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How this city is fighting obesity with free subway rides

Operations Inside The Mexico City MetroOperations Inside The Mexico City Metro
The Mexico City Metro, officially called Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, Photograph by Susana Gonzalez — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Subway passengers in Mexico City now have a much cheaper way to ride the train: Doing a few squats.

In an effort to combat what are some of the highest obesity rates in the world, Mexico City is offering metro riders free tickets in exchange for doing exercise, Engadget Mexico reports. To earn the tickets, riders visit automated motion-tracking kiosks, which recognize riders’ physical activity and rewards them in kind. Mexico City will install 30 such kiosks in 15 high-traffic stations throughout the city.


Mexico may be borrowing the idea from Russia, which, before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, set up kiosks in that city offering free rides for 30 squats.

Mexican officials have long been fighting the country’s 32% adult obesity rate. Back in 2006, for instance, the government restricted soda ads on television and began more heavily taxing sugary snacks.