With 85 votes in favor, the Mexican Senate approved an amendment to the General Health Law that empowers programs and policies on the promotion of healthy nutritional habits and the prevention of obesity, one of the country’s biggest health concerns.
The main change brought by this reform is the authorization for public health institutions to integrate bariatric surgery as an alternative treatment for obese and morbidly obese patients. The Senate agreed that in certain cases, bypass surgery will be a service offered by the Health Secretary instead of being classed as elective cosmetic surgery.
This requires private and public institutions, as well as clinics allowed to perform this type of medical interventions, to comply with certain infrastructure and sanitary regulations.
Senator Francisco López, President of the Health Commission, explained this amendment project is the result of 23 initiatives presented by senators of different parliamentary groups, which shows lawmakers concern on this issue.
Also, the improvements made on the General Health Law expect to increase visibility to campaigns that promote healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. To make this effective, the Ministry of Health will establish new laws for restaurants. It will regulate the nutritional information on food and beverages served in chains with over 10 branches. This means those restaurants will have to include caloric information in their menus.
These changes look to finally create effective public policy on nutrition that could possibly decrease the dramatic statistics of obesity and diabetes in the country. Right now, seven out of ten adults are overweight or obese and one of every three children and teenagers are at least overweight. The main purpose of the amendment is to fight the epidemic of chronic diseases caused by unhealthy lifestyles. The law project, which was unanimously approved, was sent to the House of Representatives for its further legislative process. The law project, which was unanimously approved, was sent to the chamber of deputies for further legislative process.