Diabetes: Leading Cause of Death in Mexico

The World Health Organization released that as of 2016, diabetes was the leading cause of death in Mexico, being responsible for with 14.7% of Mexico’s deaths and thus seizing over 76,000 lives that year. The percent of the population that died to diabetes has tripled since 1990, and by 2050, scientists predict that half of Mexico’s population will suffer from diabetes.

The rise of the epidemic started in the 1970s-1980s, when more efficient methods of producing many crops was introduced. Due to these advancements in agriculture, while much more food was being produced, there was a smaller variety of crops. Farmers tended to produce crops that were cheaper and easier to grow, are staples of the Mexican diet (such as corn), thus resulting in a diet that’s high in carbs and fat, and low in protein. Also, the introduction and widespread accessibility of fast food has added to this problem. Mexico is the world’s largest consumer of soda- with each person consuming an average of 500 cans annually. Also, selling at just one pesos per bottle, carbonated beverages tend to be significantly cheaper than healthier alternatives. For many, soda is a part of their everyday routine. Also, as for many of the people in Mexico who work long hours every day and need a meal that they can eat on the go, fast food and street vendors are a regular and cheap source of meals.

The pollution in Mexico’s cities also contribute to these rising epidemic. Cities are overpopulated and are lacking space, thus providing citizens no place to run and do exercise to begin with. Even then, the air and noise pollution discourage more citizens from living active lifestyles.

Diabetes has had a heavy toll on the people who are affected by it. It’s has been demonstrated to lead to other conditions such as blindness, nerve damage, and kidney failure, is the leading cause of disability and early retirement in Mexico, and it costs the patient thousands to buy the medications and insulin necessary to live life with diabetes. This epidemic has proved costly for the Mexican health care system as well, for it costs them millions to provide the treatment and care necessary to diabetic patients.

Therefore, the Mexican government and health care professionals are doing their best to spread awareness about the disease, motivate citizens to eat healthier and live more active lifestyles, advising patients on how to cope with their diabetes and not fall for miracle products sold by swindlers around the city, and are trying to push for taxes on carbonated beverages to discourage the Mexican population from buying them. After all, the road to curing diabetes will require a reformation of way Mexicans live their daily lives more than anything else.

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