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Central America: Study reveals that trade agreement with the United State has caused an increase in processed and unhealthy foods

Author: Latin American Post, Published on: 22 November 2019

“After trade deal, unhealthy foods flowed into Central America”, 17th November 2019

…A study on a trade deal between the U.S. and smaller, developing countries in Central America and the Caribbean highlights the need for policymakers to consider this question, says Marion Werner…

The study analyzes the availability of non-nutritious food in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic in the years after the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) was signed between those countries and the U.S., going into effect in 2006...

With regard to the Central American signatories and the Dominican Republic, "Our main finding is that the trade agreement is associated with the importation of much less healthy food," Werner says. "This includes industrial sweeteners, edible oils high in saturated fats, and processed foods."

"We're trying to think about the health effects of trade agreements," she says. "The U.S. is exporting ever-more processed foods, as well as meat, to the region, while making it harder for farmers there to supply healthy foods for the local market. This situation has an impact on the health of Central Americans, especially low-income folks, as an unhealthy diet can lead to higher rates of obesity and overweight populations."…

Read the full post here