Tack­ling Mex­ico’s over­weight cops

PRO­GRAMME: MORE THAN 1 000 OF­FI­CERS EN­ROLLED

The Citizen (KZN) - - World - Mex­ico City

It’s a sunny morn­ing in Mex­ico City, and po­lice of­fi­cers drip with sweat as they do push-ups and squats, part of a pro­gramme for over­weight cops in one of the world’s most obese coun­tries.

The two dozen of­fi­cers gri­mac­ing through their work­out on the pave­ment of the sta­tion house yard – most with round bel­lies bulging be­neath their drenched T-shirts – are just a hand­ful of the more than 1 000 across the cap­i­tal who have en­rolled in the pro­gramme, “Healthy Po­lice”.

They get a bonus of 1 000 pe­sos (about R720) a month to par­tic­i­pate – though judg­ing by the looks on their faces as their in­struc­tor shouts en­cour­age­ment to fin­ish one more set, some of them seem to doubt whether it’s worth it.

But those who stick with the pro­gramme, which was launched three months ago, say it can be life-chang­ing.

“This was all com­pletely new to me. The first month was tough, both men­tally and phys­i­cally,” said one, Mauri­cio Bar­rera.

“But the pro­gramme has helped me un­der­stand that obe­sity is an ill­ness,” the 26-year-old said.

Bar­rera, who now looks fit and trim, cracked a grin when he re­vealed how much weight he has lost since he started: 16 ki­los.

“This pro­gramme is a way to fight the obe­sity prob­lem we have in Mex­ico, the seden­tary life­style,” said Javier Ramirez, the buff fit­ness in­struc­tor guid­ing the beat cops through their rou­tine.

Three-quar­ters of adults in Mex­ico are over­weight or obese, ac­cord­ing to na­tional sta­tis­tics.

Its obe­sity rate – nearly onethird of the adult pop­u­la­tion – is sec­ond only to the United States in the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, a 36-mem­ber group of de­vel­oped coun­tries.

Mex­ico’s obe­sity epi­demic is driv­ing high rates of di­a­betes and heart dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to pub­lic health ex­perts.

– AFP

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