Nearly three-quarters of Mexican adults are overweight or obese and their numbers have slightly increased in the past four years despite government programs to fight the epidemic, a government survey showed Thursday.
Mexico has one of the worst rates of overweight and obese people in the world, rivaling the United States, rising from 71.2 percent of people over 20 in 2012 to 72.5 percent this year, according to the health ministry.
“There is a very slight increase but it’s not statistically significant,” deputy health minister Pablo Kuri said at a news conference.
“In a way, the phenomenon of overweight people and obesity has stabilized,” Kuri said.
While the rate among children ages five to 11 fell from 34.4 percent in 2012 to 33.2 percent in 2016, it rose among teenagers from 34.9 percent to 36.3 percent.
The survey was conducted in the homes of some 30,000 people in the country with a population of 120 million.
Mexico is one of the world’s biggest consumers of sugary drinks and the government imposed a tax on such products in 2014 in an effort to reduce consumption, which has fallen by six percent.
Authorities have also launched several programs to encourage Mexicans to drink more water, exercise and avoid junk food.