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Soda drink tax hike helps contain obesity of Mexicans, if combined with education and exercise

A plate of tacos and a Pepsi – this is the typical lunch in Mexico City.
Wherever one walks, a cup of soda drink in hand – the regular scene on street.

(Soundbite) Karina Fernandez Mejia, Technical Secretary,
Health Commission of Chamber of Deputies
“Chamber deputies of the Health Committee are aware of the serious problems involved with excessive consumption of sugary drinks. It has a terrible impact reflected in chronic degenerative diseases of much population in our country.”

The Mexican Chamber where Mejia works is now mulling a proposal to double the tax on sugary soda from one peso to two, or 10 U.S. cents.
The tax hike is expected to reduce consumption by 12 to 18 percent, and help contain the obesity rates, now 72% among adults, 35 % among adolescents and 34.4% among children.

(Soundbite) Karina Fernandez Mejia, Technical Secretary,
Health Commission of Chamber of Deputies
“(We hope) the rise in tax will help magically eliminate the problems of obesity and cardio vascular diseases. Furthermore, you must combine a number of solutions in order to influence the population, such as nutrition education and more exercise.”

Sugary drink tax was first introduced in 2014. The consumption fell by 6% the next year, and then 8% the third year, according to non-official statistics.

(Soundbite) Karina Fernandez Mejia, Technical Secretary,
Health Commission of Chamber of Deputies
“This problem can’t be attributed to a single factor, and its solution must also be multi-factorial.
Much of the population, including the youth and child, is very sedentary. So, we must also influence public policies that encourage exercise, sports and education both at home and in schools to reduce consumption (and help contain obesity).”

An average Mexican consumes half a liter of sugary soda or more each day.
Such an amount is alarmingly high, almost three times the world average.
Over drinking of sugary soda has been clinically proven to increase the risk of overweight, diabetes and cardio vascular risks.

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