There is a complex relationship between food systems and health, with marketing of foodstuffs having a known link to obesity.
Obesogenic environments (comprised of many different elements, including food availability, affordability, public transportation, and marketing, among others) have been proven to promote obesity in individuals and populations.
Together, these components transform food environments and food systems. Unfortunately, in low-middle income countries (LMICs), unhealthy food environments are the norm. Over the past ten years, the role of marketing in food environments has been studied at length.
In Latin America, for example, studies have shown that marketing strategies are used to appeal to children through the use of cartoon characters, promotions, and product placement. There is significant evidence that marketing influences consumption choices and that it is associated with a poor-quality diet. This includes the consumption of ultra-processed foods which we now know cause obesity. Furthermore, interventions to restrict the reach of marketing have been effective in reducing children’s exposure despite food industry interference, which continues to be a significant barrier to implementing and treating obesity.