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Mexico



Swine Flu Facts and a Little Fun

Decorated Swine Flu mask in Mexico City. (via Telegraph.co.uk)

Decorated Swine Flu mask in Mexico City. (via Telegraph.co.uk)

Is there any possible way to have some lighthearted fun when faced with a deadly flu, even with the threat that it could turn into a pandemic? Well, some people in Mexico have decided to laugh in the face of danger with decorated flu masks.

If you’re busy like me, and haven’t had the time to fully understand the mystery that is the swine flu threat (now called H1N1 by WHO), CNN has a handy Q&A to get you up to speed. Here are a couple of important highlights:

  1. You shouldn’t be panicking. Yet.
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The Mexican Obesity Crisis

Those of us in the U.S. are reminded of our country’s obesity problem nearly every day, but rising obesity rates are not uniquely American. In fact, a few years back, there was a phrase coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify a worldwide epidemic – globesity.obesity

We only have to look at our neighbors to the south to see that we are not alone. Mexico ranks right up at the top with the U.S. in the worldwide rankings of the most obese countries on the planet. In fact, the country’s Health Secretary, Jose Cordova, has expressed his concerns about the impact of his country’s growing diabetes epidemic. Pfizer’s launch of its Exubera inhaled insulin product in Mexico last year shows that there is a real demand, and a real obesity problem.

There is a growing polarization in worldwide nutrition. That is, there are the millions of starving people in third world and developing countries, and then there are the more than one billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of whom are obese.

In a country that has a significant issue with poverty, it seems to baffle the mind to think that Mexico could be amongst the heaviest populations in the world. According to the World Bank, extreme poverty has been cut from about 24 to 17 percent of the general population and from 42 to 27 percent in rural areas. This is accounted for by an expanding economy, boosted largely by free trade agreements such as NAFTA. Not to mention an estimated $20 billion that is remitted from Mexican workers in the U.S.

Economic issues still come into play. British newspaper The Guardian reports that 80 percent of Mexican schools don’t have access to drinking water. This is made up for by substituting soft drinks. Mexico is one of the world’s largest consumers of sugary carbonated drinks.

So maybe it comes as no surprise that companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola are trying to step in and play the good guys by advocating healthier living through exercise with school kids. Don’t expect them to plop down any money to help find ways to get clean water in schools.

Figures from a 2006 national survey stated that more than a quarter of Mexican children between five and 11 are too heavy – a 40 percent increase since 2000. It also revealed that 72 percent of Mexican adults are now over overweight or obese, which is slightly higher than in the U.S. That’s one statistic that Mexico would prefer not to compete with us on.

Check out Shaq’s Family Challenge to learn more about getting your entire family in shape- no matter where you might call home.



Bikini Bootcamp… in Mexico?

Tulum, Mexico….I’ve never been but I’ve ran across hundreds of brochures and announcements for spa-like retreat vacations. From yoga on the beach to six-days of detoxing amid white sandy beaches and crystal blue water, what could be more divine? Maybe losing some weight as you bask in the sun and snorkel?Bikini Bootcamp

We’ve all heard of Bikini Bootcamp, the diet right? What about an actual Bikini Bootcamp getaway where for one week you get in shape, eat great and get a tan. Not bad, huh? I love the idea, especially since the 2008 bikini season is just weeks from kicking into full gear. Flamenco workouts, silent morning walks on the beach, scenic hikes, meditations and of course low-fat, low-cal yummy meals are just some of the daily activities that you keep you busy as you get trim.

You gotta admit, living in such a glorious setting, even if just for one week, serves as such a massive impetus to lose weight and get in shape. It’s tough to muster up the motivation to knock off some pounds when you’re wrapped in wooly sweaters and turtlenecks and your only exposure to the outdoors is when you get in and out of the car to go to work, the gym or the grocery store.