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President slammed over ‘obesity epidemic’

November 27, 2012

It may be fair to accuse President Felipe Calderon of many things during his six-year term that will come to an end on December 1, but should he take responsibility for what health advocates call an “obese environment” that has allegedly claimed 500,000 lives?

Under the banner of the Nutritional Health Alliance, representatives of civil society appeared before the National Human Rights Commission last week to expand upon a complaint filed in March 2010, slamming the federal government for allowing Mexico to become one of the highest ranked countries in the world for obesity and mortality from diabetes.

Data from Mexico’s Ministry of Health shows that 500,000 people have died from diabetes-related disease during the Calderon administration, up 35 percent from the 361,000 who died under Vicente Fox.

The Nutritional Health Alliance noted that, according to the Ministry of Health, 80 percent of diabetes is caused by being overweight or obese. Yet, “an obesity epidemic is not just the result of individual decisions, but an obese environment that must be avoided through government regulation,” the alliance argued.

They complained that “the government has allowed the food and drink industries to self-regulate,” ignoring the warnings of experts and the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report released earlier this year, Mexico is the world’s second fattest nation, with an obesity rate of 30 percent. The United States is number one, with 33.8 percent of citizens classified as obese.

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