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El combate por alimentos sanos

DRESDE – ¿Hasta qué punto deben los gobiernos reglamentar o gravar  los comportamientos adictivos? Durante mucho tiempo el debate público sobre el alcohol, el tabaco, las apuestas y otros bienes y servicios se ha centrado alrededor de esta pregunta en muchos países del mundo. Ahora, en los Estados Unidos – que podría decirse que es la cuna de la cultura moderna del consumo – el debate se está centrando en la lucha contra la epidemia de obesidad infantil.

Resulta irónico que en un mundo en el que la desnutrición infantil afecta a muchos países en desarrollo, la obesidad infantil se haya convertido en uno de los principales problemas de salud en las economías avanzadas. Por ejemplo, según cálculos del Banco Mundial, la tercera parte de los niños de Indonesia sufren un crecimiento atrofiado, lo que los confronta al riesgo de sufrir efectos de por vida sobre las aptitudes físicas y el desarrollo cognitivo. Sin embargo, el sufrimiento de los niños desnutridos del mundo en desarrollo no disminuye la importancia de la obesidad en los países avanzados.

En efecto, aunque tal vez no esté al mismo nivel que el calentamiento global o la amenaza de escasez de agua, la obesidad – y en especial la obesidad infantil – es uno de los graves problemas de salud pública a que se enfrentan los países avanzados en el siglo XXI y está afectando rápidamente a muchas economías emergentes también. Con todo, solucionarlo plantea desafíos mucho más difíciles que el tipo de acciones exitosas de salud pública del siglo pasado como la vacunación casi universal, la fluoración del agua potable y las normas de seguridad para los automóviles.

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