Sunimalee Madurawala Highlights Key Challenges in Promoting Healthy Dietary Patterns for Young Children at UNICEF’s Regional Meeting in Nepal

10 – 12 June 2024

Actions in public sector policies and programmes and private sector practices and products are crucial for improving young children’s food environments. Although challenges posed by the political economy can hinder the effective development and implementation of existing policies promoting healthy dietary patterns among children, youth and adults, several strategies can be utilised to overcome these barriers.

IPS Research Economist Sunimalee Madurawala made these observations during her presentation at the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) event titled “Nourishing South Asia: Improving Diets and Reducing Micronutrient Deficiencies and Anaemia in Early Childhood,” held from June 10-12, 2024, in Kathmandu, Nepal. She delivered the lead presentation for the session ‘Improving Young Children’s Food Environments through Actions in Public Sector Policies and Programmes and Private Sector Practices and Products.’

Her presentation titled “Protecting the Diets of Young Children: Strengthening Public Sector Policies and Regulations,” was based on the IPS study “Fiscal policies and regulations for healthy diets in Sri Lanka”, funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

Sunimalee shared Sri Lanka’s experience in developing and implementing two policies aimed at promoting healthy dietary patterns: Traffic light labeling for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) introduced in 2016 and SSB taxation implemented in 2017.

The regional meeting brought together country delegations comprising government officials, researchers, UN agencies, and development partners, to review and discuss policy and programme progress and identify key priority actions and solutions to accelerate improvements in quality of young children’s diets, reduce severe dietary deprivation, iron deficiency and anaemia. Mr Atul Upadhyay, Nutrition Specialist at UNICEF ROSA, moderated the session.

Read more about the IPS study here.