Mexico has a severe obesity problem, according to official government reports. It is estimated that seven out of 10 adults are obese. The data concerning childhood obesity in Mexico is even more alarming.
For years, the Mexican Institute of Social Security has warned about the rise in obesity in young people and the many risks that accompany it, such as diabetes, kidney failure, heart attacks and high cholesterol levels.
“Unfortunately, we are finding more and more cases of childhood obesity,” said Abigail Velasco Juárez, a private pediatric neonatologist in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. “Unfortunately, many of the parents do not focus on the nutritional needs of their children, preferring the convenience of fast food than following a balanced diet.”
The young ones are at risk due to what they eat. They tend to have poor nutrition, a factor that leads to obesity.
“Many times, parents, due to laziness or incompatible work hours, do not give their children a full breakfast, with the sufficient amounts of vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for the children’s nutrition,” said the specialist.
One of the main factors that trigger childhood health problems is the massive intake of junk food, states the Mexican Institute of Social Security. The excessive consumption of high-fat, sugary food, such as hamburgers, pizzas, hot dogs, fried foods, and soft drinks, creates an unfavorable outlook.
The situation worsens due to the lack of motivation to engage in physical activities. In many families, there is no balance in the child’s life.
“Parents have the wrong idea that a chubby child is synonymous with a healthy child, which is false,” said Roxana Hernández Rodríguez, a private nutritionist at the Universidad Veracruzana.
“There is a great degree of irresponsibility,” said Hernández Rodríguez. “It is regrettable that we have seen cases of child diabetes due to the poor diet of Mexico’s children. It is not complex to give a healthy, balanced diet to the little ones.”
According to reports, Mexico is one of the primary consumers of processed food in Latin America. Health experts recommend learning to choose food items with high nutritional value, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken, beef, and fish.
“Sometimes it is easier to give children money to buy a bag of chips or cupcakes. However, parents must learn when and how to limit their children’s consumption of unhealthy items so that they keep being as healthy as possible,” said Hernández Rodríguez.
(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez. Edited by Kristen Butler)