Mexico Overtakes US As World's Fattest Country; Begins Regulating Food Consumption

Tyler Durden's picture

Mayor Bloomberg's crusade to micromanage what New Yorkers put in their mouth has so far failed, but that just means the attempt to impose the first "New Normal" nanny state, in which individual calorie consumption is regulated for the greater good by the even greater government, has simply shifted its geographic location. In this case to Mexico, which according to the OECD has surpassed the US as the world's fattest country and is "notorious for its love of sweets, fried foods and pastries" and where as the WSJ reports, the lower House of Congress passed on Thursday a special tax on junk food that is seen as potentially the broadest of its kind, part of an ambitious Mexican government effort to contain runaway rates of obesity and diabetes.

Mexico's weight problem in context:

The WSJ reports on what can only be described as Mike Bloomberg's wet dream:

The House passed the proposed measure to charge a 5% tax on packaged food that contains 275 calories or more per 100 grams, on grounds that such high-calorie items typically contain large amounts of salt and sugar and few essential nutrients.


The tax, which was proposed just this week, is sure to stir controversy among big Mexican and foreign food companies that operate here. It comes on top of another planned levy on sugary soft drinks of 1 peso (8 U.S. cents) per liter that was passed by the same committee, an effort that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported.



The taxes—both aimed at curbing consumption—have broad political support and were expected to later be approved by the Senate as part of a sweeping tax overhaul. The snack food levy is part of a bigger tax proposal from President Enrique Peña Nieto which aims to raise the government's non-oil tax collections.


"This appears to be the most aggressive strategy anywhere in the world in recent years to improve diets via tax disincentives," said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington.

Some have already cast the blame: TV zombies and undereducated "fatsos."

"We're a country of malnourished fatsos," José Antonio Álvarez Lima, a former state governor turned newspaper columnist told Mexican political news website Animal Politico. He pegged part of the blame for Mexico's high consumption of soda and snacks on incessant TV advertisements and poor education.

Mexico's attempt to centrally-plan what's for dinner naturally was met with the adoration of not just Mayor Mike, but every government apparatchik desperate to justify their non-value adding exietsnce. Such as this one:

Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, called Mexico a role model, saying that the measures could protect the health of consumers while also shielding the economy from productivity losses and runaway public health costs.

Of course, if the "measures" fail at doing all those magical things, the government can just swoop in and start regulating the economy and productivity next, just as the Fed has been doing in the US for the past 5 years, with absolutely disastrous results.

Which is not to say Mexicans aren't fat. As noted above, according to the OECD, the average Mexican is now fatter than the average American. Which means very, very fat.

Seven of 10 adults in Mexico, and a third of children, are either overweight or obese. Mexicans have now surpassed Americans for the title of the fattest country in the OECD, according to the organization.


All that fat has contributed to an alarming rise in chronic illnesses like adult-onset Type 2 diabetes, which afflicts an estimated 15% of Mexicans over the age of 20, the highest rate for any country with more than 100 million inhabitants. Illnesses related to excess weight cost the Mexican public health system more than $3 billion a year, according to the legislation.


On virtually every street corner in Mexico, makeshift stands sell the types of packaged items that will be taxed for the first time: potato chips, cookies, ice cream, fried corn chips, chocolates, candy, puddings and local sweets.

However, while those who revel in the government's intellectual superiority, despite the vivid example of every centrally-planned economy crashing and burning in due course, some are quick to point out that this latest plan to micromanage consumption is idiocy. First, the big food companies:

Mexican industrial chamber Concamin estimates that processed food companies targeted by the new tax employ thousands of Mexicans and account for 4.1% of GDP. "We can't allow last-minute taxes," said Concamin president Francisco Funtanet, suggesting that companies might cut back on personnel and investment to absorb the tax hit.


Raul Picard, a top official at Concamin and owner of a chocolate company, argued that vice taxes could lead to a proliferation in contraband goods of questionable origin, possibly posing a threat to public health.


"There's no such thing as junk food, just junk diets," said Felipe Gómez, head of a regional food makers' group in Jalisco state. Even so-called junk food has carbohydrates and calories that the body needs, Mr. Gómez argued.

But it's not just the big corporations that are skeptical. So are normal people with some common sense.

Some ordinary Mexicans said a tax was unlikely to change their eating habits much.


Héctor Ortega, a 45-year-old operator of a street stand in downtown Mexico City, predicted that consumers may pull back briefly when prices rise, but then return to their old habits.


"Just like the cigarettes, people will go back to their old habits," said Mr. Ortega. He said junk food was obviously unhealthy, but it was often the only thing that poorly paid office workers and students can afford. "This is a restaurant zone and the food here is expensive. For some people, these products are the only food available."


Fernando González, 24, an office worker who frequents Mr. Ortega's stand, is a big fan of sodas and gum, in particular. When the new prices kick in, he said, he won't give up on his favorites, but will probably buy less chips and candy.


"It's a craving, it's an addiction, it's something people enjoy," he said of Mexicans and their treats.

The biggest irony, of course, is that the government "of the people", in its very finite wisdom, will hurt those it supposedly cares about the most: the poor. Because the rich can afford to eat healthy. It is the poor who will merely have to pay more to satisfy their "food addictions."

Academics say the move could hurt the poor because they spend a greater percentage of their income on cheap, packaged foods, but added that doing nothing was worse.

Sure. Which is why America no longer has a drug (or gun) problem. Oh wait.

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TeamDepends's picture

Ay yi yi!  Gastropodico!

Millivanilli's picture

Hi fructose corn syrup made with GMOs and put into most processed food is poison.  Now eat UP, proles!

THX 1178's picture

In this comment section: Taco jokes

NoDebt's picture

"Sure.  Which is why America no longer has a drug (or gun) problem."

Gun problem?

Jumbotron's picture

Ross Perot did say we would all hear a giant sucking sound if we signed off on NAFTA.

He didn't realize it would be fatties from the Yukon down to Mexico City and all points of America in between sucking down Big Gulps and Chalupas.

"Yo Quiero Taco Bell"


JR's picture

The head of the OECD, source of this report, is José Ángel Gurría, a member of Mexico’s Revolutionary Institutional Party who while serving as the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs (1994–1997) negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and requested financial aid during the 1994 crisis. Central role in the Mexican peso crisis was played by then U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (formerly co-chairman of Goldman Sachs) and Goldman Sachs.

In late 1995, Patrick Buchanan wrote "[n]ewly installed President Ernesto Zedillo said he needed the cash to pay off bonds held by Citibank and Goldman Sachs, lest the New World Order come crashing down around the ears of its panicked acolytes."[5] (Wikipedia)

The Vicente Fox administration nominated Gurría to lead the OECD in July 2005. On September 30, 2010, he was reappointed by the OECD to a second five-year mandate after his first term finished on June 1, 2011.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party   is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for 71 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), making Mexico one of the few nations with two major, competing parties part of the same international grouping. (Wikipedia)

olto's picture

Dear JR,


None of that has been meaningful in altering the epidemic of obesity. sometimes, rice

I had thought that maybe the problem was in the change-over to 'rogue' GMO corn that 'invaded' the Mexican corn fields, but there is not much real information that this is the case.

What I do know is that in traveling the campo and coasts of Mexico from 1980 to 1989----I never saw a fat farmer or fisherman, and I spent time with plenty of them. The same diet always; breakfast, lunch, and dinner---beans, corn tortillas, chiles, and  sometimes, rice.

They were really healthy and strong people----haven't been back, but apparently things have changed.

JR's picture

The last time I was in Mexico, in the late 90s, I didn’t notice an obesity problem, either, Otto, which makes me wonder about the report, which is why I was expounding on the global connectedness and PC of the OECD.

Perhaps many children in the U.S., Mexican and otherwise, are gaining weight because of lack of a home life in that their mothers are forced to work, especially single mothers, and/or prefer a career. Many children no longer go home for noon meals, they skip the school lunches (I take it few bring their lunches in public schools) and head for a nearby fast food restaurant either with money from their parents or welfare largesse, and then arrive to a dark home in the late afternoon, only to snack and watch television with the doors locked until their parents (parent) arrive.

A lonely existence, I’d say – a time that once was the happiest and most carefree experience of many a person’s life. Perhaps the little folks are compensating for their lack of family life, by eating.

olto's picture

Thanks, JR,

For an excellent reply!

Your point is well taken because the change has come over a single generation. Maybe, it is all of the above plus a bunch of unknowns---as yet to-be-discovered.


I love Mexico and yet did not end up there because I did not want to play an eternal macho game with the Mexicans as a gringo.

Thanks again

SIOP's picture

"Sure. Which is why America no longer has a drug (or gun) problem. Oh wait."


WTF ? 

The Burning Planet's picture

That's  precisely it. This is a food  education issue. This is not going to be solved with higher taxes. Tax crack cocaine--people will still smoke it. People have to learn the dangers not just of HFCS and high gluten wheat in everything we eat but also the dangers of eating a diet consisting almost entirely of cooked foods which is common in Norther Mexico, the southeastern part of the US and states like Hawaii. The cuisine of Southern Mexico in contrast is much different, much more like Cuba where people eat raw vegetables, plantains, black high  fiber beens etc., and generally stay away from the processed foods common in the cities. Not surprisingly people there are much healthier and thinner. But northern Mexico is a disaster and they brought their terrible eating habits to the soutwest US. Go into your typical taqueria and look at the menu. Everything, and I mean everything is either cooked or fried or pickled. OK, maybe you can get a  raw radish from the salsa bar, but that's about it. Eating this kind of diet will make you as big as a barn. It doesn't matter how much you exercise.

One And Only's picture

Ever notice how the fattest people are in the poorest neighborhood. I'm not talking big boned, I mean these people are fat as fuck, embarrassingly so (embarrassing to me as they don't seem to have any shame)

Obama is such a fuckin retard. If you pay people to not work and sit at home and eat all day you're going to have a fat problem.

Whatever, more welfare. Watching our society slowly decay under his leadership has been quite a spectacle.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Pass da Potatoes!!  And da Donuts!!

One And Only's picture

Supposedly SNAP (the word for dead beat) means supplemental nutrition assistance program.

Bullshit nutrition. I see fat fucks buying candy, soda, hot dogs, etc. With deadbeat stamps you should only be able to buy vegtables and bottled water and meat once a week.

knukles's picture

I think I read somewhere a long time ago that the largest sales of Twinkies were in inner city environs purchased on SNAP/EBT cards.

kekekekekekeke's picture

no bottled water and I would agree

Jumbotron's picture

"Pass da Potatoes!!  And da Donuts!!"

Fuck that....we don't have time to fix both....or even eat one at a time.

I've invented the Donatoe.  Donut on the outside.....creamy Idaho Golden on the inside.....with a's been injected with butter as well with a GMO High Fructose Glaze on the outside.

Krispy Kreme's got their Hot Fresh Now sign lit.....go get one NOW !!!!

Better yet....don't even get out of your chair....even if you can.  We'll just drone one over to you 5 minutes after your order by phone or e-mail.....just leave the window open.

patb's picture

HFCS, and McDonalds.  

By selling corn based processed fast food, they develope liver disease and diabetes, as it occurs slowly and to pretty much

everyone at the same time, it's perceived as normal.


In the third world the poor are skinny, in the US, the poor are obese.


Snoopy the Economist's picture

"Obama is such a fuckin retard. If you pay people to not work and sit at home and eat all day you're going to have a fat problem."

Do you really think O gives a fuck? It's quite clear that he does not care about America one fucking bit.

Freddie's picture

+1 billion. 

I can't believe those figures below.  Unreal.

Seven of 10 adults in Mexico, and a third of children, are either overweight or obese.

I made the mistake of going into a Wal Mart aka EBT nirvana.  Haysus Christo!   It is like a mix of a weird zombie and Fellini movie.  So F'ed up!  Aisles and aisles of processed food filled with corn syrup, GMO and other poisons.

It is weird as shit because it was 10:30 at night and it was packed. Mostly people buy food.  Do they charge up the EBT cards at the first of the month and the middle of the month.

I mean WTF!  Wal Mart would have been a ghost town last night if it wasn't for EBT.  Do these people just sit and watch TV until 10 pm and then run out to shop.

I never go to f***in WMT.

They did have some .223 but guns frighten me.

A Lunatic's picture

Well as they say, you can't have your cake and eat it too........

quasimodo's picture

Mark my words. The judge will somehow have a tragic accident, or be moved somewhere else. It will be overturned at some point. Monsanto, the fucking crooks that they are, have way too many connections that some peon obscure judge in Mexico has any teeth in this decision.

Sorry, it's going to take more than one judge in a country rife with corruption to change the way a crooked ass fucked up outfit like Monsanto does business.

Freddie's picture

Remember the fertilizer company that blew up in Texas right after the Boston Marathon false flag?   Who were they in a nasty lawsuit with?  Monsanto.

Yen Cross's picture

  NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President - SPIEGEL ONLINE

  I think obesity should be the last thing on Obungas <divide & conquer> agenda... Nice work TOTUS, you've managed to alienate most of Latin Americas' leaders.

knukles's picture

Try the whole bloody world. 
A great exercise is to spend a day... that's right, turn off the telly, no drugs or booze, just read... the offshore press... from all over the world.

The perceptions of the US are pretty ... I'm not even sure of the word or words to use... less than flowery, rotten, hateful,deeply disappointing, sorry ass disgusting and spiteful.... and not because of our freedoms, but our fiefdoms

And that's way down the drain from the low level of W.

Yen Cross's picture

@ knukles 

  I hope to make your aquaintance in the near future. If you had chosen teaching as a profession,  this country would be running a(real) TIC surplus! Good on you and your family Knuks ;-)

I am Jobe's picture

64OZ Super Gulp 



Ice Cream


I am Jobe's picture

Exporting fat to MX USSA  USSA USSA


Eeyores Enigma's picture

Well I guess the mega food corps are going to have to find new markets to peddle their nutritionless quazi-food crap.


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

This is ultimately the crux of the problem. For thousands of years Mexicans living on their native foods, heavy on maize, have never had a over weight issue. If they return to it, I suspect their problem will end. Unfortunately they are now hooked to our GMO "food" that is as addictive as crack. And our corporations certainly like it that way.


Hulk's picture

Trillions of dollars made on making and keeping a billion people sick ...

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Well Hulk, if we happen to get the opportunity, I will gladly carry away heads and clean up if you load the assholes on the guillotines.

Sorry I just slaughtered 7 turkeys and 18 chickens the other day and the gore is still fresh in my mind. Named each one a bankster before beheaded.


Hulk's picture

Sounds like to me you are primed and ready to take some heads !!!

But due to budgetary problems, there will be no guillotines, so swords it is !!!

SV30 Steel Bitchez !!!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I'm in! Mr Miffed did some with his machete. Nice quick kill. At least we don't have to pluck the bastards. Coyotes can have the meat...if theyd eat it.


Hulk's picture

We can just mix them in with my humanure compost pile, that way we are assured that every pathogen in their dieseased brains is killed off !!!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Well, don't that sound fitting! Diseased brains soaking in shit. Truly, the most just end for the bastards. You are right. I hadn't thought of those poor coyotes health. ;-)


adr's picture

Is it because the only people left in Mexico are the ones too fat to fit through the hole in the fence?

Or they put the U-Haul over its weight limit.

W74's picture

Fatties can't hike 300+ miles through mountainous desert terrain.

mofreedom's picture

They no need wory, Obama will soon comandeer the railroads and send them to US via cattle cars.

Got Dependants?  Got Lifelong Voters!!!

Jack Burton's picture

I wonder how much this has to do with NAFTA. When this trade agreement was passed, USA subsidized corn was allowed free access to the Mexican market. This flooded cheap corn and corn syrup into the Mexican food processing markets. The US delivers mass subsidies to corn growers, and after NAFTA this government subsidized grain and syrup was free to flow to Mexican markets. This did one thing, it destroyed the small Mexican grain farmers, who get no government cash for growing corn. Unlike Americans, the Mexican farmer was subject to a free market, and he was destroyed. Thus many small farmers made for Mexico City or the USA.

But now perhaps we see another side effect of USA's corn exports under NAFTA. As the product is heavily government subsidized by US taxpayers, the US farmers can flood it at cheap prices into Mexico. Food processors can increase the bottom line by filling processed foods with masses of cheap corn fillers and corn syrups. I suspect, that this stuff is making Mexican children fat and this carries on into adulthood. Especially corn syrup, which is dirt cheap and put into nearly every processed food and drink.

My guess is that NAFTA not only destroyed the honest, capitalistic, free market Mexican farmer. But is also destoying the health of the Urban food consumers of Mexico. A double hit on Mexican society. Thanks to US Soviet Agricultural Subsidies. It really is the USSA. Communistic to the core. And as in the USSR, US Soviet Communism is destroying the honest Mexican small farmer. How ironic that we lecture Mexico about economics, when their honest free market is killed by the US Soviet Agricultural System, flush will billions of our taxpayer's money.

The US is a communist system. It even has the mass spy network that all communists so dearly love and worship. USSA!

Hulk's picture

I think you are spot on JB. Its stunning how ruinous fraud, corruption and greed are...

Harbanger's picture

To protect us from fraud, corruption and greed is why centrally planned societies/economies where created. No?

W74's picture

And yet even the small farmer in the US is getting crushed by low prices and driven off the land.  This is by design.

Of course Monsanto is raking it in, and they have no problem owning the land (at any price as they're in it for the long-haul) and allowing sharecroppers (today's seasonal workers) to do the work that robots cannot yet do.

No longer are we a country of independent Yeomen, beholden only to our land, our families, and the respect and trust of our neighbors.

Hulk's picture

Monsanto is pure fucking evil...

Pure Evil's picture

Damn, I knew I shoulda called myself Pure Fucking Evil!

Hulk's picture

Its never too late to change PE !!!

Freddie's picture

ADM aka Corn Syrup Inc. owns The (corrupt) Senate.   Ever see a line of of cars on a freight train?  ADM ship corp syrup in these big tanker rail cars on trains.

They own 26,900 rail cars and each one holds 17,600 gallons of corn syrup and other sweetners which are all ***king acids anyway.

syntaxterror's picture


We're still #1 in:

- prison population per capita
- drug consumption
- debt per capita
- delusions of "exceptionalism"
- military spending
- bailouts