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Regulations to Fight Obesity Set for Mexico City Schools

  • Next period, schools won’t sell sodas, fried snacks
    By Rocio Zayas
    The News - Mexico, May 27, 2010
    Straight to the Source

MEXICO CITY - The heads of the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) and Health Secretariat, Alonso Lujambio and José Ángel Córdova Villalobos, respectively, have announced the preliminary plan of the regulations of food and drink sales in elementary and secondary school cooperatives.

The plan prohibits, once and for all, the sale of sodas, sugared drinks and fried snacks in the 2010-2011 school year. This action is the result of the government's fight against child obesity, a problem that currently affects over 4 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 and has placed Mexico as the country with the highest number of obese and overweight children.

After meeting with representatives of the National Health Commission (CONASA) and the National Council of Educational Authorities (CONAEDU), Lujambio and Córdova said that the preliminary plan contains nutritional charts that establish what types of processed and prepared foods and drinks should be sold in school cooperatives. "We determined the quantity of the average nutriments and energy that children and teenagers in pre-schools, elementary and secondary schools require to satisfy their daily needs and to follow a correct diet in order to promote and maintain their health," Córdova said. The concessions of cooperatives that do not comply with the disposition of the secretariat will definitely be taken away, Lujambio said.

The Health secretary said that the problem of obesity represents a high cost to the country. For instance, in 2000, 35 billion pesos of the secretariat's budget were destined to address the problem. However, this figure increased to 67 billion pesos in 2008; if changes are not made, the number could increase to 160 billion pesos by 2017.

The regulations will be gradually implemented so as to ensure the availability of raw materials and to give time to the food industry to develop and use new technologies and to concessionaries and salespeople to acquire the ingredients outlined in the plan. 

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