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soror

s/o Death by diet....How do we stop it?

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Greta mentioned on the McDougall thread about how many people die due to diet. Coincidentally, I overheard two different convos discussing the same thing yesterday. Being the time of year when people generally think about health I thought it might make good food for thought, ha!

 

I'm very wary of food evangelism but very much agree that our collective diets are in need of overhaul, what we are doing is obviously not working, we are continuing to get fatter and more unhealthy by the year. 

 

Do you think we will figure this out or just continue on track until those at a "normal" weight are the outliers? I just keep thinking of the movie Wall-E, are we headed there and are we going to stop?

 

Do you think there is anything we can do to make Americans healthier?

 

Can we put aside our differences and agree on anything?

 

I love the idea of revamping school lunch programs but I see critics respond that food just ends up being thrown away and both sides of the extremes argue that whatever they do isn't healthy anyway, the vegs want no meat and the lc/keto people argue it is too many carbs.

 

I love the idea of WIC like program for everyone with kids under 5 giving out whole foods, fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, and dairy. But if people don't have time to cook will it help anything? 

 

I'm not personally opposed to a soda tax, I think sodas and sweetened drinks are one of the absolute worst foods in terms of our obesity epidemic. Of course, people argue that they should have free will to eat whatever they want (didn't we have the same argument about cigarettes?).

 

 

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Yes, I believe there are things that can make Americans healthier.

 

Better city design that encourages walking and bicycling as modes of transportation. The car centered culture contributes to obesity.

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It would also be beneficial if kids learned to cook.

However, I hesitate asking schools to take on one more thing, since they are already overburdened with parenting tasks and can't manage to teach academics.

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I personally think focus on overall health rather than weight in isolation would help a lot of people. In the lower ranges of overweight there's not a lot of proof that it drastically increases mortality anyway.

 

Focus on stuff that helps people have access to fresh food and adequate time to sleep and exercise. Stop trying to produce huge volumes of food for minimum cost and diminishing quality.

 

One tour we went to that dealt with farming the guide stated that the grain produced from an acre (I think) had increased from 12 bags to around 100 in the last 100 years. It's hard to see how that could be sustainable long term though of course we have a growing population to feed.

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I just went to a really interesting public health talk last year. He was talking about their promising approach of ... building societal connections. Building the framework for members of the community to connect to each other. To have safe places to interact in public.

 

Apparently (and I don't have the research links) it was showing a significant improvement not only in obesity metrics but also in educational and in drug usage. 

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Well to be honest death by food does not sound like a terrible way to go.  Because mmm..food.  People say this as if we have some way to avoid death.  Not that I don't understand what is really meant.  I guess in part it's hard to convince people that they'd feel better by doing things differently.  I do feel better after making changes, but truth be told, not THAT much better.  It's still a constant struggle to get to the gym regularly and behave myself in the food department.  So maybe having more built in ways of getting exercise would help.  HOWEVER, just take a look at the people who take the bus around here.  They do a lot of walking, but a large number of them are very overweight.  So the lack of activity is not the only factor. 

 

One thing that I think would be helpful is work places implementing policies that help people in this department.  My DH sits at his desk for 8-10 hours a day.  And then on top of that they are constantly feeding their employees.  Which is nice, but it's always junk.  Always.  Either stop feeding them constantly or give them better food. 

 

 

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Oh and I'm convinced that certain foods are just highly addictive.  If you are fed a lot of packaged stuff you crave it and it's easy to eat a lot of it.  They start kids out on this stuff early on (me included...I'm guilty, but in my defense this is the crap I grew up on).  The schools here serve Pop Tarts or Big G cereals for breakfast.  This stuff is yummy right?  Super sweet...addictive.  Easy to overeat it and you feel hungry hungry shortly after.  And their idea of making this all more "healthy" is to serve it with fat free milk (more sugar and why fat free?) and juice (it's a fruit right...NOT...more sugar).  So they brag about how low fat and low calorie their meals are, but they are also loaded with a lot of sugar.

 

 

 

 

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Well, we all die eventually.  If we die of nothing more exciting, it's cancer or stroke or the heart, in the end.

 

Not to be a downer, but the stuff about diet needs some context, I think.  If we eliminate every other disease somehow, we'll have higher levels of the the things that are left.  The goal just can't be to avoid death.

 

Anyway - yeah.  Make walkable communities is huge IMO.  Farming sustainable which means locally and taking our foods from what is available locally is huge, IMO.  Which frankly will cut out a lot of the "what diet should I follow" discussion because what will be available will be very dependent on what can be produced and that's that.  

 

With a little luck that would allow the development of real food culture which would also do  a lot for how people eat.  

 

In the shorter term, prepared food in the US is served in shockingly huge portions and that could be cut back.  It would be interesting to see it, even fast food, cut back to the sizes of the 1950s.  

 

And yes, real school lunches, based on local fresh ingredients, where the kids sit at a table and interact in a civilized way.  No kicking them out after 20 min.  

Edited by Bluegoat
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It would also be beneficial if kids learned to cook.

However, I hesitate asking schools to take on one more thing, since they are already overburdened with parenting tasks and can't manage to teach academics.

But schools used to do that. Grades 7-9 we had cooking, sewing and shop.

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Oh, yes, sleep.  Changing working and other habits so people actually get enough sleep would be huge.  

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A few thoughts..

 

We need an overhaul to how we see food.  For everyone, not just the rich.  If you have the money, you see the value of good ingredients, simple foods, and not having to overpower the taste with excessive salt or sugar.  You can afford to pay $4 for a jar of peanut butter with just peanuts and salt as the ingredients rather than the $2 jar of one fill with peanuts, palm oil, salt, sugar, and molasses.  But if you don't have the money......The current administration is proposing SNAP boxes instead of letting people pick their foods with the current method.  Inside the box would be shelf stable ingredients: canned vegetables, peanut butter, boxed foods. Nothing perishable  None of these would be extremely healthy.  They would be the cheapest options available.

 

I would like to see a combination of public access (trains, buses, metros..) AND moveable markets like Europe has.  If we could eliminate food deserts by bringing fresh fruits, veggies, meats, etc. to people weekly, then people could eat better.

 

I'd like to see a VAT tax on processed food.  The more processed, the more you have to pay.  I'd like to see a return to markets using locally sourced fruits, veggies, meats...and transportation for all people to get there.

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But schools used to do that. Grades 7-9 we had cooking, sewing and shop.

 

Except, the cooking classes didn't really teach much about cooking.  In middle school, everyone had to take them, in high school they were electives.  I don't remember much of anything from my HS foods and nutrition class because we spent so much time sitting at our desks...I slept a lot.

 

And it middle school, all I remember making was grilled peanut butter and jelly.  I don't remember every learning how to steam vegetables, for example.  My mom taught me some basics, like the difference between mincing, dicing, and chopping, and how to follow a recipe.  But, actual knife skills?  Food Network. 

 

And now, it's true, many schools aren't offering any of these classes at all.  The high school for our current local district offers a "Nutrition and Wellness" class and it doesn't look like that includes any ACTUAL cooking.  It DOES say "direct concrete mathematics and language arts proficiencies will be applied."  Which I hope means teaching the kids to learn to read a recipe and figure out the measurements?  But I don't know. 

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I think that there are things that everyone needs to do to be more healthy.

More exercise for one!  Also a diet that is minimal in refined foods, sugars, and bad fats/oils is better for everyone.  The McDonald's, coke, KFC, and snickers bars situation is killing us.  

 

Some of us aren't seeking to tweak more than that because we think it is healthier for everyone.  We are seeking to tweak diets because we have other chronic issues that some people don't have to worry about.  For me, I have an auto immune disease and I need to reduce inflammation.  Not every American needs to worry about that.

Edited by Attolia
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Yes, I believe there are things that can make Americans healthier.

 

Better city design that encourages walking and bicycling as modes of transportation. The car centered culture contributes to obesity.

This.

 

Also, in poorer communities where people tend to use public transit there is a ridiculous amount of 7/11 type stores, fast food chains and the like.

 

Another piece of this I found interesting was my husband was looking at obesity data for his research not long ago by year. There was a massive spike in obesity from about 1998 to 2000. Looking at this highly statistically significant spike in data made me realize that this was the period of time most people acquired the Internet within their homes.

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Also, you know what would be great to have available.....more gardening classes.  I know lots of people in cities don't have room for a GARDEN.  But, lots of people have more space than they realize, and there are a whole lot of folks who have the space.  Maybe creating more space for gardening in cities.  And removing some of the crazy restrictions on gardens in some areas. 

 

But also yes, gardening classes.  Teaching people how to grow tomatoes in pots.  Or how to maximize the small spaces they have.  How to choose the right type of plants for your specific area.  That sort of stuff.  People who garden their own eggplants are much more likely to figure out how to use it......says she who figured out that eggplant can be pretty tasty after it was the thing that grew the best in our garden....and we only picked it out because we got a free plant deal from a sale at the store.

 

 

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But schools used to do that. Grades 7-9 we had cooking, sewing and shop.

 

We still have this in our middle school (required).  Kids learn the basics.  In high school they are electives and kids go far more in depth with what they do.  The options are there if folks want them.

 

I don't think we can force changes.  We still have youngsters who choose to smoke even with all the info and high taxes/cost and similar.  There's a segment of the population who will see no need to change or who feel the trade off in potential health issues is worth it.

 

BUT, the more education is out there, the more people are making educated choices.  I see far more students choosing healthy options (diet and exercise) now than I did when I started teaching 19 years ago.  I see more people in the grocery store produce aisle getting different things than just potatoes and corn on the cob.  Our grocery store carries more items accordingly.

 

Just as the smoking rate has decreased considerably with knowledge, so diet is changing from what I see, but it needs to be voluntary from education rather than trying to mandate anything IMO.  Then too, we can never expect everyone to hop on board.  It might be difficult to understand those who don't, but it's their decision.  

 

I also believe it's far more than diet that leads to better odds with health.  It's movement - not just an exercise period, but overall movement throughout the day, community, sleep, and a generally more destressed life.

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I think that there are things that everyone needs to do to be more healthy.

More exercise for one!  Also a diet that is minimal in refined foods, sugars, and bad fats/oils is better for everyone.  The McDonald's, coke, KFC, and snickers bars situation is killing us.  

 

Some of us aren't seeking to tweak more than that because we think it is healthier for everyone.  We are seeking to tweak diets because we have other chronic issues that some people don't have to worry about.  For me, I have an auto immune disease and I need to reduce inflammation.  Not every American needs to worry about that.

I don't want to pick on you specifically/personally, so please don't think I am.

 

I do think that one of the contributors to the whole "food as religion" phenomenon that we have been seeing comes, in part, from all the exceptions.  People all gather on their websites and in their groups and work to raise awareness about whatever their special needs are and there ends up being a ton of little groups all shouting over each other trying bring awareness to THEIR particular group and the majority of the population that doesn't need a special diet gets lost.  It seems like everyone NEEDS a special diet because that's all you ever hear about.

 

Special diets are necessary for some people.  But they aren't necessary for most, and for most people a special diet that is gluten free or nut free or whatever free.....that type of diet isn't going to put them at a healthy weight.  But they don't realize that because the special diets are all over the place and it makes figuring out what a regular healthy diet that applies in most cases is going to look like pretty difficult. 

Edited by happysmileylady
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Junk food tax with the proceeds used to subsidize the cost of healthy food.

 

Overhauling food stamps so that it is like WIC and can only be used for healthy foods

 

Banning high fructose corn syrup entirely

 

Banning advertisements for junk food

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It would also be beneficial if kids learned to cook.

However, I hesitate asking schools to take on one more thing, since they are already overburdened with parenting tasks and can't manage to teach academics.

 

Schools used to teach kids how to cook, and how to sew. When I was in middle school, everyone in grade 8 was required to take Home Economics. One semester of the course was sewing and the other was cooking. Schools started phasing out home economics as a course in the 90's. In my area, I don't think it is taught unless it is on an IEP for a disabled person who is working on life skills. 

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I don't want to pick on you specifically/personally, so please don't think I am.

 

I do think that one of the contributors to the whole "food as religion" phenomenon that we have been seeing comes, in part, from all the exceptions.  People all gather on their websites and in their groups and work to raise awareness about whatever their special needs are and there ends up being a ton of little groups all shouting over each other trying bring awareness to THEIR particular group and the majority of the population that doesn't need a special diet gets lost.  It seems like everyone NEEDS a special diet because that's all you ever hear about.

 

Special diets are necessary for some people.  But they aren't necessary for most, and for most people a special diet that is gluten free or nut free or whatever free.....that type of diet isn't going to put them at a healthy weight.  But they don't realize that because the special diets are all over the place and it makes figuring out what a regular healthy diet that applies in most cases is going to look like pretty difficult. 

 

 

 

No, actually, I completely agree with you.  This is what I said actually - not everyone needs a specialized diet.  Unfortunately, some do need it and others promote it as *the* solution when it really isn't.  For most people, a moderate, healthy diet and exercise is all that is needed.  A good friend of mine stopped drinking soda and stopped eating potato chips and lost a ton of weight and was much healthier.  Revolutionary, right?

 

I have had people ask me if they should go gluten free for health purposes.  My response is always "probably not unless you are celiac, allergic, intolerant, or have an auto immune disease that reacts to gluten".  It is terribly confusing.  I think what should be simple isn't anymore because everyone wants to write a book with *the* answer and attach their name to it in order to make $$$$$$$.  

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Poor diet is a mix of a lot of things...in my social circle it's an expression of freedom...the idea that I'll do what I want, eat and drink what I want, regardless of the consequences.  It's not just the food, its the other medical advice.  And its aided by not having to pay the bill.  So my solution is that the bill is paid by those who make the choice.  I'm not alone in that, many companies are surcharging employees who are overweight/obese if they aren't working towards a healthy weight.  I'd add to that with a tax on junk food and alcohol.  Plain fact is they aren't all overeating...they have plenty of social going on and they are adding a lot of liquid calories while socializing..then passing the bill for the consequences on, har de har har.

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Schools used to teach kids how to cook, and how to sew.

Did they actually? The stories I hear from people who had hpme ec are of learning to prepare processed foods from boxes, not learning to prepare fresh produce.

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I think the American obsession with extreme diets fuels this. If someone feels like the "healthy" is impossible, they give up trying. So I think Fuhrmann/McDougall/etc end up leaving the vast majority of readers worse off long term. 

 

People find this when people have been told organic is better; people who have been told organic is better will eat fewer vegetables and fruits if they can't buy organic for access or money reasons, leaving them unhealthier than if they had just continued eating conventional produce.

 

Emily

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Something else I was thinking about as we talked about home ec in schools...

 

When I was in high school, one of the home ec teachers was my best friend's mom.  She had NO real cooking experience.  Her degree taught her how to teach, but she didn't take any classes in cooking.  I know this because I asked her.  Likewise, she knew how to sew, but she wasn't a professional seamstress.  This was evident in the fact hat although she also made all the bridesmaids dresses for my best friend's wedding....they were the most uncomfortable pieces of clothing I have ever worn.  I actually knew more about sewing from my mom than I did about cooking and made my own senior prom dress, so I knew enough to know that these dresses were badly made. 

 

And, that's who was teaching some of the cooking and sewing classes in our high school.  Someone with a teaching degree, but who's cooking and sewing experience came from what she learned from her own mother.  Who probably learned it from her mother.  And once you start going back some decades......Have you SEEN what these people were cooking with?!?!?  Celery flavored Jello!  Talk about processed crap!  It's not just been around recently...this has actually been going on for decades.....generations even!  I think we have lost a whole lot of cooking skills because people of our previous generations got all excited about their Campbells canned pork and beans back in 1921 and figured out all kinds of ways to use it.....and now, we have people who don't even realize that something like that CAN be made from scratch. 

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Home ec here is a joke due to lack of funding and the gen ed nature. 8th grade is mixing instant pudding, nothing more complicated due to the below grade level reading ability and the lack of cooperation skills.   Meanwhile the scouts are out cooking real food.

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Did they actually? The stories I hear from people who had hpme ec are of learning to prepare processed foods from boxes, not learning to prepare fresh produce.

 

Yes this is true.  But....the CLASS was there, it was the curriculum that was messed up. 

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It's an incredibly complex problem, certainly. My totally random comments --

 

We can talk all we want about teaching people about cooking and gardening and eliminating food deserts and other things, but if people don't have the time, money or interest to do those things or take advantage of them -- it makes zero difference.

 

I I were on very limited funds and needed to feed a family I'd certainly be concerned about nutrition, but my most pressing concern would be getting everyone enough calories to keep them going. It's often less expensive to fill a belly with junk calories than it is with nutritious calories.

 

Which brings us to how the government subsidizes some things and not others. There's definitely room for improvement there.

 

Then there's the fact that we probably don't know nearly as much as we think we know about what constitutes good nutrition. This board exemplifies that--how many different WOE do members advocate? And they all think their way is the right way. And maybe it is for them. But I'm not convinced beyond a few very basic concepts like less processed sugar and less processed foods overall that many things we think we know are true for everyone. 

 

Certainly we need to do more to encourage people to move their bodies more. And that doesn't have to be formal exercise.

 

And get more sleep.

 

And regardless of what you do or don't do you're still going to die of something. Some people who have horrible lifestyle habits will live long relatively healthy lives, and some people who eat "right" and get plenty of exercise will die young. Many people want to think they can absolutely control longevity by eating "right" and exercising. Many people don't pay any attention to diet and exercise because they think they'll worry about those next month or next year. I think we'd do much better to encourage people to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep because those things enhance their quality of life immediately.

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I see a few problems that may be contributing to the obesity issue: 

 

1) The Experts - The information we have has changed a lot over the last several years. The Experts have done a poor job communicating the basis for the changes in recommendations. No one sees them as Experts any longer because they haven't done a sufficient job of explaining themselves. 

 

2) The Pseudo-Experts - These are the people who are touting the latest fad diets, fad concepts, etc.. Sadly, some of these folks used to be Experts, but now they are so focused on their program being the right program, either because it worked for a lot of people or because they are now making money off of it, they have become Psuedo-Experts. Instead of educating others, they have become gurus, with followers who aren't thinking critically about their diets, instead they are only regurgitating what the Pseudo-Expert has told them. 

 

3) Focus on longevity - The focus of much of the discussion of diet seems to be around longevity. My husband changed his lifestyle, including his diet, in part so that he could live longer, but he did that with a family history of people dying YOUNG due to health issues. He has already outlived one of his brothers. However, it is not his goal to live forever. One of the benefits of his changed lifestyle is that he has a lot more energy, is more focused and handles stress much better. He is living a better life now. Improving quality of life should be a stronger focus. Education should include information on how excess weight not only contributes to diabetes, but how diabetes contributes to heart disease. Then, how heart disease impacts a life - less energy, unable to do simple things like walk up and down stairs, unable to play with the grandchildren, being homebound, etc.. We need to focus the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, not on the single benefit of possibly living longer. 

 

4) Focus on team sports - In the US, there is this weird obsession with following sports teams. Football, basketball, ice hockey, baseball. This is interesting, and playing those sports definitely helps a person get exercise, but the problem is that you have to have a lot of other people to play these sports. Not just enough to get one team together, but two teams, minimum. In a lot of areas, this is just not possible once you reach adulthood. It would be beneficial to see an emphasis placed on more individual and small group sports that people can actually participate in on their own, with their family and/or a small group of people. Swimming, hiking, running, tennis, etc.. 

 

So, anyway, that's my four cents! 

 

 

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 I think we'd do much better to encourage people to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep because those things enhance their quality of life immediately.

 

We were posting at the same time! 

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Soror, I hope to have time to read the entire thread and respond more later, but I'm on my way out for awhile.  So I wanted to mention this podcast that you might enjoy:  https://soundcloud.com/richroll/rrp323  Also here:   https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dan-buettner-lessons-from-the-worlds-happiest-people/id582272991?i=1000393865794&mt=2

 

Dan Buettner is the "Blue Zones" guy, and he consults with municipalities to help them implement a plan of action to make their population healthier and happier.  His work has measurably impacted the obesity rate and health of the cities he's worked with.  And he's tackling society-level solutions rather than just individual-level solutions, so it's very interesting and promising stuff!

 

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It's an incredibly complex problem, certainly. My totally random comments --

 

We can talk all we want about teaching people about cooking and gardening and eliminating food deserts and other things, but if people don't have the time, money or interest to do those things or take advantage of them -- it makes zero difference.

 

I I were on very limited funds and needed to feed a family I'd certainly be concerned about nutrition, but my most pressing concern would be getting everyone enough calories to keep them going. It's often less expensive to fill a belly with junk calories than it is with nutritious calories.

 

Which brings us to how the government subsidizes some things and not others. There's definitely room for improvement there.

 

Then there's the fact that we probably don't know nearly as much as we think we know about what constitutes good nutrition. This board exemplifies that--how many different WOE do members advocate? And they all think their way is the right way. And maybe it is for them. But I'm not convinced beyond a few very basic concepts like less processed sugar and less processed foods overall that many things we think we know are true for everyone. 

 

Certainly we need to do more to encourage people to move their bodies more. And that doesn't have to be formal exercise.

 

And get more sleep.

 

And regardless of what you do or don't do you're still going to die of something. Some people who have horrible lifestyle habits will live long relatively healthy lives, and some people who eat "right" and get plenty of exercise will die young. Many people want to think they can absolutely control longevity by eating "right" and exercising. Many people don't pay any attention to diet and exercise because they think they'll worry about those next month or next year. I think we'd do much better to encourage people to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep because those things enhance their quality of life immediately.

 

The very fact that we have an acronym for the phrase "way of eating" stays to me that "ways of eating" really are a big problem. 

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Did they actually? The stories I hear from people who had hpme ec are of learning to prepare processed foods from boxes, not learning to prepare fresh produce.

 

The course I took did, yes. We made real food and learned some basic cooking techniques. 

 

One of the problems inherent in the US educational system is lack of consistency across school systems, and even schools within a system. Then, there is the lack of funding, too. I remember bringing the ingredients for recipes to school with me (everyone was assigned a different ingredient), they were considered school supplies for that particular class. But, not every school can expect their students to bring those types of ingredients, and the funding usually isn't there to provide them. 

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Another piece of this I found interesting was my husband was looking at obesity data for his research not long ago by year. There was a massive spike in obesity from about 1998 to 2000. Looking at this highly statistically significant spike in data made me realize that this was the period of time most people acquired the Internet within their homes.

 

I think a more likely culprit is the Healthy Eating Plan for Americans, published by the America Heart Association and publicized in coordination with government agencies. It kickstarted the low fat mania, and what happens when you markedly decrease fat? You markedly increase sugar. There was a "heart approved" or something logo that products could qualify for - in addition to paying a chunk of money, the food had to be low fat, but it could be quite high in sugar. So much so that many sugary cereals qualified. 

 

Not that computers and internet access helped, lol, but I think food was the primary driver. And Americans were being told that pasta, rice, and whole grains should be the things they ate the most of . . . 

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Yes, I believe there are things that can make Americans healthier.

 

Better city design that encourages walking and bicycling as modes of transportation. The car centered culture contributes to obesity.

 

I'm so tired of hearing about how cars are causing all the world problems, frankly. Look at the geography of the USA and the climate over the entire country. It's huge and spread out, and much of it is covered by snow for a good chunk of the year. People need quick, effective and safe means of transportation all over the country and all year-round. North America is not Europe, with a small area, highly concentrated population and mild climate.  Rant over.

 

How about a restaurant/process foods culture contributing to obesity? Or a lack of movement culture contributing to obesity? Or a "fill up your schedule" culture so there's no time to cook or move?

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Did they actually? The stories I hear from people who had hpme ec are of learning to prepare processed foods from boxes, not learning to prepare fresh produce.

 

They could be.  Though you do have to account for era.  My mom describes really good home ec classes.  They were girls only, so they worked on it all year and didn't have to trade off with shop.

 

They did some more typical 60s foods, but a lot of it was learning basic recipes - how to do a white sauce, how to do a sponge cake, how to do a yeast bread, etc.  They also talked about how clean most efficiently, and shopping on a budget, and did real sewing.

 

As far as produce, they dd things like stuffed peppers.  A lot of veg were served more simply than they are now though - just steamed or boiled with butter and maybe vinegar.

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The thing that I notice the most is the perception of serving size. It is totally nuts! If the "average" person needs 2000 calories a day, a standard meal at a restaurant shouldn't be 1500 calories! For pete's sake, a veggie burger at Red Robin is 1200 calories, which ties with the Whiskey River BBQ burger for the highest cal - and that doesn't include fries. How many people assume the veggie burger is healthier? And the freaking onion rings are 1890 calories.

 

I'm working on losing weight - and while I've needed to lose weight for 15 years, I dreaded buckling down because I knew it was going to be so much work and I don't have a lot of energy to spend figuring out food. I finally started last month, and was kind of amazed to find that my diet really doesn't need much tweaking. I don't actually need to cut anything our or massively change proportions, because I was already eating good food. What I really needed to do is cut my portion sizes. Right there, that has got me losing without having to make a big huge deal about it. 

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I'm so tired of hearing about how cars are causing all the world problems, frankly. Look at the geography of the USA and the climate over the entire country. It's huge and spread out, and much of it is covered by snow for a good chunk of the year. People need quick, effective and safe means of transportation all over the country and all year-round. North America is not Europe, with a small area, highly concentrated population and mild climate.  Rant over.

 

How about a restaurant/process foods culture contributing to obesity? Or a lack of movement culture contributing to obesity? Or a "fill up your schedule" culture so there's no time to cook or move?

But people are building more and more sprawl every year. That isn't inevitable.

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Junk food tax with the proceeds used to subsidize the cost of healthy food.

 

Overhauling food stamps so that it is like WIC and can only be used for healthy foods

 

Banning high fructose corn syrup entirely

 

Banning advertisements for junk food

 

I'm not typically anti-government, but seriously, the government doesn't care if people on SNAP eat healthy or not. As you can see from the current admin's announcement about their proposed overhaul, they only care about distributing food they're already subsidizing. Which is why if it passes, low income families are going to be stuck with a ton of cereal and pasta and juice and canned corn. Letting the government dictate what people on food stamps eat is going to make people LESS healthy.

 

And I know you know this, but some people buy junk food because they have no way to prepare healthy food. When you're homeless, or live in a hotel room, or your slumlord won't repair your oven or fridge, your food options become extremely limited. Junk food is ready to eat, doesn't usually require refrigeration, it's calorie dense, and tired, stressed out kids will eat it without a battle.

 

The problem isn't that poor people are too stupid to feed themselves healthfully. It's that they can't afford to. Making junk food more expensive isn't going to fix that; we need to make healthy food- and actually healthy food, not the crap they give out on WIC but fresh produce and meat and fish- more affordable. Way more affordable. My family has a reasonably comfortable food budget each month, and even I struggle to make healthy choices because it's so expensive. When I went shopping the other day, a bag of frozen cod big enough to feed my family of four (only three of us who eat solid food) was seven dollars. A bag of apples is six. A small bag of avocados is also six. Blueberries are four dollars for a tiny container that my nine-year-old will eat in one sitting. There's no way I could afford to eat like that if I was on SNAP. And let's be honest, no one wants to have to eat rice and beans all the time. Yes, it might be healthier, but people who are already stressed from living in poverty don't want to have to tell their children that yes, they're having rice and beans for the seventeenth day in a row.

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I am going to be teaching a nutrition course that goes into great detail of the food supply, food safety, farmworkers' rights, sustainable agriculture, etc. I am using Teaching the Food System from Farm to Fork which is published by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. I have scheduled in a documentary for pretty much every lesson. We're going to follow it up with a real cooking course that teaches the teens how to make healthy, yummy meals with fresh ingredients using Clueless in the Kitchen: Cooking for Beginners. I love this cookbook because the recipes aren't overly fancy and they use lots of fresh produce. We will also be going over meal planning and how to analyze recipes for their nutrition information - the kids will even track their nutrition info through an app. My goal is to give teens the info and skills they need to make good choices! 

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I'm so tired of hearing about how cars are causing all the world problems, frankly. Look at the geography of the USA and the climate over the entire country. It's huge and spread out, and much of it is covered by snow for a good chunk of the year. People need quick, effective and safe means of transportation all over the country and all year-round. North America is not Europe, with a small area, highly concentrated population and mild climate.  Rant over.

 

How about a restaurant/process foods culture contributing to obesity? Or a lack of movement culture contributing to obesity? Or a "fill up your schedule" culture so there's no time to cook or move?

 

As a Canadian, I don't really agree with this.  Maybe because I'm in the East and communities here were originally built for life without cars, but it is entirely possible to do that.  Most people here are still living in cities and towns that are dense enough to be planned for far more walkability and public transport than they are.

 

Even villages and rural areas in the past were much more contained.  It can be very interesting to speak to older people who lived in such places before there was easy car travel.  One thing that often strikes me is how much they had to do close by - there were people there, doing things, because they didn't have the easy option of driving into town.

 

Even my dad's rural village, just because it happens to be pretty far from a larger centre, has a ton of stuff to do.  And it was built to be walkable and is still very walkable - in some ways more so than a big city, you could easily walk to every building in the town in about a morning - bank, hardware, liquor, grocery, school, hall, post, etc.

 

It's the model of increasingly large mega-cities and emptying rural areas that seem to be feeding the car culture more than our landscape.

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Junk food tax with the proceeds used to subsidize the cost of healthy food.

 

Overhauling food stamps so that it is like WIC and can only be used for healthy foods

 

Banning high fructose corn syrup entirely

 

Banning advertisements for junk food

 

Part of the reason we have things like HFCS used so much is because of the way we farm, and fund farming.

 

We need to get on sustainable farming anyway, because we are going to die of environmental degradation before bad diet wipes us out.  We don't need to ban many of these things, we need to farm appropriately and we will not be able to produce them economically in a way many people can afford.

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I'm so tired of hearing about how cars are causing all the world problems, frankly. Look at the geography of the USA and the climate over the entire country. It's huge and spread out, and much of it is covered by snow for a good chunk of the year. People need quick, effective and safe means of transportation all over the country and all year-round. North America is not Europe, with a small area, highly concentrated population and mild climate. Rant over.

 

How about a restaurant/process foods culture contributing to obesity? Or a lack of movement culture contributing to obesity? Or a "fill up your schedule" culture so there's no time to cook or move?

You are ranting in favor of urban sprawl?

 

I grew up in a small town/farming community. I could (and did) walk or bike those town and country roads as a kid. Everyone did it. In the 70s recession, families had one car for the breadwinner to go to work, but the kids traveled by schoolbus or bicycle. Families walked to the grocery store, to church, to the park...I would go back in a heartbeat. People were leaner, stronger, and more social.

 

Except I can't go back. I tried. I moved my little family back to literally the same small town, put my babies in a little red wagon, and went for a walk. We nearly got killed by SUVs and trucks driving up onto sidewalks, and not watching for pedestrians at corners. That was in town! The country roads that used to be traversed by bike, foot, AND car, now have only cars. Thick traffic, no shoulder. Even the die hard bicyclists do not ride there. It is truly unsafe.

 

Households now have about three cars each. Without sidewalks, and a plan for communities that have had population booms, the roads are jammed and the biking and walking culture is gone.

 

America is a sprawling land. But with better planning and better use of funds, we could still have walkable communities, and public transportation (like the commuter trains and buses and streetcars of yore), AND good highways and infrastructure for traveling by individual car as necessary.

 

That's not been the focus, for too much of the country. An SUV for every driver is what somebody wants, can't even go to town in your own two legs...but I want reliable trains, buses, streetcars, sidewalks, and a family car.

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Poor diet is a mix of a lot of things...in my social circle it's an expression of freedom...the idea that I'll do what I want, eat and drink what I want, regardless of the consequences.  It's not just the food, its the other medical advice.  And its aided by not having to pay the bill.  So my solution is that the bill is paid by those who make the choice.  I'm not alone in that, many companies are surcharging employees who are overweight/obese if they aren't working towards a healthy weight.  I'd add to that with a tax on junk food and alcohol.  Plain fact is they aren't all overeating...they have plenty of social going on and they are adding a lot of liquid calories while socializing..then passing the bill for the consequences on, har de har har.

 

I don't believe that there are very many people choosing to be obese, whether they are paying the bill or not. Do some people claim to not care? I'm sure there are some, but even then it's most likely a false bravado. When we blame people for making unhealthy choices, we have to remember that these choices were often once touted by the government and health agencies, and that it's hard to change a lifetime of habit. And sometimes made very difficult by circumstance.

 

Doctors and pamphlets encouraged people to make carbs like whole grains, pasta, bread, and rice the base of their eating pyramid for many years. Cold cereal and skim milk got hearty approval. Low fat anything pretty much got approval, even with a hearty amount of sugar. School breakfast and lunch often reflected the lower fat, higher sugar mantra (and still does). It was actually a very successful program as far as changing behavior went, it just had the wrong results.  Moving away from this and toward a more balanced model has been very slow, and plenty of professionals are still making outdated recommendations. 

 

Then you have issues like food deserts, difficulties in preparing fresh food, and so on. It's complicated, and not nearly so simple as stubborn people merrily refusing to watch their weight or health. It may help to think of children who perform poorly in school, and sometimes resort to saying that they didn't study: they'd rather be thought lazy than stupid, but the truth is, they want to perform well and often do so when given help. Likewise, it's easier to say that you don't care about your weight, than to say that you've tried so hard, over and over again, and just keep failing . . . 

 

I believe you are in Canada, but a quick search shows much the same situations in general. There's a saying, when people know better, they do better. I think the general idea is true, but it's more like, people do better when they believe better is possible. 

 

All the blame and shame in the world won't make a student with learning disabilities perform better in the classroom, but the right kind of support will. The same holds true for people struggling with weight and health. They need support, not shame. 

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I'm not typically anti-government, but seriously, the government doesn't care if people on SNAP eat healthy or not. As you can see from the current admin's announcement about their proposed overhaul, they only care about distributing food they're already subsidizing. Which is why if it passes, low income families are going to be stuck with a ton of cereal and pasta and juice and canned corn. Letting the government dictate what people on food stamps eat is going to make people LESS healthy.

 

 

And then they will be blamed for being less healthy. 

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I believe CICO does not fully explain whether a person is prone to obesity. Example: my husband, even when sedentary, can eat a lot of calories and not gain weight. He can consume 4,000 calories per day for months and stay very slim. Conversely some people eat 1500 calories per day, exercise and have difficulty losing. There is more to this than meets the eye and that is the individual biochemistry of our bodies.

 

I follow the advice of scientists Rhonda Patrick, Cynthia Kenyon, Valter Longo, Thomas Seyfried and Jason Fung. It takes time to do certain things but it’s really not difficult or unsatisfying.

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But schools used to do that. Grades 7-9 we had cooking, sewing and shop.

 

Yeah I did, but we learned how to make stuff like microwave pudding and cherry pie.

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As a Canadian, I don't really agree with this.  Maybe because I'm in the East and communities here were originally built for life without cars, but it is entirely possible to do that.  Most people here are still living in cities and towns that are dense enough to be planned for far more walkability and public transport than they are.

 

Even villages and rural areas in the past were much more contained.  It can be very interesting to speak to older people who lived in such places before there was easy car travel.  One thing that often strikes me is how much they had to do close by - there were people there, doing things, because they didn't have the easy option of driving into town.

 

Even my dad's rural village, just because it happens to be pretty far from a larger centre, has a ton of stuff to do.  And it was built to be walkable and is still very walkable - in some ways more so than a big city, you could easily walk to every building in the town in about a morning - bank, hardware, liquor, grocery, school, hall, post, etc.

 

It's the model of increasingly large mega-cities and emptying rural areas that seem to be feeding the car culture more than our landscape.

 

I grew up in western Canada, and all my extended family lived on farms. They certainly weren't biking and walking to town very often. The distances were either too great or it was too cold. Plus they were transporting things to town or from town. People were active from working on the farm, participating in physical activities like hockey and curling in the winter, riding/rodeo and baseball/softball in the summer. And the number of restaurants and donut shops in town was much less. 

 

In the cities where I've lived in Canada, I've walked, biked, taken public transportation or driven. Again, weather is a huge factor. It's often too cold and dangerous to walk or bike in the winter. Even though there are a lot of bike paths and sidewalks, they don't always get cleared from ice and snow sufficiently to be safe and accessible. Public transportation has the same issues with snow and ice. There are long delays, long waits for busses, and the cost of public transport isn't easily affordable for everyone, either. 

 

It's not just being "forced" to put away the car that is going to save people from obesity. It's choices people are making about the food they eat, and the amount they move their bodies.

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I'm so tired of hearing about how cars are causing all the world problems, frankly. Look at the geography of the USA and the climate over the entire country. It's huge and spread out, and much of it is covered by snow for a good chunk of the year. People need quick, effective and safe means of transportation all over the country and all year-round. North America is not Europe, with a small area, highly concentrated population and mild climate.  Rant over.

 

How about a restaurant/process foods culture contributing to obesity? Or a lack of movement culture contributing to obesity? Or a "fill up your schedule" culture so there's no time to cook or move?

 

 

But people aren't covering vast geographical distances in their day to day lives (for the most part).  They're generally just getting from their home to their job in the same city or community.  And the fact is that cities in the US have not prioritized public transportation, walkability, or bike-ability, and have emphasized cars.

 

Dan Buettner's research shows that the number one factor predicting happiness in a community (and happiness tracks well with healthiness) is how walkable and bike-able that community is.  Not only does the walking and biking itself directly contribute to health and happiness (and lower obesity rates), but the dangers and stresses associated with driving through traffic take a toll as well, whether we're conscious of it or not.

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Doctors and pamphlets encouraged people to make carbs like whole grains, pasta, bread, and rice the base of their eating pyramid for many years. Cold cereal and skim milk got hearty approval. Low fat anything pretty much got approval, even with a hearty amount of sugar. School breakfast and lunch often reflected the lower fat, higher sugar mantra (and still does). It was actually a very successful program as far as changing behavior went, it just had the wrong results.  Moving away from this and toward a more balanced model has been very slow, and plenty of professionals are still making outdated recommendations. 

 

This is the second post where you've seemed to imply that your WOE is right and others are wrong. Which kind of goes to the point I was making in my first post.

 

You do realize that many, many people (including me) thrive by making whole grains--things like pasta, bread and rice--staples of their diet? That untold generations of people all across the world have not only survived but thrived on diets based on those foods?

 

I repeat (or re-state): Demonizing foods and food groups is nothing but a backhanded way of trying to laud or legitimize your (generic) own way of eating. And I think to a certain extent it's wishful thinking ("I've got it figured out, so if I eat this way that I have decided is the right way I won't get sick or die"). It's detrimental to the greater goal of getting people to take steps toward improving their overall diet.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I believe CICO does not fully explain whether a person is prone to obesity. Example: my husband, even when sedentary, can eat a lot of calories and not gain weight. He can consume 4,000 calories per day for months and stay very slim. Conversely some people eat 1500 calories per day, exercise and have difficulty losing. There is more to this than meets the eye and that is the individual biochemistry of our bodies.

 

I follow the advice of scientists Rhonda Patrick, Cynthia Kenyon, Valter Longo, Thomas Seyfried and Jason Fung. It takes time to do certain things but it’s really not difficult or unsatisfying.

 

It doesn't for everyone, but there are many people who find smaller portions and controlling the amount they eat is all they need to do.  It isn't difficult to find you're eating too much, whether it is because portion sizes are so huge and you are eating out more, or you have changed you activity level, or whatever.  

 

When people are used to over-sized portions, even just from a visual perspective, it's pretty inevitable that some will just eat more than they need.  

 

For those it doesn't work for - well, it doesn't work. So they will have to try something else.  She may just be people who will always be large.   Even in those cases though, portion awareness is probably not a bad thing.

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