Structural responses to the obesity and non-communicable diseases epidemic: the Chilean Law of Food Labeling and Advertising
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In 12 July 2012, the Chilean Senate approved the Law of Food Labeling and Advertising, resulting from the joint efforts of a group of health professionals, researchers and legislators who proposed a regulatory framework in support of healthy diets and active living. Its goal was to curb the ongoing epidemic increase of obesity and non-communicable diseases. Two actions included: (i) improving point of food purchase consumer information by incorporating easy-to-understand front-of-packages labeling and specific messages addressing critical nutrients, and (ii) decreasing children’s exposure to unhealthy foods by restricting marketing, advertising and sales. We summarize the work related to the law’s release and discuss the conclusions reached by the various expert committees that were convened by the Ministry of Health to guide the development of the regulatory norms. Throughout the process, the food industry has overtly expressed its disagreement with the regulatory effort. The final content of the regulatory norms is still pending; however there are suggestions that its implementation will be delayed and might be modified based on the industry lobbying actions. These lessons should contribute to show the need of anticipating and addressing potential barriers to obesity-.prevention policy implementation, particularly with respect to the role of the private sector.