Chile ranks second in the 36-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development list of most obese countries, as the population over 15 years of age, since 2003 that suffers this medical condition has gone up from 61 to 75 percent.
Panama Battles Childhood Obesity as Region Gains Weight
According to the report ‘Radiography of Obesity in Chile’ released Wednesday by government Observatory of Choosing to Live Healthy, in just three years the country has become the second most obese nation, preceded only by the United States.
"The most tragic thing is that in Chile, obesity and overweight are unfairly distributed according to the level of income of people," said Minister of Social Development Sebastian Sichel.
The public official explained that the regions that perceive less income — such as La Araucania, Biobio, Los Lagos, Arica and Parinacota and Tarapaca — are those that show higher levels of obesity. Gender also plays a part, as women are more likely to be obese.
The study attributes these results to widespread unhealthy eating habits, such as the consumption of foods high in calories and salt, and the low presence of fruits, vegetables, legumes and seafood in regular diets.
In a viral video in Chile, produced by a fruit-juice company, children are blindfolded and given fried snacks and sliced-up fruit and then asked to recognize, based on flavor, what they are eating. Most easily named the branded snacks yet failed to differentiate between fruits such as pears and apples.
The low rates of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle are also factors that influence. The report states that 66.2 percent of the population over 18 years of age does not perform any type of physical activity.
“The impact and the real change is in school children. There you have to create the habit. What we need is to incorporate families and their collaboration is key,” Minister of Sports, Pauline Kantor, affirmed as the government will implement a transversal plan aimed to reduce obesity with the strategy ‘Zer0besity’ by 2030.