FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION - A HEALTH POLICY ANALYSIS

Abstract:

Background: In the Russian Federation (Russia), an elevated burden of premature mortality attributable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has been observed since the country’s economic transition. NCDs are largely related to preventable risk factors such as unhealthy diets. Objective: This health policy study’s aim was to analyze past and current food production and nutritional trends in Russia and their policy implications for Russia’s NCD burden. Design: We examined food security and nutrition in Russia using an analytical framework of food availability, access to food, and consumption. Results: Agricultural production declined during the period of economic transition, and nutritional habits changed from high-fat animal products to starches. However, per-capita energy consumption remained stable due to increased private expenditures on food and use of private land. Paradoxically, the prevalence of obesity still increased because of an excess consumption of unsaturated fat, sugar, and salt on one side, and insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables on the other. Conclusions: Policy and economic reforms in Russia were not accompanied by a food security crisis or macronutrient deprivation of the population. Yet, unhealthy diets in contemporary Russia contribute to the burden of NCDs and related avoidable mortality. Food and nutrition policies in Russia need to specifically address nutritional shortcomings and food-insecure vulnerable populations. Appropriate, evidence-informed food and nutrition policies might help address Russia’s burden of NCDs on a population level.

Тип: Article