Linear programming to build food-based dietary guidelines: Romanian food baskets (2016)



Many WHO European Member States have high and increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, particularly among children and adolescents. Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).  Innovative approaches are needed to help develop a healthy diet which prevents NCDs and promotes health. Too high prices for fresh foods, rich in micronutrients and low in energy, are often considered as a barrier to eating a healthy diet. Linear programming methodology can facilitate the development of national healthy food basket recommendations that meet both recommended nutrient intake values and WHO guidance in a cost-efficient manner. This novel approach is applied within the context of food availability in Romania in 2014. How best to implement these food basket recommendations at population and individual level still has to be investigated.