Opinion Piece Outlines Approaches To Address Rising Rates Of Obesity

News Deeply: Using Existing Health and Food Systems to Combat Rising Obesity Rates
Justine Kavle, nutrition team lead for USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program

“…The global conversation addressing overweight and obesity has recently centered on country-level enforcement of sugar taxes. … [W]hat can be done in addition to taxes on sugar to curb the tide of overweight and obesity among young children? First, health care providers and families need to understand healthy versus unhealthy weight gain and learn to monitor excessive or rapid weight gain both for children and for women during pregnancy. … Second, supportive environments are needed to talk to mothers and their families about reducing or eliminating the introduction of junk foods and sweetened beverages, and providing alternatives that are local, affordable, and available. … Third, with regards to the food system, appropriate food labeling, such as mandatory front-of-package labels and a ‘nutrition seal’ obtained with compliance to nutritional standards … is needed, as is regulation of the television marketing of food and sweetened beverages to children early in life. … Finally, regulation of breastmilk substitutes, per the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and regulations on the marketing of inappropriate complementary foods, including junk foods, to infants and young children require full enforcement and monitoring at a country level…” (4/19).

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