Chileans now consume a lot less sugar after landmark public health law

The world’s toughest controls over the promotion of sugary drinks, brought in by a nation beset by obesity, have cut purchases by nearly a quarter in two years, research has shown. 

Four years ago, the people of Chile were consuming more sugary drinks per head than any other country in the world and were counting the cost in terms of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health. In an effort to drastically improve the public health situation in the country, the Chilean Health Ministry passed the most sweeping measures to combat mounting obesity. 

These included advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods, warning labels on the front of the package, and a ban on unhealthy snacks in schools. All of these regulations were aimed at warning and educating families about the health dangers of junk food and drinks for their children.

A centerpiece of the rules is a series of black stop signs that must appear on the front of packaged foods and beverages high in salt, sugar, fat or calories. Two years after the bill was passed, consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks dropped nearly 25 percent.

Considering the proven effectiveness of this legislation, it only seems reasonable for other countries suffering from similar public health problems – such as the US – to follow suit.

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