Friday, October 18, 2013

Blog 6: Mexico Takes Bloomberg-Like Swing at Soaring Obesity

According to the World Health Organization, a staggering 70 percent of Mexicans are now overweight and about a third are obese.  These high rates of obesity, which are almost the same as in the United States, has caused for legislative action to occur. President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a tax on sales of all sugary drinks which congress is schedule to vote on this week. The expected tax increase will be of 7.7 cents per liter which is half of what public health advocates will like. If the tax goes through, the tax will make Mexico a rare test case of a national soda tax directed at a severe obesity problem. The mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, has offered to give a three year $10 million grant to use towards supporting anti-obesity advertising and also for the purpose to use Mexico as a pilot project that could be adapted to other developing countries if it is successful.
In the past Mexicans often suffered from under-nutrition or malnutrition due to the high percentage of people living in poverty who were unable to afford purchasing enough food to maintain a healthy diet. Therefore, Mexico’s obesity issue is a recent problem that has arisen in recent years. The increase in obesity seen in Mexico and many other underdeveloped countries are not due to an improvement in financial stability but rather to a shift in a diet towards more consumption of processed foods. On the surface it appears that the obesity issue many countries are experiencing is due to a change in preference for processed food but once we examine the underlying causes, we are able to clearly attribute this epidemic to a problem that was created by society.

Overpopulation in our world has caused there to be a demand for inexpensive filling food. This has created a rise in production of processed foods which are convenient because they did not go bad as quickly as vegetables and other healthy foods do and are a lot cheaper and faster to produce. This has made it possible for people living in poverty to be able to afford purchasing more food than they would have been able to before. Unfortunately this is what has led to the rise in obesity seen mostly within this population because they are constantly only being able to consume these foods which are high in calories, sugar, fat, and salt Globalization also pays a role in this process because factory workers are being exploited by being forced to work in horrible conditions at low wages in order to keep food prices low. This has especially affected families in poverty because not only are they suffering from health problems related to obesity, but this is also affecting their ability to work and make the little money they would make in factories. Ultimately this is a never ending cycle for people in poverty who have no choice but to consume these processed foods because it is mainly all that they can afford.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Karina Velazquez
3.35 am

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