Sunday, November 23, 2014

Comparing prices and obesity in Greece and Mexico

I have been thinking about the contrast between prices in Greece and Mexico. The average cost of an Americano in PV is 25 pesos ($2.00 Can) and in Greece it is 3 euros ($4.35 Can). This morning we stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast. We had coffee/tea, toast, spinach & cheese omelette, homemade hash brown potatoes, refried beans for 75 pesos each ($6.00 Can). A similar meal would have cost at least double in Greece. It is obvious why many Greeks cannot afford to visit their local cafes and tavernas.

Another observation, as I walk around the streets of PV (in contrast to the Greek islands), is the rate of obesity...both tourists and locals. It is overwhelming. Most of the tourism here comes from Canada and the USA. Canada's rate of adult obesity continues to climb each year. Mexico's rate is now higher than the USA!

From The Guardian:
"A groundbreaking tax on sugar-sweetened beverages recently passed in Mexico could provide the evidence needed to justify similar laws across low- and middle-income countries and cities in the US, experts believe.
Campaigners and public health experts are watching closely to see what impact Mexico's tax has on consumption. Mexico, where 32.8% of the population is obese, is now the country with the biggest weight problem in the world, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation, overtaking the United States. The impact on health has been serious – 14% of the population has diabetes. Rates of high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart attacks, are also high.
So far, there is not conclusive evidence from any country in the world that raising the price of sugar-sweetened drinks will affect obesity levels, but the Mexico experiment is on an unprecedented scale. Although the tax was set at 10% per litre rather than the 20% campaigners wanted, it will affect a huge number of people. Every year, Mexico's 118 million people drink 163 litres of soda each, or nearly half a litre a day. According to the National Institute of Public Health, a 10% tax should reduce that to 141 litres per year, preventing up to 630,000 cases of diabetes by 2030.
Billboards across Mexico City ran photographs of a man with parts of his feet missing as a consequence of diabetes. They warned that a 600ml litre bottle of Coca Cola contained 12 teaspoons of sugar, and asked whether a parent would be happy giving that much to their child.
Soft drinks manufacturers retaliated with their own adverts, urging politicians to reject the tax, claiming that jobs would be lost in their industry and in sugar production, which is important in Mexico. They said that small shops, dependent on soft drinks sales, would close and linked the campaign to former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-obesity drive. “Michael Bloomberg, [former] mayor of New York, has financed with $10m a health campaign against sweetened drinks. He wants to do in Mexico what he could not do in New York,” said the adverts.
Campaigners in the coalition, the Nutritional Alliance for Health, tried to buy airtime on the three mainstream television channels, Televisa, TV Azteca and Milenio TV, but were turned down without explanation and suspect advertising contracts with industry were the issue. None of the channels responded to questions from the Guardian. Cable TV later aired the campaign adverts."
It is hoped that this tax money will provide potable water to school children in areas where they do not have access to clean drinking water. Meanwhile concerned groups are actively involved in tracking the tax dollars to ensure that they are not channelled into other government programs.
Statistics indicate that obesity has also increased dramatically in Greece over the past ten years with the introduction of more processed food and the availability of cheap junk food during tough economic times. The Mediterranean diet of yesterday has been replaced by hamburgers, pizza and chips!

My apologies to readers...not sure why this appears the way it does!!!

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