Fruit and veg consumption in Mexico fell by 30% over the last 30 years

In the last 30 years, the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the diet of Mexicans has fallen by 30 percent, while that of beans has dropped by almost 50 percent, as part of a food transition that still hasn't ended and that has negatively influenced the overweight and obesity public health issue in the country.

According to Elsy Garcia Villegas, a specialist in Health Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the sedentary habits fostered by technological development, the lack of planning a diet, and the excessive burden and poor management of stress are some of the factors that have contributed to generate this serious public health problem.

According to official reports, she stated, 72 out of every one hundred young people in Mexico are overweight or obese; in teenagers, the figure is four out of 10.

However, the specialist said that fighting and preventing these evils is not so complex. A recommendation is to take and register 10 thousand steps a day. This method is even more efficient if it is done for periods of 30-minute uninterrupted walks.

The expert from the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance of the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran (INCMNSZ) said there were children in basic education with hypertension in some Mexican cities, as "children 12 to 19 years old have an unbalanced diet and low physical activity; they are captives of fast food, sugar and desserts, which stimulate the appetite and cause them to eat more."

Garcia Villegas stated that in the last decades the old markets have been replaced by plazas and self-service stores. "The traditional markets had many fat-free foods, the snacks were jicamas, cucumbers, and carrots; now we are the biggest consumers of sodas and instant soups of the world."

The INCMNSZ researcher stressed that it is a myth to argue that vegetables do not provide a feeling of satiety: "give them that opportunity for a few days, to corroborate it."

She also suggested eating fruits: "people should eat seasonal fruits to save money, and if they can't eat salmon, they can always eat tuna or sardines. The point is reducing red meats, or replacing them with a combination of cereals and legumes, just like in the traditional fare of  tortillas and beans."


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