Nestle Floating Supermarket Blamed for Obesity Outbreak in the Amazon

Children living in a remote part of the Amazon have been suffering issues related to obesity and diabetes after highly-processed foods were introduced to the region by Nestlé’s “floating supermarket,” a new documentary reveals.

In the BBC documentary, ‘What Are We Feeding Our Kids?’, which airs this Thursday, doctor Chris van Tulleken consumes ultra-processed food to demonstrate their impact on the body. As a result, viewers see the doctor not only gain weight, but become sluggish, anxious and addicted to junk food.

Meanwhile, the presenter of the documentary travels to Muaná, a municipality located in the state of Pará, north of Brazil, to see how the introduction of industrial foods affected the population of this remote area, whose diet previously consisted of minimally processed food.

There, the presenter meets with Lizete do Carmo Tenório Novaes, a woman fighting against childhood obesity in the area, who tells him that this problem is becoming a significant issue in the region.

According to the director, the supermarket ship that sold junk food was a turning point in children’s eating habits. The supermarket ship, which was managed by Nestlé and operated between 2010 and 2017, came once a week and offered cheaper prices than the local market.

“[People were attracted to the ship] due to the novelty that it stayed open late, attracted children, young people who went for a boat trip and ended up buying things,” the director said.

Garciliano Silva Ramo, who drove the boat, first said he was “proud” to bring cheaper food to a poorer area. However, he soon realized that the products offered were favoring a poorer diet for the locals and they began developing health problems.

“They were not eating healthy foods, which caused them all kinds of diseases, like stomach problems and cavities,” Ramo said.

Nestlé told the BBC, “The boat program had been aimed at broadening access to food and beverages and promoting social development projects in remote communities.”

“Nestlé recognizes the challenges of malnutrition including obesity. In Brazil alone it has spent more than £50million in the last five years developing healthier choices producing food with more whole grain, fiber and protein and less sugar, saturated fats and sodium.”

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