Obesity has enormous impacts on health and quality of life, and Chile has one of the highest obesity rates in the world—with more than 50 percent of the children in Santiago classified as obese or overweight. Obesity increases the risk of chronic conditions, reduces the capacity to do and enjoy physical activity, impairs learning and social participation, and is linked to increased pain and disability. The condition disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic groups, driving up health-care costs, reducing labor productivity and deepening inequality.
Santiago created Juntos Santiago, a game that tackles obesity by encouraging students and their families to eat healthy food and engage in physical activity. Schools take part in healthy challenges that build good habits in the students and families they serve. Working together to combat childhood obesity, classes can earn points and win prizes, which include field trips, playgrounds, and other activities.
The program’s healthy challenges have led to statistically significant reductions in waist circumference and body mass index among participants. The program has also led to an increase in overall physical activity levels, increased consumption of healthy snacks and a drop in systolic blood pressure amongst participating students. Juntos Santiago will expand into more schools by the end of 2019.