Strengthening fiscal policies and regulations to promote healthy diets in Sri Lanka
The high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is a significant health challenge for Sri Lanka. Nearly one-third of all adults are overweight or obese, and the share of overweight and obese children, particularly for girls, has been rising.
Sri Lanka has committed to measures aimed at controlling NCD risk factors, such as imposing taxes and “traffic light labels” on sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce consumption of unhealthy food. To improve the food environment for school-aged children, the Healthy Canteen in Schools program was initiated as a joint project between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. There is considerable academic and government interest in understanding the effectiveness of these measures.
This project will be a timely assessment of the effectiveness of the fiscal and regulatory tools in influencing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. At the same time, it will provide an assessment of the Healthy Canteen in Schools program, and review how a broader range of policies and implementation can be strengthened to improve nutrition outcomes for girls and boys from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.