Mexico is battling an obesity problem, including childhood obesity. Poverty causes undernutrition and malnutrition and their effects, including stunting and vulnerability to disease, including in Mexico. However, the introduction of processed foods around the world — in Mexico in particular — has caused rates of obesity to soar, leading to other health problems.
The Mexican diet that traditionally included whole grains and vegetables is now being replaced by cheaper processed foods that are high in sugar, trans-fats and salt. Mexico is ranked as one of the most obese countries in the world, with more than 25 percent of adults over 20 with a BMI over 30, the traditional marker of obesity.
Obesity rates in Mexico are closely linked with poverty as unhealthy foods are cheaper and more available than healthy food, just as they are in many of the United States’ “food deserts.” Bottled water is often more expensive than soda and beer, and fresh produce costs more than junk food. The southern provinces in Mexico have particularly high rates of poverty, with only around 6 percent of families earning enough money to adequately provide for their children. Furthermore, the instability in some regions of Mexico means that it’s not safe for children to be active outside as much as they would like. A poor diet and lack of exercise have led to rampant childhood obesity in Mexico. More than 10 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are considered obese, and nearly 29 percent of children are either overweight or obese.
ChildFund aims to tackle childhood obesity in Mexico by providing families the means to produce their own healthy food and sell surplus vegetables, fruit and eggs for extra income. We also help fight poverty in Mexico by helping impoverished families establish themselves financially through microloans, micro-credit and other financial assistance.