Mexico City – Wrestling stars are teaming up with the government on a campaign to reduce the obesity rate in Mexico, a country that has been struggling with this problem for years, officials said.
The "Wrestling against Obesity and Being Overweight" campaign is being conducted by the Health Secretariat and Triple AAA, which broadcasts wrestling matches on television.
The campaign has "a great enemy to beat" and the wrestling heroes' mission will be to get adults, teenagers and children to change their eating habits and shift to a more active and healthy lifestyle, Health Secretary Salomon Chertorivski said.
"We have a serious problem with people being overweight in our population that we have to deal with," Chertorivski said during the launch of the campaign Tuesday at the Health Secretariat.
The Cabinet official was accompanied by wrestling stars "El Elegido," "Cibernetico," "La Parka" and "El Mesias," as well as Triple AAA chief Marisela Peña.
Weight problems are linked to a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition and lack of exercise, Chertorivski said.
Mexico, according to world health indicators, overtook the United States in 2010 as the country with the largest percentage of overweight adults.
Chertorivski put up a slide showing that seven of every 10 Mexican men and women are overweight, while more than 30 percent of those in the 12-19 age group and 29 percent of those in the 5-11 age group are overweight.
The campaign will be taken to eight states, including the Federal District, where wrestling idols will hand out wristbands and other items promoting weight control and healthy eating habits, Peña said.
A three-minute video featuring El Elegido will be screened at events, with the wrestler sharing his daily exercise and nutrition routine with fans.
Booths will be set up at events, allowing fans the opportunity to have a doctor measure their body mass and provide them with a nutrition guide based on their individual needs, Peña said.
This marks the first time that Triple AAA, which broadcasts its programs on non-pay television channels, has joined a campaign launched by the federal government.
Other athletes are appearing in spots aired during the Summer Olympics from London, encouraging viewers to do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, drink plenty of water, eat fruits and vegetables, weigh themselves regularly and keep down their caloric intake.
Triple AAA has about 150 wrestlers and broadcasts matches in Mexico, the United States, Central America, Japan and Spain.