Pretty scary stuff from Pat Salber over at Peertrainer: The Doctor Weighs in on The epidemic of childhood obesity.
It is estimated that boys born in the US in the year 2000 have a 30% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes during their lifetime; girls have a 40 percent chance. Think of that: 1 in 3 boys and close to half of girls who are now in kindergarten will become diabetic at some point in their lives.
Pat is right. If you’ve seen SuperSize Me or read Fast Food Nation you just know that we are with food where we were with smoking in the early 1960s. It’s going to be a 30–50 year battle, but in the end the forces that will have to pay the costs of obesity will gang up on the big food vendors and producers. It will remain a private choice, but one that is increasingly difficult to get to due to limits on access and social opprobrium. And the obvious place to start, as Arnie knows, is in the school cafeteria and with commercials. After all we know the commercials work, or they wouldn’t be on TV!
I did see this most amusing article a while back that showed that watching violence on TV didn’t make anyone violent, but watching food made 36% of the viewers want to eat. I know it’s true! I personally am in the middle of one of my violent diets. I have taken a month off-booze, off-cards, off-sugar and off-meat three times since January 2005, and gone seriously onto working out at the gym. The good news is that I’m back snowboarding with no problems and have lost around 30 pounds. The bad news is that any restaurant or food commercial is making me ravenous! And boy do I miss my chocolate milk!
Hey Matt, congratulations on your 30 pound weight loss. Here’s an idea for you: come on over to PEERtrainer (www.peertrainer.com) and join a few groups. Group participation doesn’t make the food cravings go away, but it does help you stay on track. Pat
Another aspect of this problem is agricultural policy. Subsidy creates surplus. There are mountains of corn in the US and more keeps coming. Corn works its way into the food supply at multiple points. Corn syrup is the cheapest form of sugar in the world and the sugar is fructose with all of its apparant complications for human metabolism. Corn oil is a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids and there are health disorders that can be traced back to the imbalance between
omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
US agricultural policy is one of the major contributors to the unhealthy culture of this country. They really aren’t any better with health policy. Our government is not smart enough to distort markets and nature.