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