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A decade of obesity

For over a decade, Mexico has been among the top ten overweight countries in the world
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
16/10/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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All countries can reach the future they seek to achieve or, at least, they can get as close to that vision as possible if they establish programs aimed towards the fulfillment of those specific objectives, if they change the course when things turn out wrong, and if they pay close attention to the evolution of a specific problem.

Regarding obesity, Mexico has been for over a decade among the top ten overweight countries in the world. This situation is the cause of other issues, mainly those related to health.

Since Mexico became the country with the fastest growing overweight population in 2006, several programs have been established to fight obesity, both at schools and at public hospitals, yet the results published today by EL UNIVERSAL show something is not working as it should.

From 2014 to 2016, the number of obesity cases in children between the ages of 0 to 14 rose instead of declining. Three years ago there were 42, 328 obesity cases within this age range; in 2015, 52, 635; and last year, the figure reached 56, 320 – an increase of 33% in two years, according to official data.

Looking at these numbers, experts can already predict a grim future: this generation of obese children and teenagers will be the first with a life expectancy below that of its parents. In an attempt to turn around this situation, obesity clinics have already opened at public hospitals, yet the medical attention required per child involves at least four specialists: a pediatrician, a psychologist, a nutritionist, and a physical trainer – too many resources for a problem which could have been prevented.

According to the World Health Organization, obesity is the epidemic of this century and the consequence of bad eating habits and the sedentary lifestyle which prevails mainly in big cities.

Mexico has launched a crusade against overweight in children, but the problem is escalating. What are we doing wrong? What do we need to reinforce? This situation demands the urgent attention of all pertaining authorities. Stopping obesity means healthier and more productive generations. The country can decide from this very moment the image of its future: overweight and sick Mexicans, or a healthy and active people.

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