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Nutrition-related non-communicable disease and sugar-sweetened beverage policies: A landscape analysis in Kenya

Wanjohi, M.N.
Thow, A-M.
Karim, S.A.
Asiki, G.
Erzse, A.
Mohamed, S.F.
Donfouet, H.P.P.
Juma, P. A.
Hofman, K.J.
Background: The burden of undernutrition is significant in Kenya. Obesity and related non-communicable diseases are also on the increase. Government action to prevent non-communicable diseases is critical. Taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages has been identified as an effective mechanism to address nutrition-related non-communicable diseases, although Kenya is not yet committed to this. Objective: To assess the policy and stakeholder landscape relevant to nutrition related non -communicable diseases and sugar-sweetened beverage taxation in Kenya. Methods: A desk review of evidence and policies related to nutrition related non-communicable diseases and sugar-sweetened beverages was conducted. Data extraction matrices were used for analysis. Key informant interviews were conducted with 10 policy actors. Interviews were thematically analysed to identify enablers of, and barriers to, policy change towards nutrition-sweetened beverage taxation. Results: Although nutrition related non-communicable diseases are recognised as a growing problem in Kenya most food-related policies focus on undernutrition and food security, while underplaying the role of nutrition related non-communicable diseases. Policy development on communicable diseases is multi-sectoral, but implementation is biased towards curative rather than preventive services. An excise tax is charged on soft drinks, but is not specific to sugar-sweetened beverages. Government has competing roles: advocating for industrial growth, such as sugar and food processing industries to foster economic development, yet wanting to control nutrition related non-communicable diseases. There is no national consensus about the dangers posed by sugar-sweetened beverages. Conclusion: Nutrition related non-communicable diseases policies should reflect a continuum of issues, from undernutrition to food security, nutrition transition, and the escalation of nutrition related non-communicable diseases. A local advocacy case for sugar-sweetened beverage taxation has not been made. Public and policy maker education is critical to challenge the prevailing attitudes towards sugar-sweetened beverages and the western diet.
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Taylor and Francis
Research Projects
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Data review,Diet,Policy review,Politics,Actors,Industry tactics,SDG-02 Zero hunger,SDG-03 Good health and well-being
Wanjohi MN, Thow AM, Abdool Karim S, Asiki G, Erzse A, Mohamed SF, Pierre Donfouet HP, Juma PA, Hofman KJ. Nutrition-related non-communicable disease and sugar-sweetened beverage policies: a landscape analysis in Kenya. Glob Health Action. 2021 Jan 1;14(1):1902659. doi: 10.1080/16549716.2021.1902659.
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