basadas en alimentos del Ecuador).

Publication year

Ecuador launched its first Food-Based Dietary Guidelines in 2018 but they were officially published in 2020. There are plans for the FBDGs to be revised in 2025 after a potential evaluation of their impact. 

Products, resources and target audiences

Products

Target audience

Technical Document 

Academic community, policy makers and health workers

Facilitator's manual 

Academic community and educators 

National Implementation Plan

Academic community, policy makers, health workers and ministry staff

Interactive poster 

Academic community, health workers, educators, the general population

Animated videos of each FBDG recommendation

Academic community, health workers, educators, general population

Recipe videos 

Academic community, health workers, educators, general population

Development process and stakeholder involvement

The aims of the FBDGs is to serve as a healthy diet reference for different population groups, as well as to guide sectoral public policies related to food security and nutrition of the country.

The dietary guidelines were developed through a multidisciplinary approach, establishing two participatory platforms. The first, an Interinstitutional Steering Committee, was created to govern the process and included delegates from ministries of health, agriculture, aquaculture, social inclusion, education and FAO (as an entity of technical and financial support). The second, a multi-stakeholder technical committee (the national technical board), was formed to oversee the technical process, including representatives from academia, civil society, United Nations agencies, and public and private institutions. 

Ecuador followed 8 phases for developing their technical recommendations:

  • Phase 1: Planning
  • Phase 2: Characterization of the target group (s)
  • Phase 3: Definition of objectives
  • Phase 4: Preparation of technical recommendations
  • Phase 5: Construction of messages and visual identity
  • Phase 6: First validation and revision of messages and visual identity
  • Phase 7: Second validation and revision 
  • Phase 8: Validated messages and visual identity

The ministry of Public Health of Ecuador has officially endorsed the FBDGs.

Implementation

The official body responsible for the implementation of the FBDGs is the National Technical Board, led by the Ministry of Public Health.

The main objective described in the National Implementation Plan published in 2020 is to consolidate the implementation of the FBDG in Ecuador at the national and territorial level so that their use is carried out in an organized, coordinated, effective and efficient manner; achieving the generation of lessons learned and sustained changes in behavior in eating habits and lifestyles for all the population over 2 years of age in the Ecuadorian territory.

The main sectors engaged in the implementation of the FBDGs are the Inter-institutional Steering Committee, academia, United Nations agencies, public institutions, private sector and the public.

Evaluation

The monitoring and evaluation section of the implementation plan aims to detect key issues and address them in an efficient way, as well as to ensure efficient management and coordination at the intersectoral and inter-institutional levels. Several indicators will serve as a starting point and as an evaluation criterion throughout the implementation of the FBDGs. Examples of key elements of the M&E section include:

  • Degree of incorporation of the FBDGs in the formal school curriculum.
  • Number of facilitators that have been trained.
  • Awareness of the FBDGs within the target population.
  • Visibility of the FBDGs webpage.

Food guide

Ecuador's food guide is represented by a wooden spoon and reflects all the recommendations. The inner part of the spoon represents a healthy plate with the food groups in the recommended proportions. The handle of the spoon shows a family eating together, as well as the flag of Ecuador and different food producers (farmers and fisherfolk). The outer part of the spoon showcases different types of physical activity. There is also a circle of foods to avoid. The food guide is meant to reflect variety, proportionality and cultural diversity. 

Recommendations 

  • Let's eat healthy and tasty, choose fresh and varied foods every day.
  • Let's include animal source foods or legumes in our daily dishes to develop and strengthen our bodies.
  • To improve digestion, let's eat fresh vegetables or fruits in all meals. 
  • Let's eat better by combining legumes with cereals like rice, maize or quinoa.
  • Let's drink 8 glasses of safe water during the day to keep ourselves hydrated.
  • Let's protect our health: avoid the consumption of ultraprocessed foods, fast food and sugar sweetened beverages.
  • By consuming less sugar, salt and fats, we avoid diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
  • Healthy body, healthy mind! To improve our physical and mental wellbeing, let's practice at least half an hour of your favourite physical activity. 
  • Let's value what is ours! Take advantage of the richness of the food and flavours of Ecuador. Let's cook and enjoy as a family!
  • From the plant to the pot. Choose fresh products from local producers. We all win and save!
  • Let us know what we eat. Let's review on the label: ingredients, nutritional traffic light and expiration date. Let's choose wisely!