NPR

How Diabetes Got To Be The No. 1 Killer In Mexico

Diabetes has become a public health crisis in Mexico. The government is struggling to pay for care and slow the rate at which people develop the life-threatening metabolic disorder.
A family sells pastries in Mexico City. As Mexicans' wages have risen, their average daily intake of calories has soared. Source: Meghan Dhaliwal

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Mario Alberto Maciel Tinajero looks like a fairly healthy 68-year-old. He has a few extra pounds on his chest but he's relatively fit. Yet he's suffered for the last 20 years from what he calls a "terrible" condition: diabetes.

"I've never gotten used to this disease," he says. Maciel runs a stall in the Languilla market in downtown Mexico City. This market is famous for its custom-made quinceañero dresses and hand-tailored suits.

Diabetes has come to dominate Maciel's life. It claimed the life of his mother. He has to take pills and injections every day to keep it under control.

And because of the disease he's supposed to eat a diet heavy in vegetables that he views as inconvenient and bland. "Imagine not being able to eat a carnitas

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