Obesity Nation

Obesity is a huge risk factor for associated diseases. The medical and economic burdens grow with America’s (and the world’s) waistline. While people can become obese from wrong food choices and lack of activity, these aren’t the only reasons.

Have you ever taken the time to read labels on candy bars, soft drinks, chewing gum, and other snack foods? I have, and what I see tells a political story of greed that is behind the growing trend of obesity in the United States. With very few exceptions, all of these foods use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as all or part of their sweetening agent.  HFCS is a major driver of obesity. And it isn’t just in “junk food.”

HFCS is often made from genetically modified corn starch, which is chemically treated to turn glucose into fructose. The USDA allows HFCS to be added to soda, crackers, jams and jellies, soup, pickles, ketchup, relish, and chocolate milk. It is also used in deli items like coleslaw and potato salad. It is even found in bran flakes and “healthy” granola bars. “It has disruptive effects on metabolism, because the body doesn’t utilize fructose well. Humans have never before consumed it in such quantity.” (Andrew Weil, MD).

Those who produce HFCS have a major economic interest in making sure it remains a part of the American diet. But HFCS isn’t the only culprit.  The obesity epidemic is weighing down an entire nation also because of the easy availability of highly processed foods.

Processing foods removes essential nutrients while adding unhealthy preservatives and fillers. Processed foods also contain extra sugar, fat, and salt added to make up for flavors lost during processing.

The Daily News survey found that one of the lunch pizza options had more than 25 different ingredients. They included azodicarbonamide. That’s used to bleach foods and as a defoaming agent in plastic production. Continue reading about how Americans are being fed to death>>

What has happened since mega corporations and agribusiness put politics and profit over the welfare of a nation?

This is what poverty looked like in the Great Depression…

uc-recesion

This is what poverty looks like today:

uc-fatso

The primary reason that lower-income people are more overweight is because the unhealthiest and most fattening foods are the cheapest. If you were broke and had just three dollars to spend on food today, would you buy a head of broccoli or a Super Value Meal with French fries, a cheeseburger and a Coke? Read full article here>>

According to the Center for Disease Control,

During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.

Click on the image below to see the animated gif and to read the details:

obesity

2009-2010: More than one third, or 36% of Americans, were obese

Here is how the Center for Disease Control defines weight for a male 5’9″

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If you have only a dollar to spend, will you buy a pound of broccoli or a Coke? De-naturalized foods are more prominent in American cultures as well as  more available and more affordable than foods that haven’t been processed. All true. But who but the well-to-do can afford food that is local and naturally grown? Food is the ultimate political weapon. By now we all know about food deserts in poor communities. What we have here is poor city planning, poor land use, and the elevation of car culture and convenience over healthy communities.

As long as moneyed interests such as Citizens United call the shots, I don’t see that much will happen in the way of change. We are all too busy being the humans in Wall-E sipping our HFCS soda pops as we float our useless, adipose bodies around on hover chairs as we watch TV as a means to escape the horrors of everyday life. And no robot is going to save us. Just my opinion.

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