Call to tackle unhealthy food

James Kon

With the risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Brunei Darussalam still at alarming levels, several recommendations have been proposed to address the issues of unhealthy food.

The recommendations include mandatory food labelling and healthy food logos, a tax on unhealthy food and drink, policies and guidelines in the preparation of canteen food and catering, and the control of unhealthy food and drink marketing to children.

These proposals were submitted virtually by Consultant of World Health Organization (WHO) Erica Reeve, who gave an assessment of BruMAP-NCD 2013-2018 and a recommendation of measures on the first day of the consultation session of BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025, hosted by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Twenty-nine representatives from government and non-government agencies are participating in the sessions, at which Head of the Health Promotion Centre (HPC) Dr Hajah Norhayati binti Haji Md Kassim said they are aimed at sharing the findings from the evaluation of BruMAP-NCD 2013-2018, in addition to obtaining input and feedback for the draft of BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025.

Integrated action from government and non-government sectors is therefore required, to ensure the effectiveness of the programme in the prevention and control of NCDs.

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the Ministry of Health Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif, meanwhile, provided information related to the impact of NCDs in Brunei Darussalam. In the past years, there has been an increase of NCDs such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke as well as other related risk factors. This also covered the increase in the cost of treatment borne by the government.

During the three-day event, participants will have the opportunity to discuss strategies in strengthening the food environment in the country, as well as recommending measures for BruMAP-NCD 2021-2025.

Participants during the consultation session. PHOTO: MOH