Well-being in Mexico: Diabetes

Employers should take steps to understand the burden of diabetes among employees, including the prevalence of prediabetes, and implement strategies that can help people manage their condition and prevent further incidence.

January 09, 2020

This guide focuses on mental health and diabetes in Mexico. It summarizes the drivers, challenges, facilitators, available services and employer examples.

Employers should take steps to understand the burden of diabetes among employees, including the prevalence of prediabetes, and implement strategies that can help people manage their condition and prevent further incidence.

  • Diabetes is a top health issue for Mexicans.1
  • From 1980 to 2014, prevalence of diabetic Mexicans has increased five times, which is higher than Brazilian counterparts (four times) and diabetics in the U.S. (3 times).2
  • In 2017, the top 3 health risk factors in Mexico are linked to diabetes and their growth since 2007 is faster than most Latin American markets:1
    • High fasting plasma glucose – 56.2%
    • High body-mass index – 54.3%
    • Dietary risks – 51.1%
  • Tobacco can increase the risk of developing diabetes.2
  • Mexicans with indigenous ancestry have a genetic predisposition for diabetes.4
  • Diet is the leading risk factor for diabetes in Mexico.4
  • 64.1% of Mexican are either overweight or obese.5


  • In Mexico City, outdoor exercise such as running is difficult given the elevation, pollution, lack of public space designed for exercise, traffic and crumbling infrastructure.4
  • At the current rate, 17% of Mexicans will have diabetes by 2030 if no interventions occur.4
  • Soda is a substantial contributor to diabetes in Mexico.4 On average, Mexicans drink two 8 oz. Cokes a day.4
  • Most Mexicans with diabetes struggle with the costs of their medication and can fall victim to counterfeit drugs.6
  • The public health system covers severe implications of diabetes, but not daily maintenance of the disease.6


In 2013, the Mexican government launched a soda tax (1 MXN Peso per liter) and junk food tax (6%).7 A Journal of Nutrition study found that soda consumption has reduced 6.3% (greater reduction in lower-income households, residents living in urban areas, and households with children) and increased bottle water consumption 16.3% (greater increases in low- and middle-income households, in urban areas, and among households with adults only).8

Many employers have nutritionists available via their well-being efforts.9

Almost half of Global Institute members (47%) offer biometric screenings and weight management.10 37% offer tobacco cessation services and access to either a fitness center or gym membership subsidy.10 Global Institute member offer health dining services at all locations (35%) or some locations (29%).10

What Employers Can Do

  • Offer programs that include diabetes education and screening.
  • Encourage employees to do at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days (ideally at a fitness center or indoor gym especially in the Mexico City area).
  • Promote and support healthy diets that reduce sugar and saturated fat intake including in company cafeterias and at company-sponsored meetings.
  • If your company has nutritionists on staff, consider offering a webinar series on healthy cooking recipes that is open to employees’ spouses and partners.
  • Assist employees who wish to quit using tobacco.
  • Review medical benefit offerings to ensure diabetic maintenance treatment coverage is included.
  • Ensure diabetic employees have access to proper diabetes medication and information on how to avoid counterfeit treatment.

External Resources and Services

Please note that the Business Group does not endorse any vendors. This is for information purposes only.

  • Clínicas del Azúcar – disease management vendor that provides individuals with diabetes with online resources and services11
  • Federación Mexicana de Diabetes – Advocacy organization that educates and promotes awareness and regional efforts to combat the disease12
  • ClickMedix – A global smartphone app solution that includes disease management and health coaching including diabetes13
  • Cuadernos de Nutrición – This bimonthly magazine presents information about healthy eating and recipes for individuals with diabetes14
  • El Plato del Bien Comer – This graphical representation is the Mexican equivalent of the food pyramid (El Plato del Bien Comer).15 It provides dietary guidelines about what foods to eat in what amounts.15
  • Chécate Mídete Muévete – This website shares resources for healthy well-being efforts16
  • Pan American Health Organization – Has resources on diabetes for the Americas region17

Employer Example: American Express

American Express has three major pillars of their well-being program: Eat Well, Move More and Stress Less.18

The company has several well-being campaigns and programs related to diabetes:18

More Topics

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  1. Challenges
  2. Facilitators
  3. What Employers Can Do
  4. External Resources and Services
  5. Employer Example: American Express