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Old 01-28-2011, 06:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I think the biggest problem we've had in our society is lack of information and education. When I took my children to McDonald's for lunch every Friday for a playdate with friends I had no idea that I was feeding them 1,000 calories, mostly fat and carbohydrates. Or that feeding them fries and burgers might be giving them a sugar addiction. I didn't do it to hurt them, I did it because I wanted to get them out to play and socialize during the winter, when it was too cold to play outside for more than 15-20 minutes.

The new healthcare laws are supposed to force restaurants to disclose calorie information by the year 2012 or some such, but of course there are people fighting the institution of those laws so we'll have to wait and see if it comes to pass. McDonald's has posted the nutritional information in their restaurants for years, but it's teeny tiny red print on the back of a place mat at the McD's near us. I didn't notice it until I started counting calories for myself, and until this past year I wouldn't really have known what it meant in terms of health to my family.

I guess my other issue is that nutrition wasn't taught in the high school I attended, so anything I knew about nutrition came from my mother. Believe me, she's a lovely intelligent woman and I love her dearly, but she isn't a nutritionist - not by a long shot! So I guess if this country is going to do anything about obesity, especially in children, nutrition, fitness and health need to become mandatory at every level of the educational system, pre-K thru post graduate. It is required in many of the European countries, and they seem to be a heck of a lot thinner than we Americans. In Germany students have to major in an academic subject and a sport and the sports are generally things you can do for the rest of your life, swimming, soccer, tennis etc. Here in the US so long as you can read and write, nobody ever gives a rip if you can play a sport. Conversely it's also true that if you can play a sport really well, nobody really gives a rip if you can read or write. We as a country need to focus on a better, more well rounded, more useful educational system.

I don't blame my lack of education on anyone but myself, but I would argue that my formal education left me short on knowledge that would have helped me and my family a long time ago.
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Last edited by almeeker; 01-28-2011 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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What compels people to smoke, drink, overeat or do drugs is an incredibly complex question to ponder. So many factors go into the compulsion to be self destructive. Yes we all have to be responsible for ourselves and our health but in my opinion, we all could show some compassion for those in difficult situations that turn to these vices to escape their realities.

Corporations that produce unhealthy fast food and aim their advertising to children are not contributing anything positive to our world. I find it depressing that as human beings we are so quick to point the finger at each other, and judge our fellow humans rather than hold a large unethical corporation responsible for what they are doing.

On all fronts, things need improving. Children should be raised with healthy self esteems but that's not always the case is it? Mike, you ask why someone would smoke when they know it's bad for them? It's easy to call them idiots but the truth is people who don't love themselves take up bad behaviors. It is a form of self destruction.

This youth-driven, skinny, plastic, greedy society teaches us to hate ourselves. Yes it is up to each one of us not to buy into that but it is also a good idea to do the best we can to take care of each other.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almeeker View Post
We as a country need to focus on a better, more well rounded, more useful educational system.
AMEN! It would also be a good idea to offer classes on the media to kids at the high school level and older. I studied Communications in university and to learn about the tricks of advertising and the subjective and sometimes outlandishly one-sided news reports we hear helped me decipher propaganda from fact. Knowledge is power and the educational system needs to catch up to the information superhighway age that we now live in.
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Great thread everyone!

I think taking up bad habits may be a tad more complicated that either intentionally self-destructive behavior or mental deficiency. Certainly smoking in teenagers is more of a cool-ness thing coupled with the normal adolecent sense of immortality - death happens to other people not to me!

I do find myself so surprised that smoking continues in the younger generation given all that is known about the health risks. But let's face it, those risks are don't happen over night. In most cases it is after years of smoking, which is really far away to a teenager that thinks that 30 is one foot in the grave.

IMO Food is much the same way. Even when people are aware of the negative consequences, they will still indulge in poor eating habits. Although I definitely agree that nutrition needs to be taught more consistently through out the education system. (Can we PLEASE bring back good old fashioned Home Ec. OK call it something better, and require both boys and girls to take it, but we desparately need those skills to be instilled in youngsters.) Sometimes I wish I could just blow up all the fast food joints and be done with them. Out of sight, out of mind!

Personnaly I love the calorie content posting that is being required by law here in CA. But I do wonder how many people really change their orders because of it. I am sure lack of understanding plays a big part, like almeeker points out, but I also think lots of folks are just whistling past the grave yard - literally!
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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It doesn't help that unhealthy foods are often highly subsidized, and are "cheaper" for the consumer to buy. That seems totally backwards to me. Think about all the long-term costs we have (in the form of health problems) because of these foods. It would be like subsidizing cigarettes/tobacco.

Now I wouldn't go so far as to say we should tax unhealthy foods, but we shouldn't heavily subsidize them either, and SHOULD subsidize the healthy ones.

*steps off of soap box


P.S. Obviously you have to take personal responsibility for your weight, but that doesn't mean there aren't other factors influencing us.

There's a huge social element as well. For example most of my relatives/family are overweight, and almost seem proud about eating unhealthy. That can be difficult to overcome. There's a reason overweight parents have overweight kids MUCH more than normal weight parents.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:11 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I was quite perturbed with the school version of nutritiion classes when my daughter was in elementary school.

She began to refuse a lot of the food that I was serving because it had too much fat, or salt or even sugar.

It was because they were teaching about these foods in general. They did not take into account that my kids were being fed organically raised animal products, as well as home baked breads and treats that had reduced fat and sugar. I served all home canned or frozen fruits and vegetables with the minimum of salt or sugar added.

We have encountered similar difficulties with my granddaughter. She got in trouble at school for bringing homemade muffins and taco chips to school. Considering that she is sensitive and/or allergic to eggs, dairy, gluten, a number of fruits and some vegetables and grains, we had to make all her food from scratch, other than corn tortillas without dip or coatings.
In the end she had allergic reactions to the candy that teachers gave out as "rewards." Go figure!
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I hate to talk about the education system b/c I don't want this thread to stray away from the original them, but... I know that the local schools here have a field trip to the local prison, which I think is good to try to scare them straight at an early age. I also think they should have a field trip to the oncology ward, the HIV unit amongst other things. I think Health should be a required class and taught by a teacher that has a clue.
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01gt4.6 View Post
I hate to talk about the education system b/c I don't want this thread to stray away from the original them, but... I know that the local schools here have a field trip to the local prison, which I think is good to try to scare them straight at an early age. I also think they should have a field trip to the oncology ward, the HIV unit amongst other things. I think Health should be a required class and taught by a teacher that has a clue.
The idea is that when it comes to nutrition, it is best that teachers become aware of specific needs before terrifying a child out of either previously healthy eating or the only diet they can follow.

I am all for taking pop and chocolate bars out of school cafeterias but it really is up to the parents in the end.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
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The idea is that when it comes to nutrition, it is best that teachers become aware of specific needs before terrifying a child out of either previously healthy eating or the only diet they can follow.

I am all for taking pop and chocolate bars out of school cafeterias but it really is up to the parents in the end.
I agree totally.
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default one food is the enemy and another is not???

Rainbow,
You really struck a chord with me in your post. In our quest for quick fixes we seem to fixate on a single food or food group as "bad".

"Salt is bad", well actually it is an essential nutrient - you will die without it.
"Fat is bad" again, our bodies need to eat some fats because we cannot make all the fatty acids we need, so you gotta have some. "Rabbit fever" is old time disease people who relied on hunted game used to get because it was often so lean, they were not getting enough fat.
Now "Sugar is bad". Nope, wrong again. In and of itself it plays a very useful role in quickly getting energy into the blood stream while other foods are being slowly digested.

And when that doesn't work we focus on a specific type of fat (satuated... bad,bad,bad) or sugar (high fructose corn syrup... bad,bad,bad)

It is really all about the amounts, proportions, and balance isn't it?

Even water can be toxic if you drink too much of it!

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