Obesity Prevention: Strategies and Challenges in Latin America
Latin America is one of the regions in the world with the highest prevalence of childhood obesity. Indeed, one in five people under the age of 20 is overweight or obese. In 2014, all countries in Latin America signed the Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents. However, the region faces a double burden of disease where malnutrition remains highly prevalent, making the formulation and implementation of public health policies even more complex. This paper presents the most relevant changes of norms and regulations aimed to reduce obesity levels that have been adopted across Latin American countries.
Policies implemented include the sugar-sweetened beverage taxation, front-of-package labels, physical activity, school-based physical programmes and school feeding programmes. The experience of the different countries which implemented these policies can not only benefit the region but the rest of the world as well. While the true impact of strategies of prevention implemented in Latin America on obesity prevalence remains unknown, the experience of the different countries provides some insights as to where the successes are likely to lie.