WHO’s Call to Eliminate Trans Fat Is “An Exciting Step”

Sydnee Logan
By Sydnee Logan  | 
WHO’s Call to Eliminate Trans Fat Is “An Exciting Step”

Yesterday the World Health Organization, also known as the WHO, released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide to eliminate trans fat from the global food supply by 2023.

In a statement, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

“WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply. Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease.”

Trans fats are primarily found in pre-made or processed foods. They increase LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol that increases a person’s risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death globally. Therefore, the global impact of the WHO’s plan is far reaching. Here in the U.S., the FDA has already taken steps to eliminate trans fat. In 2015 FDA determined that trans fats were no longer “Generally Recognized As Safe” and required food companies to get rid of them by June 2018.

WHO’s REPLACE action package includes six strategic steps:

  • REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change
  • Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils
  • Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats
  • Assess and monitor trans fat content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population
  • Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fat among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public
  • Enforce compliance of policies and regulations

Here at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, our resident experts Kelly Bower, PhD, MPH, RN, APHN-BC, and Audra Rankin, DNP, APRN, CPNP weighed in. Dr. Bower has expertise in food store availability and obesity; Dr. Rankin specializes in childhood obesity and nutrition.

“This is an important step in protecting the health of communities across the globe,” said. Dr. Bower. “The WHO’s guidance will help protect all communities but it will especially benefit communities with limited healthy food options.”

Similarly, Dr. Rankin called the WHO’s statement, “An exciting step in health promotion and disease prevention. Trans-fatty acids, often found in fried foods and sweets, are a major contributor to chronic diseases such as heart disease. Eliminating these ingredients in our diet is often done without noticeable changes in taste or cost yet has a major impact in improving our overall health.  The plan serves as a call to action to encourage healthy eating through improved awareness, education, and legislation.”​

Cardiovascular, Chronic Care & Symptom Management Area of Excellence

CNN: WHO Calls For Elimination of Trans Fat in Foods By 2023

The New York Times: Trans Fats Should be Eliminated Worldwide by 2023, WHO Says


Sydnee Logan is the Social Media and Digital Content Coordinator for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares what’s going on here with the world.

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