FAO: 24 million people afflicted with obesity in Mexico

Increasing urbanization and poverty could be a cause of obesity levels in Mexico, according to FAO

FAO: 24 million people afflicted with obesity in Mexico
In their 2018 report on the state of food safety and nutrition in the world, FAO alerted of an increase in obesity rates all around the world - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/09/2018 15:47 Astrid Rivera Mexico City Actualizada 15:48
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Obesity among Mexico’s adult population increased by 3.8 million people between 2012 and 2016, going from 20.5 to 24.3 million. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mexico now ranks sixth in obesity among all 150 countries in the world.

In their 2018 report on the state of food safety and nutrition in the world, FAO alerted of an increase in obesity rates all around the world. On average, one out of eight people on Earth is obese, which is equivalent to 672 million.

The report told in detail that food insecurity, which is defined as uncertainty regarding the capacity of obtaining food, has contributed to people becoming overweight and obese as well as malnutrition, which usually accompanies high obesity rates in many countries.

According to the document, the United States ranked first in number of people suffering from obesity, with a total of 93.8 million people; second place was China, with 72.9; Brazil, with 33.1; India, 31.8; Russia, 29.3, and Mexico, with 24.3. Belize and Andorra showed the lowest levels of obesity, with less than 0.1 million.

“The high cost of nutritious food, as well as the stress that afflicts people who live in food insecurity conditions could be one of the main causes for higher risks of obesity among families who struggle to adapt physiologically to this scarcity,” the document states.

The United States organ added that 38 million children under the age of five all around the world are overweight. In Mexico, obesity rates among children were of 5.2% in 2017, while in 2012, they were of 9%. Latin America and Oceania have the highest rates of child obesity, with 7.3 and 8% each.

“Little access to food causes the risk of a low birth-weight to increase, and growth retardation among children, which is often associated to greater risks of obesity in later life stages,” stressed FAO.

Demographic, social, and economic changes have also contributed to an increasing urbanization and changes in eating habits. These transformations have given rise to a “nutritional transition” in which people prefer highly processed foods that are usually high in fat, sugar, and salt. At the same time, processed foods are very low on fiber.
 

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