Mexican president: Ronaldo set good example in shunning Coke

Mexico City, Jul 8 (EFE).- Mexico’s president on Thursday applauded Portuguese soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo for shunning Coca-Cola during a press conference at this summer’s Euro 2020, saying his action against one of the key sponsors of that major soccer event helps promote good nutrition.

“It’s now the European soccer final. England and Italy are in the final, and I was sorry that Portugal was eliminated because I really liked what this great soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo, did,” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said in his daily news briefing at Mexico City’s National Palace.

During a June 14 press conference at that event, which is being staged across 11 countries, Ronaldo moved two Coca-Cola bottles out of the view of the cameras, held up a water bottle and said “agua.”

The gesture ahead of Portugal’s group-stage match versus Hungary in Budapest made headlines worldwide.

“An image like that helps more than lots of ad spots on nutrition,” AMLO said Thursday after playing the Ronaldo video during the press briefing.

The president referred to the 36-year-old Juventus superstar, the top scorer in the history of the European Championships, while lamenting that rates of childhood obesity in Mexico have risen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There was a lack of adequate nutrition and a lack of exercise” as people stayed in doors to protect themselves from the coronavirus, the president said, noting that overweight people are at greater risk of complications from Covid-19.

“We need to keep guiding (people) on this health education issue because nutrition and exercise, taking care of ourselves, is very important,” said the 67-year-old head of state, who had a heart attack in 2013 and suffers from high blood pressure.

AMLO also warned that the country is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases due to a rise in infections among young people, although he added that “fortunately” the number of Covid-19 deaths has fallen thanks to the country’s vaccination drive.

The number of new coronavirus infections in Mexico – where total Covid-19 deaths and confirmed cases there stand at more than 234,000 and nearly 2.6 million, respectively – climbed this week to its highest level since late February.

More than 62 million adults and over 12 million children and adolescents are overweight or obese in Mexico, a country with 126 million inhabitants.

Mexico’s government took a step last year to fight obesity when it required front-of-package warning labels on foods and beverages deemed excessively high in calories, sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and/or salt and those containing non-caloric sweeteners. EFE


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