NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 16, 2005

Mexico's bad eating habits are leading to a health crisis, with obesity and diabetes now major health concerns, reports the Economist.

Using recent survey data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the author found:

  • Some 59 percent of women were either overweight or obese, while 55 percent of men were either, according to a 1999 health poll.
  • Eleven years previously, only 33 percent of women were either overweight or obese.
  • Among Hispanics living near the American-Mexican border, fully 74 percent of men and 70 percent of women were either overweight or obese.

This increase in weight is creating new health problems for Mexico. The author notes that diabetes is on the rise:

  • In 1969, diabetes was in 35th place as a direct cause of mortality in Mexico; today, it is in first place -- above both cancer and heart disease.
  • With about 6.5 million diabetics out of a population of 100 million, Mexico now has a higher rate than any other large country in the world.

The author argues that the Mexican diet is only part of the problem. Rapid urbanization has reduced the amount of physical labor done by the population. Also, pollution and crime in major cities prevents people from using parks and sidewalks.

Source: "Sins of the fleshy," The Economist, December 18, 2004.


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