Mexican NGOs launch anti-obesity campaign

Mexico City, July 4 (IANS/EFE) A coalition of civic groups is asking Mexicans to use social networks to condemn ads for junk food and sugary soft drinks that many blame for rampant childhood obesity in the Aztec nation.

The campaign aims to elicit “a citizen testimonial to demand that authorities regulate this type of advertising, fulfilling their obligation to protect the rights of children and adolescents”, the Alliance for Nutritional Health, or ASA, said in a statement.

The ASA kicked off the effort just days ahead of the government’s presentation of a national strategy to combat obesity and related ailments such as diabetes.

Alejandro Calvillo, director of one of the organizations in the ASA coalition, said Mexico’s politicians “have succumbed to the interests of the food- and beverage-processing industry in not establishing regulation of advertising”.

“The government pays no heed to the World Health Organization’s call to protect children from this type of advertising,” the ASA said.

Mexico is second only to the US in the percentage of overweight or obese adults and leads all countries in childhood obesity, according to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Mexico’s Health Department says 30 percent of the country’s teens are overweight or obese.

–IANS/EFE

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