Monday, 07 January 2013 15:43

Obesity in Mexico Reaches Epidemic Proportions but VIDA Project is Fighting Back

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America is not the only country that is experiencing an obesity epidemic; studies over the last ten years have shown an increasing rate of obesity in the country of Mexico, to the point that the country is rivaling the obesity rates of the United States.

The percentage of the adult population who qualify as obese in Mexico (defined as having a Body Mass Index or BMI greater than 30) as of 2009 was 30%, a rate that was only topped by the United States at 33.8%. According to a federal health and nutrition survey conducted in 2012, 64% of men and 82% of women were either overweight or obese. As a result of these increasing rates of obesity and overweight the country is also seeing an increased number of men and women at risk for diabetes. Some of the statistics surrounding diabetes in Mexico are as follows:

• One in five (20%) women in Mexico is at risk for diabetes.
• One in four (25%) Mexican men are now at risk for diabetes.
• Treatment for diabetes-related illnesses have skyrocketed with 150,000 receiving kidney dialysis, though this number is only about half of those that actually require it and are refused treatment due to a lack of health insurance.

Not only does poor health affect those who end up developing diseases such as diabetes, it also greatly affects the healthcare system of the country, with physicians and analysts expecting that the Mexican health system could be completely overwhelmed, and even face collapse, within the next 10 to 15 years as a result of the number of citizens suffering from illnesses caused by obesity such as diabetes.

These statistics are why the VIDA project being conducted by the Himalyan Institute is so important. VIDA provides education on good nutrition by matching participating families in Mexico with a nutritional counselor, providing seeds and technical knowledge to help families construct high-yield gardens, and harvest crops that not only improve the diets of the families but can also be sold in markets.

Nutrition is a significant barrier to maintaining a healthy weight in Mexico as it is in the United States; for example, sugary drinks such as cola are consumed at a rate of 728 eight-ounce drinks per person per year in Mexico, almost double that of the 403 eight-ounce sugary drinks consumed by Americans each year.

VIDA primarily aims to provide farmers in the Totonac region of Mexico with the means to grow high-yield crops that will benefit those who cultivate these fruits and vegetables as well as supply the demand in large cities for these foods in an aim to make a more balanced diet affordable and fight against the rising obesity rates.

For these reasons my brother Julian Omidi and I are proud to support the VIDA Project of the Himalyan Institute. Through your support of the VIDA Project Mexican citizens have the ability to avoid a debilitating health crisis that threatens the majority of the population. Please visit the VIDA project website to find out what you can do today to make a difference.



Read 16937 times Last modified on Thursday, 31 January 2013 18:22

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