Many governments have launched initiatives to improve nutrition education. Unfortunately, industry advertising typically dwarfs these efforts, as do US trade lobbyists’ own efforts to push processed and fast food on the rest of the world.
It is hard to ignore the fact that Mexico’s adult obesity rate has soared since the adoption in 1993 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. While there are many causes, post-Nafta direct foreign investment in the processed food industry and a surge in advertising are important contributors.
Mexican consumption of sugary beverages nearly tripled between 1993 and 2014, and a new tax on sugary drinks has muted demand only slightly since then. The other Nafta partner, Canada, has similarly experienced a rise in obesity, partly because US imports have led to a sharp decline in the price of fructose.