Dudley Althaus: Despite Obesity, Much of Mexico Goes Hungry
Dudley Althaus - The Atlantic
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September 16, 2013

Despite Mexico's much talked about middle-class moment, nearly half of its 118 million people live below the poverty line. (John Moore)

EL CARMEN TEQUEXQUITLA, Mexico — Juana Alvarez stood in line with a dozen other mothers in the cramped aisle of a grocery store, waiting for the government handout that keeps her children from going hungry.

Alvarez's husband walked out, she said, leaving her with a newborn and two other children under 7 years old to support.

Part-time work as a maid in Tequexquitla, a farm town of 20,000 people in the central highlands that ranks among Mexico's poorest communities, doesn't come close to providing their daily bread.

"This is the first time I've ever received help," Alvarez, 30, said, as she hoisted a burlap sack containing $30 worth of rice, beans, corn flour and cooking oil into a wheelbarrow outside the shop. "But without it I wouldn't be able to feed my children. This is all that we have."

Despite talk of Mexico's emerging middle class, 45.5 percent of this nation's more than 118 million people remain mired in poverty. Though Mexico this year became the fattest of the world's most populous countries, according to United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, millions still don't get enough to eat.

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