Bianca Arendt, Doctor of Nutrition and economy of the Univers of Bonn in Germany, visited our country as part of an international cooperation Alliance of a FONDECYT project to analyse the regulations and challenges of child nutrition. The initiative of the Nutrition and Dietetics race of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, also sees key factors such as Omega 3 fatty acids in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
One of the issues discussed is fiscal policies such as taxes or subsidies for promoting healthy food, within the framework of the WHO Global Plan of action for the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable diseases 2013-2020, the guest International commented that there is already a «sugar tax» that is applied in some countries such as Chile, such as beverages containing 6.25 grams of sugar added by 100 ml. This has reduced the consumption of these sweetened beverages by 21.6%.
However, Arendt emphasizes that «these policies are not enough. More action is needed around the world to limit or even reverse the increase in obesity and associated diseases. Clinicians are aware of the different treatment options in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a key factor is to improve diet quality and increase physical activity. However, reality shows that the maintenance of weight loss and physical activity in the long term is not always maintained in time. These aspects are difficult for patients. The culture that surrounds food and exercise must change. »
The fatty liver problem
The doctor in nutrition explained that one of the silent indicators as a society is the non-alcoholic fatty liver, a diagnosis associated mainly with bad eating habits, and sedentariness. Arendt notes that between 20 and 30% of the general population in the world has non-alcoholic fatty liver.
«Up to 98% of people with obesity and about 50% of those who have diabetes have fatty liver disease. Because the number of people with obesity and diabetes has increased progressively in the world, it is that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a major public health problem around the world, «he adds.
The data in Latin America are limited. In Chile, according to one study, the rate of non-alcoholic fatty liver was 22% in the general population. The general prevailing in South America is estimated to be about 30%. Differences are not only attributed to environment and lifestyles, but also to ethnicity and genetic antecedents. Studies show that the Hispanic population has a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver compared to other groups.
Bianca Arendt has a PhD in nutrition and Economics (Oecotrofología) from the University of Bonn, Germany. He has received two scholarships for postdoc studies for the realization of projects at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. The first was a study of supplementation in patients with HIV and alterations in glucose control and the following was in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver and hepatitis C. After both projects he continued his work as an associate scientist focused on fatty liver disease. In 2018, already in Germany, she was named Clinical Project Manager for clinical studies in infant formulas in HiPP, a leading company in the production of Órganicos food for babies in Germany.