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Mexico overtakes US for obesity as junk food ousts chilli and beans

Adult obesity levels are now higher in Mexico than the United States in official UN rankings, as the country battles to cope with changing lifestyles and diets.

A recent report by the United National Food and Agricultural Organisation found that almost a third of Mexicans – 32.8 per cent – were categorised as obese, compared to 31.8 per cent of Americans.

More and more Mexicans are taking to guzzling fizzy drinks and downing junk food, turning their backs on the country’s traditional fare of tortillas, beans and chilli.

“The main cause of (the rise in obesity) is the deterioration of healthy habits. We are the country with the highest consumption of soft drinks in the world, 163 litres per person per year. Obviously, obesity is related to this but also to the abandonment of the traditional diet and the consumption of junk food,” said Alejandro Calvillo, director of the consumer rights organisation El Poder del Consumidor.

Weight-related diabetes is Mexico’s biggest killer, reportedly claiming six times as many lives as the country’s gang wars.

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