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Chile Fights Child Obesity With Labels And Toy Ban

Chile has implemented a food label law to try to curb one of the highest obesity rates in the world.

McDonalds has reduced fat, sugar and salt in Happy Meals sold in Chile to comply with a new law that bans toys as enticements to buy unhealthy foods.

One of the strictest food labeling laws in the world took effect in Chile this week as the country tries to combat one of the world’s worst epidemics of childhood obesity.

The law, which has been in the works since 2012, requires warning labels on the front of high-energy food with large amounts of sugar, sodium or saturated fat.

The measure also bans junk-food ads targeting children under 14 and bars the inclusion of toys that tempt parents onto buying candy and junk food for kids.

That means candy treats like Kinder Surprise eggs that contain toys will be taken off the shelves.

Before the law went into effect, McDonalds reduced fat and sugar its Happy Meal items so it can continue to include toys in “Cajita Feliz.”

The law also bans sale of those foods in schools, a provision that supporters say makes the law tougher than similar efforts around the world.

One half of Chilean children are overweight, and obesity is a factor in one out of every 11 deaths, according to the country’s health ministry.

Read More:

  • Chile Seeks To Fight Obesity With New Food Labeling Law (Associated Press)
  • The Evil Egg: Chile Bans Kinder Surprise (Deutsche Welle)
  • Eight Countries Taking Action Against Harmful Food Marketing (Food Tank)
Chad Bouchard

Chad Bouchard is a veteran reporter and WFIU alum who has covered wild and wooly beats from Indonesia to Capitol Hill. His radio work has aired on NPR, PRI and Voice of America, and his writing has appeared in The Sunday Telegraph and Scientific American’s health magazine, Lives. He has also spent a lifetime gardening, foraging and eating weird stuff.

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