Mexico seizes Kellogg’s cartoon-festooned cereals in fight against obesity

MEXICO – Mexico has seized 380,000 boxes of Kellogg’s cereals that feature cartoon mascots as it doubles its fight against rising cases of obesity among children. 

The seized boxes feature cartoon mascots, which are in violation of recent laws preventing the marketing of allegedly ‘unhealthy’ products to children.  

The law banning marketing ploys like cartoon mascots to entice children was first passed in 2018 in Mexico, but only recently went into effect.  

The boxes of Corn Flakes and Special K were removed from 75 sales outlets across the country, with a vast majority being seized from a warehouse just outside Mexico City.  

The cereal boxes also reportedly did not clearly list the required nutritional information on calories, fats, salt or sugar, or feature the proper warning signs.  

The move by Mexican officials is coming at a time when the health of its population is becoming an increasingly important area of concern.  

According to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Mexico is the second most obese country in the world.  

The weight issue is particularly prevalent among kids, steeply rising with age from below 10% below the age of four to almost 40% among teens.  

Another study by researchers at Imperial College London analyzed data from 200 countries and found the mean body mass index (BMI) of Mexicans saw the steepest rate globally.  

In 1985, Mexican girls aged 19 had a mean BMI of 20.7 and ranked 155th among their peers. By 2019, it had risen to 24.2 and ranked 19th.  

Meanwhile, diet-related diseases have also sky-rocketed, with 8.6 million Mexican adults (10.3% of the population) suffering from diabetes and 15.2 million adults (18.4%) from high blood pressure in 2018.  

Faced with an already overburdened public health care system, the Mexican government has put in place a number of measures to decrease its nation’s consumption of ‘junk food’. 

In 2014, the country banned the TV advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages at times when most of the audience was made up of kids under the age of 13.  

40% of television advertising for beverages, candy, and snacks was impacted by the legislation resulting in Kids purportedly viewing fewer ads for ‘unhealthy’ goods than before the legislation was enacted.  

Several regional lawmakers have also put measures in place, with states like Oaxaca banning the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks and high-calorie snacks to children.  

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