OAXACA, MEXICO (August 6, 2020). – Oaxaca became the first state to prohibit the sale of beverages and junk food to minors after the local Congress, approved with 31 votes in favor of the bill to eradicate and reduce obesity and diabetes in the population.
In response, the Undersecretary of Health Promotion and Prevention, Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, welcomed the measure and called it an advance in health care.
“I welcome the approval of this initiative that defends the best interests of children. It is an advance in health care from prevention”.
He previously described the initiative to reform the Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents as successful because “it coincides with one of the priorities of the federal government’s plan, which is the promotion of healthy eating. For the sake of Mexico’s public health, I hope it will be enacted”. Lopez Gatell said.
At the end of the ordinary session, the president of the Political Coordination Board of the Local Congress, Horacio Sosa Villavicencio, tweeted that the “@CongressoOaxLXIV privileges children’s health and strikes the first blow against the bottled poison industry.”
He indicated that the approval of the opinion with the project of a decree by which Article 20 Bis of the Law of the Rights of Children and Adolescents of the State of Oaxaca is added represents a significant advance in the matter of public health.
The reform to Article 20 Bis of the Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents establishes the prohibition, distribution, donation, gift, sale, and supply of sugar-sweetened beverages and packaged foods with high caloric content to minors.
The legal system also prohibits the installation of vending machines for sweets and soft drinks throughout the entity, the sale, and the supply of sugary drinks and high-calorie packaged foods in public and private schools of primary and upper secondary education.
Sosa Villavicencio added that since 2016, Mexico is under health emergencies due to overweight, obesity, and diabetes mellitus, which remain in force, with the children sector being the most vulnerable.
At the same time, Congresswoman Magaly López Domínguez, who encouraged and promoted this reform, explained that the reform mentioned above is based on various scientific studies carried out in Mexico and other parts of the world, which reveal that six out of every ten deaths of women and men in the population are attributed to the consumption of sugared beverages in adults under 45. And he added: “Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our country by becoming the most obese in Latin America,” according to data from the World Health Organization.
He added that “in this sinister classification, Oaxaca occupies the second place among the states with the most obesity in adults and the first place with child obesity, since around 28 out of every 100 children in the state between 5 and 11 years old suffer from overweight or obesity,” according to the Oaxaca Health Services.
“It is scientifically proven that both overweight and obesity are risk factors for chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. These conditions have also been directly linked to high consumption of sugary drinks and high-calorie foods or junk food,” she added.
“There is no question about how harmful junk food is — and if no one is discussing banning the sale of tobacco and alcoholic beverages to minors, then there should be no question about banning the sale of other types of poison, such as soft drinks and junk food,” she said.
The proposal is known and supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which have publicly expressed their support.
Numerous civil society organizations working for children’s rights have also publicly expressed their support.
Concerning the demonstrations of rejection by various business chambers of the ban on the sale and consumption of junk food and beverages, Deputy Magaly López Domínguez was precise in saying that the reform will not affect small grocery stores.
“Those shops will be able to continue selling those products normally. She clarified that the only limitation is that they will not be able to do so to minors, as is currently the case with the sale of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages,” the legislator said.
The legislator from Morena said that “the arguments against this draft decree are based only on economic aspects, which are also false. The catastrophe announced by the businessmen will not come. There will not be a desolate landscape of unemployment; there will not be a ban on Oaxacan chocolate, yolk bread, or tlayudas; the grocery stores will not be closed, nor will the shopkeeper on the corner be prosecuted,” she said.
“This project would only prohibit the sale to children and adolescents. Let mom and dad decide whether their children can eat these products or not. Let it be their responsibility. Let it be a decision of those who have legal guardianship and those in charge of their health and integrity. Let it not be a decision of the companies. That it is not a decision of the transnational capitals”, she concluded.
Source: The Yucatan Times