The prevalence of overweight and obesity is rapidly increasing among Latin American children, posing challenges for current healthcare systems and increasing the risk for a wide range of diseases. To understand the factors contributing to childhood obesity in Latin America, this paper reviews the current nutrition status and physical activity situation, the disparities between and within countries and the potential challenges for ensuring adequate nutrition and physical activity. Across the region, children face a dual burden of undernutrition and excess weight. While efforts to address undernutrition have made marked improvements, childhood obesity is on the rise as a result of diets that favour energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle. Over the last decade, changes in socioeconomic conditions, urbanization, retail foods and public transportation have all contributed to childhood obesity in the region. Additional research and research capacity are needed to address this growing epidemic, particularly with respect to designing, implementing and evaluating the impact of evidence-based obesity prevention interventions.
Nutrition status of children in Latin America
Corvalan, C., Garmendia, M. L., Jones-Smith, J., Lutter, C. K., Miranda, J. J., Pedraza, L. S., Popkin, B. M., Ramirez-Zea, M., Salvo, D., & Stein, A. D. (2017). Nutrition status of children in Latin America. Obesity Reviews, 18, 7-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12571