Bakers Journal

WHO report says ultra-processed foods lead to significant number of deaths in Europe

June 12, 2024
By Bakers Journal

Geneva – A new report by the World Health Organization links processed foods, alcohol, tobacco and fossil fuel on non-communicable diseases in the WHO European Region.

“Commercial Determinants of Noncommunicable Diseases in the WHO European Region” indicates nearly 7,500 deaths per day in the region are attributed to commercial determinants, such as tobacco, alcohol, processed food, fossil fuels and occupational practices. These commercial products and practices contribute to 25 per cent of all deaths in the region.

The estimated annual number of deaths attributed to processed foods and commercial practices in the WHO European Region in 2021 is as follows:

  • diet high in processed meat – 117,290 (1.06 per cent)
  • diet high in sodium – 252,187 (2.27 per cent)
  • diet high in sugar-sweetened beverages – 15,606 (0.14 per cent)
  • diet high in trans fatty acids – 6 056 (0.05 per cent)

The report’s chapters systematically explore various facets of how commercial interests exacerbate non-communicable diseases and key strategies used by commercial actors to negatively influence NCD-related policies at the national and international level. It also provides selected case studies to illustrate key strategies and outcomes of industry influence on health policies.

This report aims to address this through supporting and mobilizing the policy stakeholders to identify, prevent and mitigate commercial industry influence on NCD-related policies.

It calls for urgent and co-ordinated action to address the commercial determinants of non-communicable diseases. It advocates for building coalitions based on the values of equity, sustainability and resilience. Public health actors are urged to develop competencies in economic and legal frameworks, enforce transparency and manage conflicts of interest effectively.

The WHO underscores the need for robust financial reforms and strict regulation to curb industry power and protect public health and says that, by implementing these strategies, Europe can accelerate progress towards global non-communicable diseases targets and Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Read the full report.

Print this page


Stories continue below