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Ep. 14: Future of Food Policy: Chile Models Ways to End Obesity

Barry Popkin is one of the world’s leading thinkers when it comes to human relationship to food. He runs the Nutrition Transition Research program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

When asked to point to a country that is doing things right when it comes to obesity, he points to Chile.

“Chile is unique. First, they cut the cost of all non-caloric beverages,” he says. (So buying a water is cheaper than buying a soda.)

The country also curbs junk food marketing to children. They are now adding a marketing ban to adults as well where unhealthy food will be banned from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be a “danger” sticker for unhealthy foods, and a “mega-tax” of 30 to 40 percent on such foods is likely.

“So they truly will probably be the first country to turn around obesity,” Popkin says.

This conversation is part of a series called The Future of Food Policy. The conversations were conducted at Duke University as a part of the development of a new initiative, the World Food Policy Center.

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