Trends in Global Nutrition Policy and Implications for Japanese Development Policy

Food Nutr Bull. 2015 Dec;36(4):493-502. doi: 10.1177/0379572115611288. Epub 2015 Oct 15.


Background: Although the issue of nutrition was long underrepresented in the global health agenda, it regained international attention with the introduction of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) framework. A historical review of global nutrition policies over 4 decades illustrates the evolution of nutrition policy themes and the challenges confronted by SUN.

Objective: This study reviews major events in global nutrition policy from the 1970s to the SUN movement around 2010 to illustrate the dynamics of global agenda setting for nutrition policy along with implications for the government of Japan.

Methods: The events are categorized according to each decade's nutrition paradigm: nutrition and its socioeconomic features in the 1970s, nutrition and community programs in the 1980s, nutrition as a political issue in the 1990s, and nutrition and evidence in the 2000s.

Results: This study identified 2 findings: First, the arguments that led to a global consensus on nutrition policy generated paradigm shifts in core ideas, and second, in response to these paradigm shifts, global nutrition policies have changed significantly over time. With regard to Japan, this analysis concludes that the government of Japan can take a greater initiative in the global health community as supporter of SUN by strategically developing a combination of financial, political, and practical approaches to improve global nutrition policy through the concepts of Universal Health Coverage and Human Security.

Keywords: global nutrition; human security; nutrition policy; paradigm change; scaling up nutrition; universal health coverage.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Financing, Government
  • Food Supply
  • Global Health
  • Government
  • Health Policy
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Japan
  • National Health Programs
  • Nutrition Policy / history
  • Nutrition Policy / trends*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Politics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Nations