Vienna Declaration at the Conference in Austria
  • In the course of the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Nutrition and Non-communicable diseases in the Context of Health 2020, a declaration was written which outlines guidelines and aims for all health care professionals including dietitians.
    European dietitians attending the EFAD/DIETS2 conference in Garda, Italy discussed the declaration in November 2013.
    Following is a summary of the declaration:

    Vienna Declaration on Nutrition and Noncommunicable
    Diseases in the Context of Health 2020

    In the context of the program “Health 2020”, the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Nutrition and Non-communicable diseases of the European region was held on July 4-5th2013 in Vienna, Austria. Aim of the conference was to issue the so-called “Vienna Declaration”, a document which provides evidence-based solutions for the fight against obesity and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases. The declaration had investigated and analysed for months in advance by the WHO European member states and other stakeholders. Not only the Ministers of Health, but also other representatives of the member states of the European region and civil society, as well as health experts and intergovernmental organizations reaffirmed their commitment on the issue by gathering in Vienna.
    The declaration contains 18 issues or aims respectively, which can be summarized as follows:

    • The acknowledgment of the problems caused by a poor and unhealthy diet as well as unhealthy lifestyle patterns especially in the well-being of children.
    • The prevention of overweight, obesity and undernourishment by supporting and investing in food systems that encourage healthy eating. All relevant sectors need to engage in whole-of-government, whole-of-society and health-in-all-policies approaches.
    • Tackling social inequalities and supporting vulnerable groups by facilitating access to a healthy and affordable diet.
    • The reduction of non-communicable diseases to be achieved by focusing on the decrease in energy intake, saturated fats, trans fats, free sugars and salt as well as the increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
    • The development of new food and nutrition action plans as well as physical activity strategies. These should take individual needs of different population groups into account.
    • Make the healthy choice the easier choice by making it accessible, affordable and attractive.

    As a representative of all ministers of the WHO European region Austria’s minister of health Alois Stöger signed the Vienna declaration. Austria was chosen as a suitable location for the WHO committee to gather as its government had already established a nutrition action plan in 2011.  This action plan contained many of the aims listed and functioned as an example. Alois Stöger pointed out: “For the first time in the WHO’s European region we have a joint strategy in the field of nutrition.”
    Trudy Giesinger
    Johanna Lhotta 
    Andrea Hofbauer, President
    Austrian Association of Dietitians