Malnutrition in Latin America With the ever growing population in Latin America, many are falling into obesity; but the government has devised a plan.

Glossary:

  • Agronomist: A trained professional who studies soil management and crop production
  • Eradicate: To work on and get rid of a particular problem
  • Greenhouse Emission: Gases that give way to the Greenhouse Effect
  • Hypertension: Also known as high blood pressure
  • Malnutrition: Being malnourished due to factors like not enough food or not of all of the food groups
  • Sedentary: The act of sitting around a lot either at work or leisurely
  • Substantial: To increase or decrease in size, value or importance

What is the cost of obesity in Latin America?

Obesity in Latin America costs billions of dollars and will double by 2017. Latin America is the spot where obesity is the most prominent, and with that, the costs to maintain to help control obesity has skyrocketed from the cost of buying food and the cost of health check ups, in the article, “Latin America Caribbean Could be the First Developing Region to Eradicate Hunger,” from Food Ingredients notes that, “Malnutrition generates enormous economic and social costs, as public health systems must now cope with increasing levels of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, as well as the consequences of child stunting, wasting and undernourishment.” All of these problems end up giving Mexico a huge hospital bill. The Food and Agricultural Organization, a UN agency, states “public-health officials reckon the cost of obesity, around 67 billion pesos ($6 billion) in 2008, will more than double by 2017.” While many are looking at the costs of obesity, many fail to see the other factors that are helping Latin America.

How does the Paris Agreement affect Latin America?

The Paris Agreement tries and limits the increase in global temperature and keep it below 2 degrees Celsius and to reduce greenhouse emission. Which surprisingly affects the nutrition in Latin America. Latin America has realized that they need to take action and try to help solve the growing problem. Edward Guy, a research fellow and co-director at Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab acknowledges that “Latin America is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Glacial melt in the Andes is likely to affect water supplies with serious consequences for millions of people that depend on agriculture.” Problems with agriculture leads to lack of a food supply for the country, when that happens malnutrition begins, which also includes obesity because Latin Americans are eating too much of one thing. With this problem, Latin America is sure to lose money. Graziano da Silva, a Brazilian agronomist and writer states that, “the region’s agricultural sector lost 11 billion dollars due to natural disasters between 2003 and 2013, and a third of its population lives in areas at high risk from natural disasters.” Helping to reduce these environmental problems will play a huge role in fixing obesity. With the solution that is coming in play, there is also another.

What is the Food Security Act?

The Food Security plan is going to be used to eradicate hunger for everyone in Latin America and the Caribbean within the next ten years. The plan was to, “promote comprehensive public policies to reduce poverty, improve rural conditions, adapt agriculture to climate change, and food waste and face disaster risks,” states the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The goal is to end hunger for everyone in Latin America by 2025, which is 5 years before the original plan known as, Zero Hunger. As of right now, the plan not only targets hunger, “but also obesity, which affects about 140 million people in the region,” notes José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. Being able to help the country as a whole will substantially help fix their problem with malnutrition. However, they’re still people who are affected by a disease known as hypertension.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension occurs when someone has high blood pressure. This is seen a lot in Latin America due to the vasts number of obese people. Stated by Carissa F. Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, “‘hypertension, which is the leading risk factor for illness and premature death from cardiovascular disease, affects some 250 million people in the Americas.’” When seeing a large number like this, it shows that this is becoming a large problem and many people are being affected by obesity. Currently North America is trying to solve this conflict, and are solving the problem little by little, however; Latin America “has not seen this CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) regression, and a recent study suggests that rising incidence of high blood pressure (hypertension) might be the reason,” says Daniel Henryk Rasolt, a writer for the defeat diabetes campaign. Although, hypertension is affecting Latin America substantially, the Food Security Act and the Paris Agreement are being used to help solve the ever growing problem. All though, the problems are currently being solved, recent studies have shown that more women are obese than men.

Why are more women obese than men in Latin America?

When it comes between the two genders, there are many differences. Statistics prove that “the situation of women is particularly worrying as their average obesity rate reaches 295, compared to 18% for men” acknowledged by Graziano da Silva. Major differences between the two genders are greatly shown in the work they do, Emmy Simmons, a hunger relief expert states “there is this traditional image of the market woman as relatively fat, shall we say, because of a more sedentary lifestyle. In other words, women work more jobs that allow for sitting, or jobs that do not require much movement. When combined with Latin America’s rich in fat diet, it allows for the start of obesity to happen.

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