Saturday, October 12, 2013

México: Leads the World for Obesity According to UN, Raising Taxes on Soda Drinks Will Fail

According to EFE, the high level of obesity in México requires comprehensive solutions and not isolated measures such as raising taxes on soft drinks, economic and health specialist Mario Rodarte has emphasized

This type of tax is “regressive, affects low-income people more” and does not combat obesity if it is an isolated measure, the author of the book “Obesidad. ¿Que hacer? Politicas al vapor” (Obesity. What do to? Superficial policies) told EFE on Wednesday (October 9).

Among the main aspects of the fiscal reform proposed last month by President Enrique Peña Nieto is the creation of a health tax that increases the prices of carbonated beverages with an eye toward reducing obesity. The idea has met stiff resistance from beverage companies and associations of retailers.

COMMENT: Rodarte has emphasized that México is the No. 1 country in the world in terms of obesity, where one-third of México's population are considered obese, according to a United Nations report released in July.

Nutrition experts attribute the country’s high obesity rate to, among other things, the fact that Mexico is the top consumer per capita of sugary beverages.

Rodarte praised the advantages of the so-called Mediterranean diet, which in his opinion is one of the healthiest with its emphasis on the balanced consumption of fruits and vegetables, white fish, meat and dairy products, a combination that is “very close” to the diet of indigenous communities.

Historically, data has consistently revealed that increased taxation has never been effective in discouraging citizens from shifting to a healthier diet.