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Mexican Childhood Obesity Now Worst in the World Because of Vitamin T

Updated on June 29, 2015
Is North America Broken?
Is North America Broken? | Source

Mexico Became the Fattest in the World

The Hubber blogdigz asked the question: How does childhood obesity affect children?

At one time, American and some Western European cultures held the belief that obesity, especially in businessmen, was a sign of success and wealth.

Today, obesity is a major problem in the USA and children are affected by it significantly. This is especially true since 1980, likely attributable to changes in technology, an increase in sedentary entertainment options, and changes in the food production and dining industry.

In addition, Mexico surpassed the USA in obesity in 2013 and has stayed at the top for the most populous nations in North America.

Mexicans' Evaluation of Obesity Problems

Mexicans say that Vitamin T is the problem -- Tacos, Tamales and Tostadas.


Since the 1990s, they also enjoy USA fast food that came to Mexico - burgers, pizzas, and deep fried chicken.

The Fattest In North America Since 2012


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United States

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Declared the fattest in the world by the UN in 2013.

Obesity can lead to sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea.

Negative Effects of Obesity

Obesity probably never results in good effects.

Obese children and youth are at risk for Type II Diabetes, heart attack, and stroke; joint and bone problems; and eating disorders. Obesity can lead to sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea.

Obese children often are less capable of concentrating on schoolwork, sluggish, and sometimes lethargic. These youth can be depressed and suffer low self esteem and seem to be frequent targets of bullies and cyberbullies.

On top of all this, some parents purposely overfeed their children as a form of abuse with all of the associated effects. Other effects may emerge as obesity persists among American children and youth.

Overfeeding in the USA entails parents feeding toddlers and elementary school children enough to sustain 2-3 adults or more daily.

On Losing Weight: Obesity and Bullying Studies

Recent Research

Epidemiology of Obesity in Children and Adolescents
Prevalence and Etiology

Luis A. Moreno, Iris Pigeot and Wolfgang Ahrens

Referece: Springer Series on Epidemiology and Public Health, 2011, Volume 2, Part 1, 69-93, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-6039

Chapter 5: The Epidemiology of Childhood Obesity in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Authors: Cynthia L. Ogden, Sarah Connor Gorber, Juan A. Rivera Dommarco, Margaret Carroll, Margot Shields and Katherine Flegal.


This article is very interesting and up-to-date, since it begins with 2007 data. It explains that in North America among a population of 440 million individuals in 2007, the three nations enjoyed different potential life spans (gender not considered):

  • Canada - 81 years
  • USA - 78 years
  • Mexico - 75 years

Infant mortality/death rates followed the same pattern, by UN statistics, being 4.8, 6.3, and 16.7 per 1,000. Mexico visibly suffers the dramatically largest infant mortality, almost three times that of the USA.

Why the differences? -- Most of the public might point to poverty, lack of medical/health care, and fattening foods in Mexico. Is this true?

How about childhood obesity in these three countries? The article provides a lengthy discussion of the different ways to measure childhod obesity, settling on Child Body Mass Index (BMI) for Mexican children and the latest relevant data being from 2006 surveys. Newest Canadian information came from 2004 and involved childhood height and rate comparisons.

United States of America - The Fattest For Many Years

Lead researcher on this article, Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, is well versed in using and producing health statistics, including those related to childhood obesity.

Ogden deliveered the keynote address at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing for a 2009 event titled Childhood Obesity: Trends, Treatments, and Troubles. Dr. Ogden is, in fact, an epidemiologist for the US National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC. She examines the prevalence and trends of obesity in America.

Translating Differences

No "Grand Obesity Survey" was available to administer for all of the North American Countries at the time of this study in the mid-2000s, so the definition of 1) overweight and 2) obese (severe overweight determined by some threshold measurement) likely differed among the three nations of interest.

Dr. Ogden and her team therefore applied International Guidelines to the data they gathered from Canada and Mexico. The international guidelines provided a sort of common denominator or a translation of the three data sets into a new "language" that made sense for each of the three.

These guidelines were the definitions as posed in the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) definitions. For America, BMI or Body Mass Index was used.

Results for Ogden, et. al. and Aftermath

Before Mexico took the top obesity position, he research team found that among children and youth examined by surveys and the data Scrutinized through international guidelines.


  • For the group of 7- to 13-year-old females, obesity doubled in the 15 years from 1981 to 1996. For boys of like age, it tripled.
  • In 2004, 26% of children and youth from ages 2 through 17 were overweight or obese, and 8% of the total were obese.


  • Children under 5 years of age in Mexico, overweight prevalence increased from 4.2% to 5.3% between the 11 years between 1988 and 1999.
  • In 2004, data from a 2000 survey showed among children and youth aged 10 to 17 that obesity prevalence was 9.2% to 14.7% for boys and 6.8% to 10.6% in the girls (Obesity Research Vol. 12, No. 2 p 215. Blanca E. del Rý´o-Navarro, The High Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in Mexican Children).


  • In the 26 years from 1980 to 2006, the prevalence of obesity shown by a high BMI (body mass index ≥ to 95th percentile) rose from 6% to 16% among boys and girls aged 2 through 19. This means that the number of youth with high BMI nearly tripled.

From these results, we saw that America had the largest proportion of obese children and youth, followed by Mexico, while Canada had the smallest percentage. Then things changed!

Mexico Takes the Lead In Obesity

The The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization reported that Mexicans are now the most obese of all the world's larger nations, even as they battle hunger and malnutrition in 2013.

The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese.

— Dr. Abelardo Avila, Mexico National Nutrition Institute

Diabetes alone kills as many as 70,000 people a year in Mexico. Over 400,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly.

Too Much Unhealthy Food


Inventions from 1980 - 2010s That Can Increase Obesity

I can think of several inventions and cultural changes that contribute to sedentary behavior in American K-12 youth. Some major items include:

  • 3D Movies at home.
  • Cable and Satellite TV with 1,000 of channels
  • High-Definition TV
  • Personal Computers, Apple Computers...iPads, iPods, and as Craig Ferguson jokes, iHOP pancake houses.
  • Virtual Reality
  • Video Games
  • DVDs - watch movies at home
  • Cell phones and SmartPhones
  • The Internet, especially Social Media and online role playing games (ORPS)
  • Youtube and other video platforms

Other Changes That Can Increase Obesity

  • Possible reduction in breastfeeding among new mothers - Evidence exists to substantiate the assertion that mother's milk helps prevent obesity not only in infancy, but also as the child matures: Cutting Edge Nursing Research.
  • Childhood Overfeeding Epidemic
  • Incorrect theory of the 1980s (at least in Ohio) that ADD or ADHD-diagnosed children and youth should not exercise at all because it was considered a distraction. Prolonged sitting at a desks (longer than other children) did not increase academic achievement. In addition, Ohio was the first state to successfully see ADD/ADHD qualify for Social Security Disability payments.
  • Funding cuts to school athletic programs, physical education classes, marching bands
  • Childhood medications for ADD/ADHD that caused weight increase.
  • Adult mental health diagnoses given to children, with the result that some of the related medications administered caused weight gain.
  • Rise in school violence and bullies - youth drop out of school to be home schooled, and physical education is often not considered.
  • Installation of fast food chains' restaurants within high schools and middle schools.
  • Drive Thru Windows at dining places and proliferation of fast and casual dining places.
  • Increased use of high-salt, high-fat, high-sugar prepared foods in homes; irregular meal times.

Food truck parking areas can creatr a temptation to overeat.
Food truck parking areas can creatr a temptation to overeat. | Source

© 2011 Patty Inglish MS


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Does Thanksgiving present temptations to overeating? It probably does.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      10 years ago

      I've been Googling and reading about obesity a lot lately. Personally, I think high consumption of refined carbohydrates and highly processed food, and sugar is the main cause.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @Quiz Master - Several schools in the MidWest I know, possibly for the high rental income received and a percentage of the revenues from higher prices charged in these units than in the free-standing units. Some of them did not last very long, though.

      @Hello, hello - With articles coming about about it, hopefully the problem will be addressed.

      @rorymullen - The reports on overfeeding children form the Maury Show are incredible!

      @DRG - Thanks very much. Google Scholar is a good place to search topics, but then you sometimes need paid- or Univerisy access to the articles. Some are made public several months after publication, however.

    • DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

      Felix J Hernandez 

      10 years ago from All over the USA

      Great detail and solutions. Great Hub. I couldn't have imagined the resources existed.

    • rorymullen profile image


      10 years ago from Maine

      We as American citizens need to more proactive for our children s health. We need to understand America is the Fastest nation in the world. America it is now time to stand up and show the world.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      It is shocking to see children like that. To me it is a crime to destroy a child like that. Great hub.

    • profile image

      The Quiz Master 

      10 years ago

      Fast food chains in schools? Who's ridiculously stupid idea was that?

      I'm from England so I never knew about that one.

      I think all fast food chains that sell unhealthy food should be closed down by law, after all you are slowly killing people.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @K. -- Those are terrific outcomes to hear about and encouraging to the rest of North America. Thanks for showing that it can be done.

      Thanks for all the comments, folks!

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      10 years ago from Orange County, California

      Great hub about a subject near and dear to my heart...nutrition, especially in children. I have several friends who's children are in the obese category, some of them since toddler-hood, and the common denominators in all these cases? fast food, video games, and lack of excersice. Most of my children's friends are surprised to find out that most nights, dinner is at home, and I have actually cooked it. When my teenagers were young, we didn't allow them to have a playstation or an X-box, (My son got his first playstation when he was 12), we made them play outside, we encouraged them to participate in sports programs and other activites such as dance class, theater, etc. We monitored how much time they spent in front of the TV, and how much time they spent in front of the computer, and we monitored how much junk food they ate as snacks. I am not saying that they never had junk food, but we helped them build good eating habits by offering healthy alternatives, such as fruit, carrot and celery sticks with dip, etc.(saving the junk food for special occasions and treats) limiting their soda intake, and by sometimes being the bad guy and just plain saying "no". Today, my seventeen year old son and my sixteen year old daughter, are both well rounded healthy individuals who seek outdoor activities on their own, have good eating habits, and are at the weight that they should be at. I am now raising my three year old the same way that I raised her brother and sister. With common sense and moderation.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      WOW... This hub is so informative and useful....

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Excellent hub...this is a subject that should be discussed more frequently, openly, and it begins at home with the parents.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      This is an important topic that has brought many good comments and ideas form you all. Thanks for that!

      Seems a lot of work is needed to reverse these trends - we've solved many health conditions and diseases, only to be brought down from inactivity and obesity. Ironic!

    • chspublish profile image


      10 years ago from Ireland

      Your hub is so important to bring this message about the dangers of obesity in children in particular, We all need to get really clued in and come up with and practise the solutions. Thanks for teh hub,

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      10 years ago

      I agree that "Prolonged sitting at a desks (longer than other children) did not increase academic achievement." In fact, some studies have indicated and exercise improved academic achievement -- not to mention health and in the reduction of obesity.

      Also, the abundance of fast-food restaurants (with high fats and high carbs) contributes to obesity. In some areas there is nothing to eat but fast-food. Those on a budget get tempted into fast-food because of its low price. Those on a schedule get tempted into fast-food because of its speed. So we have too much fast-food. What happened to the "slow food" movement?

    • sincerely25 profile image


      10 years ago from United States

      I know this is a very touchy subject that no one wants to talk about, but I learned several new points from reading.

    • profile image

      White Horse 

      10 years ago

      Gluten for punishment. I see said the blind man. After reading this I have to consider myself very fortunate, not for myself but for my children. They grew up active in sports and activites ever since they were toddlers. Go go go all "three seasons" of the year. We never ever thought much about diet. Eat all you want with no problem. I second the motion on the inventions. And I'd like to throw all the texting cell phones right in the g d river. My kids are grown now and still have no problem with weight, but I can see my seventeen year old Nephew is becoming a "victim of inventions." He doesn't want to leave his chair in from in front of the television. I like that. Victim of Inventions ! Nice One Patty

    • marshacanada profile image


      10 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks Patty for a well written article on such an important topic.

      One of my young male relatives was medicated and not encouraged to exercise much nor joing sports groups because of ADHD.

      He became a highly successful computer nerd, but overweight.He got himself a computer game that teaches dancing, plays tennise and pingpong with you. Now he is slimmer and a good dancer. I think the comuter game may be called Wi.

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Esther Shamsunder 

      10 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Patty, I agree that childhood obesity needs to be curbed. But making parents aware is the need of the hour.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      10 years ago

      Dearest Patty - Another Home Run of a Hub!

      Obesity has run in my family for as many generations as there are photos. Seeing great great great great great grandparents, and all who came after them, corpulent and proud, reflects the stereotypes of their day.

      I was determined to break the cycle of obesity even though the rest of my family are all at least 100 pounds overweight.

      At 5'3" and 120 pounds I've never chosen the obesity path of my family. I certainly can understand the social, familial and DNA stronghold that so many feel they are unable to break free from.

      For years I was chastised because I would not partake of the family 'tribal fare' of extra heavy pizza drenched in butter! I never made a big deal of my eating choices in front of them - but choosing fresh organic vegetables set me apart - and they were loud about their distain. I was considered a traitor.

      It would be difficult for all but the strongest of self-esteems to withstand being an outcast for making healthy choices. Parents play such a critical role in shaping their children's habits.

      Alas, all of my family have now passed on. Each gone way too soon from complications due to a lifetime of poor health habits - obesity - diabetes - smoking - alcohol.

      Even so, the bad habits I was taught as a child still tug at me constantly - It is a daily battle. Sometimes I have nightmares that I stopped paying attention for a single meal and wake up weighing 300 pounds.

      So daily I walk, meditate, appreciate, do yoga and pilates, create and work at what I love - And make healthy organic vegetarian diet choices one meal at a time.

      Thanks again for this amazing Hub! I know it will inspire many to wake up and start making better choices for themselves and their children!

      Blessings always, EarthAngel!


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