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Mexico, boom in sugary drinks

Lighthouse of the international press on health impacts

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"Mexico is the country where the most sugary drinks are drunk in the world and three quarters of its inhabitants are overweight", is what emerges from data from Statista, a German web portal for statistics. In addition to being linked to thousands of deaths every year as well as to the increase in obesity and diabetes, the large consumption of sugary soft drinks has changed the eating habits of Mexicans and is difficult to contain even due to the influence that companies like Coca Cola have in the country. .

The consumption of soft drinks is so deeply rooted in Mexican culture that, between 1999 and 2006, it more than doubled among adolescents and even tripled among women. Over the same period, there was a 40 percent increase in obesity in children aged 5 to 11. Currently about one sixth of diabetes cases in Mexico can be linked to the consumption of sugary drinks, and Mexican epidemiologist Hugo López-Gatell estimates that around 40,000 people die from drink-related causes in Mexico each year - as many as there were been the dead from Covid in the country until July.

According to Coca Cola's latest survey on the drink's consumption, in 2012 each Mexican drank on average twice the amount that people in other countries consumed. A Guardian reporter said that in some remote areas of Chiapas, where some of the highest consumption of Coca Cola is recorded, she had seen babies drinking the soft drink from bottles; sometimes the drink is also used during religious rites, as it would help ward off evil spirits.

It is in Mexico that Femsa , the largest partner bottling company of Coca Cola, is based. Joan Prats , spokesperson for Coca Cola Mexico, said the various bottling and distribution plants directly employ 100,000 people in the country, and indirectly Coca Cola employs 1 million people and contributes 1.4 percent of the GDP of the country. Mexico. And it would also be due to the resistance from industry and the pressure on the country's government that until recently there had been no particularly important interventions to counter the spread of the consumption of sugary drinks.

Only in recent years has the Mexican government tried to stem the problem by introducing laws and regulations relating to food information. For example, on October 1, the law on food labels came into force, according to which manufacturers must indicate foods that are high in sugar, fat, sodium and calories. The sale of "junk food" to minors was recently banned in the southern state of Oaxaca and other states are taking similar measures.

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EFA News - European Food Agency