Structural responses to the obesity and non‐communicable diseases epidemic: Update on the Chilean law of food labelling and advertising

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Authors: C. Corvalán; M. Reyes; M. L. Garmendia; R. Uauy

October 2018 – Chile approved the law of food labelling and advertising in 2012; this law aims to address the obesity epidemic, particularly in children. The implementation details were published in 2015, and the law was implemented finally in 2016. Regulated foods were defined based on a specially developed nutrient profiling, which considered natural foods as gold standard. For liquid foods, amounts of energy, sugars, saturated fats, and sodium in 100 mL of cow’s milk were used as cut‐offs. For solid foods, values within the 90th ‐ 99th percentile range for energy and critical nutrients were selected as cut‐off within a list of natural foods. A stop sign stating “High in ” was chosen as warning label for packaged regulated foods. Regulated foods were also forbidden to be sold or offered for free at kiosks, cafeterias, and feeding programme at schools and nurseries. Besides, regulated foods cannot be promoted to children under 14 years. A staggered implementation of the regulation was decided, with nutrients cut‐offs becoming increasingly stricter over a 3‐year period. These regulatory efforts are in the right direction but will have to be sustained and complemented with other actions to achieve their ultimate impact of halting the obesity epidemic.

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