For more than a month now there’s been a big bruhaha about New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s edict to rid the city of super-sized soft drinks.
Maybe you think your civil liberties are being taken away and “Big Brother” has been let loose again. Yet, wasn't it always government’s role to protect its citizens?
With Bloomberg’s announcement, I watched the HBO special, Weight
of the Nation which I’d not seen. This is what you, as an ordinary citizen in America, are up
68% of the people in America are obese or overweight. We’re so used to hearing this statistic we don’t hear it anymore. But what if I told you that less than one third of Americans are of normal weight? Pathetic.
Sugar drinks – sodas and juices – cause the greatest weight gain for most Americans.
Companies’ profit margin on sodas = 90%
Companies’ profit margin on produce = 10%
From 1985 to 2000 the price of soft drinks went up 20%. During that time the price of fruit and vegetables went up 117%.
Government farm subsidies reward farmers for overproducing exactly the food that makes us fat: corn, or I should say what it’s turned into - high fructose corn syrup. Too much of America is planted with corn and soy beans.
There are no subsidies for growing fruit or vegetables. Should Americans decide to follow the government’s dietary recommendation of getting 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day, they can’t - there aren’t enough to go ‘round. Less than 3% of U.S. farmland is planted with fruit and vegetables.
Still think you are free to make your own choices? Still think government isn't already involved?
Further, 1 in 3 children will develop diabetes.
Kids in poor urban neighborhoods eat most of their calories from corner delis and bodegas where the cheapest, most processed, least healthy foods are.
In 2010 the food industry spent $12 billion dollars on advertising. Fast food restaurants spent $4 billion dollars.
Menu at McDonalds:
McDonald’s Southwest Salad $3.79
Bottled Water $1.19
McDonalds McDouble burger $1.00
Large Coke $1.00
What are you going to eat if you don't have much to spend?
Stress stimulates the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol makes us crave sugar, fat and salty foods. That craving DEMANDS we feed it. Today we live with chronic stress and we’re surrounded by fast food outlets – you do the math.
Did you know that once you lose weight, you have to eat 20% less than a person who weighs the same but has never been overweight to maintain your weight loss. Why? Because your metabolism has changed. This is a fundamental reason why most people regain weight after losing it.
Exercise is more effective for maintaining weight loss than losing weight. It’s still smaller portions, less calories in.
The National Weight Control Registry is following thousands of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained the loss for years. What do these people know? Eat breakfast every day and exercise an hour every day. I'm one of those people although not in the registry.
So is anything hopeful? Sure. Here's a snippet:
Nashville Tennessee’s Mayor Karl Dean has instituted a healthy living initiative. He is building bike paths and sidewalks. People are moving more. The Mayor (name) instituted a wellness program for Fire Department personnel. Since it began there’s been a 22% reduction in high blood pressure. Obesity has dropped from 26% to 21%.
Construction company Nabholz introduced a wellness program to its employees in 2007. It saves the company $600,000/year besides saving lives.
Dr. America Bracho in Santa Ana, CA, Executive Director of the Latino Health Access, says the most important thing in order to change our behavior is participation-- with our doctors, our schools, our neighbors, our community. In her community, a group of mothers managed to get $3.5 million dollars donated and wrangled with the city 7 years to get all the necessary permits to build the first and only park in their community.
Just a 5-10% reduction of body weight can create enormous health benefits. Including help your diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. Just a 5% gain in body weight can create the opposite.
Seems to me this scale tips in the direction of Americans staying fat.
Don't you want to live in a society where it's easier to find healthy foods, they're more affordable and your boss gives you a half hour to move your body?