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In Historic Move, Oaxaca Bans Sale Of Sugary Drinks And Junk Food To Kids

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
In Historic Move, Oaxaca Bans Sale Of Sugary Drinks And Junk Food To Kids

In a historic move, Oaxaca becomes the first state in the Americas to ban the sale of sugary drinks and junk food to kids.

Mexico has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world. 

The Mexican state of Oaxaca has passed a law banning the sale and promotion of sugary drinks and high calorie snack food to kids and teens in an effort to curb widespread obesity and protect the health of young Oaxaqueños.



Members of Oaxaca’s congress broke into applause after approving the measure.

“We pushed for this transformation so children have a healthy nutrition that is adequate for their well-being and their development, instead of consumption habits that are dictated by interests of industry,” said Magaly López Domínguez, the lawmaker who propsed the bill, in a speech to the Oaxacan Congress.

Oaxaca has the highest rate of childhood obesity in Mexico, and the third highest for adults. 

Obesity is it's own pandemic in Mexico, as it is in the United States.

Seventy-three percent of Mexicans are overweight, and Mexico has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world.

Mexicans also drink more soda per person than any other country in the world - and they start young.

López Domínguez says soda is everywhere, even in remote, rural areas that have access to little else. "There's often not even medicines, but there’s Coca-Cola.”

“When you go to these communities, what you find is junk food. There’s no access to clean drinking water,” said Alejandro Calvillo, director of El Poder del Consumidor, which found that 70% of kids in a poor region of Guerrero had soda for breakfast.

"It’s important to finally put the brakes on this industry, which has already sickened our country and our children," says López Domínguez. "This health emergency makes it even more evident the damage caused by the consumption of these sugary drinks."

López Domínguez and other lawmakers blame sugary drinks and unhealthy habits for the nation's rampant obestity, diabetes, and hypertension - all of which are COVID-19 comorbidities.

Mexico's deputy health minister, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, called soda "poison in a bottle."

And the new law treats it as such, effectively putting sodas and junk food in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol. Any stores selling or distrubuting to children and adolescents will face fines, or even closure. 

It may seem harsh, but many on Twitter praised the move.

Unicef's representative in Mexico tweeted his approval, saying it helped protect children's right to quality and nutritious food.



"This is so important for children's health," tweeted a Mexicana. "Hopefully all the other states in Mexico will do the same. Maybe other countries too,"