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Turning the Tide: WHO Celebrates Global Success in Eradicating Trans Fats, Saving Lives and Inspiring Change

WHO: Significant progress in eliminating trans fats

The World Health Organization (WHO) says huge progress has been made globally in eliminating industrially produced trans fats, with nearly half of the world’s population protected from the harmful effects of this toxic product.

“Five years ago, WHO called on countries and food sectors to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from the food supply. The response was overwhelming,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday (January 29).

Tedros said, “To date, 53 countries have implemented best practice policies, including bans and restrictions on trans fats, and three more are preparing to implement them. This eliminates the risk for at least 3.7 billion people (compared to the world’s population) of 46% of major health risks. These policies are expected to save 183,000 lives each year. Just five years ago, only 6% of the world’s population was protected from this toxic additive through similar policies.”

Trans Fats It is produced by adding hydrogen gas to vegetable oil, causing the oil to become solid at room temperature.

“It’s also solid in your body, in your coronary arteries,” said Tom Frieden, president and CEO of the nonprofit Resolve to Save Lives. “That’s why it once killed an estimated half a million people a year.”

Frieden said that with policies covering almost half the world, millions more deaths would be prevented in the coming decades. The next two years will be crucial, he said. He also noted that the original deadline for the global elimination of trans fats has been extended from 2023 to 2025 due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“According to published estimates, global elimination of trans fats would prevent approximately 17.5 million deaths over 25 years. Global progress in reducing trans fats demonstrates that noncommunicable diseases can be defeated,” Frieden said.

This is important, he said, because “sometimes when it comes to non-communicable diseases, we have a feeling that we can describe them, we can predict them, but we can’t prevent them. In fact, we can do it, and progress in stopping trans fat shows it’s possible. In other areas, there are concrete results.”

Health officials say there is no safe amount of trans fat to eat and consider it to be the worst thing anyone can eat type of fat because it has no known nutritional value. Trans fats are cheaply manufactured and are found in margarine, palm oil, fried foods, baked products, pastries, and some processed foods.

The WHO reports that high intakes of trans fats are associated with a 34% increased risk of death from any cause and a 28% increased risk of death from coronary heart disease.

The WHO held an awards ceremony on Monday to recognize the achievements of the first five countries to eliminate trans fats from their food supply.

“Today we recognize Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand as the first countries to not only adopt policies but also monitor and implement them,” Tedros said. “

Congratulations to all these countries! You are leading the world. Demonstration is a matter of human effort. You are the first countries to be verified, but you will not be the last,” he said.

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Accepting the award, Ib Petersen, Denmark’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said research showed that Denmark’s policy to eliminate trans fats, implemented in 2003, “reduced deaths from coronary heart disease by 11 percent.” “Remarkable progress.”

“It also shows that those who benefit most from this policy are the most financially disadvantaged,” he said.

Frieden said he hopes more countries will follow the lead of these five countries and develop the policies, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms needed to eliminate trans fats around the world.

“Of the remaining countries that have not yet achieved it, just five countries—China, Pakistan, Russia, Indonesia, and Iran—account for approximately 60% of the remaining burden. If these five countries implement [best practice policies], the world About 85% of the estimated burden would be achieved with a ban or no trans fats,” he said.

WHO reports that progress remains uneven and that there is still much work to be done. While progress is being made in many low- and middle-income countries, the report says there is still a long way to go, particularly in Africa and the Western Pacific.

“Policy coverage is lowest in Africa, but Nigeria and South Africa have become pioneers in implementing policies,” Frieden said. “South Africa is beginning enforcement proceedings and Ethiopia, Ghana and Cameroon are considering regulations in the near future. “

They understand that trans fats are not only a toxic product, but when other parts of the world ban trans fats, they will not take action; if they do not act, the burden may be dumped on themselves,” Frieden said. He added that governments and the food industry have a responsibility to ensure this does not happen.

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