Introduction: Nutrition transition is occurring rapidly in the world, especially in developing countries. The nutrition transition occurred in Iran very fast due to urbanization and changes in the lifestyle of people, leading to overweight and obesity. However, nutritional deficiencies are still detected due to economic factors and low nutritional knowledge. Nutrition policies do not adequately respond to the nutrition challenges in Iran. This study was conducted to evaluate and analyze the nutrition policy process challenges in Iran.
Methods: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted with 59 policy makers and nutrition experts of medical universities across Iran. Interviews were continued until data saturation was achieved. Data were supplemented with surveys and documentary analysis. Thematic analysis was guided by the propositions of the stages heuristic framework.
Results: The results were categorized into four main themes and eight sub-themes. The main themes were 1) nutrition problem definition, 2) policy formulation, 3) implementation of the policies, and 4) evaluation of the policies. However, the multi-faceted nature of the nutritional problem makes it difficult to deal with, so a multi-sectoral approach is needed.
Conclusion: Nutrition policies have been implemented in Iran with varying degrees of success and with different levels of cross-sectoral collaboration. The nutrition policies sometimes have not been able to respond to the nutritional problems. One of the important reasons is that nutrition is not a priority for policy makers. Many policies suffer from a lack of adequate and appropriate resource allocation. Cooperation mechanisms to resolve nutritional problems are sometimes ineffective and inefficient.