Yesterday the Spanish government announced a national plan aimed at reducing obesity amongst the Spanish population. The plan especially targets obesity in children.
The Spanish Health Minister, Elena Salgado, announced that the government has reached an agreement with the Spanish food industry whereby food companies have agreed to reduce the percentage of fats, sodium and salt in processed foods. According to the Spanish minister, the rise in obesity in Spain is particularly alarming in children. She said that the government’s objective was to reduce obesity and to help Spaniards improve their eating habits and do more exercise.
To help the government in its task, the Health Ministry has signed agreements with food companies, regional governments and 80 organizations related to the food and leisure industries all of whom have been involved in drawing up Spain’s first ever “get healthy and lose weight” strategy.
The Spanish government plans to intervene in school meals, proposing a parliamentary decree to establish quality standards. It also plans to remove food and drink vending machines from schools and other places used by 6 to 12-year olds, and to control what kind of foods are sold in the machines which remain standing.
According to yesterday’s agreement, over the next four years the percentage of salt in bread will be reduced from 2.2 percent to 1.8 percent, and companies will also cut down on the aomunt of sodium and saturated fats that go into their products. All foods will have to display a ticket with nutritional information, and restaurants will also have to detail the nutritional content of their dishes in the menu.
The Mediterranean diet has long been considered to be one of the most healthy in the world because it is based on fruit, vegetables, pulses, olive oil and a high intake of fish.
However, over the past few years Spaniards have been introducing more and more processed foods into their diet and according to Elena Salgado, over 38 percent of the adult population in Spain is over weight.