In October 2014, Member States at the 53rd session of the Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), unanimously approved the Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents. is development reflected the awareness among governments of the alarming prevalence of obesity in the Americas—the highest in the world—and was an unequivocal sign that countries in the Region were committed to taking action.
The Plan of Action mandates that PAHO provide evidence-based information for the development of fiscal and other types of policies and regulations to prevent the consumption of unhealthy foods, including front-of-package (FOP) labeling and Regional nutrition guidelines for school food environments (feeding programs and food and beverages sold in schools). The development and provision of Regional criteria for acceptable amounts of critical nutrients such as salt, sugar, saturated fats and trans fats, in the form of a Nutrient Profile (NP) Model, is a key step towards compliance with this mandate. The PAHO NP Model presented here is based on robust scientific evidence and is the result of rigorous work by an Expert Consultation Group composed of recognized authorities in the field of nutrition. It is hoped that this model will be adopted by Member States and used to create environments conducive to healthy eating.