The World Health Organization (WHO) released a new action guide for sports event organizers, Healthier food and healthier food environments at sports events. The publication, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar, is directed towards sports event organizers. It proposes five actions to achieve healthier food and healthier food environments in and around sports stadiums, from improving the food on offer to preventing harmful marketing.
According to a press release from WHO, the action guide suggests activities that can be carried out during the planning, operational, and post-event phases of sports events. The publication can also be used by governments, local authorities, and sports stadium managers to create healthy public food procurement and service policies for sports settings more generally.
Healthy, safe, and sustainable diets are important for both human and planetary health, and sports events ought to be an ideal setting to model and promote healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle. The high visibility of sports mega-events offers valuable opportunities for potentially larger impacts that reach billions of fans worldwide, creating positive perceptions of healthier foods and beverages.
In 2022, as part of a unique global partnership to promote health, WHO collaborated with the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar, and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to champion a healthier food offer in stadiums during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The collaboration ensured that more than 30% of the menu items served at this momentous event had a healthy nutritional profile in line with WHO standards.
This action guide builds on the successful experience gained at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and represents a powerful model for future sports events to fight against overweight and obesity, and diet-related noncommunicable diseases. It aims to inspire action towards improving population health and well-being, and to redefine the role that sports events can have in this endeavor, the press release states.