Now Reading
Holy guacamole: Mexico is fat, and getting fatter

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Holy guacamole: Mexico is fat, and getting fatter

Country is packing on the pounds, warns U.N.

  • newsntn24 screengrab

There's a "state of emergency" in Mexico, and this time it's not about the bodies piling up.

Mexico is packing on the pounds, yet much of the population doesn't have enough to eat.

And so a United Nations food expert has called for a "state of emergency" to battle the twin problems of poverty and obesity.

"Mexico is one of the countries most severely affected by overweight and obesity, second only to the United States,” said Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, at the end of a week-long visit to Mexico.

The obesity epidemic is seen as a result of fattier diets and changing lifestyles:

As families guzzle evermore processed food, hamburgers and french fries, they have piled on the pounds to make Mexico one of fattest nations on the planet.

The changing dietary habits have come as Mexico has switched from a largely protectionist to an extremely globalized economy. Since it enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, imports of processed food and drinks have soared. The nation now consumes more Coca Cola products per capita than anywhere else in the world.

More and more Mexicans are abandoning hard-working country jobs for ever expanding urban jungles. There are also more and more cars. The country's denizens collectively buy more than a million vehicles a year amid cheaper prices and better credit.

De Schutter also said that monocropping and export-led agriculture come at the expense of healthy and diverse diets. He also cited policies that benefitted rich farmers rather than smallholders.

With 73 percent of Mexicans overweight or obese, it ranks No. 19 on the list of the world's fattest countries. Here are the top 10:

  • 1. Nauru: 95 percent
  • 2. Micronesia: 92 percent
  • 3. The Cook Islands: 92 percent
  • 4. Tonga: 92 percent
  • 5. Niue: 84 percent
  • 6. Samoa: 83 percent
  • 7. Palau: 81 percent
  • 8. United States: 79 percent
  • 9. Kiribati: 77 percent.
  • 10. Dominica: 76 percent

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Read more about

obesity, poverty, u.n.

— 30 —

Best in Internet Exploder