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Talk Roots México’s Obesity and Malnutrition Problems in Government Policy Changes

By Liz Mestres

What could be more central to our lives than access to sufficient and healthy food? How can we achieve food security? Food sovereignty? Food justice?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), one in seven people on the planet goes to bed hungry every day, and more than seven million children under five years old die of hunger each year. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted.

Here in México, an interdisciplinary team at the Universidad Nacional Autónomo de México (UNAM) conducted an analytical study, on food security. According to its report, Agenda Ambiental 2018, Diagnóstico y Propuestas, almost one in five citizens today lacks the resources to satisfy their minimal nutritional needs. “Extreme food poverty has increased and worsened in rural areas and among the indigenous population,” the report says.

These changes have brought about changes in eating habits, says the report. “By modifying their consumption patterns to include foods rich in cholesterol, saturated fats, sugars, and sodium, the problems of [being] overweight and of obesity on the one hand and child malnutrition on the other constitute serious public health problems.”

The Agenda Ambiental report traces the root of these problems to major changes in the policies of the Mexican government. These changes have led to the loss of food sovereignty and the impoverishment of small farmers.

“Since the liberalization of trade that began in 1986, the Mexican agrifood system has become an agroindustrial complex composed of seed companies, agrobiotechnology, agrochemicals, and agroindustrial foodstuffs that are in the hands of few transnational companies. Today in México, around 10 companies control the food industry.”

The team has determined that the recovery of food security requires a comprehensive program of productive support to small-scale agriculture, one that reorients agricultural and rural development policies. They point with optimism to alternative strategies that are being developed throughout the country, including organic farming that regenerates the health of soils, ecosystems, and people.

On June 21, the Education Collaborative will present the fourth installment of its “Reimagining San Miguel” discussion series with a focus on food. The program will take place at the Center for Community Development (CEDECOM) in the La Luz neighborhood.

Nutritionist Pilar Quintanilla will address the problems of nutrition affecting the people in our region. María de Jesús Zermeño will discuss the value of traditional foods and cooking methods. Luis Suárez, a producer and member of the certification committee at the TOSMA organic market next to Mercado Sano, will discuss the situation of local producers and their work on self-organized methods of guaranteeing organic production.

This is the first of several programs that will address the major theme of agriculture, soil, and food. Future sessions will discuss the role of regenerative agriculture and seed banks.



“Reimagining San Miguel as a Sustainable Community: Focus on Food”

Speakers: Pilar Quintanilla, María de Jesús Zermeño, and Luis Suárez.

Fri, Jun 21, 5pm

CEDECOM Community Center

Calle Francisco José de Landeta, Ref Boulevard De La Conspiración

Free admission

Bilingual translation provided



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