We investigate the effects of food imports on the prevalence of obesity in selected LAC countries. Cross sectional data for 25 selected LAC countries for the year 2002 were collected. Regression analyses with a semi-log functional form were developed to investigate whether food imports and other socio-economic variables influenced the prevalence of total population, male and female obesity. Total obesity model had an adjusted R2 of 0.72. Total food imports and gross national product per capita negatively influenced the prevalence of total obesity in net food importing countries (NFICs) whereas the total number of television sets had a positive effect. NFICs had a lower prevalence of obesity. For female obesity the equation had an adjusted R2 of 0.52. Food imports negatively influenced the prevalence of female obesity in NFICs, whereas gross national income per capita and the total number of television sets had positive effects. For male obesity, the equation had an adjusted R2 of 0.83 and the variables affecting the prevalence of obesity were similar but this time domestic food production had a positive effect. The sign for net food imports were similar in all equations indicating that individuals in NFICs had lower prevalence of obesity.
ISSN: 1792-7552 (Online)