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Meeting child obesity goals seen as a major challenge

By 2030, 6.5 million school-aged children will be obese, report predicts

Mexico only has a 4% chance of reducing childhood obesity rates by 2025, according to an organization devoted to addressing the global obesity problem.

The World Obesity Federation (WOF) predicted in the report Atlas of Childhood Obesity that there will be just over 6.5 million school-aged Mexican children with the condition in 2030.

Based on that prediction, Mexico will have the seventh highest number of obese children in a decade’s time, behind only China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt. All of the countries except Egypt have higher populations than Mexico.

Published on Wednesday, the WOF report said that 19.9% of Mexican boy aged five to nine were obese in 2016 and that 15% of girls in the same age bracket were suffering from the ailment. The same year, 15.2% of boys aged 10 to 19, and 11.7% of girls, were obese.

The WOF noted that Mexico has policies in place to reduce physical inactivity, reduce unhealthy diet and restrict the marketing of certain foods to children. However, they will not stop obesity rates from rising, the federation predicted.

In 2030, almost a quarter of children aged five to nine, and about one-fifth of youngsters in the 10 to 19 age bracket, will be obese, the report said.

Abelardo Avila, a researcher at the National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition, warned that the current situation in Mexico is likely even worse because the 2016 statistics cited in the WOF report don’t paint a complete picture of obesity in Mexico.

He said that people who live in poverty are most likely to suffer from the disease, adding that the “metabolic damage” of the disease is six or seven times greater on children who suffered malnutrition while in their mother’s womb.

Avila said that Mexico hadn’t done enough during the past two decades to combat obesity but applauded this week’s approval by the lower house of Congress of modifications to the General Health Law that stipulate that the labels on food and drinks must warn consumers if they contain high levels of calories, sugar, salt or saturated fat.

The researcher said that if additional measures to tackle obesity are implemented, positive results could be achieved during the next 10 years.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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