In Critiques, News & Commentary on September 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Happy National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month!
That’s right, September 2011 has been so proclaimed by President Obama. The President notes that a third of American children are obese or over-weight and urges “all Americans to take action by learning about and engaging in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our Nation’s children.”
I can’t find a place on the proclamation to leave a comment, so I’ll do it here.
Mr. President, I’m with you on the healthy eating, but I’m not so sure about the greater physical activity. Yes, I think kids should run, jump and play outside, but I don’t see physical activity as doing much to prevent or eliminate childhood obesity. It’s true that physical activity will take kids’ minds off of snacking — for a while. But sooner or later, the kids are going to sit down and eat. Then what?
Then the fat kids will still be fat, and the skinny kids will still be skinny. That’s how it was for me. As an adolescent, I was fat but reasonably active. Then, in high school, I lost the fat, even though I was less active than I had been in my heavy years. Read the rest of this entry »
In Critiques, News & Commentary on August 30, 2011 at 10:39 am
Should the USDA allow states or cities to bar the use of food stamps to purchase soda pop and other sugary drinks? Or perhaps go a step further and enact such a ban itself?
What the heck, why not just enshrine the ban in federal law?
The New York Daily News in a recent editorial slams the feds for blocking an attempt by New York City to try the soda pop ban for two years to see what if any impact it would have on obesity rates in poor communities. The newspaper cites a four-part series on the obesity pandemic in the respected British medical journal The Lancet, which calls for just this type of government action.
The editorial also cites the usual grim statistics on obesity in the United States. Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30%, and no state has an obesity rate lower than 20%.
I don’t drink pop anymore. I would advise everyone to stop drinking it, along with fruit juices and caloric sports drinks. I think liquid calories are one factor in obesity and related medical conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, for many people. Read the rest of this entry »
In Critiques, Food, Personal Reflection on August 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm
Those Americans like me with reservations about eating soy are apparently a small minority of the populace. According to a recent survey, 81% of Americans view soy as healthy.
OK, the Consumer Attitudes about Nutrition survey (PDF file) was conducted by the United Soy Board (USB), so there is reason to be suspicious of its findings. Oddly, I’m not that suspicious. I think the average American doesn’t know beans about soy, but is willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Just a short while ago, I myself was ignorant of most things soy. As I stated in my previous post, I once connected soy to soy sauce, and that was about it, at least as far as my own diet went.
Sure, I knew people — health-food types — who ate tofu, but I did not eat tofu. (Not on purpose, anyway. Given that I frequently share meals with higher academicians, I get exposed to a lot of . . . how shall I put it? . . . stuff. You never know what you might be swallowing.)
I also knew that American farmers were growing tons of soy, with government encouragement. Like corn, soy bore the USDA stamp of approval. It had to be good for us. Read the rest of this entry »
In Food, Personal Reflection on July 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm
I was born in a simpler time. Back then, soda pop was an occasional treat, not an everyday (or twice a day) habit. In 1952, Americans on average drank 11.5 gallons of carbonated, caloric soft drinks per year. I doubt that I personally accounted for any of 1,786,100,000 gallons of cola, root beer, red pop, etc., produced and consumed in the U.S. that year, but a decade later, when per capita availability had increased to 14.5 gallons per year, I was doing my part.
I continued drinking my share of pop (as we call it in Michigan) for the next few decades, until the early 2000s when I started shirking my duty to the American beverage industry.
In the last few years before adopting a low-carb diet, I cut my consumption of pop by half or more. Now, of course, I avoid caloric pop altogether, and rarely drink the diet version, either, for reasons stated in an earlier post. Read the rest of this entry »
In News & Commentary on June 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm
Image source: USDA
“Faced with decades of explosively increasing numbers of obese people and diabetics the US government answer is to find a more effective way to give the exact same fat phobic advice.” Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt
The United States Department of Agriculture has unleashed its Food Plate, a replacement for the venerable Food Pyramid.
As you can see, it is actually a plate plus a glass and a fork, and darn colorful. The general idea is to show Americans how to eat a healthy meal. The U.S. government has been trying to teach Americans how to eat for several decades now, and as Gary Taubes and others have demonstrated, has mostly succeeded in making people fatter and less healthy than when the effort began. Yes, I know, it is difficult to believe that the United States Government could mess up like that; no doubt it is a rare event. But consider this from Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health: “The country’s big low-fat message backfired. The overemphasis on reducing fat caused the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar in our diets to soar.” Dr. Hu believes that dietary shift is related to “the biggest health problems in America today” (link). Read the rest of this entry »