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States in Mexico vote to ban junk food to curb obesity during coronavirus pandemic

Mexico looks to ban junk food sales to children because of the coronavirus risk

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Luis Fuentes, 45, from Ecuador, gathers up face masks decorated with traditional Mexican designs, as he puts away his wares as it begins to rain, on Insurgentes Avenue in Mexico City, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

Luis Fuentes, 45, from Ecuador, gathers up face masks decorated with traditional Mexican designs, as he puts away his wares as it begins to rain, on Insurgentes Avenue in Mexico City, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

Rebecca Blackwell, Associated Press

Lawmakers in Mexico have voted to stop the sales of sugar-filled drinks and highlyv processed foods to anyone younger than 18 years old to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

What’s happening?

  • Multiple Mexican stateshave moved to ban junk food to children.
  • Health officials have used the coronavirus pandemic as a chance to change public health policies.
  • Being overweight can increase the risk of serious illness with the coronavirus.

What’s being banned:

States have limited sales for:

  • Chips
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Sugary beverages

What happens:

Some laws in these states — like the anti-junk food law in Oaxaca — has punishments such as fines, store closures and jail for any offenders, according to The Washington Post.

These laws are a huge win for public health because of the level of media attention they are getting globally. The pandemic is underlining the need to put public health front and center. — Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, a professor at Yale School of Public Health, to The Washington Post

The bigger picture:

  • According to Slate, Mexicans drink more sugary drinks per capita than any other country in the world.
  • 73% of Mexicans are overweight, according to a new study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.