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Public Health Nutr. 2000 Mar;3(1):49-55.

Nutrition policy in the Chilean transition.

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Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile, Santiago.



This paper examines socioeconomic, demographic, epidemiological and nutrition changes that have occurred in Chile in the last decades using concepts of epidemiological and nutrition transition, and discusses policies related to nutrition.


This is a descriptive, population-based study to analyse changes in the Chilean diet and nutrition situation including some of the main demographic, socioeconomic and epidemiological variables. Data came from the FAO, the National Institute of Statistics, the Ministry of Health and national surveys. RESULTS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS: In Chile, the epidemiological and nutrition situation shifted from a pretransition stage with high rates of undernutrition to a post-transition stage with increasing rates of obesity in all groups aged less than 20 years. However, changes were not accompanied by modifications in nutrition policy, which had been successful in reducing undernutrition. Despite changes in diet to a 'western' diet and in nutritional status of the population from undernutrition to obesity, food and nutrition programmes have been maintained unaltered. Governmental and university organizations were created in 1994 and 1995 to address the current food and nutrition problems. The accomplishments of these institutions have been the elaboration of dietary guidelines, reformulating the food and nutrition programmes and the promulgation of the Food Sanitary Regulations for Chile.


Education for the prevention of nutrition excess problems should be a main food and nutrition policy in developing countries.

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