The Oaxaca Congress could take an important step in health if it passes a law to prohibit the distribution, sale, gift and supply of sugary drinks and high-calorie foods to minors. The initiative has been discussed since 2019, but it reaches the plenary session of the Oaxaca Congress this Wednesday in the context of the health emergency due to COVID-19, a disease that affects people with conditions such as obesity and diabetes, among others.
Deputy Magaly López Domínguez, from the Morena parliamentary group, presented a proposal to add article 20 bis to the Law of Girls, Boys and Adolescents of the State of Oaxaca, with the intention of prohibiting the sale of soft drinks and junk food to minors. The foregoing, points out the proposal, with the intention of protecting the health and life of girls and boys above the economic interests of the companies that produce and distribute these products. It should be noted that the opinion proposes the prohibition of direct sales to minors, leaving the responsibility to the parents for what their children consume. The initiative indicates that, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), one in three minors in Mexico is overweight, and that children spend up to 20,000 million pesos on these products each school year. In the specific case of Oaxaca, until 2012 it was reported that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-age minors was 27.5%, being higher among boys (31.4%) compared to girls (23.7%), according to the National Survey of Health and Nutrition (ENSANUT). It was also identified that the red spots in childhood obesity in the state are the regions of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Costa and Tuxtepec.
The undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, celebrated that the Oaxaca Congress is going to discuss an initiative related to children’s health. In the afternoon conference on Tuesday, the official emphasized that poor diet in Mexico in the last three decades is the fundamental cause of the epidemics of obesity, overweight and diabetes, among other chronic diseases. “That poor diet is not a voluntary act, you cannot blame individuals, but you have to create the necessary conditions for good nutrition,” he said. López-Gatell was confident that the initiative will be approved, although he warned of the possibility of economic ‘interests’ infiltrating to hinder the process.
‘It is imperative to change the eating model. It is a very successful initiative (…) and I express my very favorable opinion and wish for the health of ´Mexico that this law be enacted, ‘he added. Dozens of civil organizations also expressed their support for this proposal and urged Oaxaca deputies to vote in favor to weigh the health and life of girls and boys. “(The opinion is) a mechanism to prevent chronic diseases from an early age, preserve the health and life of Oaxacan children, and as an important precedent to take into account in the rest of the country,” the organizations pointed out in a positioning set. They also recalled that the federal government has indicated that chronic-degenerative diseases -such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension- are the main cause of the COVID-19 case fatality rate in the country being so high, and that these Illnesses are caused by poor diet and high consumption of sugary drinks.
Video: Covid-19 vaccine does not guarantee permanent immunity (Millennium)
Click to see the full video