The Bigger Picture – Mexico’s Expanding Waistline

By: Lisa Coleman

I was going to say Holy Guacamole, but it was far too cliché for a very real and deadly serious problem happening in Mexico.  And this has nothing to do with drug cartels…. When I’m not dedicated to blogging about Mexico, you can find me behind my desk at RecoverRite® changing the world one heart patient at a time. Since starting the business after my mother’s heart attack several years ago, I have become acutely and personally aware of the impact of heart disease.

It’s no secret that America is getting fatter. In 2010, it was predicted that heart disease cost the U.S. $316.4 billion (including health care services, medication and lost productivity). Our society is not getting healthier. The American Heart Association estimates that 81,100,000  people (one in three) in the U.S. have cardiovascular disease, many having more than one disorder, which causes one out of every six deaths. Unfortunately, things aren’t much better in Mexico.

The press seems all consumed with discussing the loss of life from drug violence, but not too many are writing stories about Mexico’s bigger killers… obesity and heart disease. With a high poverty level, combined with cigarettes, cheap processed food and the greatest consumption of Coca Cola per capita in the world, Mexico’s health issues are growing at an alarming rate. With 73% of Mexicans overweight or obese, and the smoking problem at epidemic levels (with almost 40% of the male population in their 20s being smokers), it’s time for education and a commitment to change the health and future of a country.

The rate of heart disease in Mexico has nearly doubled in thirty years, and according to an article on Reuters website, “half of women were found to have abdominal obesity (defined as having a waist size of about 35 inches for women, 40 inches for men).High blood pressure was not far behind — affecting almost 30 percent of both men and women. Meanwhile, about 13 percent of adults had diabetes, and a similar percentage had high cholesterol.”

Mexico is second only to the U.S. in obesity so their struggles will undoubtedly continue. But I have to believe that information and education can change the fate of a generation. Perhaps there will be a public outcry for healthy options, and maybe (someday), the dangers of smoking will be taught to the Mexican youth. My hope is the new administration that takes the reins in 2012 will put health on the agenda and save the hearts of the beautiful Mexican people.

You only have one body… treat it well.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Mexico Today is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.