Thursday, March 23, 2023

Education, the key to preventing obesity and diabetes

There are more and more diseases associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems around the world. According to a 2019 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, around 105 million people (24% of the population) in the region suffer from obesity and this is due to the consumption of fast and ultra-processed food. ,

For experts, all these disorders can be prevented if healthy eating education is imparted in our homes and schools.

In 2020, the Healthy Eating Movement was born in Panama, which promotes the consumption of healthy foods and products with the aim of reducing non-communicable diseases.

“Healthy eating is one of the most important factors for the proper growth and development of children. If good eating habits are adopted from childhood, they will favor the practice of a healthy lifestyle in adulthood and, in turn, reduce the risk of health problems and will even prevent some types of cancer,” explained at a conference, Bethie Cruzado, general coordinator of the Healthy Eating Movement.

The rates of chronic diseases caused by poor diet, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cancer, are getting worse every day, he said.

“There is evidence that many packaged foods that are processed with high levels of added sugars, sodium, saturated fat, trans fat (butter or margarine), and refined carbohydrates are linked to obesity and non-communicable diseases, including cancer.” It’s time for us to start working for our food. This includes being more healthy, taking care of our environment, doing more in favor of consumer education,” he explained.

Cruzado said the World Health Organization (WHO) recently urged governments to promote healthy eating in public establishments such as schools, nurseries, nursing homes, hospitals, prisons and public establishment canteens, so that everyone has access to healthy food. can do. and prevent more than 8 million deaths that are registered each year due to unhealthy eating.

Cruzado expressed dissatisfaction with the national government for “little attention” given to issues of food, nutrition and health. He also worries that politicians have not put the issue of food and food on the table, because “it seems that it doesn’t matter to them and now they are only interested in seeking votes and grabbing power.”

“It is inconceivable that in his last speech to the nation, on January 2, the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, did not speak about the issue of healthy food.” But he didn’t mention healthy eating, which is a very important issue and the true basis for preventing diseases and promoting health in a population that is stressed.

In turn, he suggested to the national government to raise the tax on soda and other sugary drinks to at least 30%, as recommended by the WHO, and use the money for educational campaigns.

“We are not here to judge the government, but to help and give necessary suggestions, as there is a great need for consumer education, which is currently not being done,” Cruzado highlighted.

“We are no longer the only adults who suffer from obesity and diabetes, there are high rates of obese children in hospitals, and adults with cancer due to not eating a healthy diet.”

some data

According to a 2019 national public health survey, 4 out of 10 children in Panama aged 5 to 9 are overweight, and that figure rises to 7 out of 10 among adults.

Panama currently has Law 114 of November 18, 2019 which creates an action plan to improve health and revises the rates of the Selective Consumption Tax (hereinafter ISC) of sugary drinks, with the State in compliance with the constitutional norm cooperation is done. To ensure the health and welfare of the population.

labeling law

According to Cruzado, in September 2022 the randomized study ‘The superiority of octagonal nutritional warning stamps in Panama’ was prepared by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), a United Nations organization. for Food and Agriculture (FAO) and the Healthy Food Movement of Panama, which compared the effectiveness of octagonal seals implemented in different countries in the Americas to promote their adoption in Panama, and the results were well received by consumers.

“They chose more often to buy food products that are less harmful to health. They also showed a greater intention to choose the least harmful products”, he explained.

These warning labels on pre-packaged processed and ultra-processed food products help consumers make better food decisions.

There is currently a bill in the National Assembly that seeks to establish Frontal Nutritional Warning Labeling (EFAN), which has led members of the Healthy Food Movement to suggest re-opening the discussion of the same, as Frontal Nutritional Warning Labeling with octagonal seals A solution that is easy to implement and use, allowing consumers to be better informed and guided to make the most appropriate decisions for their health.

garden and training

Iredina González, a member of the movement, said that we should return to urban, community and school gardens, as such initiatives encourage the consumption of healthy food.

“Consumers must be trained in fairs and public markets, for we have forgotten that we have a country that produces all kinds of food, such as rice, cassava, yams, fruits, legumes, maize widely are used to make tortillas. In short, we have our national producers”, he acknowledged.

He advised introducing fruits and vegetables to children from an early age so that their taste buds can appreciate them. “If we all work for the same cause, everything can be better.”

The teacher recommended training producers in sustainable agriculture and, above all, creating bills and regulations that promote healthy lifestyles and consumption. “We have resources like knowledge, skills, time and energy to reduce costs and buy nutritious products,” he said.

“We call on the government to make a greater commitment to reducing sodium consumption, eliminating trans fats, creating healthy menus for children in restaurants and approving laws and regulations to propose nutritional labeling of products nationally Huh.”

Cruzado also said that it is important to control and monitor schools to reduce the consumption of junk food. In addition to taking action to improve health and prevent diseases, beginning with promoting better diets.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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