Mexican Minister Calls for ‘Society’s Participation’ in Fighting Obesity

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Obesity, a phenomenon in which Mexico is the world leader, depends on many factors, including portion size of the type of food consumed, as well as lack of exercise, but above all a change in the public’s attitude, Health Minister Jose Narro said Wednesday. “The issue of obesity is a complex one, there’s no single measure and no single cause that explains it, there’s no single action that avoids and prevents it,” Narro said in an interview with EFE after five months in the job, although this is the third time he has served in a top-level post in that ministry.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

He said that “seven out of every ten Mexicans is overweight or obese,” and one in every three children suffer from those problems. The minister said that the solution “involves a change in the diet” and “the sedentary life” of many Mexicans. Another element in the equation that the minister stressed is the size of the meal portions on Mexican tables, a country with a rich gastronomic tradition and where people love to eat. “Virtue lies not only in abstinence but in continence. Sometimes families lose the perspective that the portion for a 4 or 5-year-old can’t be the same as for a boy of 12,” he said. Narro noted that overweight and obesity “have important implications” such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

In the case of diabetes, he said that the country “has a genetic basis” that makes the people “prone” to develop this disease. In 2014, more than 94,000 Mexicans died from complications of diabetes, or “one in every seven Mexicans who died,” he emphasized. Mexico also has “a serious problem of renal insufficiency,” of “amputations, retina problems, of the vascular system, the nervous system, the endocrine (system),” he said, acknowledging that “important advances are being made,” but warning that they are not enough. “Here, as in the majority of pathologies, we need the participation of society,” he warned, adding that “we need … help transmitting information to Mexican families.”

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