AD launches new initiative to promote healthier food choices

Staff Reporter - Three sub-programmes identified to ensure wider reach and greater impact

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A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 20 Aug 2022, 12:07 PM

Last updated: Sat 20 Aug 2022, 4:46 PM

Abu Dhabi has launched a new programme aimed at increasing access to healthy food options and promoting nutritious food choices in the emirate.

The SEHHI programme by Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) seeks to encourage the community to consume healthy foods and improve their eating habits. The programme facilitates the identification of nutritious foods and ingredients in food outlets, restaurants, cafes, healthcare facilities, hotels, and grocery stores and supermarkets across the emirate.

The ADPHC is the region’s first dedicated centre protecting the physical, mental and social well-being of Abu Dhabi’s population by raising public and preventive healthcare awareness. The new programme is in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision to ensure longer, healthier lives for residents by promoting preventive measures and reducing the risks of lifestyle diseases.

Three sub-programmes have been identified to ensure wider reach and a greater impact.

1. ‘SEHHI on Healthy Menus’, which involves placing the SEHHI logo on food menu items to identify healthy dishes with low fat, sugar and salt content and higher fibres.

2. ‘Displaying Calories on the Menu’, which will entail the addition of the caloric count on food menu items.

3. ‘SEHHI for Healthy Groceries and Supermarkets’, which will encourage the display and promotion of healthy foods and ingredients across food and beverage retail entities in Abu Dhabi.

Towards a healthy, safe society

Matar Al Nuaimi, Director General, ADPHC, said the centre remains committed to the safety and well-being of every member of the Abu Dhabi community.

“Nutrition undoubtedly plays a critical role in promoting overall health and has a profound impact on reducing the prevalence and burden of lifestyle diseases. As such, the launch of the SEHHI programme aligns with our vision towards a healthy, safe society by consolidating the efforts of various stakeholders in the ecosystem to ensure access to healthy foods and promote more informed and educated dietary choices.”

Dr Omniyat Al Hajeri, Executive Director of Community Health at ADPHC, said: “The SEHHI programme will support and empower the community to make well-informed decisions when it comes to the consumption of food. Through the SEHHI programme, ADPHC has made sure to reach all consumer touchpoints to encourage better dietary decisions. We strongly urge the community to follow healthy eating habits and ensure they are consuming a balanced diet. “

A comprehensive classification process has been established to identify foods that fall under the SEHHI programme, with the criteria considering calorie count, total fats, saturated and trans fats, sugar, salt and fibre amounts.

Food outlets will be able to input details about their food items into a digitised platform that will review and analyse the nutritional value of their dishes, identifying those that meet the SEHHI criteria. Participating entities will receive guidance and a series of trainings to ensure the optimal implementation of the programme. In parallel, the Abu Dhabi community will be provided with information and guidance on making healthier food choices.

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