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Chile front-of-package laws spark reduction in sugary drinks consumption - study

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Purchases of high sugar soft drinks have fallen by almost one quarter in Chile, according to a study of the country's laws around food labelling and advertising on sugar-sweetened beverage purchases.

Chile has implented a number of laws to limit sugar intake

Chile has implented a number of laws to limit sugar intake

The study, published yesterday in journal PLOS Medicine, has found that the purchase volume of so-called "high-in" beverages decreased by 22.8ml per capita, per day - or 23.7% - after the regulation was implemented. According to the report, Chile's Law of Food Labeling and Advertising, implemented in 2016, was the "first national regulation to jointly mandate front-of-package warning labels, restrict child-directed marketing, and ban sales in schools of all foods and beverages containing added sugars, sodium, or saturated fats that exceed set nutrient or calorie thresholds".

The study categorised products as "high-in" or "not high-in" according to whether they contained high levels of sugars, sodium, saturated fat or energy, according to Chilean nutrient thresholds.

"Purchases of high-in beverages significantly declined following implementation of Chile's Law of Food Labeling and Advertising; these reductions were larger than those observed from single, standalone policies, including sugar-sweetened-beverage taxes previously implemented in Latin America," the report said.

The evaluation is based on monthly data on packaged beverage purchases from urban-dwelling households participating in a Kantar WordPanel Chile Survey, from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017.

Chile has targeted a reduction in soft drinks consumption because of relativly high levels of obesity. According to the New York Times, three-quarters of Chilean adults and more than half of children are overweight or obese. The country in 2014 increased taxes on sugary soft drinks from 13% to 18%.

To read the full study, click here.

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