About this Research Topic
Latin America has become fully integrated into the world economy with varying degrees of prosperity. While these changes have conferred great benefits, most Latin American countries are also experiencing the negative effects of a transition to more Western-type diets. This economic growth effected a shift from rural to urban lifestyles. As the population moved from the country to the city, traditional and plant-based dietary patterns gave way to the western dietary habits of meat-based meals, fast food alternatives and snack foods dense with sugar and fat, but low in nutrients. A rise in non-communicable diseases was inevitable.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are characterized by shared risk factors including obesity, hypercholesterolemia, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol intake. These risks factors can result in cardiovascular disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes and neurological conditions. Latin America has the third highest level of deaths in the world due to NCDs. In 2000, 62% of all deaths in this region were from non-communicable disease. Today this statistic has risen to around 81%.
About 57% of the region’s adult population are overweight and 19% are obese. And more than 20% of the population aged 0 to 19 also have this risk factor. A major contributor to this alarming situation is the dietary transition that accompanies the economic and social changes resulting from urbanization. As people move to the cities, dietary patterns have been seen to transition away from mostly plant-based foods.
This Research Topic will therefore explore the major aspects of the epidemic of non-communicable diseases that are prevalent in Latin America. We welcome manuscripts on themes such as but not limited to:
- What factors impact food choices in Latin America?
- Which NCD is affecting which Latin American country and why?
- What evidence is being gleaned from clinical trials and dietary interventions?
- How are children learning what to eat?
- How are public policy measures addressing these issues and are they succeeding?
- What government interventions have been effective?
- Is a return to traditional plant-based foods a realistic remedy?
Keywords: Dietary Changes, Plant-Based Diets, Traditional Foods, Non-Communicable Disease, Latin America
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