in Lifestyle - 08 Feb, 2014
by Curtis - no comments
The Problems Of Obesity In Latin America And The Caribbean

The population of Latin America and the Caribbean is just over 625 million but 360 million are overweight and 140 million are obese. The increasing number of people who are obese is very worrying particularly since the numbers of individuals who are suffering from hunger have diminished.

According to Eve Crowley the acting regional representative of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) it is important to strengthen all efforts to have food systems with improved nutrition based upon sustainable production methods so that overweight and obesity can be reduced.

The problems of obesity and overweight largely affect children and women who become prone to chronic diseases. This increases the medical expenses of countries and individuals and poses a threat to the future labor force in the region. Organizations highlight the food system in the region because there is an abundance of sugary foods and foods that have bad calories from processed sources. While these types of food are less expensive, they do not guarantee proper nutrition for the population particularly those in the low income group.

To control the problems of overweight and obesity, it is important for the people of the region to have physical access and availability to nutritious, healthy but affordable fresh food. According to Crowley, changes in consumption patterns have been particularly noticeable with the population shifting away from the traditional foods composed of legumes, cereals, fruits and vegetables towards processed foods that are full of saturated fats, sugar and sodium.

Processed food manufacturers make use of extensive advertising which make it important to ensure that the people have access to better information, nutrition warnings, taxes on unhealthy food and subsidies for healthy food. The changes in eating and behavioral patterns are very evident among students aged six to ten who snack on potato chips, cookies and fizzy drinks instead of fruits and milk.

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