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Fight against obesity with better food labeling

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The crisis of the coronavirus monopolizes all the attention in the media and we can sin of not addressing other issues whose importance is more or less comparable.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in one way or another of obesity.. It is a somewhat silent plague that is spreading slowly throughout the West and even in developing countries.

One of the biggest problems is access to healthy food. Maintaining a correct and balanced diet is an expense that many families cannot bear since fresh products such as vegetables, meat and fish are considerably more expensive than derived foods prepared on an industrial scale. We have gone from a society that illustrates the rich with fat bellies and expensive jackets, one who thinks of the typical sculptural diva and the chiseled adonis enjoying in her millionaire mansion with all kinds of luxuries. The wealthiest segments of the population can take care of themselves through diet, but the less fortunate no.

Another problem that the common citizen has to face when maintaining his figure is the lack of dietary education. Researchers have already shown that customs inherited from the family nucleus play a crucial role in being overweight, or absence of this, of future adults, spanning even generations. On the one hand, this means that it is necessary to break with the eating habits that are taking place right now in many homes., and on the other hand it becomes clear that there is not enough school education for young people to get out of this cycle.

Finally, Another point on which it is necessary to influence is the lack of information. In this sense the food labeling It's a great help, but it still has many deficiencies. It has transpired in the media on more than one occasion that the caloric values ​​of food do not accurately reflect reality. On rare occasions data above the real ones are given, while in a number of statistically suspect cases they are dropped.

On the other hand, in many industries there is no obligation to record this information. For example, when the amount of a certain component does not exceed an established limit, no need to reflect it. This leads to situations as contradictory as some foods do not have calories, which is obviously false.

It must be taken into account that the rules of application in the food industry are developed at the state or local level, there is no international consensus. This can create gaps in the flow of information in imported products., for example. further the demands vary from one country to another, the lack of a common agreement in this regard allows the proliferation of obesity due to passivity.

further, We cannot forget that although products sold in supermarkets and other food stores are required to present their labeling on most occasions, not so in other establishments where food is sold. Restaurants and bars would enter this legal vacuum.

Now, according to a study published in Journal of the American Heart Association, it is shown that, with a correct labeling that covers all the products and points of sale of the same could be avoided in the short term 14 000 cases of coronary heart disease associated with obesity and 21 000 type diabetes 2, only in EE. UU., both pathologies with high morbidity within cohorts of obese patients. The data would be slightly lower in the European Union.

We must not only attend to the loss of well-being and human lives. If you look at the economy, especially in countries with a national public health system like ours, by not doing a correct labeling we are doing ourselves a disservice. Basically we throw stones at our own roof because costs associated with care, medication, Surgery and other protocols derived from a correct diagnosis and treatment of the aforementioned diseases costs hundreds of millions of euros from the public treasury every year.. Money that we could save and invest on other fronts at the same time that we would improve the living standards of many of our fellow citizens.

Initiatives that go through more demanding food labeling pay for themselves, so that. But also, in many cases instead of negatively impacting consumption, they can help. The most common problem is not how much we eat, but what do we eat, and therefore the food industry does not have to lose business volume, you just have to adapt to the changes in consumer behavior that come. Something that is already happening, because it is increasingly common to see on the shelves of our food stores sections completely dedicated to healthy products, dietetic, suitable for people with food allergies or restrictive diets, such as vegetarian or vegan.

Among Spanish youth there is a clear interest in eating healthier, and offering information on how to do it improves consumer perception of the brand. A) Yes, it is recommended that the menus and menus of the restaurants have, next to each item, nutritional information about the dish in question, if possible together with other aspects of interest to the consumer, such as the origin or peculiarities of the ingredients used. A meat lover who visits a restaurant with the intention of tasting a half kilo steak will not be intimidated by a calorie count, But people who are looking to live healthier and stay away from obesity will appreciate the effort the restaurant puts in to inform. In the end your user experience is enhanced by being able to make a choice of your command more accurate and related to your needs.

In Spain the incidence of obesity is growing. The abandonment of the Mediterranean diet, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet education endanger the little ones. It is estimated that, not to act on the problem now, pathologies derived from obesity could reduce life expectancy in Spain (currently the second in the world) and suppose a large expense to our public health system, only comparable to the one with cancer today.

In the absence of stronger solutions, as a tax on harmful foods that has already been tried in several countries (our french neighbors included), correct labeling always present, informative and well visible, can help us alleviate the obesity crisis what is coming.

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Article by the editorial team of DiegoCoquillat.com. It has professionals both in the field of hospitality, gastronomy and tourism, and new technologies and innovation.

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