Saturday, September 18, 2010

Health and Wellness Again

I'm continuing this topic as it's a very important one and very near and dear to my heart.  I was recently skimming a book I got from the library and was stunned, to say the least, by some of the facts about food.  The book is Fit to LIve by Pamela Peeke, a medical doctor.  I'm just going to list some of the thing she shared:

Americans "spend more of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care - almost 17 percent - than any other nation on the planet.  Most nations spend about 9 percent of their GDP on health-care costs.  If we spent 11 percent (still more than anyone), we'd save $700 billion a year!"

People 100 pounds or more overweight are so prevalent in the United States that if they all lived in one state, it would be the 12th most populated state.

"The average 5-foot 4-inch woman in the 1950s blew up from a 120-pound, 26-inch waist, size-6 body to, in 2006, a 157-pound, 34.5-inch waist, size-14 body."

"Already one-third of our children are seriously overweight; many kids ages 1 to 6 are too heavy for standard car seats."

"One out of every three children born in 2000 will have type 2 diabetes by the age of 30.  They are the first generation who won't live as long as their boomer parents."

Rates of obesity and overweight went from 58% in 2001 to 63% in 2005.

"Over 80 percent of the diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, top three cancers, fractures from falls, physical disabilities, and overall complaints to primary-care doctors are caused by the choices we make in our everyday living."

Dr. Peeke also wrote about portion size in the U.S.  I didn't take notes on that - probably because it was so shocking - but you should know that the portions our grandparents ate at mealtimes would be considered mere snacks to us today.  Even our neighbors to the north, the Canadians don't eat like we do as this Canadian blogger noticed in her trip to New York.  Our portions have gotten larger, along with our plates.  Studies show that when given more food, we eat more.  

Here are some statistics similar to ones Dr. Peeke had in her book:

In the last 20 years, the average serving of pizza went from 500 calories to 850; the average coffee from 45 calories to 330; movie popcorn t from 270 calories to 630; bagels from 3-inch diameter at 140 calories to 5 or 6 diameter at 350 calories; cheeseburgers from 330 calories to 590 calories; and soft drinks in an 8-ounce can at 97 calories to a 20-ounce bottle at 242 calories.*

This slow creep in portion size and the emphasis on snack foods and supersizing has led to our current health care crisis.  What can we do about it?  Just Say No.  We have to say no to the junk food that is pervasive in our lives.  Say no to the supersized meals, even though they're a better "bargain."  Say no to the manufacturers who want us to consume more and more food because now that is the only way they can increase profits.  Say no to the advertisements we see on television by turning it off.  Avoid restaurants that serve oversided portions (or at least take home a doggy bag if we can be that strong).  We need to become educated about good, healthy food and start moving our bodies more.  We need to start paying attention to our food and quit mindless eating.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth the effort?  Definitely.  Our lives depend upon it.

*Figures obtained from


LRS4AMANDA said...

Hi Cherie,

This is a topic I am very passionate about. You pretty much summed it up. This is the reason we are in the middle of a health care crisis and it's only going to get worse if people don't become educated... And the drug companies are making a fortune!


Deanna said...

Those are some pretty sobering statistics. My brother is a pediatrician and he frequently laments the typical diets of his young patients and the huge percentage who are already overweight.

Cherie said...

Linda, thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, don't even get me started on the drug companies. :-) I've gotten to where I'm telling organizations that are "searching for the cure" and trying to raise funds that I'll start donating again when they start searching for a cause rather than developing more drugs to treat it. I don't think they like to hear that.

Deanna, how hard and frustrating it must be for your brother to see patients like that. I worry about the next generation.

LRS4AMANDA said...

Hi Cherie,

I know exactly what you mean...I know someone who has M.S. but she has a horrible lifestyle. (smokes,drinks too much,eats junk food) I donate when she does her fund raising walk but in the back of my mind I am thinking just like you!

My husband has elevated cholesterol and we are doing everything possible to try and get it down without drugs. So many people would rather take the drugs than address the cause...(aka the "lazy way") :)


Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I think I've pretty much established that I feel the same as you. I have seen many of these statistics before + they still surprise me.

I don't know how this is going to come across (since print does not convey verbal inflections), but I spent the weekend in Memphis + went to a massive neighborhood yard sale (forgot my pedometer, but have walked over 16 mi. in previous years). Memphis is often cited as one of the top most unhealthy cities + boy was that evident...BUT what actually made me happy was that despite the size of so many people out + about this weekend, they were moving + walking!

Cherie said...

Shona, I know exactly what you're saying. I have a friend who just moved here. She's also originally from California, and was really stunned by the number of extremely unhealthy people here. And most do not even LIKE to move. Putting a shopping cart back where it belongs is too much effort. Very sad.

Cherie said...

Linda, hope your husband can get his cholesterol level down without drugs.