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To identify and monitor food industry use of political practices during the adoption of nutrition warning labels (WL) in Colombia.
Document analysis of publicly available information triangulated with interviews.
Eighteen key informants from the government (n 2), academia (n 1), civil society (n 12), the media (n 2) and a former food industry employee (n 1).
In Colombia, the food industry used experts and groups funded by large transnationals to promote its preferred front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOPL) and discredit the proposed warning models. The industry criticised the proposed WL, discussing the negative impacts they would have on trade, the excessive costs required to implement them and the fact that consumers were responsible for making the right choices about what to eat. Food industry actors also interacted with the government and former members of large trade associations now in decision-making positions in the public sector. The Codex Alimentarius was also a platform through which the industry got access to decision-making and could influence the FOPL policy.
In Colombia, the food industry used a broad range of political strategies that could have negatively influenced the FOPL policy process. Despite this influence, the mandatory use of WL was announced in February 2020. There is an urgent need to condemn such political practices as they still could prevent the implementation of other internationally recommended measures to improve population health in the country and abroad, nutrition WL being only of them.
To examine the association of all forms of malnutrition and socioeconomic status (SES), educational level and ethnicity in children <5 years, non-pregnant adolescent women (11–19 years) and non-pregnant adult women (20–49 years) in Colombia.
Cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2010 Colombian National Nutrition Survey. The prevalence of malnutrition was compared across categories of SES, educational level and ethnicity.
The sample for the current analysis comprised children <5 years, non-pregnant adolescent women (11–19 years) and non-pregnant adult women (20–49 years).
In children <5 years, a low SES and maternal educational level were significantly associated with a lower prevalence of overweight/obesity compared with high levels of SES and maternal education, that is, the prevalence of overweight/obesity was 1·4 and 1·6 times lower in categories of low SES and educational levels, respectively. In contrast, the prevalence of wasting, stunting and anaemia was higher in the lowest SES and maternal educational categories (the prevalence was between 1·1 and 1·8 times higher for these indicators). In women, the lowest SES (11 and 19 years) and educational levels (20 and 49 years) exhibited a higher prevalence in all forms of malnutrition compared with their counterparts in the highest categories (i.e. overweight/obesity, stunting and anaemia). Additionally, indigenous or Afro-Colombian children and women had the highest prevalence of malnutrition in comparison with other ethnicities.
These results suggest that public policies should address all forms of malnutrition that occur in the most vulnerable populations in Colombia using multiple strategies.