by David Mendez
Looks like it's Good News/Bad News time, America.
Good News: We're no longer the fattest country in the world (barely)!
Bad News: We lost that title not by virtue of becoming more healthy, but because a neighboring country is undergoing a worse obesity epidemic.
From CBS News:
Even as nearly half its people are poor and as officials launch a national anti-hunger campaign, Mexico by some accounts recently has replaced the United States as the chubbiest of the globe's larger countries.
Diabetes and cardiovascular ills spike, plus sizes cram clothing racks and Mexicans keep eating, eating, eating. While cutting across class lines, the crisis disproportionately hits the poor and the young, malnourishment and obesity stalking them in tandem.
"The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese," said physician Abelardo Avila with Mexico's National Nutrition Institute. "In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It's a very serious epidemic."
About 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight, a third of them very much so. Childhood obesity tripled in a decade and about a third of teenagers are fat as well. Experts say four of every five of those heavy kids will remain so their entire lives.
[The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization] last month reported Mexico has a 32.8 percent adult obesity rate — just above America's 31.8 percent — blaming increasingly industrialized agricultural production for a worldwide epidemic of both obesity and malnutrition. The Mexican rate may pale beside tiny, heavyweight countries like the Cook Islands, but it ranked Mexico the fattest, populous nation.
This is, of course, horrible news — and not for the fa(t)cetious reason that our nation of heavyweights has just lost its title.
The worst part is that, as in this country, the lowest classes are suffering simply because they can't afford to eat better:
"I am trying to keep my children away from it," housemaid Noemi Munoz said of the empty-calorie foods on which her own children gorge. "But fruit is so expensive these days and forget about vegetables. We don't have money for much of that."
So while there are some that will undoubtedly lament the fact that Mexican invaders have stolen yet another rightfully-earned title from Americans, we have to realize that, y'know, there might actually be a problem here, guys.