Mexico and other South American countries have made the news lately for their forward-thinking government policies tackling obesity and other food-system-related issues. In the beginning of this year Mexico implemented a nationwide sugary drink tax which seems to be working so far to raise awareness of the dangers of soda’s high sugar content. Coca-Cola’s overall sales in the country from this year to last are down 6.4%.
This summer, we learned about Mexico’s national legislation to limit advertising of sugary drinks and junk food during the hours that children are likely to watch television. Type 2 diabetes (the kind that can result from an unhealthy diet) affects 9% of Mexico, almost 20% of people over 50, and last year the country wobbled past the U.S. with a 32.8% obesity rate, making it the most obese country in the world (we’re at 31.8%, barely behind).
While the government is taking action, so are its citizens. Marion Nestle recently wrote about this video created by the organization Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria, which puts a darkly realistic twist on the Haz feliz a alguien (“Make Someone Happy) Coca-Cola ad campaign. The video depicts people wishing for happiness through the alleviation of ailments caused by obesity. The statistics provided at the end are eye-opening. Nestle offers a translation on her post:
Mexico is not the only country in South America to engage in awareness raising, activism, and government intervention regarding food systems and public health (related to food). Last month, Andy Belatti of Civil Eats highlighted five impressive national food policy initiatives enacted in our neighbors to the south:
1. Bold Dietary Guidelines in Brazil
2. Fruit Vending Machines in Argentina
3. Front-of-package Warning Labels in Chile
4. Traffic Light Labeling in Ecuador
5. Soda Taxes in Mexico
Read more about how South American countries are moving their food systems forward, and get inspired about what we can do in our own country.
PHOTO: via flickr
Sugary drink advocacy, Mexican style via Food Politics
Haz Feliz a Alguein via Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria
Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson