The rising obesity rates and weight related illnesses continue to skyrocket here in the US.
What is being done about it?
What can you do about it?
Here are 5 things being done that we can continue to do ourselves to help reduce obesity and weight:
1. Stop Consuming Soda and High Fructose Corn Syrup
Here in New York State, 60% of us are now considered to be obese.
Our financial situation pretty much sucks too. So, the Gov. actually had a good idea. He has decided that he should impose a new tax on all soda purchases, thus hoping to cut down on the consumption of soda and hoping to capitalize on any that is purchased.
I am not, nor have I ever been a soda drinker. Don’t worry, I have other vices I have to word hard to resist.
SO, it isn’t hard for me to agree with taxing soda, as well as cigarettes and other things that add no nutritional value but yet people become addicted to.
Soda happens to be the “food” with the highest levels of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweet but highly refined substance that comes from corn. It has now replaced most sugar that used to be in soda.
The problem is, HFCS makes you tired, sick, fat and can lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables and Less Processed Foods
Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years.
40% of kids in NYC alone are now considered obese.
That’s why I am happy to see famous Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver, take over the airwaves to help revolutionize the way kids eat in America.
Jamie’s new show, Food Revolution, aired this weekend for the first time.
He visited the city in the US deemed most unhealthy in all of America, Huntington, West Virginia, where they are said to have a whopping 50% obesity rate.
Through teaching nutritional lessons and trying to get processed foods in schools replaced by healthy options, Jaime hopes to reverse the sickening childhood obesity rate trend and help kids become healthier and leaner.
3. Control Portion Sizes
There was a really interesting study in the International Journal of Obesity recently that studied portion sizes throughout the last millenium by studying 52 paintings of the Last Supper done during this time.
What they found is that the plate size of Jesus and the Apostles increased 66% over time while the bread size portrayed in the paintings increased 23%.
Even if you are eating all of the “right” foods, it is still possible for you to eat way too much.
You must be aware that we don’t really need as much food as we eat or what we are served in restaurants.
Start reducing portion size by cutting your normal meals in half and see if you still have enough energy to get through the day.
4. Be Aware of What You Are Eating
One of the biggest reasons why we gain weight is that we often eat foods that we have no idea what the nutrition make up is.
This is mostly a problem when we eat out at restaurants and fast food chains.
These companies put nutritional information up on their websites but when was the last time you checked one of their websites before going so you could make a healthy choice when you got there?
So, part of Obama’s health care legislation calls for nutritional information to be included on menus and drive thru menues at all large restaurant chains.
Now my opinion is that you shouldn’t even be eating at those places to begin with if health and weight is an issue for you. But I do realize that cost often prohibits people from going to a restaurant where you have healthy choices.
So, this is a great way to help people be more informed about what they are eating.
And if the large chain restaurants don’t like it then too bad. They can make some changes to their menu.
5. Get More Activity – Any Kind!
When it comes to being sedentary vs getting up and doing something, any activity will be better than watching more TV.
According to the National Association For Sport and Physical Education, it is suggested that schools provide a minimum of 20 minutes per day.
Many schools in the US only give their students about 15 minutes per day for recess.
Do you remember how much you had when you were young? I guarantee it was more than 15 minutes.
Only half of the schools in the US give their kids between 16 and 30 minutes per day.
Many people are now thinking that 1 hour per day of recess is what will be nedded to combat the growing childhood obesity trend.
Whatever time schools settle on, it is clear that we need more activity not only for our kids but for the adults as well.
A recent study came out suggesting that middle aged women needs to be active for a minimum of 1 hour per day just to prevent weight gain as they age.
That seems like a lot. But look at how active we were 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago.
The age of computers and video games and even automobiles has also contributed to the growing obesity rate.
There are many efforts by politicians, celebrities, and even local individuals all around the country who are making great efforts to help reduce the steadily rising obesity rates.
The bottom line is that we have to get back to basics. We have to continue to look at the food we eat (and the amount we eat of it) as well as the amount of activity we get.
There are very few people who can lose or control their weight using only diet or exercise alone.
You must clean up your diet and engage in an adequate amount of exercise each day for optimal health and to help decrease your weight.
Susan Campbell, MS, CSCS