The Mexican state of Oaxaca has banned the sale of junk food and sugary drinks children, an effort to curb obesity and reduce diabetes levels.
The bill proposes fines and possible closures of stores for selling soft drinks and high-calorie foods to children. Vending machines in schools will no longer sell junk food items.
“It’s important to finally put the brakes on this industry, which has already sickened our country and our children,” said Magaly López Domínguez, the Oaxaca lawmaker who presented the bill. “[The industry] gets into the most remote corners of the state where there’s often not even medicines, but there’s Coca-Cola.”
In 2016, Mexico declared “an epidemiological alert” from the high rates of diabetes and obesity across the country. According to UNICEF, one-third of Mexican children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Mexico is the largest consumer of ultra-processed products, including sugary drinks, in Latin America.
Oaxaca has the highest child obesity rate and the second-highest rate in adults, according to Oaxaca state health data.
Since announcing the junk food ban in Oaxaca, other states have expressed an interest in proposing similar measures.
This year, Mexico announced it will require food manufacturers to have new front-of-package labels to warn consumers of high levels of sugar, sodium, or saturated fat in the product. The labels have faced great opposition from multinational food organizations from the US and the EU.
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