One in 7 women in Kenya is obese. That is a fact according to the ministry of health. In its mid-term review last year, the ministry of health was concerned by the rising number of obesity cases in ALL counties.
In the African continent, Kenyan women are the 9th most obese. The foundation for most non-communicable diseases is obesity. Kenya is struggling with NCD’s.
Chile knows that place very well. Chile is one of the fattest countries on earth. Its children are fattest in Latin America according to the medical journal The Lancet.
Chile did not just wake up one day and find itself in this position. It has been a gradual rise in fatness and obesity. This is the reason why Kenya must sit up with a pen and paper and take some notes from a country that is fed up and doing something to reduce cases of obesity. How you may ask?
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Wage war on unhealthy foods
Chile, in a bid to tame obesity, has reigned in on the food industry with marketing restrictions and strict rules on labelling.
I cannot begin to imagine what this has been like for the country’s policymakers especially because the scales always tip for the economic benefits.
It is rarely about the quality of health when it comes to the food and beverages industry.
Now though, Chile has a law in place that deems it illegal to have any kind of depiction of characters on the packaging that might draw children to those products.
Some products like Kinder Surprise that comes with chocolate eggs with a hidden toy are banned. There will be no those funny looking mascots on packages either.
A ban on marketing infant formula will take effect soon. How awesome is that?
Takeaway: It takes boldness to face your worst fears. What is the worst that can happen by facing an industry that is causing harm to society?
Tax Sugar Offenders.
Our love affair with sugar is illicit it almost borders on criminality. How do you fall in love with the person who is slowly syphoning your life? I know people who cannot go a day without drinking a Coke.
Some, haunted by the realities of what a single 500ml coke contains, shift to Coca-Cola Zero sugar. It is a try at least.
Well, what Chile has done is to take that burden from you and take the battle right where it belongs. All the beverages that have a high sugar content will pay an 18% tax.
Just as the country ranks high in obesity, so are the taxes for those contributing to poor food and beverage choices.
These decisions don’t come easy or cheap. PepsiCo and Kellogg’s have already gone to court because they argue the new regulations are infringing on their intellectual property.
Takeaway: Man shall not live on sugar alone.
The world is corrupted by economic systems that worship at the altar of profit-making even when it does more harm than good. For Chile to have come to this sobering reality that food/beverages needed some streamlining in order to stem the rising numbers of people who are obese is bold.
We are at a point in history where investing in the general health of populations is one of the most important measures that a country can take its people.
The food industry in the world has enormous financial muscle. It is not a secret that this muscle has been used to manipulate studies, fund researchers and scholars to tilt some truths to benefit the big players.
Developing countries are already aware of these harmful relationships. To be able to step up their game and tame the food industry, they must fund independent studies that reflect the truth about the industry and its impact on the communities where they sell their products.