Forman Lecture: Simón Barquera on tackling obesity and noncommunicable diseases in Mexico

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BY JENNIFER JOHNSON
OPEN ACCESS | CC-BY-4.0

The global prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, and these conditions now affect more than 340 million children and adolescents ages 5-19 and nearly 39 million children under 5. These conditions are linked to rising rates of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This has become a serious public health problem in in low- and middle-income countries, as rising poverty and inequity, urbanization, and climate and humanitarian crises limit access to healthy diets, especially for the poorest and most marginalized.

But policy responses have emerged that help reduce consumption of unhealthy foods and limit health problems—these include sales taxes on sugary drinks and warning labels on the packaging of highly processed foods. Facing an alarming increase in sugar consumption, Mexico was among the earliest countries to impose a tax on sugary sodas—amounting to about 10%—in 2014.

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