Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fighting Childhood Obesity. Eat "Brown". Shopping.

"There are many reasons childhood obesity is on the rise. American children have been immersed in the same "supersized" culture that snares adults, surrounded by high-calorie, high-fat food that's plentiful, cheap, and often served in unrealistically big portions.

And today's children and teenagers are  much less likely than past generations to spend free time running around outdoors and much more likely to spend it on the couch watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the Web, often with snacks and sodas right next to them.

Very few children get the 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week recommended by the Surgeon General.
If childhood obesity trends continue, experts predict they could cut two to five years off the lifespan of the average child in America-making this the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Right now our country spends $150 billion a year treating obesity-related diseases-nearly 10 percent of all medical spending. Many experts label the current level of childhood obesity an epidemic that threatens our future national health, productivity, and security unless something can be done to stop and reverse the trend."

Top 'Worst Snack' may be in your kid's lunchbox
"nuggetLunchables may be mom-friendly and child-approved, but it's not exactly healthful nourishing food. In fact, Oscar Mayer's Lunchables (snack size) appears in the top four of WebMD's "Not-so-healthy snack" list, sharing top billing with such obvious selections as chocolate-covered doughnuts, mini doughnuts and snack cakes; snack pies; and "movie theater" popcorn.

Two types of the popular lunchbox filler -- bologna and American cheddar cracker stackers, ham and cheddar with crackers -- "contain about half a day's worth of the suggested amounts of fat, saturated fat, and sodium for someone eating around 2,000 calories a day." In my opinion, this makes the Lunchables worse than the Little Debbie Zebra Cakes, which have less fat (but way more sugar, at 32 grams far more than the AHA recommends your child eat in two days), but actually seem healthy from across the room.

WebMD doesn't mince words. Under fruit pies, this: "The Safeway fruit pies even say 'great snack!' on the package. This makes sense only if by 'great snack,' they mean high in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sugar, and low in protein, fiber, and other healthy nutrients."

Movie popcorn is targeted not just for its obscene fat content, but its use of trans fats. Cheetos, chips, cheese crackers like Cheez-It brand, and frozen snacks like Hot Pockets, Toaster Strudel and Ore-Ida fries all appear on the list thanks to their high fat content and minimal-to-nonexistent nutrients. A few times, the writer mentions that a package label serving size is one ounce; though most of us snack in two-ounce (or more) portions.

It's worth pointing out, here, that all these foods have one thing in common: they're highly processed, the sort of foods that substitute for real food like bread, homemade pie, sandwiches, ethnic "hand pies" like calzones and pasties and spanakopita. They're also quite expensive, compared to snack foods that appear on any pediatrician's or sports coach's "yes-so-healthy" list such as apples and nut butter and whole grain bread."
More at:

My thoughts:
People are living longer than ever before now, but that will all change if our kids and grandkids don't wake up to the fact that companies are out to make money, the cheapest way they can.
Companies have proven that they can get people to buy and consume, products labeled "low fat", or "sugar-free", by adding High Fructose Corn Syrup, or sweetening chemicals to them.  So that often defeats the purpose of buying "low fat", or "sugar-free".

They can make more money by selling refined, bleached foods, like white sugar, white flour, white rice, white bread, white pasta.  The real nutrients have been separated from the product, so they can put it in more healthy whole foods, and charge more for it. 

It costs more, but you are at least eating real food, so opt for whole wheat flour, pasta and bread.  Brown rice takes longer to cook, but at least you eating something that will stay with you, not like white rice.  If you must have sugar, use real organic sugar.  But beware, as some brown bread and brown sugars are just white with molasses mixed in to color them brown.

It is all in reading the labels, as always.

About brown rice:

Jay and I went into the next town.  We got the things we needed, including some 8' lumber for Jay, and even some bargains at a thrift shop.

It was warmer, and we had to run the AC in the van today.

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