In a move that seems to favor the soda industry more than the health of its own people, Mexico’s legislators have voted to reduce its successful soda tax, an important initiative designed to fight the country’s considerable obesity problem.
In Mexico, an estimated 70 percent of adults are overweight, as are a third of school-aged children.
Now, Congress appears to be making an effort to get back in the good graces of the soft drink industry, starting with cutting the soda tax in half for drinks that contain fewer than five grams of sugar per 100 milliliters, which legislators suggest would encourage companies to use less sugar in their products. Public health advocates, meanwhile, say that a tax reduction will simply benefit those companies that market drinks to children.
“Our legislators care more about the industry than they care about people’s health,” Dr. Juan A. Rivera Dommarco, a nutrition researcher at Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, told the New York Times. “The industry always gets its way.”