To describe the organization and implementation of nutrition policies, and examine intervention strategies for dietary change in three Scandinavian countries.
Descriptions of nutrition policies and dietary intervention strategies are based on published nutrition policy research and reports.
All countries studied have adopted formal nutrition policies. Norway issued its first white paper in 1976, the Finnish National Nutrition Council published an action plan in 1989, and the Swedish Government issued an official action plan in 1995. Norway has a centralized National Nutrition Council with a permanent administration whereas the responsibilities and administration are more spread out between several authorities and groups in Finland and Sweden. Amongst the dietary intervention strategies employed, a Norwegian nutrition campaign, symbol labelling of foods in Sweden, the community-based North Karelia Project in Finland, and mass catering in Finland and Sweden have been selected as potentially transferable.
Policy documents serve as guidelines for activities and assist in achieving dietary targets. A responsible administrative body with advice from a standing expert committee is valuable for implementation. Guidelines, recommendations or voluntary labelling standards can be incentives to product development and changes to food production. Regional demonstration projects may also encourage action and collaboration.