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Taxing Obesity in Mexico

Updated on October 20, 2013

The numbers are shocking after a study showed that 69.5% of those over 15-yrs old were fat, overweight and obese in Mexico. For Mexico, the only comforting thing about that percentage was that the USA was at 69.2%, the U.K. was at 63%. Scary because losing weight is not rocket science if you are vigilant about it, look at the food data label per serving, eat in modest amounts and exercise.

But in another study, it was found that Oreo cookies are as addicting as cocaine. It really is not about the Oreos, which ARE good with milk, it is the sugar content that triggers the impulse controls in the brain for wanting more and more to reach that sugar high. The sugar causes the brain to want more and more. I suppose gummie bears would be the same. I know the feeling because I cannot just eat a few. Sometimes, when idle, the "gummie bear" thought enters my mind and I start craving them. Luckily, my willpower is strong and I can sometimes fight the urge off. This is the problem, to fight the urge to eat even when you have just finished a meal. I guess there are many without adequate willpower.

Mexico City is now stepping in by taxing fatty foods containing over 275 calories in packaged food, adding a surcharge of 5%. They also plan to add a surcharge of 8 cents per liter of all soft drinks (8 cents = 1 peso). Remember, NYC tried to do this. No other country has tried such extreme measures to curb obesity problems.

With 7 out of 10 adults obese and 35% of its children in the same condition because of the love of sweet and fatty type foods in that country, Type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing there, over 15%, which is the highest for any country over 100 million. This obesity problem has strained the Mexican health system costing over $3 billion a year! That's a lot of tacos!

One Mexican official said, We're a country of malnourished fatsos". Mexico's media and education, or lack of, is cited as the main reason. Its media pushed packaged foods relentlessly and food carts are found everywhere. The fast food makers in the country account for 4% of the GDP for the Mexico and are threatening that if the taxes become reality, there will be higher unemployment from company layoffs.

Now, 275 calories is not a lot to consume. It can take a good 15 minutes to burn those off of running at a fast pace. But there are ways around the taxes, as usual. For instance, buy many small packages that are less than 275 calories, or buy smaller soda sizes under a liter (about a quart). But, it is a very progressive step to control obesity.

It is like what happened to cigarettes. Since the 70's, there has been a gradual wave of anti-smoking across America. Everyone knows it is BAD for you in ANY form. Tobacco is bad. Yet, it is a horrible addiction to kick, It use to be a carton of cigs would cost not more than $8 at max, that is 20 packs. Because of government taxing over the years that increases to discourage use, the same carton is around $20-30. What is worse is that, the addicted person is paying for their own death, shortening their lives. The same principle is being used to control obesity and diabetes.

Sometimes, tough tactics is the only choice left. Viva la Mexico!

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