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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Workshop on childhood obesity initiates the health team at APEC Chile 2019

On February 27, the workshop on prevention and promotion of childhood obesity policies was held within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) 2019.

Santiago, February 27, 2019. The Undersecretary of Public Health of Chile, Paula Daza, began the workshop by referring to an issue of concern in many of the member countries: childhood obesity. "Through APEC we will share the public policies of the countries in order to be able to evaluate their implementation. We are committed to changing our reality with respect to obesity, which today has a direct cost of 2% of healthcare spending, not to mention the indirect costs. Consequently, the obesity plan will be oriented mainly towards prevention, education and communication. All this within the framework of intersectoral public policies," said the Undersecretary, who also took up the position of Vice-chair for two years.

The exchange of ideas also included the Head of Healthy Public Policies and Promotion Division (DIPOL), Daniela Godoy, along with international experts Yevgeniy Gory, of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Brian Elbel of New York University, and Fabio Gomes, regional advisor on nutrition of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In his presentation, Fabio Gomes outlined how "obesity in itself is a direct cause of morbidities and emotional behavioral difficulties in childhood, including intestinal, musculoskeletal and orthopedic complications and the rapid onset of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, in addition to depression and stigmatization," in reference to a whole set of conditions that not only have physically visible but also psycho-social impacts.

For his part, the Director of the Comprehensive Program on Obesity at New York University, Brian Elbel, provided insights into the decisive need to address the problem of obesity taking into account different aspects, based on the study he has carried out of various public policies implemented in Chile. "While the environment is one of the most important things we can change to address childhood obesity, what is clear is that it must be addressed using a multi-sectoral approach," he said. Following the same line of thought, Goryakin detailed the wide range of policies that can address obesity, such as "information, educational environment, food labeling, media campaigns, mobile applications, bicycle lanes, public transport, green areas, healthy food options, tax regulation policies for the advertising industry, taxes on sugary drinks and subsidies for healthy foods," he concluded.

Over the next two years the different public policies implemented in the member countries that have produced better results and evaluations will be analyzed. Following this process, a platform will be created where the data will be accessible to share as well as to analyze the best cost effective public policies.

Source: Undersecretary of Health Communications Unit