Updated 08:15 PM EDT, Wed, Oct 21, 2020

Obesity Cases in Latin America Increasing? Brazil, Argentina, Colombia & Mexico Top List of Countries Affected By Obesity

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While Latin America is known the world over for its rich culinary history, dating all the way back to the Aztec, many Latin Americans have developed a taste for modern food. Obesity in Latin America has become a common problem, much like it has been in the United States.

According to Obesity.org,Latin America shows high rates of people being overweight and obese. While poverty and hunger wil always be prevalent realities in any culture, today's foods really pack in the calories. Because of this, even Latin America's poor might be obese and tnis is something that the Latin American government has seen grow at an alarming rate over the decade.

The Guardian reports that these Latin American countries are fighting back, adopting initiatives to help curb junk food. For instance, Chile has has put into effect a labeling system for food packages as of last that comes into effect as of last year. The law would urge food manufacturers to put a warning label on their products that contain high content in sugar, salt and fat. The country also prohibits advertising unhealthy products to children in schools.

In a report with The Economist, it was found out that Mexicans tend to consume more sugary sodas than any other drink in the country, while Brazil has seen a rise in the consumption of sweets and junk foods among its citizens over the past five years.

The rise in obesity cases in Latin America has become a cause for alarm as deaths in obesity-related cases such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes have also risen. In Mexico, it was found out that diabetes kills roughly around 70,000 people a year. According to public-health officials, the cost of obesity set the country back at around 67 billion pesos ($6 billion) in 2008, and will increase twofold by 2017.

Latin America is doing what it can to urge consumers to stir away from junk foods and processed meats. These initiatives show promise and could potentially decrease the cases in obesity since most of the Latin American countries take a comprehensive approach to fighting obesity.

Even companies across Latin America are doing what they can to adapt to the laws implemented by the government. Arcos Dorados, the largest operator of McDonalds in Latin America, for instance has made changes to its menus by cutting back on the salt and calories, introduced cherry tomatoes, and has even offered water or milk instead of soft drinks.

It comes off as strange as the poorest communities in Latin American countries tend to see malnutrition and obesity live side by side. Consumer choice for food can be very limited and oftentimes those who lead the fight against obesity can face some fierce opposition.

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