Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Countries of the Americas Approve Plan of Action on Childhood Obesity

October 03, 2014

Statement from Lynn Silver, MD, MPH Senior Advisor, Chronic Disease and Obesity Prevention, Public Health Institute

PHI strongly endorses the Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents, approved today by the 53rd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The plan lays out meaningful and effective strategies to address the epidemic of childhood obesity in the Western Hemisphere, including breastfeeding promotion, healthier foods and increased physical activity in schools, policies to reduce sugary drink and junk food consumption and increased access to safe places to play and nutritious foods. The plan holds the promise to build both health and equity throughout the Countries of the Americas.

In a globalized world, what we have seen in the US is increasingly true in other countries: an overabundance of unhealthy foods and drinks, pushed by billions of dollars of advertising, crowd out traditional healthier dietary patterns and result in obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases, while also contributing to environmentally unsustainable production practices. We must create access to healthier options, while we reduce consumption of unhealthy food products and beverages.
This plan represents an important step forward in solidifying global recognition of the steps that nations must take to build healthier places, healthier communities and healthier lives. The Ministers of Health and the Pan American Health Organization have shown courage and leadership in elucidating these steps clearly and committing to action. PHI will continue its efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the US and globally.