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Media Outlets Examine Growing Number Of Overweight, Obese In Brazil, Pacific Region

“In the past 30 years, the U.S., the U.K. and many other parts of the industrialised world have experienced a fast-growing epidemic of obesity. The newer economies – from the Gulf states to China – have even more recently and rapidly observed a jump in the numbers of children and adults exceeding a healthy bodyweight. Brazil is no exception,” the Financial Times writes in a piece that examines how a growth in the percentage of the population who are overweight has imposed a greater burden on the country’s national health system and residents who must pay for many of their medications.

The article describes the role the food industry and social programs targeting the country’s poor have played in the dietary changes in the population, and the ways public health advocates are working to control the growing number of overweight individuals.

Public health officials, the newspaper writes, are “arguing for some unusually innovative and aggressive official measures, from healthier school meals and greater breast-feeding to taxes and tougher warnings on unhealthy food products,” the newspaper writes (Jack, 4/8).

In a related story, Agence France-Presse describes some of the factors contributing to the obesity epidemic hitting the Pacific region. WHO “data released last year [found] Pacific island nations account for eight of the top 10 countries where the male population is overweight or obese,” the news service writes. “Weight-related diseases are responsible for three-quarters of deaths in the region, Fiji-based WHO nutritionist Temo Waqanivalu said, with diabetes rates in some Pacific nations close to 50 percent.”

The article describes the efforts the government is taking to educate the public about healthy eating and restrict imports of less healthy food options (4/9).