International Projects

Technical Advisory Group (PAHO/WHO)

Dr. L’Abbe is the current Chair of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Advisory Group for 2016-2019. The Technical Advisory Group advises the Director of PAHO/WHO on the implementation of the regional initiative on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt Control Policies and Interventions. The group responds to priority interventions stated in the WHO package of “most cost effective interventions for noncommunicable disease prevention” directly related to the lowering population levels of blood pressure and subsequently influencing the levels of mortality of stoke and overall group of cardiovascular diseases.

Click here for more information and to download reports.

International Development Research Centre Projects

Scaling Up and Evaluating Salt Reduction Policies and Programs in Latin American Countries

High salt diets are a major cause of high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for death, and account for close to two-thirds of strokes and one-half of heart disease incidents worldwide. This project will address Latin America’s high blood pressure rates through research that will strengthen and expand existing salt reduction programs. The project will also introduce new programs in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Peru.

For more information, click here and search 108167 under Project Number.

Implementation of a Population-wide Program to Reduce Salt and Sodium Consumption in Costa Rica

Population-wide salt reduction initiatives which target sodium levels in foods and consumer education have the potential to reduce salt intake across all population sectors and improve cardiovascular health outcomes. This project aims to produce evidence and tools to support policies and interventions to reduce salt intake in Costa Rica. Our research team will provide scientific evidence to identify the main dietary sources of salt/sodium in the Costa Rican diet. We will also report on students’ knowledge, perceptions, and behaviours related to salt/sodium, food labeling, and health. The evidence will serve as an evaluation baseline for the National Plan for Salt Intake Reduction in Costa Rica. Other countries in the region will benefit from Costa Rica’s initiative and experience.

For more information, click here and search 106888 under Project Number.


The International Network for Food and Obesity/non-communicable diseases (NCD) Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) is a global network of public-interest organizations and researchers that aims to monitor, benchmark and support public and private sector actions to create healthy food environments and reduce obesity, NCDs and their related inequalities. The INFORMAS framework includes two ‘process’ modules, that monitor the policies and actions of the public and private sectors, seven ‘impact’ modules that monitor the key characteristics of food environments and three ‘outcome’ modules that monitor dietary quality, risk factors and NCD morbidity and mortality. Monitoring frameworks and indicators have been developed for 10 modules to provide consistency, but allowing for stepwise approaches (‘minimal’, ‘expanded’, ‘optimal’) to data collection and analysis. Each of the modules can be found in Publications by selecting “International Collaborations” in the drop down menu. Dr. L’Abbé is the lead researcher for the Food Provision module.

Funded by a Burroughs Wellcome Trust and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the L’Abbé Lab are currently conducting research in 5 of these domains in Canada, including: (1) public sector policies and actions, (2) private sector policies and actions, (3) food labelling and health claims, (4) food composition, and (5) food prices. Food retail and food promotion modules are also being completed in collaboration with Canadian research groups.

For more information, visit the INFORMAS website at

The Food Monitoring Group

In 2010, The Food Monitoring Group established a global branded food composition database to track the nutritional content of foods and make comparisons between countries, food companies and over time. This collaborative approach to the collation of food composition data offers potential for cross-border collaboration and support in developed and developing countries. The project should contribute significantly to tracking progress of the food industry and governments towards commitments made at the 2011 UN high level meeting on chronic disease. Click here for more information.