A targeted message on the health benefits of including beef and pork protein in a balanced diet hit the mark last year as the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Mexico office delivered nutritional and educational seminars for healthcare professionals in a country with an extremely high rate of obesity and weight-related health issues.
USMEF conducted 119 seminars in 2008 that provided nearly 5,000 health professionals with nutritional information on US beef and pork. The target audiences were health professionals, including physicians, nurses, dieticians, nutritionists and college students in the health field, and housewives with children.
From a total population in Mexico of 110 million people, 24.4 % are obese and another 35 % are overweight. In addition, 6.5 million people have diabetes while between 35 and 37 million people are at risk to get diabetes type 2, which can be regulated with a healthy diet and exercise.
“In the seminars we talked about a variety of health issues affected by diet, including the richness of US pork relative to vitamin B complex, amino-acids, iron, zinc and potassium” said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director for Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
“We compared US pork lean cuts, such as loins or legs to chicken breast, and showed that these pork cuts have less cholesterol and fats than the chicken cut,” said Russell. “We mentioned that U.S. meat is a quality product that guarantees safety as a result of regulated production systems. It also gives the consumer outstanding flavor, tenderness and juiciness in meat products.”
“These seminars are a good example of USMEF efforts in Mexico to be a good corporate citizen by working to improve the health of Mexican citizens,” said Russell, who noted that USMEF-Mexico is planning more than 100 US pork nutritional seminars in 2009 to help counter general myths about pork and help grow the market for all pork in Mexico.
Mexico is currently the third-largest foreign market for US pork and pork variety meat, with imports of 307,056 metric tonnes (676.9 million pounds) valued at $550 million in the first 10 months of 2008.