The El Comercio article, “The Government Insists that the Fast Food Law ‘Is Not a Prohibition,’” published May 20, includes only the Peruvian government’s response to critics of the so-called “Fast Food Law,” but fails to outline the aspects of the law that give it potential. According to the Task Force for Global Health, 18.1 percent of children in urban areas of Peru between the ages of five and nine are overweight, the largest overweight demographic in the country. This problem is largely caused by the fact that children eat fast food. According to Bloomberg News, Peru has the largest concentration of fast food restaurants in the world. To counter these statistics, the Law on Promotion of Healthy Food, approved by the Peruvian Congress on May 2, regulates the types of food in school cafeterias and prevents advertising regarding fast food to children and adolescents. However, the article does not discuss that the law also educates families on nutrition, which is a key element in reducing obesity, due to the fact that parents influence their children’s food choices.
The law categorizes certain foods as “fast food” and regulates commercials. However, to increase the effectiveness of the law, the Peruvian government should increase regulations on fast food companies, such as preventing them from providing toys to children so that the toys are not associated with the unhealthy food. The law could also implement physical education programs to supplement dietary education. The Law on Promotion of Healthy Food does not prohibit certain foods, but does seek to reduce the amount of fast food children eat.
Isabella Fabens, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
In response to the El Comercio Peru article: “The Government Insists that the Fast Food Law ‘Is Not a Prohibition’”
For the Spanish version of this Letter to the Editor on COHA’s Spanish Blog please click here.
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