Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wu-Tang Is For The Children!

Well ODB, I don't know if Wu-Tang is for the children, but the rest of us should be - how will you?

From MSN - Obesity Epidemic May Cut Life Spans of Young Adults

...The study authors report that one in five people born between 1966 and 1985 became obese -- a step above merely overweight -- when they were between 20 and 29 years old.

By contrast, those who were born from 1946 to 1955 didn't reach the level of obesity until they were in their 30s. And those who were born between 1936 and 1945 didn't get to that weight category until their 40s ...

Wow. Startling trend huh? We now manage to become obese ~20 years quicker than we did just two generations ago - and we aren't slowing down. The current generation of children will become the first to have a life expectancy shorter than their own parents! Take a moment to let that marinate a bit.

This generation of children will become the first to have a life expectancy shorter than their own parents!

If you have children - or are planning to have children - that has to concern you. Might even piss you off. I know it pisses me off, and I don't even want children. But I do have two younger brothers, ages 16 and 12. I am concerned for them - they don't know any better. I hope they never know what it's like to have prick their finger after every meal, or become so skilled with a syringe that they could moonlight as phlebotomists. Unfortunately, the statistics suggest they likely will.

But not if there is anything I can do about it.

The staggering increases in the rates of obesity and diabetes in children have been well documented. If you are indeed Smarter Than a 5th Grader, it's also not hard to comprehend the ENORMOUS impact these numbers have on health care costs. Ahhh the costs - one of the largest arguments against the most recent health care bill. Who is going to pay for all of this? A question that does need to be asked, but one that is well out of the scope of this post.

Indeed, the costs are staggering. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't think lowering health care costs is a huge positive. But what costs exactly have everyone so up in arms? Treatment costs right? Seems to me as though someone has forgot equations have two sides.

Couldn't costs be also substantially lowered through prevention? If there is nothing to treat, there is no cost! Seems like a logical approach to me. Are we saying - "Oh we tried that and it didn't work?" It's almost as if the FDA, USDA, AHA, ADA, etc. have all collectively thrown their hands up in the air and shouted - NO MAS! I am the only one that hears no one talking about prevention anymore?

The above statistics seem to suggest that the preventative strategies we have implemented that were recommended by the above agencies have been an utter and colossal failure - and indeed they have been! But WHY? Instead of giving up on prevention, why are we not questioning the methods with which we have been using with ZERO success?

How can we possibly say we have tried prevention when we look at our nation's school lunch programs? Pizza for breakfast and lunch? French fries as vegetables? We don't truly expect people to eat well or be healthy after feeding them crap for 2/3's of the day for 12-16 years of their life do we? They don't even know how! Large masses of "experts" still operating under the fallacies of healthy canola oil and dangerous saturated fat is bad enough - but french fries counting as vegetables? Who is making guidelines like those? What are their qualifications? Are they obese? All fair questions in my opinion.

The appointment of Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin - who is obese - was justifiably criticized due to her weight. Her response was that she understands "what it's like to be overweight" and that she would help us become a healthier nation. Lot's of people understand what it's like to be overweight - about 67% of the population at last check - that doesn't make you qualified to do anything about it. If you haven't been able to help yourself, how are you going to help anyone else? By no means does she need to look like a figure competitor - that would most likely be just as bad as being obese - but she is a posterchild for that 67%. If the message is that we just have to keep trying harder - using the same tired methods we have been - our ever declining health will continue.

We need to get back to real, nutrient-dense, unprocessed food. We need to get back to using good science - not what passes for good science (or is it a good headline?) these days. These changes need to happen not only in our homes, but in our schools, and perhaps most of academia. A stronger emphasis on continuing education for our medical and health professionals is in order as well. Only then will we begin to reverse the dangerous downward spriral we have been in for the past 2 generations.

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