Food for Thought
You’re kidding; there IS a pill for THAT?
Published Thursday, 16-Sep-2010 in issue 1186
As the government sets to begin reviews of new diet drugs, American obesity rates are nudging upwards in 28 states over the past year, a new report shows. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reports that 68% of Americans are considered over weight or obese.
According to Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, “Back in 1991, not that long ago, not a single state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. More than two-thirds of states now have adult obesity rates above 25 percent,”
There’s been a dramatic change in a relatively short period.
“Obesity is one of the biggest public health crises in the country,” Levi added. “Rising rates of obesity over past decades is one of the major factors behind skyrocketing health care costs in the U.S., one-quarter of which are related to obesity.”
A poll on childhood obesity included in the report found that 16.4 percent of children aged 10 to 17 are obese and 18.2 percent are overweight. The issue is at least getting on the radar, with 80 percent of Americans saying they believe “childhood obesity is a significant and growing challenge for the country.” As with adults, this puts children at higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.
Solving the problem by throwing more quick fix diet drugs into the market place is not the answer. As Americans we see the daily tirade of Drug Company ads. They come with significant sets of side effects accompanying the claimed benefit of taking the medication. Many of these side effects appear to eclipse the value of taking the prescription, as the side effect often reads worse than the malady itself.
While 70% of Americans claim to read nutrition labels there is a disconnect, given climbing obesity rates. Let’s get more detail behind what we are eating and a better understanding of nutrition labels and nutrition claims. Here are a few of those claims and what they really mean. After all they are marketing claims, aimed at drawing you in, but they can also be used to help you make the healthiest food choice possible and help keep you out of the prescription refill line at your local drugstore.
Low Calorie 40 Calories or fewer
Low Fat Up to 3 grams
Fat Free Fewer then 0.5 grams
Trans Fat Free Fewer than .5 grams of trans fat
Cholesterol Free Fewer than 2 mg cholesterol and fewer than 2 grams saturated fat
Low Sodium Up to 140 mg of sodium
High Fiber 5 grams or more
Good Source of… 10% to 19% of the Daily Value for a given nutrient
There is the “marketing” of the product and the reality of the product. The essentials of good health come down to what we eat and how we move. If we do less of the eating and more of the moving we will lose weight. We don’t need a pill for that. When we dig into the reality of the pills, we’ll find the truth and the side effects of its consumption to be less than the quick fix bargain we hope for. Is it safe? Is it effective? Will there be consequences? Remember Phen Phen pulled in the late 90s? At its inception it was thought to be the holy grail of weight loss. Just good nutrition and daily exercise will do the trick. No pills, no negative side effects. To find out how to get started, call Fitness Together at 619-794-0014.