Prevention of childhood obesity through trilateral cooperation
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Childhood obesity continues to increase in Mexico and the United States. Among Mexican children aged 5 to 11 years, overweight and obesity increased from 28.2% in 1999 to 36.9% in 2012. In the United States, 34.2% of children aged 6 to 11 years suffer from overweight or obesity, and the percentage of those who are obese has increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. However, rates of overweight and obesity among children aged 3 to 19 years in Canada declined slightly from 30.7% in 2004 to 28.7% in 2013, while the prevalence of obesity remained stable at 13%. In response to the alarming epidemic of child and adolescent obesity in the Region, countries of the Americas took a major step forward when they unanimously ratified the 5-year Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents during the 53rd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This Plan recognizes that overweight and obesity are the direct result of high intake of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor processed and ultra-processed food—high in sugar, fats, and salt—in addition to routine intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and insufficient physical activity. It also recognizes that to confront the epidemic it is necessary to shift focus from changing individual behaviors to tackling the obesogenic environment. One example of this is the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages that went into effect in 2014 in Mexico, which has led to a 6% decline in sales during its first year of implementation...
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