Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Information/facts from My Nutrition Action Healthletter: and my opinions too!
Society doesn't really reward obesity, if you think about it, it is stigmatized. Overweight people, especially children, are teased and victimized by discrimination. We see obese children growing up with low self-esteem and a higher risk of depression. They're less likely to be admitted to college, and obese adults are less likely to get hired, have lower salaries, and are often viewed as lazy and less competent. The pressure out there to overeat is and must be getting more and more overwhelming.
I know many people are seeking jobs, did we ever think that this would play a part in a decision process of getting hired. Wow!
Are the pressures worse for children?
Yes, kids don't have the natural cognitive defenses against marketing. And they're developing brand loyalty and food preferences that can last a lifetime. A third of kids are now overweight or obese. And when you project ahead to the adult diseases that will cause, it's incredible.Kids may ask us one day, "Why didn't you protect me".
I actually hear some clients tell me that they wish their parents would have stepped in and helped them when they were younger. It makes me sad, but demands my passion to push forward!!!
We see some nutrition education in schools, but it's a drop against the tidal wave of what the food industry is doing to educate our kids.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is by far the biggest funder of work on childhood obesity, and it's now spending $100 million a year on the problem. The food industry spends that much every year by January 4th to market unhealthy food to children.
As parents I encourage you to eat meals with your kids, every meal is a teaching opportunity for you with you kids, to show proper portion sizes and choices.
So why is it so important to prevent obesity?
Because it is so difficult to fix. The results of studies on treating obesity are very discouraging, especially if one looks at long-term results. This is not saying that you can't reverse it, it is just that the hard work has to start now.
Why is it hard?
There's good research, much of it done by Rudolph Leibel and colleagues at Columbia University, that shows that when people are overweight and lose weight, their biology changes in a way that makes it hard to keep the weight off.
It's as if the body senses that it's in starvation mode so it becomes more metabolically efficient. People who have lost weight burn fewer calories than those who haven't, so they have to keep taking in fewer calories to keep the weight off. That's tough to do day after day, especially when the environment is pushing us to eat more, not less.
And Leibel and others have shown that there are changes in hormones, including leptin, that explain why people who lose weight are hungry much of the time.
Some of the data can be discouraging. The results of weight loss studies are clear. Not many people lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. All these environmental cues force people to eat, and then this biology makes it hard to lose weight and keep it off.
I would love to hear back from you on this information. I have part two coming out soon. More to come on Addictive foods, what about exercise and more answers to help us all!