• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2016-2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:6233
Area covered:National
References:Encuesta Nacional de Salud. Chile. 2016-2017 https://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ENS-2016-17_PRIMEROS-RESULTADOS.pdf (Last accessed 04.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2009-2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:5416
Area covered:National
References:Encuesta Nacional de Salud. Chile. 2009-2010. https://www.minsal.cl/portal/url/item/bcb03d7bc28b64dfe040010165012d23.pdf (Last accessed 04.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2003

Survey type:Measured
Age:17+
Sample size:3619
Area covered:National
References:2003 ENS Report. Final results on the National Health Survey. Http://epi.minsal.cl/epi/html/invest/ENS/informeFinalENS.pdf.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1992

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:Not specified
References:Uauy R, Albal C, Kain J. Obesity Trends in Latin America: Transiting from Under-to Overweight. Journal of Nutrition 2001;131:S893-S899
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1988

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:Not specified
References:Berrios X, Jadue I, Zenteno J, Ross MI, Rodriguez H. Prevalencia de factores de riesgo para enfermedades cronicas. Estudio de la poblacion general de la region Metropolitana, 1986-1987. Rev. Med. Chile. 1990;118:597-604
Notes:Urban population
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2013

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:13-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS), available at https://www.cdc.gov/gshs/countries/index.htm (last accessed 28.04.20)
Notes:WHO cutoffs.
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2002

Survey type:Measured
Age:6
Sample size:17080 (4-6 year olds)
Area covered:National
References:Kain J, Uauy R, Vio F and Albana. 2002. Trends of overwieght and obesity prevalence in Chilean children: comparism of three definitions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 56: 200 - 204.
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2000

Survey type:Measured
Age:6
Sample size:199444
References:Kain J, Uauy R, Vio F, Albala C. Trends in overweight and obesity prevalence in Chilean children: comparison of three definitions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;56:200-204
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1990

Survey type:Measured
Age:6
Sample size:Not specified
References:Kain J, Uauy R, Vio F, Albala C. Trends in overweight and obesity prevalence in Chilean children: comparison of three definitions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;56:200-204
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1987

Survey type:Measured
Age:6
Sample size:166891
References:Kain J, Uauy R, Vio F, Albala C. Trends in overweight and obesity prevalence in Chilean children: comparison of three definitions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;56:200-204
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by education

Adults, 2016-2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:6233
Area covered:National
References:Encuesta Nacional de Salud. Chile. 2016-2017 https://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ENS-2016-17_PRIMEROS-RESULTADOS.pdf (Last accessed 04.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2016-2017

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:6233
Area covered:National
References:Encuesta Nacional de Salud. Chile. 2016-2017 https://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ENS-2016-17_PRIMEROS-RESULTADOS.pdf (Last accessed 04.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Average daily frequency of carbonated soft drink consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

Average weekly frequency of fast food consumption

Children, 2009-2015

Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014-2019

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014-2019

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

Chile has a mixed public/private health insurance system that together provides universal health coverage. All workers must use 7% of their income to pay for health insurance but individuals can choose to contribute to the public insurance provided by Fondo Nacional de Salud or to private insurance provided by Instituciones de Salud Previsional. Coverage under the two types of insurance are not identical, there are differences between and within them and this is often based on contribution (and therefore an individual’s income). Approximately 78% of the population is covered by public insurance, including most of the rural and urban poor and retirees. On the other hand, private insurers covers a smaller but wealthier segment of the population, creating inequality in risk pooling between the two insurance types.

General taxation and out of pocket expenditure are used to supplement the insurances. Out of pocket expenditure remains high (at approximately 38% of total health expenditure), so financial protection in Chile is considered to be poor.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Not known
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?Yes
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Partial
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?No

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • Poor health literacy and behaviour
  • Social determinants of health
  • Food cost and availability
  • Lack of financial investment and funding for coverage
  • Lack of opportunity for physical activity
  • Lack of training for healthcare professionals
  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  • Lack of evidence, monitoring and research

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Stakeholders acknowledged that Chile has adopted and implemented a handful of initiatives and laws to address obesity, including regulations on the advertisement and labelling of foods and restricted access to unhealthy products in schools. Despite this, it was considered that efforts were insufficient and inefficient, with improved investment and a more intersectoral approach needed. In short, it was felt that although the government talked about obesity as an epidemic, it did not yet treat obesity as a disease.

Similarly, it was judged that healthcare providers too do not treatment obesity as a disease. Availability and coverage of obesity treatment was reported to be poor in both the public and private system as obesity is believed to be an aesthetic issue rather than a medical one. However, obesity treatment was considered to be better provided for in the private system as other ailments took priority in the public system and there were better trained professionals in the private system.

It was suggested that those with obesity would become eligible for treatment when their BMI was 30 kg/m² or above, with people entering the system via primary care in the public system and by going straight to a specialist in the private system. However, the few options in the public system, poor insurance coverage and long waiting lists mean that many fall out the system without receiving adequate treatment. The result is mass undertreatment of obesity in Chile.

Stakeholders noted that there are no guidelines or recommendations for obesity treatment for adults nor children, and obesity did not feature heavily in any non-communicable disease strategies. They also highlighted that there is limited to no specialist obesity training available for health professionals, with SCOPE seemingly the only notable option. The availability of suitably trained, qualified professions was therefore considered limited in urban areas but worse in rural areas.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 8 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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