Coca-Cola Launches Mid-Calorie Soda in a Mexico Battling Its Bulge

August 26, 2014

08/25/14 The Wall Street Journal

Coca-Cola Co. is introducing a mid-calorie cola here in its second-biggest market by sales volume and a country that’s struggling to shed the pounds.

Mexicans drink more Coca-Cola products per capita than consumers in any other country, so the company’s introduction of Coca-Cola Life, sweetened in part by the stevia plant, may be of some importance in a country battling obesity and a rise in diabetes and related health problems.

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Mexico Plays the Heavy on Food Ads

August 22, 2014

08/21/14 The Wall Street Journal

Obese manMexican authorities are restricting food marketing to children on television and in movie theaters, part of an attack plan against rising health problems as Mexicans get fatter.

The new limits, which became effective in mid-July, go far beyond any measures taken in the U.S. to restrict food advertising. With a third of children in Mexico overweight, and the country’s entire population struggling with a high rate of Type 2 diabetes, the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto pitched the restrictions as a tough follow-on to the adoption this year of special taxes on sugary beverages and calorie-dense snacks.

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Mexico food labeling rules draw fire on sugar

April 22, 2014

Obese manThe Washington Post, 4/21/14

Mexico’s new food labeling rules were supposed to help fight an obesity epidemic, but activists and experts said Monday they may actually encourage the public to consume high levels of sugar. The debate over sugar has grown bitter, in a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the Western Hemisphere.

The new label rules unveiled last week list the amount of sugar and other contents as a percent of recommended daily intakes. The new labels will no longer list the weights of the ingredients, instead simply listing them as calories and percentages of recommended daily intake.

But the labels assume that an average acceptable daily consumption of sugar is about 360 calories, equivalent to about 90 grams of sugar. The World Health Organization has proposed a sugar intake of as little as 100 calories or about 25 grams per day.

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Mexico City Bets on Tap Water Law to Change Habit

January 24, 2014

woman shopping for water in big box storeAbc News, January 24, 2014

“Drink the water.” It’s a suggestion alien to Mexico City residents who have long shunned tap water in favor of the bottled kind and to the throngs of tourists who visit the city each year, bringing with them fears of “Montezuma’s Revenge.” But a law recently approved by Mexico City’s legislators will require all restaurants to install filters so they can offer patrons free, drinkable water that won’t lead to stomach problems and other ailments.

“We need to create a culture of water consumption,” said Dr. Jose Armando Ahued, health secretary for Mexico City. “We need to accept our water.” Bad tap water accounts in part for Mexico being the world’s top consumer of bottled water and — worse — soda, some 43 gallons per person a year. With an obesity epidemic nationwide, the city’s health department decided to back the water initiative.

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Mexico enacts soda tax in effort to combat world’s highest obesity rate

January 16, 2014

Coca Cola BottlesThe Guardian, 01/16/2014

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.

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Mexico Takes Bloomberg-Like Swing at Soaring Obesity

October 16, 2013

Mexico consumes more Coca Cola per capita than any other country

The New York Times, 10/16/2013

Rosa Isela Sandate kicked her drinking habit about six months ago and swears she will never go back.

She would down a Coke or a Boing!, a tooth-jangling sweet local drink, at every meal. Her belly grew so big that diners at her lunch stand thought she was pregnant and warned her against working too close to the grill. “They said, ‘Take very good care of the baby, the heat will hurt it,’ ” she said. It was hard banishing the sugary drinks, recalled Ms. Sandate, 31, nursing a large bottle of water, but the effort paid off. She has lost 13 pounds.

The government would like more Mexicans to follow Ms. Sandate’s example. In a bet against an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a tax on sales of all sugary drinks. If it goes through, the tax will make Mexico a rare test case of a national soda tax directed at a severe obesity problem.

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With Its Soda Tax, Mexico Repeats The Mistakes Of Mayor Bloomberg – Op Ed

October 10, 2013

Mexico consumes more Coca Cola per capita than any other country

Forbes, 10/10/2013

By the middle of October, if everything stays on schedule, Mexico’s legislators may well prove that they haven’t learned a thing from policies that have been tried and failed, from Denmark to New York City.

Mexico’s government is deciding whether to levy a 1-peso-per-liter tax on manufactured sugary drinks, purportedly to address Mexico’s obesity epidemic.  The tax would raise just over $900 million in annual revenue.  But experience shows: the extra revenue won’t go to reduce the obesity rate in Mexico — or anywhere else.  And, even if it did, experience also shows that the extra revenues collected won’t have the intended effects on consumer behavior – which is where the waist-line battle is won or lost.

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