Thursday, July 11, 2013

a tale of two sitters

In the quest for world-wide firsts, Mexico has been holding up its end.

And that end is a bit broader -- if you care to believe anything that comes out of the United Nations.

The Babbling Box on the Hudson has examined the entrails of a dove and has declared that Mexicans are as fat as a house.  Or as fat as Americans.  And that is about the same thing.

Apparently, Mexico has pushed The States off of their Lard Throne as the most obese populous nation.  But just by an extra serving of pork head on the tacos.

Note that "populous."  There are plenty of nations with a higher obesity rate.  But they are not amongst the Big Players -- so to speak.  So, Nauru's 71.1%  does not tip the news scale.

Here are the early returns.  In Mexico, 32.8% of adults are considered obese.  That is good enough for number one.  Go, Mestizos!  And it is one tight squeeze of the cheeks past the United States' respectable second place of 31.8%.

P.J. O' Rourke once noted that the United Nations' propensity for using statistics out to the hundredth is a sure sign that there is a lot of lying go on.  I suspect that restricting the numbers to tenths gives the impression of some sort of credibility.  Maybe just a little fibbing.

On the other hand, there are some parts of Mexico that bare the awful truth.  There are a lot of overweight Mexicans.  Along with the consequences of that weight.  Mexico ranks second in the world in the per capita incidences of diabetes.  And could be first before long.  70,000 Mexicans died last year of the disease.

But the reasons plopped on the table by the "experts" is what fascinates me.  First out of the box is "the rise in obesity correlates to the growing chasm between class lines."  Academics love serving up their Marxism with a non-fat layer of self-serving dressing.

It is true that nearly 50% of Mexicans live in poverty.  But the poverty level has been decreasing drastically and is being replaced by a vibrant middle class.

And, if you look at the top 10 "populous" nations suffering from obesity, none of them are the mega-poverty countries.  In fact, most of them are solid middle income countries.

So, the blame goes to the cost and availability of healthy food.  You see, poor people cannot afford vegetables and fruit from their local grocers, so, they rely on fast food.  I knew Ronald McDonald would be in the dock before too long.

Of course, anyone who has ever been to a fast food restaurant in Mexico knows the poor could not possibly afford to pay the equivalent of ten dollars for a meal.  The notion is not only silly; it is venal.  Especially, when experience shows us most Mexicans are at the local fruit and vegetable market.

And then comes the third reason: Mexico's poor lead a sedentary lifestyle. I have not seen a people work harder and walk more than my Mexican neighbors.

What is shocking is the source of this picture of poor Mexicans stopping by McDonald's to eat a Big Mac while sitting around all day doing nothing other than considering the moral imperative of class distinctions.  If anyone else had staked out a similar description, they would be branded with the modern Scarlet Letter of being a raving racist. 

Of course, the United Nations can say such things because it is -- well, the United Nations.  We don't expect much out of them.  And they never fail to not deliver.

I have my own theory.  While fit young Mexicans are headed north across the Rio Bravo, aging Americans and Canadians have headed south.  Frame for frame, the weight exchange certainly tips south.

If I were Mexico, I might want a recount.  Onthe next go around, the northern retirees cannot act as a thumb on the scale.  I will be forced to join the Nevada contingent -- not the Jalisco.

And before you Canadians get too smug, take a guess at who came in sixth place in the "populous country" list -- tipping the obesity scales at 24.2%?  Right after the Aussies and just before the Brits.

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