Balancing Diet, Physical Activity Key To Combating Obesity Epidemic

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Submitted by Matt Raymond

New Article Makes Recommendations for Public Health Strategies

joggerIs it possible for experts from the leading nutrition and sport medicine professional organizations to come to consensus on how to strategically address obesity? The answer can be found in a peer-reviewed paper, Energy Balance at a Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action, which provides specific recommendations for biological, lifestyle and environmental changes that will successfully guide children and families toward healthier weights.

The paper, published jointly in the July editions of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® and in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, outlines steps to incorporate energy balance principles into public health strategies.

The recommendations include:

* Integrate energy balance into curriculum and training for both exercise science and nutrition professionals and strengthen collaborative efforts between them.

* Develop competencies for school and physical education teachers and position them as energy balance advocates.

* Develop core standards for schools that integrate the dynamic energy balance approach.

* Work with federally funded nutrition programs like the Cooperative Extension Service and school lunch programs to incorporate energy balance solutions.

* Develop messaging and promotional strategies about energy balance that American consumers can understand and apply to their lifestyles.

* Map out and support existing programs that emphasize energy balance.

“We have been discussing and analyzing the obesity epidemic for years. I am ecstatic to see actionable steps toward realistic solutions,” said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, the IFIC Foundation’s senior vice president of nutrition and food safety and co-author of the paper.

“Addressing obesity prevention through sharing best practices with consumers and community leaders, in addition to undergraduate and graduate level training, is a comprehensive approach that works.”

The paper is an outcome of the October 2012 expert panel meeting titled “Energy Balance at the Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action,” hosted by ACSM, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Agriculture Research Service.

The IFIC Foundation, along with ILSI North America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American College of Sports Medicine, held a webinar for health professionals Aug. 28 on the same subject as the paper; it can be viewed here.

In addition to Smith Edge, the article’s co-authors are Melinda M. Manore, Oregon State University; Katie Brown, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Linda Houtkooper, University of Arizona; John Jakicic, University of Pittsburgh; John C. Peters, University of Colorado, Denver; Alison Steiber, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Scott Going, University of Arizona; Lisa Guillermin Gable, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation; and Ann Marie Krautheim, National Dairy Council.

saladplateIn a related vein, the IFIC Foundation’s Food Insight newsletter published an article in its September issue about a new study in the American Journal of Medicine that suggests that decreased physical activity is a bigger culprit in our nation’s expanding waistlines than increased calorie intake. The story is accompanied by an infographic summarizing key findings.

For interview requests and any other questions, please contact the IFIC Foundation media team at 202-296-6540, Raymond@ific.org.

The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit foodinsight.org.

Why School Lunches Could Be Adding To The Obesity Epidemic And What You Can Do To Help

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groupkidsAs your child walks in from school, takes off his backpack and slumps on the couch, obviously exhausted from a full day of school, you may wonder why his energy has vanished. Ask him what he had for lunch in the school cafeteria, and you may find your answer.

From pizza and French fries to fruit dripping with rich corn syrup and canned, processed vegetables, your child’s food choices may be less than desirable to a health-conscious parent. It’s no wonder your child’s energy is gone and his clothes keep getting tighter.

Many parents are finding that school lunches could be adding to the childhood obesity epidemic. Luckily, there is something you can do to help.

What’s For Lunch?

“The problem with many school lunches, or meals rather, is that they are highly processed,” says Elizabeth Prebish, registered dietitian for Organic Life, provider of healthy lunches in Chicago, Illinois. “Many school lunches include processed meats, fried foods and high amounts of sugars or carbohydrates.”

With restricted budgets to feed large quantities of mouths, typical food service companies use conventional meats that contain hormones, antibiotics and steroids – all things small children do not need, says Prebish.

In addition to lunch, it’s possible your child is filling up on sweets as well. The school lunch system provides many opportunities for sweets, including offering ice cream and bakery items, not to mention chocolate milk. “Having these items as daily options is definitely a contribution to the obesity epidemic,” says Prebish. “These processed sugars are addictive, leaving children craving the same foods not only in school but when they are home as well.”

Snack Time

kidseatinghealthyFrom Halloween and fall festivals to school picnics and class parties, a celebration with food is a common occurrence in the classroom. Beyond the gorging of party cookies and cakes, some nutrition experts believe that even healthier snacks scheduled into the daily classroom schedule can contribute to childhood obesity.

“The number one way in which schools contribute to childhood obesity is by scripting snacks into the daily schedule,” says Adrienne Hew, nutrition specialist and founder of NutritionHeretic.com. “Children who are well fed do not need snacks – having snacks scripted into the schedule drives them to want to eat even when they are not hungry.”

The idea of incorporating snacks into the school day derived from a practice used for diabetics that uses small meals throughout the day to help keep blood sugar steady, says Hew. “However, the snacks that are offered to children would kill a diabetic – crackers, cookies, Cheerios and juice,” she says.

Cooking Up Change

In order to prompt change, parents need to offer solutions and suggestions to school districts and school board members. Offering a viable solution that is realistic with decreased school budgets is key.

“I would love to see schools engage with the community by going to local farmers or food co-ops and cutting cheap or free deals to absorb their leftover produce or produce that isn’t perfect for selling at the stand but can still be salvaged for making soups, stews and salads,” says Hew.

Another inexpensive option would be to recruit culinary students to complete internships in the schools as apprenticing or head chefs under the supervision of the person who normally is in charge of budgeting, suggests Hew. This economically-appealing option would give interns the opportunity to practice their skills, prepare healthy, innovative meals for school lunches and afford the district with a cost-effective option.

Parents can also advocate for a food service system that offers more natural products, says Prebish. “If this is not an option, work with your food service provider to determine more healthful substitutions that the children will also enjoy,” she says. “Try for more natural, and even organic, products wherever possible.”

In addition to working with food service systems, make yourself known at school board meetings. Parents can work to improve lunch selections by speaking to the board, the community and fellow parents. At each meeting try to provide a suggestion for healthier options, such as replacing meat-based burgers with veggie burgers.

According to Dr. Timothy Radak, faculty member in the Public Health program at Walden University, veggie burgers typically have one-third the amount of fat, no cholesterol and are similar in regards to the amount of protein as meat-based burgers.

Suggest cost-saving, evidence-based ideas to show the benefits to the district’s bottom line and the overall health of each student on campus. Schools could also reduce or eliminate some foods with health risks, such as red meat, processed foods or sugary drinks, says Radak. “Use the cost savings to provide more fresh fruits, vegetables and low fat, nutritious meal options.”

More importantly, educate your child about food, healthy eating habits and smart options for lunch. It is possible that when given the option, he may toss out the pizza and French fries for the veggie burger.

– Submitted by Nancy Parker of eNannySource.com

Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, And Other Forms Of Memory Loss Now An Epidemic

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By Dr. Michael Wald

brainAlzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss and dementia is now officially an epidemic. More people are affected with serious memory loss than ever before in human history. The Alzheimer’s Association’s new report shows that one in three seniors have dementia at their time of death and mortality from the disease has increased nearly 70 percent between 2000 and 2010. According to Dr. Michael Wald, The Blood Detective and Director of Nutrition at Integrated Medicine, “medications have proven a failure in treating the disease, but there are lifestyle improvements including diet and nutritional supplements that studies have shown delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease”.

People are now living longer than every…and now longer than every with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Baby Boomers are aging and it is expected that nearly 14 million people with have Alzheimer’s or related dementia by 2050. Funding of Alzheimer’s Disease through the National Institutes of Health is inadequate, and research into non-drug approaches is suspiciously lacking; research that has been done clearly shows benefit…beyond any benefit of memory -related medications. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than just memory. Reduced immunity and increased risk of infection, heart disease, hypertension and other health problems often tag-along with Alzheimer’s Disease. Omega 3 fatty acids, phosphatidylserine, bacopine, acetyl-l-carnitine, DMAE and ginkgo biloba extract are a few of the nutritional compounds proven in scientific studies to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. The Mediterranean type diet, or components of it, have also benefit in delaying onset of many diseases including serious memory issues.

– Dr. Michael Wald, Brain-Energy Blast

Podcast: The Obesity Epidemic – What Can Be Done?

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The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention has some great resources on their site for sharing. Periodically, I will post material here to share with my audience. Today, I wanted to share an interesting Podcast entitled The Obesity Epidemic – What Can Be Done? This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC – safer, healthier people.

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podcast

Summary

This podcast is based on the August, 2010 CDC Vital Signs report which promotes policies and programs in the community and at school and work that make the healthy choice the easy choice to reduce obesity. Created: 8/3/2010 by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Thank you to the CDC for providing this excellent resource

Childhood Obesity A Growing Epidemic

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By Anand Bhatt

obesegirlvectorexerciseWelcome a new definition of playtime. What once meant engaging in friendly competition on the playground, now means engaging in virtual competition without even leaving the house. As phone, tablet, and television screens get closer to our faces, both parents and children are blinded by artificial light and missing out on nature’s own. When a problem like childhood obesity takes the reins on children’s lives so much so that the first lady gets involved, it’s no wonder that it’s been a growing epidemic since the 1970s. Although the 1970s is defined by the Equal Rights Amendment, there was a major shift in day-to-day life that sparked equally weighted changes in diet and activity. Fast food chains gained popularity and children started eating out at their favorite quick stops fivefold more than they used to. According to Effects of fast-food consumption on energy intake and diet quality among children in a national household survey, 30.3% of the total sample of 6,212 children and adolescents 4 to 19 years of age in the United States reported consuming fast-food.

With programs like Let’s Move led by first-lady Michelle Obama and the Play60 campaign led by members of the National Football League, people are starting to take note of the empty playgrounds and growing rate of sedentary children. Today’s kids are eating too much and exercising too little. These patterns, when established in such early stages of life, can progress to adulthood where many individuals may end up sitting in front of a cubicle for work, not cognizant of the dangers of inactivity.

If we stay on this path, the CDC projects that 42% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 15% of severe obesity in adults is a consequence of persistent obesity in childhood. If we stay on this path, the CDC projects that 42% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. That’s nearly half of America, or 1 in every 2 people! Not to mention that this same report by the CDC finds that $550 billion worth of health care costs are derived from obesity-related ailments.

Childhood obesity has become such a problem that teachers in North Andover, Massachusetts are deciding to take action by sending “fat letters” to children of obese parents. This controversial way of direct-action in an effort led by the Department of Public Health tells parents by a note sent home with their child that their child is obese. There are many ways to open a parents eyes to how their daily activities are setting an example for their children. Although “fat letters” may be extreme, doing things like encouraging activity or asking them to join you on an after-dinner walk can exemplify good habits and encourage communication!

obeseboyvectorbellyClearly, obesity is and is continuing to be a growing epidemic. We are so preoccupied by what’s in our inbox, getting ahead, and being part of this technology-driven tornado that we are losing focus on ourselves. To get ahead, adults need to practice healthy lifestyles to inspire their children to do the same. This means playing or being active for at least 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day and inhaling from fresh, outside air. The desire to help children realize their kinetic potential inspired me to create Fit Kids, Healthy Kids, Happy Kids, a compilation of children’s songs that aim to inspire movement and healthy lifestyles. With a little bit of education and fun while being active, whether it’s dancing while doing the dishes or playing ball in the park for an hour or two, we can reverse this trend of childhood obesity for a healthier future.

– Rock & Pop Star Anand Bhatt, when not on the red carpet, is an active supporter of health and fitness endeavors worldwide. After witnessing the unhealthy lifestyles of himself and his peers, Anand wrote the book Rock Star Recipes, an easy diet program for those who are strapped for time or under stress. Anand Bhatt has recently released the music album Fit Kids, Healthy Kids, Happy Kids, a compilation of children’s songs that aim to inspire Parents, Teachers and Kids movement, good eating habits and overall healthy lifestyles.

Mexico Continues To Battle Serious Diabetes, Obesity Epidemic

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beachballFrom Your Health Journal…..A very interesting article recently in Voxxi written by Hope Gillette entitled Mexico Continues To Battle Serious Diabetes, Obesity Epidemic. So many article recently report how the United States in the obese empire of the world, how so many American eat too much, exercise too little. Frankly, I know there is some truth to this, but nonetheless, I am getting tired of reading about it. My thoughts, it is not just the US with this problem, but many countries. Over the last couple days, we have discussed how the UK and Canada are experiencing similar concerns. Now, this article points to Mexico as having similar concerns. Obesity is a worldwide epidemic, not just the US. In Mexico, diabetes is the number one killer, the chronic health condition a direct result of the obesity issue the country also struggles with. In fact, approximately two-thirds of the total nation’s population are classified as overweight or obese, with most of the issue stemming from lifestyle and eating habits. Please visit the Voxxi web site (link provided below) to view the complete article. I did enjoy it and found it very informative.”

From the article…..

Diabetes is the number one killer in Mexico, the chronic health condition a direct result of the obesity issue the country also struggles with.

In fact, approximately two-thirds of the total nation’s population are classified as overweight or obese, reports Mexican news syndicate Aljazeera, with most of the issue stemming from lifestyle and eating habits.

The obesity epidemic in Mexico has been ongoing for almost a decade; in 2007, the nation’s health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, estimated the incidence of diabetes would rise by approximately 40 percent by 2012, killing as many as 100,000 Mexicans annually. His numbers were not far off, with diabetes claiming the lives of approximately 70,000 Mexicans a year, according to a 2012 report from McClatchy.

With 64 percent of adult men, 82 percent of adult women, and 34.4 percent of children in Mexico considered overweight or obese, the nation has jumped up to fifth on the world list when it comes to obesity and obesity-related health conditions.

Obesity in Mexico: The price of convenience

When it comes to obesity in Mexico, most fingers point to the surge in sugary beverages and snacks, which have complicated an already sedentary lifestyle for many Mexicans.

People in Mexico spend approximately $14.3 billion annually on soft drinks alone, reports Smart Planet, and food stands, known as puestos, offer an unhealthy – but affordable – mixture of tamales, quesadillas and tacos accompanied by soda or juice. Because quality drinking water is scarce in many regions of Mexico, bottled sodas and juices are a far more common choice for people, even those dining at home.

On average, Mexicans consume 728 eight-ounce sugary drinks from Coca-Cola per person annually, an average of two a day, compared to 403 eight-ounce drinks per person in the United States.

The movement toward convenient foods is also apparent in the Mexican school system, where students are offered unhealthy snacks despite the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among young children.

To read the full article…..Click here

Did You Know That Canada Is Facing A Childhood Obesity Epidemic?

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By George Stavrou

overweightchildIn a report titled ‘Urban sprawl and its relationship with active transportation, physical activity and obesity in Canadian youth’ by Laura Seliske, William Pickett and Ian Janssen, the researchers stated that ‘Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly tripled among Canadian youth aged 12 to 17, thereby potentially increasing the physical, mental and social problems associated with obesity in young people. Furthermore, obesity tends to persist, with 60% to 90% of obese adolescents remaining obese into adulthood.’ (1)

Additionally, ‘in 1978, only 15% of children were overweight or obese. By 2007, Statistics Canada found that 29% of adolescents had unhealthy weights. Most adolescents do not outgrow this problem and in fact, many continue to gain excess weight. If current trends continue, by 2040, up to 70% of adults aged 40 years will be either overweight or obese.’ (2)

Why is Obesity such a concern?

Obesity is linked to a number of health problems:

Physical health:

• Type-2 diabetes
• Bone and Joint Problems
• High Blood Pressure, Hypertension or Heart Disease
• Sleep Apnea and other breathing problems

Emotional Health

• Depression
• Low self-esteem and negative body image (3)

‘Adults who have unhealthy weights are at increased risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes and type 2 diabetes. In 2005, the total cost of obesity to Canadians was $4.3 billion; $1.8 billion in indirect healthcare costs, and $2.5 billion in indirect costs. Affected adults may die up to 3 to 7 years earlier than counterparts with a healthy weight.’ (4)

boypushupChildren are NOT getting enough physical activity!

It’s recommended that children (ages 5 to 11) and youth (ages 12 to 17) get at least 60 minutes of activity a day. Unfortunately, they are getting nowhere near this amount!

‘The latest evidence from the Canadian Health Measures Survey indicates that only 7% of Canadian kids are meeting the 60 minutes-per-day goal. Childhood obesity rates have increased from 15% to 26% from 1980 to 2004, with rates in the 12-to-17 age group more than doubling—from 14% to 29%. Rates are as high as 41% in Aboriginal youth.’ (5)

Harvey Skinner, Dean of the Faculty of Health at York U, at a keynote address in Sept 2012 ‘First Health, Then Medicine.’ presented valuable insight on the current challenges faced by our health care system. Dean Skinner stated that in Canada, 5% of Health Care Funding is spent on the preventative side while 95% is spent on the treatment side (6)

The Cost of Physical Inactivity

Increased physical activity levels can save health-care dollars.

$2.1 billion, or about 2.5% of the total direct health-care costs, can be attributed to physical inactivity. This figure mirrors results reported for the United States (Katzmarzyk, Gledhill, Shepard, CMAJ 2000 November 28;163(11): 1435-1440)

Conservative estimates suggest that reducing the prevalence of physical inactivity by 10% would save $150 million annually.

Conservative estimates suggest that reducing the prevalence of physical inactivity by 10% would save $150 million annually. This saving does not include indirect costs such as lost productivity due to illness, premature death, or a range of other health conditions, including mental illness and poor quality of life (Katzmarzyk, Gledhill, & Shephard, 2000). (7)

What can we do about this?

Physical activity is not only sports – everyday activities are also part of the equation!

Below are some suggestions on how to encourage children and youth to be more active:

• Be a good role model by being active yourself
• Make it a family affair by engaging in activities such as skating, walking, hiking, cycling.
• Limit the amount of time they spend surfing the internet, playing video games or watching tv
• Educate them on the importance of daily physical activity being a critical part of staying healthy.
• Encourage them to walk or ride their bikes to school.
• Applaud them in choosing to be more physically active – self-confidence is a vital part of their success! (8)

References:

(1) http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012002/article/11678-eng.htm
(2) http://www.childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/statistics
(3) http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/kids-enfants/obesity-obesite/risks-risques-eng.php
(4) http://www.childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/statistics
(5) http://www.bcmj.org/council-health-promotion/promoting-physical-activity-0
(6) http://www.yorku.ca/yorkcirc/lectures/pastevents-2012.htm
(7) http://www.activeliving.ca/english/index.cfm?fa=WhatWeDo.Background
(8) http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/kids-enfants/physical-physique/tips-conseils-eng.php

-George Stavrou, B.A. Psyc., is a certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant, and Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. George is the author of the “The Stavrou Method: A 12 Week Day By Day Guide To Health, Wellness And Fat Loss For ALL Levels”, which is NOW available at www.thestavroumethod.com

Charitable Efforts!

I have chosen the following four organizations as recipients of our efforts:

– YMCA (Greater Toronto Area)
– The Scarborough Hospital Foundation
– York University (Faculty of Health)
– Centennial College (the School of Community and Health Studies and the School of Communications, Media and Design)

My goal for 2013 is to raise $100K from the profits of ‘The Stavrou Method’ (The Package) to be split equally between the above organizations.

For more information on how you can be a part of our charitable efforts, please contact me directly at george.Stavrou@rogers.com with ‘Charitable Efforts’ in the subject line!

No Need For This Obesity Epidemic Hysteria

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scaleFrom Your Health Journal…..”Another great article from The Guardian out of the UK written by Charlotte Cooper entitled There’s no need for this obesity epidemic hysteria. There have been many opinions here over the last month about weight and health. Some reports have stated that being slightly overweight may be healthier for you, while other reports have been stating the opposite, that reaching your ‘normal weight’ is your actual goal. My response has always been, what is someone’s normal weight? One person’s weight for their size may be perfect for them, while another person the same height may require a significantly different weight for optimal health. In many cases, we rely on the BMI (Body Mass Index) to see if our weight is healthy. But, it comes with controversy, as it does not always take into account lean body mass or muscle mass, as well as water weight. I still do feel obesity is an issue in the United States, as well as other parts of the world, and many people do need a lifestyle change to help get them on a path to better health. Yes, for those who may be slightly overweight, you most likely do not have as much to worry about. But, for those who are severely overweight or obese, you do need to be very careful about heart disease, and other chronic illnesses due to weight gain like type 2 diabetes, cancers, and weak joints. Please take the time to visit The Guardian web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. I enjoyed the author’s view on obesity, and think you will as well.”

From the article…..

Forty years of fat activism has shown that people with high body weights can stay healthy without dieting

Another day, another urgent report by a prestigious body of health professionals demanding that something be done about obesity. It is, they say, a medical emergency: the sky is falling in. Forgive my cynicism but, since the grandpappy of reports such as this was published by the World Health Organisation in 2000, this Henny Penny approach to fat people’s health has dominated the debate. It is no surprise that one of the most popular divisions in fat studies, an emerging academic field, is dedicated to deconstructing the hyperbolic rhetoric of obesity epidemiology.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges report treads familiar ground. Its recommendations range from the sensible and inoffensive – such as improving hospitals’ nutritional standards, or limiting fast food outlets – to the hateful and harmful. The AoMRC encourages NHS staff to pester patients about their weight in every encounter, but what fat person in their right mind would go to the doctor with a verruca, or a funny rash that might just reveal a life-threatening illness, if they know they’ll get a right old finger-wagging?

The calls for expanding bariatric surgery, meanwhile, are chilling. One Pennsylvania study found that people who had this surgery died at a younger age than those who did not, and there were 440 deaths in all, after 16,683 procedures. Other reports suggest that the mortality rate is lower, but complications from surgery, including hernias, infection, pneumonia, gall-bladder failure, and other problems associated with malnutrition are common.

These interventions are ineffective – or worse – because they treat “the obese” as an abstract, pathological population instead of a group of actual people who are part of the social fabric. They consider weight loss to be the ultimate remedy for every health and social problem associated with fatness, even though it is almost impossible to maintain in the long-term for most people, including those who have undergone surgical interventions. What is sad about this is that people tend to blame themselves when weight loss fails.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Creeping Epidemic Of Obesity Hits Asia Pacific Region

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overweightchildFrom Your Health Journal…..”Another great article from one of my favorite sites to promote called Science Codex. The article was written by Sophia Antipolis entitled Creeping Epidemic Of Obesity Hits Asia Pacific Region. Recently on this blog, I have expressed concern about how the United States is portrayed as the fat capital of the world. I found this to be unfair, and produced recent articles from England, Malta, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and other countries – which discussed how obesity is a major concern in their country. Now, another article which points to the Asia Pacific region having an obesity concern as well. The article quotes, “In many of the countries in Asia Pacific the malnutrition problem nowadays is not undernutrition it is overnutrition, which has resulted in overweight and obesity.” Please visit the Science Codex site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Over eating, sedentary lifestyles, cultural attitudes, and lack of prevention programmes are to blame for the rising epidemic of obesity in the Asia Pacific region. Overweight and obesity has quadrupled in China and societies still label people of healthy weight as poor.

Prevention will be an important theme at the 19th Asian Pacific Congress of Cardiology held 21-24 February 2013 in Pattaya, Thailand. Experts from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) will lead a one day collaborative programme on 23 February.

Professor Kui-Hian Sim, President Elect of the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology, said: “In many of the countries in Asia Pacific the malnutrition problem nowadays is not undernutrition it is overnutrition, which has resulted in overweight and obesity.”

He added: “Asia Pacific has developed rapidly and technological advances mean that children now spend too much time on the internet and mobile devices so they don’t take up much physical activity. The Asian culture revolves around food as a way of showing hospitality because in the past there was a lot of famine. As a result there is a cultural perception that if you’re not fat or obese then you are not well off.”

The Asia Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration (APCSC) found that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among 14 countries in the Asia Pacific region varied considerably by country.1 The prevalence of obesity (BMI>30k/m2) in men ranged from 0.3% in India and 1.3% in Indonesia to 13.8% in Mongolia and 19.3% in Australia. In women the lowest rates were found in India (0.6%), China and Japan (both 3.4%) and the highest rates in Australia (22.2%) and Mongolia (24.6%).

But Dr Rachel Huxley (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA), APCSC co-investigator, said: “Although the absolute prevalence of obesity in Australia was considerably higher than that of China and Japan, the relative increases in the prevalence over the last 20 years, has been much greater in these two Asian countries than in Australia.”

The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity increased by 46% in Japan from 16.7% in 1976-1980 to 24% in 2000 and by 414% in China from 3.7% in 1982 to 19% in 2002.

The APCSC researchers also calculated the population attributable fraction for cardiovascular disease due to overweight and obesity in these 14 countries. Taking China as an example, despite the relatively low prevalence of overweight and obesity, it accounted for just over 3% of fatal coronary heart disease and 3.5% fatal ischemic stroke. At the other end of the scale, overweight and obesity accounted for nearly 8% of coronary heart disease in Mongolia and over 9% in Australia. It also accounted for nearly 9% of ischaemic stroke in Mongolia and more than 10% in Australia.

Dr Huxley said: “There is convincing evidence that a sedentary lifestyle (due to a combination of reduced physical activity in the workplace and during leisure time), combined with energy dense diets are the key drivers of the obesity epidemic. Increasing ‘westernisation’ of lower- and middle-income countries in the Asia Pacific region is associated with increasing gross domestic product (GDP) and the adoption of more westernized patterns of physical inactivity and diets richer in calories and fat. The influx of fast food, confectionary and soft drink companies into the region is likely to further exacerbate the obesity problem.”

To read the full article…..Click here

Britain’s Obesity Epidemic

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bigpantsFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article from the Huffington Post written by Luke Dale-Harris entitled, Britain’s Obesity Epidemic: Are We Addicted to Sugar?. Over the past weeks, I have discussed how I am reading too many headlines that the United States is the ‘fat capital’ of the world. Yes, I know there is a problem with obesity in the states, but you would think it only existed in the US when you read some articles. Recently on this blog, I have posted similar articles that point to other countries having similar concerns – including Mexico, Australia, Britain, Canada, and Malta. Once again, finding this article today about the UK having obesity problems shows this is a world problem. The author of this article does a great job explaining Britain’s obesity problem. He writes, “Not only are we the heaviest drinkers and among the hardest drug users in Europe; we are now, apparently, also the fattest.” Please take the time to read this Huffington Post story (link provided below). I always support and promote their articles, and this one is a good one.”

From the article…..

Britain’s obesity problem is in the news at the moment, again. Not only are we the heaviest drinkers and among the hardest drug users in Europe; we are now, apparently, also the fattest. But today, for the first time, a campaign has been announced which looks to address the latter of these problems in the same context as the other two; overeating is a problem with its roots in social, cultural and economic causes, and its corollary in habit and addiction.

Unlike the previous, scattershot attempts by the health sector to approach the issue of obesity, this time we have a manifesto, an ultimatum and a series of terrifying statistics to help kick us into action. Already a quarter of British women and a third of under nine’s are clinically obese and by 2050 this figure is predicted to have risen to accommodate over half of all British citizens, a reality our NHS could not support. This must be the time when this epidemic starts to be tackled pragmatically; when policy replaces the empty rhetoric and class based condescension that has characterized the debate up until now.

The report released by the Academy of Medical Royal Collages (AMRC) calls for a series of measures to be put into place, “starting right now”, that will break the cycle of “generation after generation falling victim to obesity related illnesses and death”. These include mandatory food-based standards to be introduced in all UK hospitals, a limit on the number of fast food outlets situated near schools, colleges and other places children gather, and traffic light food labeling to show calorie counts.

It also proposes a series of measures that are familiar from past policies designed to quell our appetite for other harmful substances, notably alcohol and tobacco. A nine o’clock watershed for advertising of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, a tax hike on sugary soft drinks that will increase their price by at least 20%, and increased intervention and advice from GPs to educate people on the dangers of over-eating.

To read the full article…..Click here