For years people disputed the connection between food, mood, diet and obesity.
Far too often the prevailing idea was that people with a weight problem were somehow less active than others. Their weight problem was mainly viewed as a personal failure on their part through lack of will power or discipline.
And yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
At long last we are finally realizing that there is a real connection between what we eat and how we look, and between what we eat and WHY we eat what we eat.
The tide begins to turn
I’m not sure if you ever saw the movie (or documentary) called “Super Size Me.”
To recap, someone (Morgan Spurlock) personally explores the consequences on his health of eating nothing but McDonald’s food for one month. The reason? To uncover and examine the influence of the fast food industry and its ramifications on our health.
Eating certain kinds of food can be addicting. Food affects much more than cholesterol levels — it affects our mood as well.
And this last point is key, especially for those who want to change their diet and change their lifestyle.
Because one component of what we choose to eat, and when, is rooted in our “dietary habits.”
And those habits are incredibly hard to change…
Recognizing the true causes of obesity
The causes of obesity are all around us.
Societal factors play a much bigger role than previously thought.
- more time in front of the computer
- fewer meals at home, more dining out
- larger portion sizes at diners, restaurants, and fast food places
- dietary standards and choices for school lunches
- proliferation of “high fructose corn syrup” in drinks (even “fruit” drinks)
- increased marketing of junk/fast foods to children
In fact, according to one study sugar-sweetened drinks have accounted for a 20% increase in weight gained by people in the US between 1977 and 2007.
More disturbing is the rise of obesity in children.
Between the early 1970s and 2000 obesity rates as a percentage of the population doubled in adults and tripled in children.
In my opinion there are two main reasons for this sharp rise in obesity in children:
- dietary habits learned at home
- dietary choices for school lunches
In noting the connection between what we eat and our dietary habits, it’s especially important to start early to reduce obesity in children and young adults.
After all, today’s teens are tomorrows parents — and poor dietary habits will no doubt be passed on to another generation is we don’t start now to educate children regarding healthy food choices.
In light of this observation it’s clear that only a nationwide (or community wide) prevention-oriented approach will work.
Just like the tobacco industry was prevented from marketing to children some 30 years ago, perhaps it’s time to stop marketing junk foods to children. In fact, Disney recently announced that they would no longer allow junk food advertising on their channel, and we can only hope that other channels geared for children and teens will follow suit.
Finally, school lunch programs should adhere to some national standards to ensure that all children, regardless of community or location, have access to the same healthy choices.
Clearly changing the dietary habits of a nation will be even more challenging than the fight against smoking.
In the final analysis it’s a question about quality of life.
The links between obesity and other health problems are clearly documented (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes).
What kind of legacy do we want to leave our children?
Find supportive nutrition counseling
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Our FitMD program combines supportive nutrition counseling and personal trainers in Westchester helping you to lose weight, get in better shape, and lead a healthier lifestyle.
For more information click the links above, or give us a call at 914-721-0071 today.
After all, it’s your health and well-being…