Poor Eating Habits Cost Peru $8 Billion Per Year – Official

Poor eating habits that lead to illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure cost Peru some $8 billion per year, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday

Deputy Health minister Enrique Jacoby said the figure could increase and may affect the country’s development. In recent days, government officials have talked about placing a tax on junk food in an attempt to promote healthier eating.

“This extremely high figure creates a dilemma for the state because if we don’t act, the expenditure is going to eat up our budget,” state news agency Andina reported Jacoby saying.

“It will consume all of us because we are not going to be able to cover the treatments and this will create a snowball that will grow if we don’t do something soon,” he said.

The economic effects of the illnesses are already seen in the work force, the official added.

“If there is something that can slow down growth in the country it is bad health,” Jacoby said. “If human capital is not in optimal conditions, the possibilities of moving forward will be diminished.”

A tax on junk food would be “madness,” according to Peru’s premier chef, Gaston Acurio, if only because of the implications of deciding what ingredients or what foods are to be taxed.  “Fried chicken from the market isn’t (junk food) but fried chicken at a chain restaurant is?,” he asked on Twitter.

Studies by the Cayetano Heredia medical university in the north Lima district of San Martin de Porres between 2001 and 2010 have shown a 200% increase in obesity among children between the ages of six and 17.   Within five to 10 years, obese children have a high risk of becoming diabetic, which will begin to affect eye sight, heart and kidneys.

According to Emilio Cabello, a pediatric endocrinologist at the university hospital, besides improving family eating habits, which today includes an increased amount of fast food and sweets,  it is essential to debunk the myth that “a fat baby is a healthy baby.”

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  1. The first thing Peru should do is KICK OUT Monsanto, and BAN GMOs. Follow the lead of healthier European countries that banned GMO foods.They will play havock with the endocrine glands of your children! Don’t encourage fast food places like the USA did. Just look at the mess Americans are in because of it. Fast food places use GMO foods. That’s what’s beginning to make people ill & making them die sooner than they should. Stay ORGANIC! It’s so much healthier for you.

  2. The cost of “poor eating habits” is DWARFED by the cost of pollution. What’s more, the costs for cleaning up the air and water are much lower than changing “eating habits”. Unfortunately, they are different domains. Cleaning up air and water is a public service, while eating habits is a personal/ private sector one.

    We should be talking about the high cost of air and water pollution.

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