Mexico heads the list of the world's top industrialized nations. Fat chance you say? Exactly.
Nearly a third of Mexican adults are obese, a recent U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report says, topping even the United States, which comes in a close second at 31.8%.
The United States has long been a fixture atop the chubby list.
The culprit? High-calorie, low-cost processed foods and an increasingly sedimentary lifestyle as Mexican incomes rise and people move into the city.
The danger, according to the World Health Organization, is an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, degenerative joint diseases and some cancers.
The obesity epidemic is a double whammy for Mexican children, who can be both malnourished and overweight.
"They are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense ... foods, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrient quality," the World Health Organization reports.
And it's a growing problem, but not just for Mexico. Since 1980, worldwide obesity has doubled.
In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults were overweight and 500 million were obese.
The solution is simple, but not always easy to accomplish, especially as nutritional options are limited in many parts of the world:
- limit intake of fats and sugars
- increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts
- engage in regular physical activity -- 60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes per week for adults