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12% of Mexicans suffer from malnutrition, says Health Dept. 

Junk food
Junk food | Shutterstock

February 27, 2023 6:15am

Updated: February 27, 2023 6:15am

A new report published by Mexico’s Health Department on Saturday found that 12% of Mexicans are suffering from malnutrition due to a large consumption of junk food. 

General morbidity and mortality statistics in Mexico show that nearly 12% of the population, particularly in rural areas, suffer from nutritional insufficiency, anemia, protein deficit, and micronutrient imbalances, said the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, in the Senate of the Republic.

The report found that the main driver of an unhealthy diet was the large consumption of junk food, impulsed by marketing campaigns, according to the head of Mexico’s health and nutrition research center Simon Barquera. 

“Marketing, economic interest, and the influence of the junk food industry are the main drivers of consumption patterns in the Mexican population that create health problems,” Barquera said. 

Consumer groups in the country have complained that chips, sodas, and other unhealthy foods are being marketed in rural areas, where they are sometimes seen as more prestigious and are more addictive than the traditional diet of corn, beans, and rice reported The Associated Press. 

Additionally, about 22.5% of Mexicans lacked enough income to buy nutritious foods for their families, pushing them to depend on cheap, junk food for sustenance, according to Mexico's 2020 commission for poverty measurement. 

Around 43.9% of Mexicans—55 million people—live below the poverty line, making it hard to access the basic foods necessary for a healthy diet and causing chronic ailments in the population, such as obesity, diabetes, chronic liver disease, and eating disorders.