Mexico has declared a public health emergency over the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes.
According to health officials, the decision was made after the National Institute of Statistics and Geography confirmed that between 2014 and 2015 the number of people who died of diabetes rose by more than 4,000, Xinhua news agency reported.
In that period, diabetes-related deaths increased from 94,000 to 98,450, the Health Ministry announced.
At a press conference on Monday, Deputy Minister of Health Pablo Kuri said the statistics led officials to take the unprecedented measure.
“It is the first time we have declared a health emergency over a disease that is not contagious, and we declared two, one for obesity and excess weight, and another for diabetes,” said Kuri.
In 1980, 14,626 people in Mexico died of diabetes, showing the ailment spiked in the past 35 years, with more than 7 million Mexicans, or about 9 per cent of the population, now suffering from the affliction.
Health Minister Jose Narro blamed a change in the Mexican diet and lack of exercise for the country’s obesity and diabetes epidemics.
“In 35 years, genetics did not change. What changed was the lifestyle of Mexicans,” Narro said
The health emergency calls for local, state and federal governments to work together to design and launch more effective prevention measures and awareness campaigns, among other steps.