Convincing the powerful to avoid the "scary" obesity figure

One of the worst scenarios would be that of an indigenous Latin American girl who drinks soft drinks more accessible than drinking water and eats cheap products with too much sugar, salt and fats. Over his body lies, thus a sip and a mouthful, the business craving to sell above all and the fragility of Governments to control markets and the quality of food. "Obesity has become the biggest nutritional threat in Latin America and the Caribbean. Almost one in four adults is obese and the overweight affects 3.9 million of children under five (7.3%), a figure that exceeds the world average located at 5.6% ", reveals the Panorama report on food and nutritional security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018, presented on Wednesday and prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF, the World Foods Programme and the Pan American Health Organization. Among the most vulnerable, it targets lower-income people, women, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and rural families.

"Obesity is growing uncontrollably. Every year we are adding 3.6 million obese to Latin America and the Caribbean. 250 million people live in overweight, 60% of the population in the area. The situation is appalling, "says FAO Regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Julio Berdegué. To maintain the trend, in 2030 the proportion of population in Latin America and the Caribbean with obesity would increase to 30% of the adult population. A figure that is complemented in turn with the indices that show that in Latin America, 8.4% of women live in severe food insecurity, compared with 6.9% of men. The text also highlights that hunger increases for the third consecutive year in the region and affects 39.3 million people, 6.1% of the population, in a region that has enough food to meet the minimum calorie requirements.

In Latin America, 8.4% of women live in severe food insecurity compared to 6.9% of men

The report notes with the finger that some of the main causes of the rise of malnutrition in the vulnerable population are the changes in the food systems of the region, the cycle of food from production to consumption. Among other issues such as growing urbanization, it follows the ease of operation of foreign companies and their commitment to processed products, cheaper. The report, extracted from research, reflects this: "Its growth has been mainly oriented towards export products. This has been accompanied by policies of liberalization, privatization and investment of the private sector. This has enabled the greater participation of foreign companies and the strong growth of productivity and food production in the region. "

Sobrepeso en los niños menores de cinco años por nivel de ingresos, en porcentajes, en varios años.Overweight in children under the age of five by income level, in percentages, in several years.
A statement that links with another that indicates that transnational food manufacturing, retail and fast food chains base their services on providing products "with high degrees of processing, expanding them." It is also added that market deregulation favors large food industries and increases the production, sale and consumption of highly processed products. "In Latin America and the Caribbean in the early 1990s, between 10% and 20% of the food was acquired in large and medium supermarket chains, today is approximately 60% (in the U.S. and Western Europe is 80%), says Berdegué, which indicates that these Industries are very globalized. "Many of them of origin in industrialized countries, but also Latin American. Companies in the region that leveraged technological and marketing innovations developed in more industrialized countries to position themselves as major regional and global stakeholders in food systems, "he illustrates.

Transnational food manufacturing, retail and fast food chains base their services on providing "high-grade processing" products

The solutions would then be to persuade the industry to develop healthier products and to influence public policies to regulate what will eventually be taken by that indigenous Latin American girl. "It is important that policies include actions from production to consumption, through the processing systems themselves, marketing, international food trade and all aspects that influence the consumer environment," says Regional Representative. In the report, some of these suggestions, some already implemented in different countries, pass by approving regulations to make the composition of food comprehensible or to incorporate taxes on high-sugar, salt and fat products. "These two are the ones that are taking the biggest boost in the region," says Berdegué, who also adds the importance of regulating misleading advertising and supporting producers of fruits, vegetables, vegetables and fish.