If you thought only Americans had problems with triglycerides, you should look south of the border! Mexico has a severe obesity epidemic, according to statistics, Mexico now has one of the highest obesity rates in the World, with 32.4% of the population over 15 years classified as obese according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Even worse, 70% of men and a staggering 74% of women are overweight, according to the statistics. This rate of means that roughly 44.5 million men and 47 million women are at least overweight. If the current obesity rates continue to rise will, it will lead the healthy weight women decreasing from 26% to 9% by 2050, and men from 32% to 12% by 2050.
The consequences of the rapid increase of obesity will continue to rise and become costlier for those suffering and the entire country as a whole. Obesity costs Mexican citizens substantially from obesity-related diseases including cancer, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.High obesity rates have shown it can cost Mexico USD 7 billion yearly in 2050, which is highly problematic as most Mexican don’t have primary health insurance coverage.
Fueling Obesity Rates in Mexico
What is fueling the obesity crisis in Mexico? Is there anything that can be done from governmental agencies to slow or even reverse this trend?
Cheap Food vs. Healthy Food
Some experts say that the real cause of obesity can be found in the way poor nutritional food was priced, most Mexicans just cannot afford more expensive healthier options.
Today most affordable food in Mexico, like elsewhere, is cheap, fast, and severely unhealthy. Most of the food consumed today was high-on-sugar and low on nutritional substance.
Soda Cheaper Than Water
In Mexico, like other developing countries, soda is cheaper than water making it an easier choice for those looking for some quick energy. But this has drastic consequences on the health of the consumer. Before the 1950s, standard soft-drink bottles were 6.5 ounces... By the early 1990s, 20-ounce plastic bottles became the norm. By 2001, US daily calorie was made up of 9% sugary drinks. It’s safe to say that Mexican consumers may mirror US consumers, as Mexico is the largest consumer of Coca-Cola per capita.
(Source: School of Public Health - Harvard)
Mexican Government Reactions
To curb the growing obesity rates epidemic, the Mexican government has imposed a 10% tax on sodas (known for contributing obesity) and 8% tax on processed food (food which contains 275 calories per 100g). In addition to the imposing taxes, the Mexican government is running advertising campaigns to promote nutrition-based education to children - hoping for children to make the right choice.
The good news is that since the tax on sodas was implemented there was a 6% decrease in soda sales. And the decrease consumption of soda is expected to continue. Will it be enough to curb the growing obesity rates?