(Survival manual/2. Social issues/Modern foraging)
Modern Foraging topics:
1. Junk foods
2. The school lunch program
4. Diabetes in USA
5. Exercise-energy balance
6. Same dollars, less food (food cost inflation)
1. JUNK FOODS
A. What is a Junk Food?
• Any food that has poor nutritional value is considered unhealthy and may be called a junk food.
• A food that is high in fat, sodium, and/or sugar is known as a junk food.
• Junk food is easy to carry, purchase and consume.
• Generally, a junk food is given a very attractive appearance by adding food additives and colors to enhance flavor, texture, appearance, and increasing long shelf life.
• A junk food has little enzyme producing vitamins & minerals and contains high level of calories. When we eat these empty calorie foods, the body is required to produce its own enzymes to convert these empty calories into usable energy. This is not desired as these enzyme producing functions in our body should be reserved for the performance of vital metabolic reactions.
Remember, junk foods are empty calories. An empty calorie lacks in micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, or amino acids, and fiber but has high energy (calories).
Since junk food is high in fats and sugars, it is responsible for obesity, dental cavities, Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Junk Food & Cholesterol
Fried and processed food, particularly fast food, contains high amounts of oxycholesterol.
A healthy diet rich in antioxidants can counter these effects.
Some junk food pictures of beef burger, French fries, Coca Cola, and potato chips and cinema popcorns are given below.
Cinema popcorn: Popcorns are healthy, but the one sold in cinemas are a nutritional horror. The Center for Science in the Public Interest compared in Nov 2009 some popcorn and drinks combos sold at key movie theater chains in USA and found the following:
• A medium popcorn and soda combo at Regal, the United States’ biggest movie theater chain, contains 1,610 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.
• At AMC theaters, a large popcorn contains 1,030 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat.
The high calorie counts could be due to the fact that corn was popped in coconut oil. Popcorn cooked in canola oil showed lower levels of saturated fats, but similar levels of calories and sodium.
List of Junk Foods
Given below is a list of junk food (empty calorie) items that you should avoid. It’s up to you how to keep your four trillion cells happy.
• Sugars: Refined foods, like sugar and plain flour based items like white bread and most packaged goods, such as Twinkies and sugar donuts, etc. Our body eventually turns sugars into fat. If you consume just 3 tsp of sugar daily, imagine how much sugar you would have consumed by the time you are 50 years of age; it will be about 600 lbs, about 4 times your weight!
• Fats & Hydrogenated oils: Are found in cookies, chips, candy bars, fried foods, muffins, bologna, etc. Many snacks, such as potato chips, cheeseburgers and fries, have high levels of fat, sugar or salt-ingredients that are usually best limited to a small portion of your diet. The saturated fat comes mainly from animal products. Our body has no use for hydrogenated or trans fat. The excessive fats stick to our arteries and cause the blockages leading to heart disease and strokes. They can also aid to cancer, arthritis, PMS and sexual dysfunction.
Some fats like Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our bodies.
• Salt: Excessive salt is not good for our body (Daily Salt Recommendation). However, sodium in moderate amount, along with potassium, maintains the water balance in our body. But too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. Pretzels, chips and many canned food items contain excessive salt.
Daily Salt Recommendation
There is no sodium intake recommended or Recommended Daily Allowance for sodium or salt. However, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend 2300mg of sodium daily for adults. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt) in one day. However, most people take more than the recommended amount a day in diet, almost double the value.
How much sodium is in a teaspoon of salt?
It depends on the type of salt. Roughly, about 6g of salt makes one teaspoonful and approximately 2.4g sodium.
1 teaspoon salt = 6,200mg (6.2g) sodium chloride= 2,400mg (2.4g) sodium 1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000mg sodium
Note that the salt crystals and sea salt contain the same amount of sodium.
.B. Junk Food Facts: Not always easy to swallow
Digesting junk food facts can take a strong stomach. Here are a few facts to chew on before your crack open another can of coke:
_1) What’s in Some of that Junk Food?
• One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one yard in length!
• A can of cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
• The metal in the can costs more than the ingredients (mainly water with additives, refined sugar and caffeine).
• A super-sized order of McDonald’s fries contains 610 calories and 1.02 ounces of fat.
• A king-sized order of Burger King’s fries packs 590 calories and 1.05 ounces of fat.
• Artificial ingredients can contain an alarming variety of chemicals. For instance, ‘artificial strawberry flavor’ can contain about 50 chemicals… and no strawberries at all!
• A king-sized Burger King meal, (Double Whopper with cheese, large fries and large drink) contains 1,800 calories (mostly derived from fat and refined sugar). To ‘burn’ these calories would take nearly 6 hours of cycling (at 20 miles per hour).
_2) Junk Food Advertising
• The food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food.
• The majority of food advertising during children’s television programming is for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy, processed snacks and fast foods.
• The average American child sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food.
• Over 90% of American children eat at McDonald’s at least once per month
• American teenagers drink an average of 760 can of soda pop per year (with boys drinking about 25% more than girls).
• The average American of any age drinks over 500 cans of soft drinks per year.
• Nearly 20% of children under 2 years of age are given soft drinks every day in America!
• The average person today consumes more sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. That’s a junk food fact!
[Image above: Note that the percentage of the household budget spent on food has dropped by over 50% in the last 50 years, however, the quality of what we EAT has declined. The ‘quality’ statement is not documented in the graphic, but is shown in actuary tables for American health, types of disease and life expectancy. Mr Larry . The graphic is from <http://vegetalion.blogspot.com/2010/11/americas-grocery-spending-habits-since.html>]
_3) Harmful Effects of Junk Food
• The regular consumption of junk food is the leading factor in obesity and excess weight.
• Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death in America.
• 46% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity in children increasing three-fold over the past 2 decades.
• Consumption of soft drinks containing sugar has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes.
• Studies have revealed that obese people have twice the rate of chronic health problems as people of normal weight. This includes a 100% greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, 50% increased likelihood of developing heart disease. Obese men are nearly 90% more likely to get colon cancer.
• Junk food diet is a major cause of heart diseases.
• High cholesterol resulting from junk food puts undue strain on the liver, causing long-term damage to this essential organ. • Research has suggested that diets high in fat may also impair essential brain functions, like concentration and memory.
The junk food facts about soft drinks alone are alarming. There is compelling evidence that regular consumption of soft drinks leads to:
• Increased rates of bone fracture
• Increased risk for osteoporosis
• Increased risk of weight gain and obesity
• Increased risk for Type II Diabetes
• Increased risk for kidney stones •
• Increased rate of tooth decay and other dental problems.
Junk food facts are numerous, and the negative effect of junk food on health and wellbeing is undeniable.
2. THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
USDA calls for dramatic change in school lunches
1/12/2011, USA Today, by Nanci Hellmich
The proposed rule applies to school breakfast and lunch, but not to what’s sold in vending machines and school stores. [We’ll cut back feeding you dangerous food products, but if you have cash we’ll sell them to you. lp]
Hold the French fries and salt!
The government is calling for dramatic changes in school meals, including limiting French fries, sodium and calories and offering students more fruits and vegetables.
The proposed rule, being released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will raise the nutrition standards for meals for the first time in 15 years.
This is the “first major improvement” in the standards that “we’ve seen in a generation, and it reflects the seriousness of the issue of obesity,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
About a third of children and adolescents — 25 million kids – are obese or overweight. Extra pounds put children at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems. An analysis in 2005 found that children today may lead shorter lives by two to five years than their parents because of obesity. [This will remove that generation from receiving longer term Social Security benefits, the funds won’t be available anyway.]
Vilsack says addressing the childhood obesity problem is critical for kids’ health, future medical costs and national security, as so many young adults are too heavy to serve in the military.
The new meal standards are designed to improve the health of nearly 32 million children who eat lunch at school every day and almost 11 million who eat breakfast. Overall, kids consume about 30% to 50% of their calories while at school.
Among the requirements for school meals outlined in the proposed rule:
- Decrease the amount of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and green peas, to one cup a week.
- Reduce sodium in meals over the next 10 years [Why not reduce the sodium over summer break, why wait 10 years? lp]. A high school lunch now has about 1,600 milligrams of sodium. Through incremental changes, that amount should be lowered over the next decade to 740 milligrams or less of sodium for grades through 9 through 12; 710 milligrams or less for grades 6 through 8; 640 milligrams or less for kindergarten through fifth grades.
- Establish calorie maximums and minimums for the first time [No one thought to have a Nutritionist do this in the past?-(smile) – lp]. For lunch: 550 to 650 calories for kindergarten through fifth grade; 600 to 700 for grades 6 through 8; 750 to 850 for grades 9 through 12.
- Serve only unflavored 1% milk or fat-free flavored or unflavored milk. Currently, schools can serve milk of any fat content.
- Increase the fruits and vegetables kids are offered. The new rule requires that a serving of fruit be offered daily at breakfast and lunch and that two servings of vegetables be offered daily at lunch.
- Over the course of a week, there must be a serving of each of the following: green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, summer squash), beans, starchy and other vegetables. This is to make sure that children are exposed to a variety of vegetables.
- Increase whole grains substantially [Substantially? Why not serve only whole grains? lp]. Currently, there is no requirement regarding whole grains, but the proposed rules require that half of grains served must be whole grains.
- Minimize trans fat by using products where the nutrition label says zero grams of trans fat per serving.
Vilsack says the government is not trying to “dictate” what people eat but is trying to help parents make sure their youngsters “are as healthy, happy, productive and as successful as God intended them to be.”
Implementing the new meal standards is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 13.
The proposed rule applies to school breakfast and lunch, but not to what’s sold in vending machines and school stores. Those will be addressed later in a separate rule.
Cleaning up the “school nutrition environment” would make a big difference to kids’ diets — and teach them good eating habits that could affect them the rest of their lives, says Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest and an advocate of healthier school meals. “Kids learn by doing, and so serving a healthy meal is such an important part of their education.”
Wootan says the challenge now is for school food-service personnel to make these changes, which will cost more. “They need technical assistance, support, model recipes, model product specifications. They need to know how to make a healthier chicken nugget or healthier pizza.
“There are schools already serving healthy foods that kids really like. The problem is that not enough schools know how to do it.”
Currently, schools receive $2.72 from the federal government for every child who is on the free lunch program. Schools that meet the new standards will get another 6 cents per meal.
Nancy Rice, president of the School Nutrition Association, a non-profit professional organization representing school food-service professionals, says that schools are going to have to “stretch limited food-service dollars. We are going to have to do the best we can and to try to cut in other areas. Everything we are doing is to benefit kids.”
Cutting back on fries could be a shock to some students, she says. Some school systems still sell fries every day in a la carte lines, she says. “But the vast majority of the school systems are already limiting French fries, and when they are serving them, they are baking them.”
The agriculture department is asking for input on the proposed rule during a public comment period that ends April 13. When the regulation is final, schools will be required to meet the new standards to get government reimbursement on school meals. The rule does not need congressional approval.
A current typical lunch menu is seen below.
.[Pizza, pizza, pizza, country fried ‘this’ and ‘that’, cold cut meats, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, alfredo sauce (heart attack on a plate)…Once in a while, any of these meals would be alright, but a daily diet is not healthy. It is socially immoral to injure the health of children and the general population with the kind of foods allowed and fostered upon us by people who are supppose to know better.. Well, actually they do know better, it is a profit driven endeavor, even at the expense of the health of your and my children, our grandchildren and of own our own bodies.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government complains that Health Care and Medicare cost too much. What can they expect from allowing us to be slowly poisoned by innappropriate public foods? So,they turn the blame on to the heads of we sheeple-people.
Please note, if terrorists killed and maimed as many people, and caused as much economic hardship as junk foods fed to our children and offerred through out the core area of the grocery stores, FEMA would be on a permanent Red Alert. So, while we loose our freedoms for the sake of ‘potential’ safety from terrorists, our bodies are destroyed by bad food–and there is narry a word of caution from the governement, nor an advertising campaign, or a punative tax on high fat, high salt, high calorie, high sugar foods. While the terrorist may kill us by the 10’s each year, the bad food is killing us by the several 100,000’s every year…but, that’s business as usual. Mr Larry]
A. Reasons Why So Many People Are Overweight
by Eric Cho
Obesity has become a huge problem for most people living in developed countries. Today, 30% of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are obese and 60% of all adults are either overweight or obese. There are many reasons for our overweight problem.
Obesity is responsible for increased rates of stroke, heart attack, type II diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. In fact it is responsible for as many premature deaths as smoking. Obesity has now become a threat to our longevity.
On the surface it would seem that the underlying reason is really quite simple. If a person takes in more calories than the person burns, weight gain is the final outcome. These factors certainly play a role in obesity but there are more factors which contribute to this problem.
Modern society has changed a great deal from just a couple of generations ago when agriculture and manual labor were common place. Today people spend a great deal of the day sitting at a desk in an office, driving the car, or relaxing on the sofa at home. All of which has affected the overall health of people living in developed countries.
By the time a person arrives home, the last thing most are thinking about is going for a walk or heading off to the gym. Combine that with the idea that as a nation we eat just as much food, if not more than our ancestors did without nearly as much physical exertion and suddenly the recipe for obesity becomes very clear.
But there is more to it. Statistics show that we have actually doubled our food intake. This is where the fast food industry is to blame. Everything has been super sized and not in a good way either with most of these foods being high in trans fatty acids (the bad fat) and sugar, it is easy to see that weight gain is inevitable.
But the fast food industry cannot take all the credit. Our schooling system has allowed vending machines to offer children fast food and soft drinks with provides no nutritional value and empty calories. School cafeterias that serve food are hardly a step above fast food. Add to that, most parents nowadays don’t have time to cook traditional wholesome foods due their hectic work schedule and as a result buy convenience foods which are also high in fat and sugar and low in nutrition.
As well both children and adults are now more sedentary than any other time in history. PE is no longer mandatory in schools; recess time has almost disappeared, after school play time has been replaced with the Xbox or Gameboy. Now instead of the entire body getting a workout only the thumbs do.
Most adults are too busy or too tired to add an exercise regime to their day and even something as simple as a walk can seem demanding. The result is people do not have time to burn off all those excess calories that they are consuming through the day.
Statistics show that if adults in the home are overweight then chances are that their children will also be overweight. Statistics have shown that when adults in the home are not physically active children in the home will not be active either. Studies have confirmed that both good and bad eating habits are developed in the home. It is a combination of what adults allow their children to eat and what they serve their children which is contributing to our overweight crisis.
The reasons for our overweight problem are complex. Increasing physical activity and improving nutrition are great ways to start to work towards a solution to this
B. Obesity Epidemic “Astronomical”
The prognosis for the nation is bad and getting worse as obesity takes its toll on the health of adults and children alike.
May 16.2011, WebMD Feature, by R.Morgan Griffin, Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD.
One of the biggest health stories of the year has been the rise in obesity among both adults and children in the U.S. We’ve all heard so much about the “obesity epidemic” that it’s easy to think the story is being blown out of proportion. After all, people putting on a few pounds may not seem to warrant the proclamation of a national emergency.
But while obesity may not be the Black Death, it is a severe public health crisis. Experts agree that as more and more obese children become obese adults, the diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease, cancer, and especially diabetes will surge. That will mean a lot of sick people.
According to Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University, the costs of these illnesses will be “astronomical.”
James O. Hill, PhD, agrees. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, claims that at the rate we’re going, obesity-related diabetes alone “will break the bank of our healthcare system.”
So one has to wonder how obesity got so out of control that we reached this crisis. And more importantly, how do we stop it?
_1) The Causes
So what’s causing the epidemic? Not surprisingly, everyone agrees that it stems from two things: eating too much and exercising too little. The differences are in the specifics.
Although people may toss around the idea of genetics in obesity, genes can’t really explain what’s happening, Hill says. While a person may have a genetic predisposition toward a certain body type, the fact that each succeeding generation is heavier than the last proves that changes in our environment are playing the key role.
Hill believes the culprit may be a decrease in our physical activity, arguing that because of shifts in how we live and work, we don’t get as much exercise as previous generations did.
Nestle agrees that exercise is important, but she lays more stress on eating habits. In her book Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Nestle argues that recommendations about healthy eating are overwhelmed by the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of advertising for junk foods that we’re subjected to at home and even in public schools. And as fast food companies and chains compete with one another by increasing portion sizes, our waists are increasing proportionately.
[Chart: 1900-2000, comparing the growth of diabetes (red), obesity (blue) and cardiovascular disease (green) during the 20th Century.]
_2) The Numbers
Despite the new attention paid to obesity by doctors, researchers, and the media, no discernable progress has been made in fighting obesity. According to most experts, it looks almost certain that obesity will get worse before it gets better.
Cynthia Ogden, PhD, a CDC epidemiologist, published the results of a study of weight in the United States that she conducted with other experts. The results were startling: 31% of adults are obese and 15% of children and teenagers age 6-19 are overweight. The proportion of obese people has been growing steadily for the last few decades. Although Ogden stresses that obesity is a problem for all groups and genders, it is particularly severe among certain ethnic groups. For instance, 50% of all non-Hispanic black women are obese.
Did Ogden see anything promising in the results of the study about obesity in the U.S.? “I didn’t see any hopeful signs,” she says.
_3) Conflicting Recommendations
The seemingly contradictory reports in the media about what people should and shouldn’t be eating almost certainly don’t help things. For instance, proponents of protein diets argue that all of the accepted wisdom about eating a low-fat diet is wrong. Most experts don’t agree with them, but protein diets are being evaluated in studies now.
Where mainstream nutritionists and protein diet proponents agree is that the low-fat recommendations of the 1990s didn’t quite work. “People took the low-fat message and decided that it meant that as long as they ate things that were low-fat, they could eat as much as they wanted,” says William Dietz, MD, PhD, the director of the division of nutrition and physical activity in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. That isn’t the case, since calories add up, no matter what form they come in. Even worse, many of the low-fat snacks that companies developed actually had higher calories than their regular-fat equivalents, Dietz observes.
According to Nestle, the media also have a tendency of confusing things by reporting the results of scientific studies out of context. She argues that the relative stability of the dietary and fitness recommendations over the years — eat less fat and more fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly — is obscured by the media, which are more interested in exciting stories about radical diets or the effects of particular “miracle” foods or vitamins.
_4) Surgical Options
An increasingly common treatment for severe obesity is bariatric surgery, such as “stomach stapling” in which the size of the stomach is surgically reduced. It’s gotten a high profile as some obese celebrities and public figures have undergone the procedure with dramatic results. It’s even becoming more common among teenagers. While bariatric surgery is necessary and life-saving in some cases, is it a reasonable treatment for obesity in America?
“Surgery is an effective last resort,” says Dietz, “and many people are so obese, with a body mass index over 40, that they’re at the last resort stage.” However, if obesity continues to worsen, so many people will require surgery that it will become impossible to operate on all of them. “It’s difficult for me to see how we’ll be able or willing to perform surgery on 100 million Americans,” says Hill. Instead, the only real answer is in preventing people from getting to the point of surgery in the first place.
_5) The Problems With Prevention
As with other public health campaigns, such as the efforts to get people to stop smoking or to practice safe sex, results of the campaign against obesity will come gradually. But Dietz sees reason for hope.
“I think that in the last three years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the attitudes of policy makers toward obesity,” Dietz tells WebMD. “There is now a huge amount of attention being paid to the condition,” he says, and that’s an important first step
_6) What Should I Do?
While the news about preventing and treating obesity on a national scale may be depressing, it’s important not to confuse a national health problem with your own, individual efforts to lose weight and live a more healthy life. While changing society may be tricky, changing yourself is considerably easier.
For instance, many people are able to lose weight and keep it off successfully, and even small reductions in weight can significantly decrease your health risks. Much of Hill’s research has focused on the National Weight Loss Registry in Colorado, which Hill co-founded, that tracks the progress and habits of people who have lost weight and kept it off.
Hill reports that while people in the registry lost weight on all sorts of different diets, including protein diets, they tended to shift to a low-fat and high carbohydrate diet to maintain their weight loss. And on average, they exercised every day. While Hill stresses that most registry members say it wasn’t easy, they almost uniformly believe that losing weight was worth the sacrifices.
So rather than get overwhelmed by depressing statistics or confused by competing theories of how to lose weight, it may be best to stick to the established recommendations about eating well and exercising regularly. Doing what you can might make a big difference.
C. Obesity Threatens to Cut U.S. Life Expectancy, New Analysis Suggests
Wednesday, March 16, 2005, NIH News, National Institute of Health, Dollemore contact Doug.http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/nia-16.htm
Over the next few decades, life expectancy for the average American could decline by as much as 5 years unless aggressive efforts are made to slow rising rates of obesity, according to a team of scientists supported in part by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The U.S. could be facing its first sustained drop in life expectancy in the modern era, the researchers say, but this decline is not inevitable if Americans — particularly younger ones — trim their waistlines or if other improvements outweigh the impact of obesity. The new report in the March 17, 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine appears little more than a year after the DHHS unveiled a new national education campaign and research strategy to combat obesity and excessive weight.
The new analysis, by S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, Robert N. Butler, M.D., of the International Longevity Center in New York, and others suggests that the methods used to establish life expectancy projections, which have long been based on historic trends, need to be reassessed. This reevaluation is particularly important, they say, as obesity rates surge in today’s children and young adults.
“Forecasting life expectancy by extrapolating from the past is like forecasting the weather on the basis of its history,” Olshansky and his colleagues write. “Looking out the window, we see a threatening storm — obesity —that will, if unchecked, have a negative effect on life expectancy.”
Unlike historic life expectancy forecasts, which rely on past mortality trends, the Olshansky group bases their projection on an analysis of body mass indexes and other factors that could potentially affect the health and well-being of the current generation of children and young adults, some of whom began having weight problems very early in life. The authors say that unless steps are taken to curb excessive weight gain, younger Americans will likely face a greater risk of mortality throughout life than previous generations.
“This work paints a disturbing portrait of the potential effect that life styles of baby boomers and the next generation could have on life expectancy,” says Richard M. Suzman, Ph.D., Associate Director of the NIA for Behavioral and Social Research. Indeed, Suzman notes, obesity may already have had an effect. The sharp increase of obesity among people now in their 60s, he suggests, may be one explanation why the gains in U.S. life expectancy at older ages have been less than those of other developed countries in recent years.
“But it is critical to note that the reduced life expectancy forecast by the study is not inevitable, and there is room for optimism,” Suzman says. “Government and private sector efforts are mobilizing against obesity, and increased education, improved medical treatments, and reduced smoking can tip the balance in favor of reduced mortality and continued improvements in life expectancy.”
For instance, smoking significantly reduces the life expectancy of the average smoker, Suzman says, so obesity is just one of many factors that will need to be accounted for, together or separately, in projecting how Americans will age. The NIA supports several projects on population demography that forecast life and health expectancy, research which is critically important to policy makers looking at the implications of an aging population.
According to the NEJM report, studies suggest that two-thirds of American adults are overweight (having a body mass index — BMI — of 25 or more) or obese (having a BMI of 30 or more). One study cited by the authors indicates that the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults has increased about 50 percent per decade since 1980. Additional research has shown that people who are severely obese — with a BMI greater than 45 — live up to 20 years less than people who are not overweight. Some researchers have estimated that obesity causes about 300,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. In addition, obesity is fueling an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, which also reduces lifespan.
The overall reduction in life expectancy of one-third to three-fourths of a year attributed to obesity in this analysis exceeds the negative effect of all accidental deaths combined, and could deteriorate over time, the researchers said.
“These trends suggest that the relative influence of obesity on the life expectancy of future generations could be markedly worse than it is for current generations,” Olshansky and the authors conclude in their report. “In other words, the life-shortening effect of obesity could rise …to two to five years, or more, in the coming decades, as the obese who are now at younger ages carry their elevated risk of death into middle and older ages.”
The projected decline contrasts with estimates by other leading researchers, which predict a continuation of the historic trend of increasing life expectancy in America and Europe dating back to the 1850s, according to Dr. Suzman. In fact, he points out that the experience of other developed nations is instructive as a barometer of how much room might exist to increase U.S. life expectancy. More than 20 other developed nations, including France, Japan, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have a higher average life expectancy than the U.S. Women in Japan, for example, live about 5 years longer than women in the U.S. There is little evidence that life expectancy in these countries is approaching any kind of limit, Suzman says.
A. Diabetes costs USA more than wars, disasters, study says
23 January 2008, USA TODAY, By Liz Szabo
About 17.5 million people in the USA have diabetes, and an additional 6 million have it but don’t know it. Costs associated with the disease: Medical costs: $116 billion, Lost productivity: $58 billion. (Source: American Diabetes Association)
Uncontrolled diabetes wreaks havoc on the body, often leading to kidney failure, blindness and death. A new study shows that the nation’s unchecked diabetes epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year. That’s about as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined. It’s more than the $150 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The incidence of diabetes has ballooned — there are 1 million new cases a year — as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to the study, released Wednesday by the American Diabetes Association. The cost of diabetes — both in direct medical care and lost productivity — has swelled 32% since 2002, the report shows.
Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year, according to the diabetes association.
Diabetes costs the nation nearly as much as cancer, whose costs in 2006 totaled $206.3 billion, although cancer kills twice as many people, according to the American Cancer Society.
Even those without diabetes help pay the bill. The mounting costs affect everyone with insurance, through rising premiums and copays, says Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who was not involved with the report. About half of diabetics have medical insurance through government programs such as Medicare, the report shows.
Providing routine care — such as doctor’s visits and medications — costs relatively little, according to the report. The real expenses come from uncontrolled diabetes, which can lead patients to require dialysis and kidney transplants, says Ann Albright, a diabetes expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, which paid for the study.
About half of diabetes costs go to inpatient hospital care, the study shows. Because diabetes makes people so much sicker, it increases the time that people stay in the hospital for other problems by nearly 50%.
Albright expects the number of people diagnosed with diabetes to increase, given that many Americans are “pre-diabetic,” with problems handling insulin and sugar.
Diabetes “will ruin a generation of Americans,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit that represents large employers. Over the next few decades, she says, diabetes will handicap both state and local economies, as communities divert money from education and other important areas to care for patients. “It’s a sad story that should cause us to take action,” Albright says.
B. Success and Opportunities for Population-based Prevention and Control: At A Glance 2010
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
_1) What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body has a shortage of insulin, a decreased ability to use insulin, or both. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose (sugar) to enter cells and be converted to energy. When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in the blood and, over time, damage vital organs.
• Type 1 diabetes usually is first diagnosed in children and young adults, although the disease can occur at any age. Type 1 may be autoimmune, genetic, or environmental and accounts for 5% of diabetes cases. There is no known way to prevent this type of diabetes.
• Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and physical inactivity, accounts for 90%–95% of diabetes cases and most often occurs in people older than 40. Type 2 is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, race, and ethnicity. Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently among American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.
• Prediabetes is a condition in which a person has blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. An estimated 57 million American adults had prediabetes in 2007. People with this condition have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
_2) Diabetes Is Common, Disabling, and Deadly
• 23.6 million people in the United States (7.8% of the total population) have diabetes. Of these, 5.7 million have undiagnosed diabetes.
• In 2007, about 1.6 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older.
• African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native adults are twice as likely as white adults to have diabetes.
• If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will develop diabetes sometime in their lifetime, and those with diabetes will lose, on average, 10–15 years of life.
• Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, kidney failure, and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations among adults.
• Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death on U.S. death certificates in 2006. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of similar age.
• In 1999–2000, 7% of U.S. adolescents aged 12–19 years had impaired fasting glucose (prediabetes), putting them at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
_3) Diabetes Is Preventable and Controllable
Recent studies show that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people at high risk.
• For people with prediabetes, lifestyle changes, including a 5%–7% weight loss and at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, can reduce the rate of onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Disability and premature death are not inevitable consequences of diabetes. By working with their support network and health care providers, people with diabetes can prevent premature death and disability by controlling their blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids and by receiving other preventive care in a timely manner.
• Blood glucose control reduces the risk for eye, kidney, and nerve diseases among people with diabetes by about 40%.
• Blood pressure control reduces the risk for heart disease and stroke among people with diabetes by 33%–50%. It reduces the risk for eye, kidney, and nerve diseases by about 33%.
• Detecting and treating diabetic eye disease with laser therapy can reduce the risk for loss of eyesight by 50%–60%. Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45%–85%.
C. Recognizing the signs of Diabetes
While diabetes was once recognized as an unfortunate disease that only affected a small number of people, today statistics indicate that more than 18 million people in the United States alone suffer from this disease. Perhaps even more startling is the fact that almost one-third of those individuals may remain undiagnosed, largely to the failure to recognize the most common warning signs related to this disease.
One of the reasons that diabetes symptoms can be difficult to recognize is the fact that they can appear either gradually over a long period of time or dramatically and suddenly. Some of the symptoms that may be noticed include fatigue, frequent urination and excessive thirst. In some cases, sudden weight loss, urinary tract infections and blurred vision may also be noticed.
Due to the fact that diabetes can lead to a number of serious health issues such as blindness, heart disease and nerve and kidney damage, it is extremely important that you be tested for diabetes if you suffer from symptoms associated with the disease. While these symptoms are commonly associated with diabetes, keep in mind that in some cases diabetes presents absolutely no signs or symptoms. Therefore, if you are over the age of 45 or fall into a high risk category, you should make a point to be tested for diabetes at least once every couple of years.
5. EXERCISE-ENERGY BALANCE
A. Exercise trends
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Worldwide, there has been a large shift towards less physically demanding work. This has been accompanied by increasing use of mechanized transportation, a greater prevalence of labor saving technology in the home, and less active recreational pursuits. At least 60% of the world’s population does not get sufficient exercise. This is true in almost all developed and developing countries, and among children.
These exercise trends are contributing to the rising rates of chronic diseases including: obesity, heart disease, heart disease, stroke and high cholestrol. Active transport such as walking and bicycling, etc. have been found to be inversely related to obesity in Europe, North America, and Australia. Thus exercise has been associated with a decrease in mortality.
One of the causes most prevalent in the developing world is urbanization. As more of the population moves to cities, population over-crowding, increased poverty, increased levels of crime, high-density traffic, low air quality and lack of parks, sidewalks and recreational sports facilities leads to a less active lifestyle.
Physical inactivity is increasing or high among many groups in the population including: young people, women, and the elderly.
A number of factors has been associated with physical inactivity at a population level including: female gender, older age, living with a partner, smoking, little schooling and poverty.
Studies in children and adults have found an association between the number of hours of television watched and the prevalence of obesity. A 2008 meta analysis found that 63 of 73 studies (86%) showed an increased rate of childhood obesity with increased media exposure, and rates increasing proportionally to time spent watching television.
Americans have become less physicallyh active overall between 1955 and 2005. While the rate of leisure-time physical activity has not changed significantly there has been a decrease in work-related activity, human powered transportation, activity in the home, and increasing sedentary activity. During 2000 and 2005 the number of adults who were never physically active increased from 9.4% to 10.3% while the number who were engaged in the highest level of physical activity decreased from 18.7% to 16.7%. Pertaining to leisure-time physical activity, people involved in no activity increased from 38.5% to 40.0% while those who spent most of their day sitting increased from 36.8% to 39.9%.
In 2000 the CDC estimated that more than 40% of the US population was sedentary, another 30% was active but not sufficiently and less than 30% had an adequate level of physical activity. There has been a trend toward decreased physical activity in part due to increasingly mechanized forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization. Obesity rates have increased in relation to expanding suburbs. This has been attributed to increased time spent commuting, leading to less exercise and less meal preparation at home. Driving one’s children to school has become increasingly popular. In the USA the proportion of children who walk or bike to school declined between 1969 (42%) and 2001 (16%) resulting in less exercise.
B. Warning: Lack of Exercise Is Detrimental To Your Health
By Jim O’Connor
Jim O’Connor, A Beverly Hills celebrity fitness consultant, has conducted thousands of personal fitness consultations with celebrities, business executives, and highly motivated individuals throughout Los …
You just put in a good 10 hour day in front of your computer screen, and the last thing you want to do is exercise. Let’s see, exercise, and improve your fitness level, or sit down with a glass of wine and watch your favorite evening television show. What would you do? Seventy percent of individuals know they should exercise, but choose the wine and the television program instead.
Do you know this simple daily decision can end up being detrimental to your health? According to the CDC, 54.1% of adults don’t do the minimum level of exercise or physical activity recommended for wellness. The slogan “use it or lose it” has never been more true.
The simple innocent choice of not exercising has shown, in studies, to promote 10 serious health conditions you don’t ever want to develop. The bottom line is physical inactivity has a lot of unhealthy implications even at our bodies cellular level. At the cellular level, inactivity decreases the ability to transfer oxygen from your blood stream to your cells, and also decreases the number of power activating mitochondria. However, the worst cost of not exercising or being physically active can result in the following 10 devastating conditions:
_1) Cancer – Studies have shown that fitness enthusiastic men and women who are physically active have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared to individuals who are inactive.
_2) Diabetes – Studies show lack of regular physical exercise increases insulin sensitivity. Diabetes is considered the “sedentary disease” which is striking people at an alarming rate. If it is not controlled, it can destroy the body’s organs.
_3) Heart – Lack of consistent physical activity, over time, decreases the function of the heart muscle, affects the blood vessels, including the large aortic artery to the veins and small capillaries. According to many studies, scientists have good reason to believe that regular exercise protects the heart.
_4) Stroke – Regular exercisers are 25% less likely to have a stroke than their sedentary counterparts. Being fit lowers blood pressure, raises HDL cholesterol, and reduces the risk of blood clots.
_5) Brain – People who are physically active, according to solid evidence, are at lower risk for cognitive decline and dementia.
_6) Muscles – If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, you are at risk of losing some 6 percent of your muscles mass every decade of life from the age of 30 on. This also translates into a 10 – 15 percent loss of strength per decade. Once again, if you don’t use the muscle, you will lose the muscle quickly.
_7) Osteoporosis – Fragile bones cause more than 1.5 million fractures each year in the U.S. Bone is like muscle, if you stress it, it responds. If you don’t, you gradually lose its strength, and increase your chances of breaking them. Regular weekly strength training can help prevent osteoporosis, and decrease your chances of breaking a bone.
_8) Mental Health – People who don’t exercise on a regular basis are more prone to develop depression. According to a recent study, people who were more active were nearly 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression over the next five years than less active people. Fitness conscious individuals also generally display an improved self esteem, or self image.
_9) Weight – If you are inactive, year in and year out, you will eventually gain weight and lose fitness which increases the chance of a heart attacks, and diabetes.
_10) Immune System – Moderate amounts of exercise reduces the risk of upper respiratory infection. Regular exercise may boost immune function.
Now I would like to ask that same question I asked above. What would you do? Wine and television, or physical activity? Now for the good news! In as little as 30 minutes of exercise or fitness work each day, you can significantly decrease your chances of developing any of these horrible conditions mentioned above. This is the best “medicine” any doctor can possibly prescribe!
C. Aging and What To Do About It – The value of exercise
As you grow older, exercise can help you look, feel, and work better. Various organs and systems of the body, particularly the digestive process, are stimulated through activity, and, as a result, work more effectively.
You can improve your posture through exercise that tones supporting muscles. This not only improves appearance, but can decrease the frequency of lower-back pain and disability.
Here are some other benefits of exercise:
• it can increase your ability to relax and tolerate fatigue;
• it improves muscle tone; reduces fat deposits;
• increases working capacity of the lungs;
• improves kidney and liver functions;
• increases volume of blood, hemoglobin, and red blood cells, leading to improved utilization of oxygen and iron.
Also, physically active people are less likely to experience a heart attack or other forms of cardiovascular disease than sedentary people. Moreover, an active person who does suffer a coronary attack will probably have a less severe form. The Public Health Service studied 5,000 adults in Framingham, Mass., for more than a decade. When any member of the group suffered a heart attack, his physical activity was reviewed. It was found that more inactive people suffered more fatal heart attacks than active members.
_1) Walking for Exercise
Exercise need not be something you must do, but rather something you enjoy doing. One of the most practical and enjoyable exercises is walking. Charles Dickens said: “Walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. The best of all ways to lengthen our days is to walk, steadily and with a purpose. The wandering man knows of certain ancients, far gone in years, who have staved off infirmities and dissolution by earnest walking—hale fellows close upon eighty and ninety, but brisk as boys.”
The benefits of walking were revealed in a recent Health Insurance Plan study of 110,000 people in New York City. Those who had heart attacks were divided into two groups—walkers and non walkers. The first four weeks of illness were reviewed for both groups. At the end of the time 41 percent of the non walkers were dead, while only 23 percent of the walkers were. When all physical activity was considered, 57 percent of the inactive had died compared to only 16 percent of those who had some form of exercise.
Walking is as natural to the human body as breathing. It is a muscular symphony; all the foot, leg, and hip muscles and much of the back musculature are involved. The abdominal muscles tend to contract and support their share of the weight, and the diaphragm and rib muscles increase their action. There is automatic action of the arm and shoulder muscles; the shoulder and neck muscles get play as the head is held erect; the eye muscles are exercised as you look about you.
_2) Other Types of Exercise
Swimming and bicycling exercise most of the muscles, and gardening is highly recommended. The fresh air is beneficial, the bending, squatting, and countless other movements exercise most parts of the body.
Surprisingly, most games do not provide good exercise. According to a physical fitness research laboratory at the University of Illinois, the trouble with most games is that the action is intermittent—starting and stopping—a burst of energy and then a wait. The bowler swings a ball for two and one-half seconds and gets about one minute of actual muscular work per game.
Golf is a succession of pause, swing, walk—or, more often, a ride to the next pause, swing, and so on. Also, you spend a lot of time standing and waiting for the party ahead and for your partners.
Tennis gives one more exercise but it too involves a great deal of starting and stopping, as does handball.
No game has the essential, tension-releasing pattern of continuous, vigorous, rhythmic motion found in such activities as walking, running, or jogging.
For formal exercises, you could join a gym, but you might find your enthusiasm waning after a few weeks. You could also exercise at home; there are many excellent books on exercise that provide programs for you to follow at home on a daily basis.
[For readers of the 4dtraveler blog: I have been doing exercises 7 days a week for the last 4 years since my retirement. My early morning, before breakfast regime includes: A not too difficult exercise of 16 minutes Tai Chi, 14 minutes of walking and 11 minutes Yoga. That 14 minute walk amounts to 2,000 steps which is about 1 mile distance. During mid morning, I walk another 1,000 steps (1/2 mile) and take another short 1,000 step walk later in the day. These exercises are in addition to any normal activies about the house, an do not include any form of shopping, all of which are extra.]
6. SAME DOLLARS, LESS FOOD (food cost inflation)
A. Objects in store are smaller than they appear
November 09, 2008, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Jerry Hirsch
It is hard to spot what happened this year in the peanut butter aisles of local supermarkets.
But a careful look at the jars of Skippy on the shelves may reveal a surprise. The prices are about the same, but the jars are getting smaller.
They don’t look different in size or shape. But recently, the jars developed a dimple in the bottom that slices the contents to 16.3 ounces from 18 ounces — about 10% less peanut butter.
The only way to know you are buying less is to look at the weight on the label and recognize it’s lighter than before Unilever, owner of the Skippy brand, switched out containers.
Across the supermarket, manufacturers are trimming packages, nipping a half-ounce off that bar of soap, narrowing the width of toilet paper and shrinking the size of ice cream containers.
Often the changes are so subtle that they create “the illusion that you are buying the same amount,” explained Frank Luby, a pricing consultant with Simon-Kucher & Partners of Cambridge, Mass.
To shoppers it may seem like getting less, but companies say cutting quantity is a common way to avoid raising prices.
It’s an age-old dilemma for manufacturers juggling prices, container sizes and profits — at the same time coping with rising prices for ingredients and greater competition on supermarket shelves.
At international food giant Unilever, “we have chosen to reduce package sizes as one of our responses” to rising commodity and business expenses, said spokesman Dean Mastrojohn. He said the new smaller sizes are clearly marked on labels.
Shoppers understand the manufacturers’ dilemma, but also say they feel deceived at times.
Kathy Yukl of La Crescenta says she’s tired of going to the store and finding dimples in the bottoms of jars — she buys Skippy only when she has a coupon. She is annoyed that containers that once held half a gallon of ice cream, or 64 ounces, now have only 48 ounces. And she’s frustrated that cereal boxes are shrinking. “What these companies don’t realize is that their chronically deceptive marketing ploys tell us loud and clear that we absolutely cannot trust them for anything,” Yukl said.
Other shoppers agree. “I think the whole thing is deceitful, and yes, it does irritate me, and I do feel they are tricking the consumer,” said Bill Stone of Long Beach. “This practice, however, has been going on for many years and apparently the manufacturers feel it is to their advantage to try to slip these changes by the customer rather than announcing it.”
B. Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags
March 28, 2011, New York Times, By Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell.
Chips are disappearing from bags, candy from boxes and vegetables from cans.
As an expected increase in the cost of raw materials looms for late summer, consumers are beginning to encounter shrinking food packages.
With unemployment still high, companies in recent months have tried to camouflage price increases by selling their products in tiny and tinier packages. So far, the changes are most visible at the grocery store, where shoppers are paying the same amount, but getting less.
For Lisa Stauber, stretching her budget to feed her nine children in Houston often requires careful monitoring at the store. Recently, when she cooked her usual three boxes of pasta for a big family dinner, she was surprised by a smaller yield, and she began to suspect something was up.
“Whole wheat pasta had gone from 16 ounces to 13.25 ounces,” she said. “I bought three boxes and it wasn’t enough — that was a little embarrassing. I bought the same amount I always buy, I just didn’t realize it, because who reads the sizes all the time?”
Ms. Stauber, 33, said she began inspecting her other purchases, aisle by aisle. Many canned vegetables dropped to 13 or 14 ounces from 16; boxes of baby wipes went to 72 from 80; and sugar was stacked in 4-pound, not 5-pound, bags, she said.
Five or so years ago, Ms. Stauber bought 16-ounce cans of corn. Then they were 15.5 ounces, then 14.5 ounces, and the size is still dropping. “The first time I’ve ever seen an 11-ounce can of corn at the store was about three weeks ago, and I was just floored,” she said. “It’s sneaky, because they figure people won’t know.”
In every economic downturn in the last few decades, companies have reduced the size of some products, disguising price increases and avoiding comparisons on same-size packages, before and after an increase. Each time, the marketing campaigns are coy; this time, the smaller versions are “greener” (packages good for the environment) or more “portable” (little carry bags for the takeout lifestyle) or “healthier” (fewer calories).
Where companies cannot change sizes — as in clothing or appliances — they have warned that prices will be going up, as the costs of cotton, energy, grain and other raw materials are rising.
“Consumers are generally more sensitive to changes in prices than to changes in quantity,” John T. Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, said. “And companies try to do it in such a way that you don’t notice, maybe keeping the height and width the same, but changing the depth so the silhouette of the package on the shelf looks the same. Or sometimes they add more air to the chips bag or a scoop in the bottom of the peanut butter jar so it looks the same size.”
Thomas J. Alexander, a finance professor at Northwood University, said that businesses had little choice these days when faced with increases in the costs of their raw goods. “Companies only have pricing power when wages are also increasing, and we’re not seeing that right now because of the high unemployment,” he said.
Most companies reduce products quietly, hoping consumers are not reading labels too closely.
But the downsizing keeps occurring. A can of Chicken of the Sea albacore tuna is now packed at 5 ounces, instead of the 6-ounce version still on some shelves, and in some cases, the 5-ounce can costs more than the larger one. Bags of Doritos, Tostitos and Fritos now hold 20 percent fewer chips than in 2009, though a spokesman said those extra chips were just a “limited time” offer.
Trying to keep customers from feeling cheated, some companies are introducing new containers that, they say, have terrific advantages — and just happen to contain less product.
Kraft is introducing “Fresh Stacks” packages for its Nabisco Premium saltines and Honey Maid graham crackers. Each has about 15 percent fewer crackers than the standard boxes, but the price has not changed. Kraft says that because the Fresh Stacks include more sleeves of crackers, they are more portable and “the packaging format offers the benefit of added freshness,” said Basil T. Maglaris, a Kraft spokesman, in an e-mail.
And Procter & Gamble is expanding its “Future Friendly” products, which it promotes as using at least 15 percent less energy, water or packaging than the standard ones.
“They are more environmentally friendly, that’s true — but they’re also smaller,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner for retail systems research at Focus.com, an online specialist network. “They announce it as great new packaging, and in fact what it is is smaller packaging, smaller amounts of the product,” she said.
 Adequate exercise: a) 30 minutes moderately intensive exercise daily, b) 30-45 min/day 5 days a week, c) 150+ minutes aerobic (walking, cycling) exercise /week
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