Things That Matter

Mexico City Is Hoping $10,000 Pesos Is Enough To Get Its Police Officers To Lose Some Weight

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Ever struggled to drag yourself from bed for a little morning gym? Yeah, you’re not alone. Getting into shape is often a matter of finding the right motivation.

Would $525 help?

That’s the amount that the Mexico City government is planning to reward its police officers who’re prepared to drop the extra pounds. That’s right – they’ll be paid to get trim.

Mexico City has launched the ‘Healthy Policia’ program which aims to help police get in shape.

Credit: WorldNews

The Secretariat of Citizen Security of Mexico launched the program to combat the problem of Mexico’s overweight police. The problem is so huge, no pun intended, that a 2017 study by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) found that a whopping 8 out of 10 city police officers were overweight.

The government hopes that rewarding MXN10,000 (525 US dollars) to agents who lose weight, might finally help put the force into better shape.

Overweight police are a common sight on city streets.

Credit: @mexicanist / Twitter

Anyone who’s visited Mexico City will likely have seen large and heavy uniformed police officers pacing street corners on duty or standing in the torta line.

Obesity is a massive issue that cuts through all segments of Mexican society.

But you wouldn’t be crazy to expect a higher fitness standard from those whose duty should be to keep la gente safe and maintain order in this bustling city.

But, sadly, seeing overweight agents on duty is just business as usual.

Obesity in Mexico, not just among the police force, is an epidemic.

In fact, a 2018 National Survey of Professional Police Standards and Training found that 79.4% of officers exceed their recommended BMI. And not only does it affect job performance – it’s also a serious health issue for them.

A national survey found that 81.4% of police officers suffered from at least one chronic disease. Topping the list was high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic stress.

That same survey found that, interestingly, police with operational roles were more likely to be overweight or obese, than those in administrative roles.

The new Healthy Polícia initiative is designed to pay off over 6 months.

This new Healthy Polícia initiative will benefit up to 2,000 members of Mexico City’s police force and will even require them to sign a letter of commitment to the cause.

The program rolls out in stages over 6 months. To start with, the agent’s level of obesity will be diagnosed. For the next five months, the agent will receive 1,000 pesos for every month that they manage to lose weight. On the sixth month, they’ll receive a final bonus reward of 4,000 pesos as the proverbial cherry-on-top.

Participants will also receive medical, psychological, nutritional and dental care during the program.

Mexican police authorities are also making an effort to improve their force’s diets, across the board.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

In a country with more cheap chicharron and tortas de tamale than ya can shake a stick at, it’s not too surprising that the authorities behind the Mexico City police force were forced to take some sort of measure regarding diet.

From October of last year, a program was kicked off to cut back on the calorie and carb intake of the force’s diets. They’ve since changed the menus of its 60 dining rooms to offer a much more balanced, low calorie diet, and have nutritionists keeping an eye on the daily fare.

While the new food regulations have supposedly been effective for many, it hasn’t been all fun and games. Some of the police have apparently struggled with the switch in focus from meat, to fruit and veg. One officer reportedly said the measure is “hard” and “leaves us very hungry.”

This comes a month after news of 625 Mexican federal police officers being rejected from the National Guard for being too heavy.

News surfaced last month that a huge number of federal police officers who wanted to move to Mexico’s new National Guard division, were instead instructed to slim down.

According to a leaked audio recording, over 625 federal police were rejected for not meeting the strict physical requirements of the National Guard. Instead, these agents were transferred to the National Immigration Institute (INM) to help control immigration at checkpoints on Mexico’s northern and southern borders during the ongoing crisis.

And obesity isn’t just a problem for the cops.

Credit: @guardianspotlight / Twitter

The obesity epidemic in Mexico has skyrocketed in the last decade. More and more Mexican families are gorging on processed, sweet and saturated foods and the collective effort has turned Mexico into one of the fattest nations on the planet – with five million clinically obese people living in Mexico City.

According to WHO, Mexico has one of the highest per-capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the world. It’s estimated that almost nearly 10% of total energy intake for adults comes from sugar-sweetened beverages. Duuude.

In fact, things are so bad that the city even installed machines that give out free metro tickets in exchange for squats!

READ: Mexico City Is One Of The Must-See Cities In The World And Here’s Why

This Boy Ate A Ton Of French Fries And Pringle’s And Now Doctors Blame His Poor Diet For His Blindness

Things That Matter

This Boy Ate A Ton Of French Fries And Pringle’s And Now Doctors Blame His Poor Diet For His Blindness

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A British teenager is the first believed to have gone blind solely due to a poor diet of junk food. This has to be one of every young person’s worst nightmares. How many of us were raised to believe that it’s in those formative teen years we are able to indulge in all the bad foods we want before our slower metabolism kicks in with age? 

Before we did that bizarre experiment in tenth grade, where you put a penny in Coca-Cola and it dissolves due to the acids, I singularly lived off of soda. I did not drink water. My Dominican abuela would put a teaspoon of sugar in my brother and I’s Sunny Delight orange juice. I am not saying this is right (it’s definitely not the best way to live), I am just saying it is not uncommon for young people to make the worst possible food choices when left to their own devices. And of course, junk and fast food companies aren’t so innocent. 

The combination of aggressive marketing along with food scientists who make artificial flavors taste better than real food and more addictive, has had damaging effects on public health. So while it might be your first instinct to roast this boy, let’s consider all the social factors that made his blindness possible in the first place.

How can junk food make you go blind? 

Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young boy who slowly lost his hearing and vision over the course of four years. The boy who was a picky eater since elementary school, only ate Pringles potato chips, white bread, processed ham and sausage, and avoided many nutritious foods.

He first saw a doctor at 14, complaining of tiredness. He was not on medication and had a normal BMI. Tests revealed he had low vitamin B12 levels and anemia. After treating him with B12 injections, a year later, he showed signs of hearing loss and vision. Doctors were baffled. By the time he was 17, he became legally blind. Doctors detected low vitamin B12, low copper, selenium, vitamin D and bone level density, along with high levels of zinc.

Essentially, he was malnourished. 

Developing countries face similar health hurdles.

Researchers from the Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital determined he had nutritional optic neuropathy. For the patient, the blindness was permanent, although it is reversible if detected early. Typically, a case like this in the developed world would be the result of bowel problems or medication that obstructs the absorption of nutrients. 

However, poor diet was the cause for the 17-year-old. Nutritional optic neuropathy is typically found in patients from developing nations with poverty, famine, drought, and war. 

A cautionary tale. 

“Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions, and mental health,” said study lead author Denize Atan, an ophthalmologist at Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital. “This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”

Researchers believe this is an extreme case but caution against a junk food diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat the Popeye’s Fried Chicken sandwich, it just means it can’t be the only thing you eat over the course of a decade.

“Although it is an extreme example, it highlights the importance of having a wide and varied diet to ensure that you get the profile of nutrients and micronutrients that are needed for healthy development,” Gary Frost, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at Imperial College London, told CNN.

Because this teenager is anonymous lots of questions remain. Why didn’t the parents intervene sooner? Will they be held accountable? Why weren’t doctors able to address the seriousness of the child’s diet sooner? 

We should hold food companies more accountable.  

Food scientists intentionally make foods unnaturally delicious and addictive because their goal isn’t to make people healthy, it’s to sell more food products.

“Humans have an inherited preference for energy-rich foods — like fats and sugars — and thus natural selection has predisposed us to foods high in sugar and fat,” Jennifer Kaplan, a teacher at the Culinary Institute of America, told Salon. “Food scientists know this and create ingredients that are far higher in fat and sugar than occur in nature. The most common such sugar is high-fructose corn syrup and is therefore intrinsically addictive.” 

study in 2013, showed that high fructose corn syrup, the artificial sweetener used in most prepackaged foods, is as addictive as heroin and cocaine because of the way it releases dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone that tells your brain it is being rewarded.

When society ain’t looking out for you and the adults in your life ain’t looking out for you, well it is hard to stand a chance. Let’s hope this patient’s cautionary tale helps someone make more thoughtful food choices.

A 20-Year-Old Slips And Drowns On A Party Boat In A Mexico City Canal

Things That Matter

A 20-Year-Old Slips And Drowns On A Party Boat In A Mexico City Canal

There is heartbreaking news out of the town of Xochimilco in Mexico City where a young man fell off a party boat on Sunday and drowned. Local authorities found the body of José Manuel Romero Reyes, 20, the next day after several hours of searching for the body. According to police, Romero Reyes was partying with some friends for a birthday party on Sunday along the famous and very popular San Cristóbal canal near the Zacapa jetty. The area is a popular tourist attraction as it was originally configured by the ancient Aztecs.

The story went viral on social media as a person captured the exact moment that Romero Reyes fell into the canal. The footage shows a vibrant scene of young people partying in the San Cristóbal canal.

Grainy cell phone footage, captured by a person at the party, shows the moment Romero Reyes, wearing a white t-shirt and fedora hat, fell into the canal. In the video, you can see the young man trying to hop from one boat to another. Another male friend is seen moving from the gondola-like boats as Romero Reyes followed him but didn’t have enough footing and ultimately fell into the dark brown waters. It would take a few seconds for anyone to notice that he was drowning in the water until he suddenly couldn’t be seen due to the dark murky water. 

Within moments, the boat party comes to a halt as people start to realize that someone is drowning. Video shows a frantic scene as multiple people begin reaching into the ancient canal with long wooden sticks attempting to find and save Romero Reyes. Friends began throwing ropes into the canal but there was no sign of him after he fell into the water during the video. 

Now many are looking for answers as to how this young man could have just suddenly drowned with so many people nearby. As of now, police have yet to determine if alcohol was the main factor behind the drowning.

Credit: @retodiariomx / Twitter

According to the local authorities, dozens of beer bottles and other intoxicating drinks, including at least 30 beer cans and multiple empty bottles of rum and whiskey, were found aboard the boats where these young people were partying. Police say there was a heavy presence of alcohol at the scene but have yet to determine if it was a contributing factor to Romero Reyes’s death. 

Local television news in Mexico highlighted the search for Romero Reyes’s body along the canal as authorities stepped up efforts to locate him. A police search team would eventually find Romero Reyes’ body on early Monday morning at approximately 6 a.m.  

The untimely death of the young man has already prompted local officials to make some changes to prevent this accident from ever happening again. According to the Daily Mail,  Xochimilco mayor Juan Carlos Acosta Ruíz made some announcements concerning the safety of people along the historic canals. Starting on Oct. 1, visitors on the canals who board the gondolas will be required to wear a life jacket to ensure their safety on the water. If a person chooses not to wear one, they will then be required to sign a waiver form.

Mayor Ruíz has also made some new adjustments to alcohol laws while on the gondolas. Customers will now be limited to bring only three beers and a liter of liquor when boarding the boats. But when it comes to Micheladas, the popular drink made up of beer and tomato juice, it will now be banned on the canals.  

Friends and family are now reflecting and remembering the life of Romero Reyes as he is laid to rest. 

Credit: @jcarlos-valerio / Twitter

Romero Reyes is currently being veiled in the town of Santa María Nenetzintla, belonging to the municipality of Acajete. His body arrived at the small town just a day after his body was found. Family and friends are now gathering to say their farewells and remembering a life that was tragically taken away way too soon.  

There is expected to an open mass on Wednesday morning where his body will be presented at a local church. His body will then be transferred to a cemetery where it will be buried. Our thoughts and prayers are currently with the family and friends of Romero Reyes. 

READ: Cartels Are Targeting Migrants Forced To Stay In Mexico Under Trump’s ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy