Is Mexico’s soda tax working?

114450483_87ef30b539_m2/8/2016 Christian Science Monitor

Mexico has the highest rate of overweight or obese adults in the world, and an estimated 10 million Mexicans have diabetes, doctors say. The country also happens to have the highest per capita consumption of soda, amounting to 70 percent of the total added sugars consumed by the average Mexican, according to a report in The New York Times. Recent research reveals that the Soda Tax passed into law in 2014, may reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the country.

Mexico’s “soda tax” was passed in 2014 as part of a larger effort to lower the rate of obesity and the occurrence of diabetes in the country. Under the legislation, sugar-sweetened beverages (except milk and yogurt) are subject to a tax of 1 peso per liter.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Mexican National Institute of Public Health looked at purchasing patterns in more than 6,000 households in 53 large cities, publishing their findings earlier this month in the journalBMJ. Researchers identified a 6 percent decrease in the sale of sugary beverages in 2014, which gradually climbed to 12 percent by December 2014. Lower socio-economic groups showed the highest decrease in consumption, at 17 percent, but purchases went down among all socio-economic groups. There was also a 4 percent increase in bottled water sales.

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Pope’s Mexico trip threatens to hasten Zika’s spread

Pope_Francis_Korea_Haemi_Castle_19_(cropped)2/8/2016 Stat News

Papal visits are a magnet for the Roman Catholic faithful. But public health officials are hoping that when Pope Francis visits Mexico later this week a specific segment of American Catholics who might normally flock south of the border will stay home: pregnant women.

Mexico is one of the many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where the Zika virus is currently spreading. The virus is strongly suspected of being responsible for an increase in cases of microcephaly — an abnormally small head — among infants born to some women infected during pregnancy.

The messaging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been very clear: Pregnant women should do everything they can to avoid being infected with the virus. That means not traveling to affected countries if at all possible.

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Mexico health ministry downplays Zika threat to tourism

2/3/2016 Reuters

Aedes_aegypti_CDC-GathanyMexico’s health ministry on Wednesday sought to play down any impact on its tourism industry from the mosquito-borne Zika virus, emphasizing the disease was under control and far from its main tourist centers.

The infection presents no risk for tourist activity, Alberto Diaz, a senior official from the health ministry, told tour operators during a meeting in Cancun, however conceding it was “inevitable” the virus would spread.

Mexico has so far confirmed 34 cases of Zika, up from 18 last week. It has not yet detected a case in a pregnant woman.

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Reverberations From a Rise in Mexico’s Murder Rate

2/1/2016 The New York Times

POLICIA CDMXEscalating homicide rates in Mexico are affecting the country’s average life expectancy.

According to research published in the journal Health Affairs, the life expectancy for Mexican men aged 15 to 50 fell by 0.6 percent from 2005 to 2010.

“In most countries, homicides do commonly occur, particularly among young people,” said Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez, a professor of public health at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the lead author of the study. “What is unusual, though, is for homicides to have such a large impact at the national level.”

In 2005, Mexico’s murder rate was 9.5 per 100,000 people, but by 2010, that figure had more than doubled, to 22 per 100,000. That shift coincides with the beginning of a new national security strategy in 2006, which aimed to dismantle criminal organizations, Dr. Beltrán-Sánchez said.

“We suspect that the rise in homicides has to do with those policies, which we hope will be discontinued.”

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Mexico City residents brace for water cuts that will leave them dry for days

woman shopping for water in big box store

1/29/2016 PRI

Mexico City is one of the world’s thirstiest places, with billions of liters consumed by the capital’s growing population of about 9 million, and a metropolitan area that tops 21 million. And this week, millions of the city’s residents got news that they should prepare for water cuts that will leave them without any water for days.

The announcement was released quietly on the city government’s website last weekend, and only spread through the media and word of mouth shortly before the cuts were implemented. Water is expected to be restored by Monday, though the system won’t be at full capacity until perhaps as late as next Thursday.

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Mexico says ‘no justification’ for delaying pregnancies over Zika

1/26/2016 Reuters

Aedes_aegypti_CDC-GathanyThere is currently “no justification” for asking Mexican women to postpone getting pregnant because of an outbreak of the mosquito-born virus Zika, a senior Mexican Health Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Zika, which has spread across the Americas, has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil, leading health authorities in Colombia and El Salvador to advise women against getting pregnant for anywhere up to two years.

There are 18 cases of Zika in Mexico, with 13 in the southern state of Chiapas, four in the northern state of Nuevo Leon and one in the western state of Jalisco, said Pablo Kuri, deputy minister for prevention and health promotion.

“In Mexico, right now, there is no justification to tell a woman not to get pregnant when we only have cases in three places,” Kuri said in an interview.

“We’ll have to see in the future, given the experiences in Central and South America, if these types of recommendations really have any effect. You can tell people not to get pregnant, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.”

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First Dengue Fever Vaccine Approved by Mexico

12/9/2015 The New York Times 

SANOFIA dengue fever vaccine developed by the French pharmaceutical giantSanofi has been approved for use by Mexico, the first approval in the world for any vaccine for the disease, which afflicts tens of millions of people around the world and is becoming an increasing threat.

Sanofi said in a news release Wednesday that the vaccine, which it is calling Dengvaxia, was approved by Mexico’s Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk for prevention of dengue in people 9 to 45 years old living in endemic areas.

“Today, with this first marketing authorization of Dengvaxia, we have achieved our goal of making dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease,” Olivier Brandicourt, chief executive of Sanofi, said in a statement. “This is a historic milestone for our company, for the global public health community and, most importantly, for half the world’s population who lives at risk of dengue.”

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