In Brazil, one in two adults and one in three children are overweight or obese. With these numbers expected to increase in the coming years, Brazil’s Ministry of Health hopes to stem the rise with the Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population, released last year. These guidelines matter since they act as the principle reference for communities, health professionals, and government for promoting proper eating. Instead of using scientific jargon and focusing on the specific nutrients, Brazil’s guidelines provide simple, common-sense advice, such as their golden rule, “Always prefer natural or minimally processed foods and freshly made dishes and meals to over-processed foods.”

The guidelines are designed to be part of a larger, intersectoral effort, involving improved public policies, the promotion of healthy environments, and targeted health services, to support the well-being of all Brazilians. The country faces a set of diverse needs—having relatively recently undergone a series of economic changes, it needs to address both undernutrition in some vulnerable communities and a growing overweight and obese population in others.

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