How Mexico Got So Fat

Dudley Althaus, Global Post, July 8, 2013

Modern Mexicans’ urban lifestyle, rising incomes and myriad consumption vices have fed a seemingly endless struggle that’s killing thousands more of them each year.

Yep, we’re talking the desperate Battle of the (body) Bulge.

Even as nearly half its people are poor and as officials launch a national anti-hunger campaign, Mexico by some accounts recently has replaced the United States as the chubbiest of the globe’s larger countries.

Diabetes and cardiovascular ills spike, plus sizes cram clothing racks and Mexicans keep eating, eating, eating. While cutting across class lines, the crisis disproportionately hits the poor and the young, malnourishment and obesity stalking them in tandem.

“The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese,” said physician Abelardo Avila with Mexico’s National Nutrition Institute. “In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It’s a very serious epidemic.”

About 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight, a third of them very much so. Childhood obesity tripled in a decade and about a third of teenagers are fat as well. Experts say four of every five of those heavy kids will remain so their entire lives.

Weight-related diabetes claims the most Mexican lives each year, with nearly one of every six Mexican adults suffering from the disease. {snip}

Diabetes alone kills as many as 70,000 people a year in Mexico—roughly equal to the deaths authorities say are caused by more than six years of the country’s gangland wars.

More than 400,000 new cases are being diagnosed every year.


Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.