Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Obesity Stats

The Institute of Medicine just released five recommendations for preventing obesity in the US. The Centers for Disease Control just estimated that 42% of the US will be obese by 2030. The things they recommended are in the below graphic. Sadly, I don't see nutrition education included anywhere on this.

How can we expect people to live a healthier life if they don't know what that means? I think most people understand they need to eat healthful foods and get exercise. That doesn't mean they know what foods are healthful and how to exercise. The information is available everywhere, but it surrounded by bad information. It can be confusing and overwhelming.

I spent a ton of time during school learning about the various states, dates of battles in the Revolutionary War, and the history of Wisconsin. I would argue that much of that time could be better spent explaining to kids that while boneless, skinless chicken breast is a low-fat form of protein, a drumstick with the skin on it, isn't. Spend some time in high school health class learning about our BMI and caloric needs, rather than placing a tourniquet. I will use my metabolic rate every day of my life. I hopefully will NEVER use a tourniquet.

I don't think this education should be limited to children, either. I think parents need to understand the caloric needs of their children. I see children drinking sodas, and I wonder what the caffeine and sugar is doing to them. A can of soda has about 150 calories, which is more than 10% of a toddler's total daily needs. Are parenting classes discussing this? Are pediatricians? I think many people are afraid of criticizing parents, but these people should be serving the kids, and allowing them to be obese before they're in grade school is a huge disservice.

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