Tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and their multifaceted, complex risk factors requires identifying policy gaps and translation of successful experiences for each setting. As advocated by World Health Organization (WHO), reducing sugar, salt, and fat are among best buys for prevention and control of NCDs. This article reports the status of existing policies to reduce the consumption of sugar, salt, and fat in Iran.
We created a comprehensive repository of available policy documents about sugar, salt, and fat policies in Iran and conducted content analysis and interviews with relevant stakeholders. Then, we compared policies and their content with the WHO’s best buys’ recommendations.
We categorized policies in 3 groups: red colour (no mention in the policy documents), amber (inspirational policy mention without action), and green (policy in operation). For example, regarding sugar, we found 8 policies in green, 1 in amber. Our matrix of policies on all 3 topics created a platform for further policy analysis and transferrable lessons to improve national actions towards 30% reduction of death due to NCDs in Iran.
It has been globally recognized that beyond technical solutions to combat NCDs, feasible and meaningful policy solutions must be created that are aligned with the political economy of each context. This necessitates learning from national, regional, and global experiences to manage the political economy of NCDs’ main determinants. To this end, our study provides a systematic and evidence-based framework, which may also be beneficial for other nations.