Mexico faces a new challenge, health problems related to obesity and, at the same time, malnutrition.
MEXICO (Times Media Mexico) – “If the pandemic should leave us anything, it is the ability to reflect on the situation in which Mexico finds itself. A country with an obese or overweight population, diabetes, and hypertension. Covid-19 has exacerbated this reality. Mexico faces a new challenge, health problems related to obesity and, at the same time, malnutrition”. Dr. Juan Carlos Jordan explains to The Yucatan Times in an interview.
Despite significant advances in medicine in general, Mexico faces two meaningful challenges. Malnutrition, on the one hand, and obesity on the other – both serious problems to be solved.
Malnutrition and obesity are presented by a situation that is known to all: The great love of Mexican people for junk food, even though we are a country rich in healthy gastronomic tradition.
“The panorama for Mexicans is aggravated when we see the statistics that indicate that in recent years, childhood diabetes has increased by 35 percent”. Dr. Jordán is adamant that the pandemic shows us that the Mexican population is at the mercy of junk food during confinement at home.
Children, in particular, are victims of the ultra-processed food and beverage industry, which are the leading promoters of obesity, the main cause of comorbidity in Covid-19 deaths.
“The consumption of ultra-processed food and beverages is not only one of the leading causes of obesity but also of diabetes and hypertension. That affects the health of millions of Mexicans, which is why we see alarming figures that indicate that 4 out of 10 children already have problems with overweight and obesity”. Explains Dr. Jordan.
The National Health and Nutrition Survey indicates that in school-age children, at the primary level -that is, between 5 and 11 years-, the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity is 34.4%. The prevalence of overweight is 19.8%, overweight in girls 20.2%; in boys 19.5%; while the prevalence of obesity is 14.6%, by gender: obesity in girls 11.8%; in boys 17.4%. However, combined with the above, there are also cases of overweight and malnourished people.
Urban populations have this problem, but the figure doubles in rural communities. The risk of an indigenous child dying from diarrhea, malnutrition, or anemia is three times higher than among the non-indigenous population.
With age, the situation does not change much. The National Health and Nutrition Survey indicates that one out of every three adolescents between 12 and 19 years of age is overweight or obese.
Dr. Jordan, an angiologist, vascular surgeon, and a specialist in diseases of the circulatory system, mentions in the interview that the Mexican Federation of Diabetes, A.C. indicates that the increase in physical activity, adequate diet, and weight reduction, decrease the risk of developing diabetes.
“The Covid-19 pandemic confronted us with this reality. We are a vulnerable country in the face of this virus. Our diet is deficient. We are a society dependent on a diet rich in processed foods with excessive sedentarism. We have to create awareness in the population and return to the best habits, which for a long time were a historical characteristic of the Mexican people.”
Dr. Juan Carlos Jordan is an angiologist and vascular surgeon, specialist in diseases of the circulatory system. He works in the hospitals of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Workers (ISSSTE).
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