Working with JUNAEB to address obesity

A growing trend among the youth of our world is obesity, and this is also being felt very strongly in Chile.  Chileans are the number one consumers of sugary drinks around the world. Arica, where a Coca-cola factory is located, is one of the highest consumers per person.

As part of the IBM Corporate Service Corps, we are working with JUNAEB-Arica of the Ministry of Education in Arica to help address this growing trend.

There is a good Contrapeso plan which contains 50 measures (action plans) to help address obesity in the youth of the country.  These measures vary from increasing the physical activity of the students, to modifying their food intake at schools, and to improving student and parent education so the kids eat more healthy food at home.

It is a significant challenge as we have found that cheaper, processed foods are widely available in stores everywhere, and it is much harder to find healthy options.

In 2016, Chile launched a new law requiring black stop-sign labels on foods which contain high salt, high fat, and/or high calories.  This is a good step and we have seen these labels on many (but not all) of the products on the shelves.  However there is no apparent concern of the use of alternative sweeteners or the high number of processed ingredients or the environmental impact of the excessive packaging in these processed foods.

We continue to work with JUNAEB-Arica to find ways to digitally measure and track the weights and other health stats of the students so that they can better understand the impacts of various programs and initiatives.


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