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.