The United States was once known as the fattest country in the world. From the fast food restaurants on every corner, to vending machines in schools, it really was looking bleak there for a moment.
Well, move over bacon, there’s now a meatier country.
In a report released last month, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) found Mexico has a 32.8% adult obesity rate, surpassing the U.S. at 31.8%. That slight percentage is a big deal. Pun intended. According to a Global Post report, about 70% of Mexico’s population is either overweight or obese, and one in six suffers from diabetes, which kills around 70,000 people a year.
That’s a lot of burritos and tacos, right Target?
Who’s to blame for Mexico’s obesity? It’s a two fold issue. First there’s the issue with malnutrition. Then the issue with processed foods. Because processed foods are always cheaper they’re easier to obtain, but the lack of nutrients aid in malnutrition and widens the waistline.
“The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese,” said Abelardo Avila, a physician with Mexico’s National Nutrition Institute. “In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It’s a very serious epidemic,” he told the Global Post.
Many people also blame the popularity of US fast food restaurants that invaded the country in the 1990s. The Global post also reported that many complain that fresh produce, fish and other nutritious foods are often too expensive for poor households, especially since nearly 50% of Mexicans live in poverty.