Buenos Aires is experiencing a huge increase in burger joints. Check your group chats, somebody’s probably already suggested Mi Barrio, Dean & Denny’s or Burger Joint as a venue for Friday’s dinner.

Yet, before saying yes, skim over the effect joints like these have had on Argentines’ overall health. Maybe it’s time to call in to Cormillot after all.

Studies show Argentina is an active participant in the world’s climbing obesity rates.  The report Panorama de la Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional en América Latina y el Caribe shows 58% of Latin Americans, 360 million people, are overweight.

If you believe Argentina is exempt from these statistics — think again. Child obesity in the country has grown by 30 percent among boys alone and 10 percent in girls according to multiple reports.

Estaban Carmuega, president of the Center for Infant Nutrition Studies, claims “our impression is that child obesity is growing, presenting itself earlier and shifting over to the population’s poorest sectors”.

What is even more alarming is Carmuega’s allegation that 4 of every 10 students in Argentina are overweight.

When it comes down to adults, according to Argentina’s Ministry of National Health, 23.1 percent of Argentines are overweight.

These rates have created alarming negative effects on the population’s health, including significant increases in non-transmissible diseases. Deaths in the country linked to cardiovascular issues, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and specific cancers have all increased dramatically.

The main factors behind these alarming rates are the access amounts of ultra-processed foods sold in Argentina and social issues that have led to malnutrition. Silvina Tasat, the spokesperson for the Commission Directive of the Argentine Society of Nutrition, also states how an increase in obesity “is due to children’s sedentary lifestyle.”

Currently, Argentina is ranked third amongst the region when referring to the sales of ultra-processed foods. The country has been reported to sell 185 kilograms yearly per citizen.

Yet the real issue lies in the lack of access many citizens have to drinkable water, hygiene, healthy food, and social protection programs. All of the above have a direct impact on how healthy a person’s diet can be.

The action plan coming from the OPS claims that social factors have a direct influence on a country’s obesity rates. The study reads “prices, marketing, availability, and affordability determine the individual’s food preferences.”

Does this mean that an increase in preferences towards these foreign burger joints could very well be the end of us? Depending on how many burgers people are willing to eat en masse, but there is very little question that changes in lifestyle and diet are having real and lasting impacts on the health of Argentines.