Review of policies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity in 49 low- and middle-income countries

S. A. Darfour-Oduro, Juan Andrade, Diana S Grigsby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Inadequate physical activity (PA) and consumption of fruits and vegetables (FV) are known risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Consequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) encourages the development of policies to increase PA and FV consumption. We reviewed available policies between 2004 and 2013 to increase FV consumption and PA from a convenience sample of 49 LMICs.

Method: Information on national policies were obtained from government ministries involved with the formulation of nutrition and PA policies, WHO databases and from PubMed and Scopus.

Results: Of the 49 countries, 57% had policies to increase FV consumption, and 76% had policies to promote PA. Policy reviews indicated strategies that focus on schools, communities, the general public, the environment, the economy, mass media and WHO recommendations. Of the 28 countries with FV policies, 18% had formulated policies that met the WHO recommendations for daily intake of FV. Likewise, of the 37 countries with PA policies, 24% had policies that promoted the WHO recommendations for daily PA.

Conclusion: Greater progress has been made in developing policies to increase PA compared to policies to increase FV consumption in low- and middle-income countries. However, most countries are still lagging behind in developing policies to meet the WHO recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-129
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online dateMar 3 2018
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Behavioral health policies
  • Fruits
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Nutrition policies
  • Physical activity policies
  • School-based policies
  • Vegetables policies
  • WHO recommendations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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