That excess weight can shorten your life
“The medical community seems to be under a fog that we can constantly and forever reduce death rates, and that’s simply not true,” said Professor Olshansky, who published a study in 2012 showing that life spans for white women without a high school diploma had declined, a rare event in developed countries.
“You need to look at the health status of the living,” not the mortality statistics of the dead, he said, adding that obesity is afflicting younger generations in a way that will eventually make the numbers worse.
RTWT at The New York Times.
Do something about your obesity before it’s too late.
Steve Parker, M.D.
I’m hearing ads on the radio that many in the U.S., including children, are suffering from hunger. Nutrition science journals in the last few years are covering “food insecurity,” which many would assume means not having enough food or fearing the lack of food.
These concerns seem at odds with the fact that two-thirds of us are overweight or obese. So how many of us at normal or below-average weights suffer from food insecurity or hunger?
James Bovard breaks it down for you in an excellent article. Read the whole thing. Some morsels (heh):
- seven times as many (low income) children are obese as are underweight
- 40% of food stamp (SNAP) users are obese, compared to 30% in the overall U.S. adult population
- if the food stamp program would prohibit purchase of sugary drinks, it would prevent 141,000 children from becoming fat and save a quarter million adults from type 2 diabetes
Fat hungry people would be less hungry if they’d cut way back on refined, nutrient-poor carbohydrates, replacing with protein and healthy fats.
Steve Parker, M.D.
So easy to over-eat!
The U.S. trend of increasing overweight and obesity started about 1970. I wonder if eating away from home is related to the trend. I found a USDA report with pertinent data from 1977 to 1995. It also has interesting info on snacking and total calories consumed. Some quotes:
“We define home and away-from-home foods based on where the foods are obtained, not where they are eaten. Food at home consists of foods purchased at a retail store, such as a grocery store, a convenience store, or a supermarket. Food away from home consists of foods obtained at various places other than retail stores (mainly food-service establishments).”
“Over the past two decades, the number of meals consumed has remained fairly stable at 2.6 to 2.7 per day. However, snacking has increased, from less than once a day in 1987-88 to 1.6 times per day in 1995. The increased popularity in dining out is evident as the proportion of meals away from home increased from 16 percent in 1977-78 to 29 percent in 1995, and the proportion of snacks away from home rose from 17 percent in 1977-78 to 22 percent in 1995. Overall, eating occasions (meals and snacks) away from home increased by more than two-thirds over the past two decades, from 16 percent of all eating occasions in 1977-78 to 27 percent in 1995.”
“Average caloric intake declined from 1,876 calories per person per day in 1977-78 to 1,807 calories per person per day in 1987-88, then rose steadily to 2,043 calories per person per day in 1995.”
“These numbers suggest that, when eating out, people either eat more or eat higher-calorie foods or both.”
Parker here. I’m well aware that these data points don’t prove that increased eating-out, increased snacking, and increased total calorie consumption have caused our overweight and obesity problem. But they sure make you wonder, don’t they? None of these factors was on a recent list of potential causes of obesity.
If accurate, the increased calories alone could be the cause. Fast-food and other restaurants do all they possibly can to satisfy your cravings and earn your repeat business.
If you struggle with overweight, why not cut down on snacking and eating meals away from home?
Steve Parker, M.D.
Update January 23, 2013:
Here’s a pie chart I found with more current and detailed information from the U.S. government (h/t Yoni Freedhoff):