Self-learning virtual course on the World Health Organization (WHO) REPLACE Trans Fat: An Action Package to Eliminate Industrially Produced Trans-Fatty Acids

The REPLACE TRANS FAT course it is a How-to Guide for landscape assessment and roadmap development for the elimination of trans fats. The World Health Organization (WHO) on 14 May 2018 launched the REPLACE initiative to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats by 2023 to reduce cardiovascular disease deaths, the world’s leading cause of death.

Elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (IP-TFA) from the food supply is one of the priority targets identified in the draft 13th General Programme of Work, which will guide the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019-2023. By approving the Plan of Action for the Elimination of Industrially Produced Trans-Fatty Acids 2020-2025, Member States of the Pan American Health Organization also unanimously agreed to eliminate IP-TFA from the Region of the Americas by 2023.

Increased intake of TFA (>1% of total energy intake) is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events and mortality. Globally more than 500,000 deaths in 2010 were attributed to increased intake of TFA. IP-TFA have no known health benefits and its elimination from the food supply is feasible and achievable. During the past decade, various policy actions have been implemented by countries aiming to restrict TFA content of food and reduce TFA intake in their populations, including mandatory and voluntary TFA labeling, reformulation, and national and local IP-TFA prohibitions. Several countries have in fact virtually eliminated industrially produced TFA from the food supply through the implementation of systematic policy actions and monitoring programs.

The REPLACE TRANS FAT course provides a strategic approach to eliminating industrially produced TFA from national food supplies, with the goal of global elimination by 2023.

Educational approach

The course is developed in the form of self-learning, using virtual teaching platforms of the VCPH, such as interactive PPTs and quizzes of multiple-choice (MCQs) and true/false questions.

Course purpose

The purpose of the course is to incorporate skills to develop and implement a strategic approach to eliminating industrially produced TFA from national food supplies.

Learning objectives

Main objective

The REPLACE TRANS FAT course aims to serve as a roadmap for countries to implement actions to reduce and eliminate IP-TFA and outlines strategic action areas to support the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of IP-TFA from the food supply.

Specific objectives

  • Understand and increase the competence in the harms of products containing TFA.
  • Learn about the REPLACE package to eliminate industrially produced IP-TFA.
  • Learn about the PAHO Plan of Action for the elimination of industrially produced TFA 2020-2025.
  • Understand the steps in creating a strategic plan for the elimination of IP-TFA, including research, policies, legislation, awareness campaigns, etc.
  • Identify and understand the barriers and limitations of creating a strategic plan.
  • Identify the resources needed to develop a strategic plan for the elimination of TFAs.

Audience

This course is aimed to:

  • PAHO personnel
  • Country officers
  • Public health professionals
  • Policy-makers
  • Advocates
  • Food control or safety authorities
  • Researchers and practitioners on nutrition or food safety.

Other audiences that may find the REPLACE course and accompanying web resources useful include civil society organizations, academic and research institutions, nutrition scientists and laboratories, and food industry associations and food companies.

Duration / Workload

The course is open and available in the PAHO/WHO Virtual Campus of Public Health (VCPH). As it is a self-learning course, the participants can regulate their times and moments of dedication. An estimated time of 60 to 90 minutes per module is considered, depending on the participant’s level of knowledge on TFAs. Therefore, when including an estimated time to complete the course modules and the corresponding evaluations, the course is assigned a total of 15 hours.

Course Structure

MODULES

CONTENTS

Introduction

The course objectives, overview of each module, and the learning resources.

Module 1 - REview

General view of REPLACE package for the elimination of IP-TFA and of the PAHO Plan of Action for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids 2020-2025, a country roadmap for the elimination of IP-TFA, the steps to assess the nutritional, political, and stakeholder landscapes for the respective country.

Module 2 - Promote

Replacement of industrially produced TFA with healthier oils and fats, the difference between healthy and unhealthy oils and fats, identification of healthy alternatives for fats and oils, and possible interventions to promote healthier alternatives.

Module 3 - Legislate

Options to legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate IP-TFA, policy options and the current regulatory framework to eliminate IP-TFA, PAHO/WHO recommended policy options, complementary measures required in the development of a policy.

Module 4 - Assess

Assessment and monitoring of TFA content in the food supply and changes in TFA consumption in the population, the goals and methods for TFA assessment, methods for evaluating TFA content in the food supply, assessment methods for TFA intake.

Module 5 - Create

Approaches in creating awareness of the negative health impacts of TFA among policymakers, producers, suppliers and the public, approaches to advocacy and communications campaigns to support policy action, the key steps to design and implement effective advocacy and communications campaigns and evaluate progress.

Module 6 - Enforce

How-to enforce compliance with policies and regulations, IP-TFA elimination policies' enforcement approaches, offenses and roles, the steps to mapping existing and creating new enforcement powers and mechanisms, public communications, penalties, funding, and timelines.

Evaluation Test

Final evaluation test of the course, recalling the key concepts in the REPLACE package and the resources needed to eliminate trans-fatty acids.

Last update: 03/Jun/2022