MEXICO CITY – Experts warned on Tuesday that the rise in health problems due to obesity among Mexican children, which is considered to be an epidemic, threatens “for the first time” to reduce life expectancy rates in the country.
Within the framework of the opening of the International Forum on Childhood Obesity Operations, being held in the Mexican capital until next Thursday, researchers from Mexico, the United States, Canada, France and the Czech Republic acknowledged the need to establish a clear definition of childhood obesity.
Diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol “are appearing at earlier and earlier ages among Mexican children and if they are not controlled they are going to reduce the life expectancy of the new generations,” warned Mercedes Juan Lopez, president of the Mexican Health Foundation.
Lopez said that the problem in Mexico is due to profound changes in lifestyle, in the behavior and customs of students and in their eating and leisure habits as well as to a probable genetic predisposition among those who suffer from obesity.
The expert based her remarks on a recent foundation study which Mexican and foreign researchers conducted for two years.
This public health issue must be dealt with in a comprehensive, immediate and coordinated manner, and it must be participated in by all sectors of society, she said.
Currently, 40 percent of Mexico’s more than 107 million citizens suffer from obesity, while a quarter of Mexican children are above their desirable weight, according to the 2006 National Health Survey.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s IMSS health care agency predicts that in 2025, 25 percent of the country’s adult population will be diabetic due to bad diet and being overweight.
The forum will seek to encourage researchers to continue their work focusing on potential solutions to the problem of excess weight and childhood obesity worldwide. EFE