The last quarter of the 20th century was characterized by an increase in the consumer's interest in the nutritional aspects of health. As a result, governments began to develop dietary guidelines in addition to the traditional recommended dietary allowances, which have been superseded now by dietary reference intakes. In addition to governments, various scientific societies and nongovernmental organizations have issued their dietary advice to combat chronic diseases and obesity.

Human beings evolved on a diet that was balanced in n-6 and n-3 essential fatty acid intake, whereas Western diets have a ratio of n-6/n-3 of 16.74. The scientific evidence is strong for decreasing the n-6 and increasing the n-3 intake to improve health throughout the life cycle.

This paper discusses the reasons for this change and recommends the establishment of a Nutrition and Food Policy, instead of a Food and Nutrition Policy, because the latter subordinates the nutritional aspects to the food policy aspects. Nutrition and food planning comprise a tool of nutrition and food policy, whose objectives are the achievement of the adequate nutrition of the population as defined by nutritional science.

The scientific basis for the development of a public policy to develop dietary recommendations for essential fatty acids, including a balanced n-6/n-3 ratio is robust.

What is needed is a scientific consensus, education of professionals and the public, the establishment of an agency on nutrition and food policy at the national level, and willingness of governments to institute changes.

Education of the public is essential to demand changes in the food supply.