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Chile’s black warning labels impact their obesity trend

This week we’ve been talking about Chile and the fight against obesity. Chile has started to label useless foods with big black labels. In an attempt to curb obesity rates, Chile introduced a new labeling system three years ago in hopes of putting the brakes on rampant healthcare costs. Chile is the second fattest population in South America, 74% of Chileans are overweight or obese and as for the children in their population – 50% of children under 10 are overweight.

All foods that contain more than a certain amount of sugar, salt, saturated fat and calories are simply labeled with black deterrent warning labels which inform the consumer that the product they are considering buying is too salty, sweet, greasy, or contains too many calories.

Guido Girardi, a Chilean senator, made the following statement, “We have created an alliance with the science world. We wanted the researchers and doctors on our side to be able to persuade Parliament to support our project despite enormous pressure from the international food giants who are a veritable mafia”.

When the black warning labels entered the food shelves in 2016, healthcare costs for obesity-related diseases were over $800 million (equivalent to 2.5 percent of the Chilean healthcare budget).

You may be wondering why we at Food Pharmacy our informing you about Chile’s labeling habits. Well, since the warning labels came into effect, an evaluation last year showed that 68% of the Chileans have changed their purchasing habits. So this got us wondering… perhaps it’s not enough, in the many countries with ever rising obesity rates(US, Sweden, UK, Australia), to create labeling systems which only promote good food. Perhaps labels that deter the public from making harmful choices could further assist in steering them in the right direction?

 

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