Saturday, June 30, 2018

Who's Sabotaging Colombians' Health?

'In less than 20 years, half of Bogotá's residents will be fat.' (El Tiempo)
The media reports that obesity in Colombia is growing to North American proportions.

Use of both legal and illegal drugs is rising among Bogotá youth.
And a recent survey of students found that use of both illegal drugs, like cocaine and marijuana, and a legal one: marijuana, is rising sharply among youth.

But both vices and drugs - legal ones, at least - have powerful lobbies to protect their right to poison their customers. Intense lobbying recently defeated legislation in Colombia's Congress which would have required companies to label foods high in sodium, saturate fats or sugars. (As if it would make any difference, judging by the rise in consumption of cigarettes, whose boxes carry big warnings.)

Perhaps televisions, cellphones and video games should carry warning labels, as well, because of the way they promote a sedentary lifestyle and waste our time.

Young women market Camel cigarettes near high schools and universities.

A young woman smoking.
What's the solution? Make these harmful products expensive, inconvenient to get and uncool. That won't be easy. But a good first step would be to actually enforce the law prohibiting the sale of loose cigarettes - which goes on on every streecorner and corner shop.

Cigarettes and candies for sale by a street vendor.
Who's sabotaging Colombians' health? Everybody, including themselves.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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