Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Study finds obesity rates are up, particularly in places with high poverty levels

Obesity rates among both children and adults have increased in towns with populations below 100,000, according to a survey presented on Friday.

Conducted by the National Public Health Institute, the National Health and Nutrition Survey for towns with fewer than 100,000 residents – where 80% of Mexico’s poorest people live – found that 15.3% of children aged between 5 and 11 in such towns were obese in 2018 compared to 12.4% in 2012.

Among adolescents aged 12 to 19, the obesity rate rose to 14.2% last year from 10.5% in 2012, while the rate among adults increased to 33.6% from 31%. The survey found that the prevalence of obesity continues to be higher among women.

On the brighter side, the survey found that the combined overweight/obese rate for children younger than 5 declined to 6% in 2018 from 9.5% six years earlier.

It also found that people who are not beneficiaries of any government food programs are more likely to be obese than those who are. Food aid programs assist four in 10 families that lack sufficient food, the survey said.

It added that “obesity is more common in vulnerable populations due to the coexistence of factors such as unemployment, the high availability of food with low nutritional content, low levels of food security and reduced access to health services.”

Combating obesity is one of the greatest health challenges not just in small impoverished towns but across the nation.

A report published by the World Obesity Federation (WOF) in October said that Mexico only has a 4% chance of reducing childhood obesity rates by 2025. By 2030, there will be just over 6.5 million school-aged Mexican children with the condition, the WOF predicted.

A study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published late last year said that close to four million adult Mexicans joined the ranks of the obese between 2012 and 2016. In 2012, 20.5 million adults were considered obese but by 2016 the figure had increased to 24.3 million.

Of the 150 countries assessed by the FAO, Mexico ranked sixth in terms of the percentage of the population that is considered obese.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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