Poland considers policy options to promote healthy diets

A conference on fiscal policy related to food rich in sugar, salt and fat was organized on 11 December 2014 in Warsaw, Poland by the Intersectoral Coordination Committee for National Health Programme and the Board for Diet, Physical Activity and Health. The aim was to present options and experiences from other countries and to consider the possibility of introducing such policy in Poland. 

During the conference, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Health Igor Radziewicz- Winnicki highlighted the need for multisectoral collaboration to promote healthy lifestyles. 
WHO expert, Dr Joao Breda, presented how price policies can be used to promote healthier diets in Europe, including creating healthy environments, promoting gains of a healthy diet throughout life, establishing monitoring, evaluation and research centres, and introducing good governance and health-in-all-policies approaches. By showing key facts about overweight/obesity and examples of current policy frameworks, he stressed the need for prompt action. 

Professor Zoltán Vokó from the Eötvös Loránd University presented Hungaria’s experience with the introduction of a health-related food tax, which has been successful financially and from the public health perspective.

Ms Sara Franke from the Ministry of Health presented the Ministry of Health’s project to define categories of food products intended for children and adolescents and requirements for food products used in school canteens. 

Challenges in Poland were also discussed, including a lack of facilities in schools where healthy food could be prepared, lack of safe devices to provide free water and the need to investigate current tax rates on certain products.