Ultra-processed food and drink products in Latin America: Sales, sources, nutrient profiles, and policy implications
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[Introduction]. The rapid increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity, diabetes, and associated chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in recent decades, threatens the health and well-being and also the economic prospects of all Latin American and the Caribbean countries, now and in the future. To address one crucial aspect of this crisis, in October 2014, the Member States of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) approved a five-year Plan of Action whose purpose is to halt a further increase in obesity in children and adolescents in the Americas. The plan calls for the implementation of fiscal policies, such as taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and energy-dense nutrient-poor products, regulation of food marketing and labeling, improvement of school nutrition and physical activity environments, and promotion of breastfeeding and healthy eating. Its goal is to halt the rise of the epidemic so that there is no increase in current country prevalence rates of obesity... Ultra-processed products typically contain little or no whole foods. They are industrial formulations made mostly from substances extracted or derived from foods, plus additives. They include soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened juices and drinks, sweet and savory snacks, candies (confectionery), industrial breads, cakes, and cookies (biscuits), sweetened breakfast cereals, reconstituted meat products, and pre-prepared dishes. As well as sugars, oils, fats and salt, ultra-processed products include substances also derived from foods but not used in home cooking, such as hydrogenated oils, modified starches, protein isolates, and additives such as colors, flavors and flavor enhancers. Additives are used to imitate and enhance the sensory qualities of natural foods or to disguise unattractive qualities of the final product...
Category of PAHO Strategic Plan 2014-2019
Pan American Health Organization. Ultra-processed food and drink products in Latin America: Sales, sources, nutrient profiles, and policy implications. Washington, D.C.: PAHO; 2019.
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