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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

Fast food nation: Mexico edition

Mexico is packing on the pounds, warns the UN.
Mexico 08 25 09 grillo obesityEnlarge
Manuel Uribe entered the Guinness book of records when weighed in at 1,235 pounds in 2006. (Luis Reyes/Reuters) (Luis Reyes/Reuters)

There's a "state of emergency" in Mexico, and this time it's not about the bodies piling up.

Mexico is packing on the pounds, yet much of the population doesn't have enough to eat.

And so a United Nations food expert has called for a "state of emergency" to battle the twin problems of poverty and obesity.

"Mexico is one of the countries most severely affected by overweight and obesity, second only to the United States,” said Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, at the end of a week-long visit to Mexico.

The obesity epidemic is seen as a result of fattier diets and changing lifestyles:

As families guzzle evermore processed food, hamburgers and french fries, they have piled on the pounds to make Mexico one of fattest nations on the planet. ...

The changing dietary habits have come as Mexico has switched from a largely protectionist to an extremely globalized economy. Since it enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, imports of processed food and drinks have soared. The nation now consumes more Coca Cola products per capita than anywhere else in the world. ...

More and more Mexicans are abandoning hard-working country jobs for ever expanding urban jungles ... . There are also more and more cars. The country's denizens collectively buy more than a million vehicles a year amid cheaper prices and better credit.

De Schutter also said that monocropping and export-led agriculture come at the expense of healthy and diverse diets. He also cited policies that benefitted rich farmers rather than smallholders.

With 73 percent of Mexicans overweight or obese, it ranks on the list of the world's fattest countries. Here are the top 10:

1) Nauru: 95 percent

2) Micronesia: 92 percent

3) The Cook Islands: 92 percent

4) Tonga: 92 percent

5) Niue: 84 percent

6) Samoa: 83 percent

7) Palau: 81 percent

8) United States: 79 percent

9) Kiribati: 77 percent.

10) Dominica: 76 percent

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/que-pasa/obesity-overweight-mexico

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