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“Implementing strong warning labels on food packaging confirms that Mexico’s policymakers are serious about reducing the country’s obesity epidemic.”

Statement from José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vital Strategies, congratulating Mexican policymakers on their decision to implement warning labels on food packaging:

“We applaud policymakers in Mexico’s Senate, who yesterday followed Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies in passing a bill to implement strong warning labels on food packaging. Mexico’s decision adds to growing global momentum in the adoption of strong policy to address our obesity epidemic. In Mexico it marks the second time, after the adoption of the highly successful tax on sugary drinks, that policymakers have acted to put health before industry profits. We urge other countries facing a high burden of obesity to follow Mexico’s example, standing up to pressure from a powerful food and beverage lobby to implement policies that prompt consumers to make healthier choices.

“We also congratulate advocates in Mexico for their success in communicating the importance of clear and accurate food labeling to policymakers and the public. Their work has been instrumental in delivering this victory and we support their ongoing efforts to promote policies that protect consumers’ health. Implementing strong warning labels on food packaging confirms that Mexico’s policymakers are serious about reducing the country’s obesity epidemic.”

There is an urgent need for comprehensive policy action to reduce overweight and obesity in Mexico. It’s estimated that 70 percent of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese. Unhealthy diet, overweight and obesity are risk factors for a range of diseases including diabetes, cancer, and heart attack and stroke. Diabetes alone affects up to 14 percent of Mexican adults and claims around 100,000 lives a year. Without significant change, it is estimated that by 2050 only 12 percent of males and nine percent of females in Mexico will be a normal weight, more people will be obese than overweight, and the cost of related diseases is projected to increase to at least $US 1.7 billion.

Both houses voted unanimously to pass the bill, which requires manufacturers to implement warning labels on the front of food packaging if the contents are high in sugar, sodium or saturated fat. The bill now passes to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has endorsed the bill, for signature.   

Vital Strategies helps governments and civil society to implement evidence-based, population-level policies and strategies to promote healthy diets and reduce consumption of sugary drinks and hyper-processed foods high in fats, salt and sugar.

For more information on Vital Strategies’ work, please visit: http://www.vitalstrategies.org

Media Contact: Tracey Johnston tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org; +44 7889 081170