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HealthSociety Brazil25. May 2024

The New “Cool” in School: Bye-bye Processed Foods, Hello Fruits and Veggies!

In a concerted effort to reduce childhood obesity rates, schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have banned ultra-process foods and replaced them with classic fruits and vegetables.

“Childhood obesity is an epidemic, not just in Brazil, but worldwide,” says Marluce Fortunato, nutritionist for the Rio city government. “It’s easier to educate young children. Once a person’s way of thinking is set, it’s a challenge to introduce new concepts.”

In Brazil, almost one-third of children are classed as obese. The ban on ultra-processed food includes snacks and cookies containing additives. Children are served traditional Brazilian fruits and vegetables like yams, okra, and persimmons; for many of them, it’s their first introduction to such food items. A nationwide campaign – called doce veneno or sweet poison – has been launched to warn the population about the dangers of ultra-processed food and pressure the government to tax ultra-processed food to fund healthier options.


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