Skip to main content

Obesity Prevention in Latin America

Abstract

In Latin American countries, obesity prevalence has increased significantly as a result of rapid urbanization and an improvement in socioeconomic conditions. We report the prevalence of overweight and/or obesity and prevention efforts in five countries: Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Chile. In children, the highest and lowest rates of obesity are found in Chile (23 % in 6-year-olds) and Peru (1.8 % in those <5 years), respectively. In adults, Mexico and Chile present similar high rates of obesity (around 35 %), whereas in Brazil and Colombia, the rates are around 20 % and 16.5 %, respectively. In general, the highest prevalence occurs in low-income women. Every country has developed initiatives to target obesity, from the government to the private sector and academia, mainly at the health sector and school settings. Food labeling is being addressed, but has not been implemented yet. Two interventions are described, a community-based in Mexico and a school-based in Chile. Because the increase in chronic diseases, especially diabetes, has paralleled that of obesity, effective prevention efforts are urgently needed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

  1. Frenk J, Bobadilla J, Stern C, et al. Elements for a theory of the health transition. Health Transit Rev. 1991;1:21–38.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Uauy R, Albala C, Kain J. Obesity trends in Latin America: transiting from under to overweight. J Nutr. 2001;131:893S–9S.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Monteiro C, Conde W, Lu B, Popkin B. Obesity and inequities in health in the developing world. Int J Obes (Lond). 2004;28:1181–6.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Rivera J, Barquera S, González-Cossio T, et al. Nutrition transition in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Nutr Rev. 2004;62:149S–57S.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Popkin B, Adair L, Weng NS. Now and then: the global nutrition transition: the pandemic of obesity in developing countries. Nutr Rev. 2012;70:3–21. This paper reviews the most important aspects of the nutrition transition.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chaparro MP, Estrada L. Mapping the nutrition transition in Peru: evidence for decentralized nutrition policies. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2012;32:241–4.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Marshall S. Developing countries face double burden of disease. Bull World Health Organ. 2004;82:7.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Boutayeb A. The double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in developing countries. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2005;100:191–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Acosta K. La obesidad y su concentración según nivel socioeconómico en Colombia. Cartegena: CEER, Banco de la República; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF). Encuesta Nacional de la Situación Nacional en Colombia, 2005. Bogotá: ICBF; 2005.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF). Encuesta Nacional de la Situación Nacional en Colombia, 2005. Bogotá: ICBF; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Ministerio de Protección Social. Resolución número 2121 de 2010. Bogotá: MPS; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Brasil–Ministerio de Saúde. Pesquisa Nacional de Demografía e Saúde de Crianca e da Mulher PNDS. Dimensôes do Processo Reproductivo e da Saúde de Crianca. 1st ed. Brasilia: Ministério de Saúde; 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Cole T, Bellizzi M, Flegal K, et al. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. BMJ. 2000;320:1240–3.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Gutierrez J, Rivera J, Shamah-Levy T, et al. Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición 2012. Resultados Nacionales. Cuernavaca: Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (MX); 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  16. World Health Organization. The WHO Child Growth Standards. Geneva: WHO; 2007. http://www.who.int/childgrowth/standards/en.

    Google Scholar 

  17. World Health Organization. The WHO 2007 SAS Macro Package 2007. Geneva: WHO; 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Barquera S, Campos-Nonato I, Hernandez-Barrera L, et al. Prevalencia de obesidad en adultos mexicanos, ENSANUT 2012. Salud Publica Mex. 2013;55:S151–60.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Alvarez D, Sanchez J, Gomez G, Tarqui C. Overweight and obesity: prevalence and determining social factors of overweight in the Peruvian population (2009–2010). Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Pública. 2012;3:303–13.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Ministerio de Salud de Chile. Evaluación del Estado Nutricional de la Población Bajo Control. www.ine.cl/canales/menu/publicaciones/compendio_estadistico/pdf/2012/estadisticas_salud.

  21. Junta Nacional de Auxilio Escolar y Becas de Chile. Mapa Nutricional. www.junaeb.cl/mapa-nutricional.

  22. Encuesta Nacional de Salud de Chile 2009–2010. http://www.redsalud.gov.cl/portal/url/item/99bbf09a908d3eb8e04001011f014b49.pdf.

  23. Albala C, Corvalan C. Epidemiology of obesity in children in South America. In: Moreno LA et al., editors. Epidemiology of Obesity in Children and Adolescents. New York: Springer; 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Barquera S, Campos I, Rivera J. Mexico attempts to tackle obesity: the process, results, pushbacks and future challenges. Obes Rev. 2013;14:69–78. This recent paper outlines Mexico’s strategies to address obesity.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Reis C, Ivana A, Juliana FNB. Políticas públicas de nutricâp para controle da obesidade infantil. Sâo Paulo Rev Paul Pediatr. 2011;29:4.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Kain J, Corvalan C, Lera L, et al. Accelerated growth in early life and obesity in Chilean preschool children. Obesity. 2009;17:1603–8.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Barquera S. Obesity prevention. Salud Publica Mex. 2013;55:S356.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Alvarde V, Rodrigue A, Henao S, et al. Resultados de un programa comunitario de intervención en el estilo de vida en niños. Salud Publica Mex. 2013;55:S406–14.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Obesity and the Economics of Prevention Fit not Fat. http://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/obesityandtheeconomicsofpreventionfitnotfat.htm. This Web site shows the importance of tackling obesity from an economic point of view.

  30. Ministerio de la Protección Social. Plan Decenal de Salud Pública 2012–2021. Bogotá: MPS; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Neufeld L, Rubio M, Pinzón, Tolentino L. Nutrición en Colombia: estrategia de país 2011–2014. BID. Notas Técnicas 243.

  32. República de Colombia. Congreso Nacional. Ley 1355 de 2009. Bogotá: CN; 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Brasil–Ministerio de Saúde. Portaria n, 710, de 10 de junio de 1999. Apoya a Política Nacional de Alimentaçâo e Nutriçâo. Brasilia: Diario Oficial de Uniâo; 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Viana AL, Fausto MC, Lima LD. Política de Salud e eqûidade. Sâo Paulo en Perspectiva. 2003;17:58–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Brasil. Ministerio de Saúde- Dez passos para a promoçâo da alimentaçâo saudável nas escolas. Brasilia: Ministerio da Saúde; 2004.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Brasil. Ministério de Saúde. Programa Academia da Saúde. Brasilia: Ministerio de Saúde; 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Mispireta ML. Determining factors of overweight and obesity in children at school age in Peru. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2012;29:361–5.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Ministerio de Salud del Perú. Resolución Suprema Nº 210-2013-PCM (17 de junio, 2013). www.pcm.gob.pe/etiqueta/resolucion-suprema-no-210-2013-pcm/

  39. Kain J, Leyton B, Concha F, et al. Evaluation of an obesity prevention intervention which included nutrition education and physical activity applied in public schools of Santiago, Chile. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2012;62:60–7.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Kain J, Uauy R, Concha F, et al. School-based obesity prevention for Chilean children during the past decades: lessons learned. Adv Nutr. 2012;3:616S–21S.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Estrategia Global Contra la Obesidad. www.minsal.cl/portal/url/page/minsalcl/g_proteccion/g_alimentos/prot_ego.html.

  42. Popkin B, Monteiro C, Swinburn B. Overview: Bellagio Conference on Program and Policy Options for Preventing Obesity in the Low- and Middle-Income. Obes Rev. 2013;14 Suppl 2:1–8. This article summarizes the 2013 Bellagio Conference and provides examples from participating countries.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Corvalán C, Reyes M, Garmendi M, Uauy R. Structural responses to the obesity and non-communicable diseases epidemic: the Chilean Law of Food Labeling and Advertising. Obes Rev. 2013;14 Suppl 2:79–87.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Webber L, Kilpi F, Marsh T, et al. High rates of obesity and non-communicable diseases predicted across Latin America. PLoS One. 2012;7:e39589. The analysis done by these authors shows that the intensity of different prevention efforts may have an impact on obesity rates in the future.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Juliana Kain, Sonia Hernández Cordero, Diana Pineda, Augusto Ferreira de Moraes, Daniel Antiporta, Tatiana Collese, Elsie Costa de Oliveira Forkert, Laura González, Juan Jaime Miranda, and Juan Rivera declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Juliana Kain.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kain, J., Hernández Cordero, S., Pineda, D. et al. Obesity Prevention in Latin America. Curr Obes Rep 3, 150–155 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-014-0097-8

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-014-0097-8

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Prevention
  • Latin America