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November 1, 2017

Vital Strategies Commends Brazilian Partners on Launch of New Anti-Obesity Campaign

“Você Tem O Direito De Saber O Que Come” (“You have the right to know what you eat”) will run on TV, radio, social media, print newspapers, and outdoor media across November and December

(São Paulo, Brazil and New York, USA) – Vital Strategies today commended Brazilian partners on the launch of a new anti-obesity mass media campaign which links misleading marketing tactics and the lack of clear nutritional information on food labelling to obesity and chronic disease. The campaign, entitled “Você Tem O Direito De Saber O Que Come” (“You have the right to know what you eat”), was developed by Aliança pela Alimentação Adequada e Saudável (The Alliance for An Adequate and Healthy Diet), which includes Idec (Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection) and ACT Health Promotion. Vital Strategies provided technical assistance for the campaign, which encourages people to make healthier choices and support measures that require clear, accurate product labelling.

 

The “You have the right to know what you eat” campaign is centered on a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) which will run across November and December on national TV channels and on local radio stations in several cities. In addition, campaign ads will run in print newspapers, on digital media, and on outdoor media in several cities.

“The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Brazil has increased more than six-fold among men and has tripled among women in the last 40 years. The truth empowers consumers to make better choices, but they are encouraged to make unhealthy choices in an environment where misleading advertising and food labels constantly stimulate excessive consumption of unhealthy products. In research conducted for this campaign, respondents were surprised to see the real amount of sugar, fat and sodium in the featured products,” said Sandra Mullin, Vital Strategies’ Senior Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Communication. “We trust that this campaign will be highly effective in empowering Brazilians to make healthier food and drink choices, and demand policies that call for clear and accurate labelling.”

The PSA shows a family eating breakfast. As they are being served, the “natural” juice and the children’s “whole grain cereal” turn into streams of refined sugar. In the next scene, the mother arrives with a cake that is labelled as “homemade,” but is shown to be a slab of artificial fat. A TV in the kitchen shows an unhealthy food commercial, with a voiceover stating that 1 in 3 children in Brazil suffer from obesity or overweight. The TV then graphically shows the health consequences of overweight and obesity, while the voiceover explains that it contributes to heart disease, diabetes, 13 types of cancer and even death. The family express their shock, throw the unhealthy products in the bin and turn off the TV. The PSA ends with a call to action – “Don’t let the unhealthy foods industry tell you just part of the story. You have the right to know what you are eating.”

According to Ana Paula Bortoletto, nutritionist and Idec’s leader of the healthy diet initiative, recent studies indicate that overweight and obesity and related diseases are among Brazil’s most grave health problems. She explains: “We’ve made an “x-ray” of unhealthy foods to show consumers the truth about these products. Through strong imagery, critical language, and direct consequence data, we want to shock viewers in order to highlight the lack of clear information and the deceptive marketing on packaging that presents nutritionally poor products as if they are beneficial to health.”

In 2013, the Brazilian National Health Survey found that 55.6 percent of men and 58.2 percent of women were overweight and 16.8 percent of men and 24.4 percent of women were obese. According to the Global Burden of Disease study, 2016, diseases related to overweight and obesity represent the three main causes of death in Brazil: cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes (alongside other urogenital, blood and endocrine diseases). By 2050, costs related to diabetes – which currently account for 87 percent of the cost of obesity-related chronic diseases in Brazil – are estimated to increase by 75 percent – if sound obesity prevention policies are not implemented.

The National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil (ANVISA) is evaluating the introduction of new nutritional labeling in the country. IDEC, in partnership with the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) has submitted a proposal which includes, amongst other recommendations, the approval of front-of-pack warnings, inspired by the food warning labels successfully adopted in Chile. The Alliance for An Adequate and Healthy Diet supports this proposal.

Notes to Editors

About the Alliance for An Adequate and Healthy Diet

The Alliance for An Adequate and Healthy Diet is a coalition of civil society organizations, professionals, associations and social movements, with the objective of developing and strengthening collective actions that contribute to the realization of the Human Right to Adequate Food, through the advancement of public policies to guarantee food and nutritional security and food sovereignty in Brazil. The Alliance believes that the food we eat today is the result of the interaction of individual and sociocultural elements. Therefore, the protection and promotion of adequate and healthy food depends on structural change in these two areas. For more information please visit http://alimentacaosaudavel.org.br/

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact press@vitalstrategies.org.

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