Strategy to Combat Overweight and Obesity
This agreement aims to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through integrated, intersectoral efforts to change family diets, eating habits, and physical activity levels. Its child-centered strategy for addressing this increasingly serious public health problem includes improving the availability and accessibility of healthy foods and beverages and, promoting regular physical activity. The agreement sets out a comprehensive approach that includes regulating production, marketing, and advertising, and public education to encourage healthy food choices and lifestyles. It has a strong awareness and training component for teachers, health care providers, and other members of the community.
Meets the criteria established under Health in All Policies:
- Political commitment. The Agreement has political support from the highest levels of the federal government, which appointed the Secretary of Health as the implementing entity.
- Separate structure. A National Council for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases (CONACRO) coordinates government activities. The Secretary of Health serves as president of the Council, and the Undersecretary for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, as vice president. The Secretary of Health appoints a coordinator, and the members include the heads of 15 federal government agencies.
- Participation of other sectors. Participating agencies include: the Secretariats of the Treasury, Social Development, Economy, Education, Labor, and Social Welfare and the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food; the Social Security Institute, the Workplace Safety and Social Services divisions; the Office of Innovation and Quality, Office of Administration and Finances; and the National Institutes of Health and High Specialty Regional Hospitals Coordinating Commission, the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks, the National Commission on Social Protection in Health, and the National Health Council, all under the Secretariat of Health.
- Separate budget. Although it does not have its own budget, the Agreement is funded through budget allocations from all the relevant agencies.
- Focus on reducing inequity. The program mainly addresses prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and tends to focus on low-income populations, where prevalence is higher. It also serves groups such as indigenous communities, nursing mothers, etc.
- Intersectoral action. The Agreement assigns each government agency specific activities within its sphere of responsibilities, based on 10 objectives: (1) physical activity; (2) pure drinking water; (3) reduced intake of sugar and fat in beverages; (4) consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fiber; (5) appropriate labeling and nutritional literacy; (6) breastfeeding; (7) reduced sugars and sweeteners added to foods; (8) reduced intake of saturated and transfats; (9) reduced serving sizes; (10) control of salt intake.
- Public policy. The Secretary of Labor has promoted a law to promote healthy food in the workplace. The Secretary of Education developed a national school- based action plan that promotes physical activity, nutritious food, and nutritional literacy and issued general guidelines for the sale or distribution of food and beverages in schools. The Secretary of Health established guidelines for strengthening public policy related to breastfeeding.
- Evidence of results. Research showed that 41% of the messages created by 80% of companies that advertise in the media promote healthy lifestyles. The Secretary of Education issued general guidelines for the sale or distribution of food and beverages in schools. A total of 98% of schools include regular physical activity in their curricula and 78% of primary schools provide safe drinking water. The website created to register recommended products based on their nutritional value includes more than 2,850 products that meet nutritional criteria. The Secretariat of Education produced and distributed educational support materials. Schools set up committees with active community participation to promote and monitor actions to ensure the availability of healthy food in schools.
- Social participation. The initiative encourages active participation through public consultations, formal alliances, and workshops.