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Expert: Mexican diet worse for health than fast-food

  |   Nov. 25, 2013 at 2:15 AM
LEON, Mexico, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- An expert says the Mexican diet -- more dangerous than fast-food -- combined with a sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of Mexico's obesity epidemic.

Dr. Enrique C. Morales Villegas, director of the Cardiometabolic Research Centre in Aguascalientes, Mexico, said the Mexican diet is more dangerous than eating at fast-food restaurants because it is a combination of fried food, junk food and soft drinks.

"The philosophy of life is around comfort. People eat too much and every day they watch 4 hours of TV, spend 2 hours at the computer and do less than 10 minutes of physical activity," Morales said in a statement.

"I have proposed to the Mexican government that 18-year-olds should have obligatory measurements of glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index, with repeat assessment every three years. Screening could be done in schools, shopping centers and other public places and if an abnormality is found a strategy should be in place to treat it. This would be easy and inexpensive, and I am waiting for the government's response."

Morales, a cardiovascular disease expert, is calling for mandatory screening of 18-year-old Mexicans to halt the cardiovascular disease epidemic plaguing the nation. Cardiovascular risk factors will be a key theme at the Mexican Congress of Cardiology, which began in Leon Saturday and runs through Wednesday. The Congress is organized by the Mexican Society of Cardiology and features a collaborative program with the European Society of Cardiology.

Obesity is not just an aesthetic problem, it's a profound health problem and the consequences are diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia, or high blood lipids -- all known as cardiometabolic risk factors, Morales said.

"This explains the very high mortality from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in Mexico," Morales said.

In just one year, from 2009-10, mortality from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes rose by 9.5 percent in just one year in Mexico, Morales said.

"The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Mexico is one of the highest in the world and the problem is increasing in all age groups," Morales said.

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