Some moderately depressing news on the obesity front: data from the latest national survey found that US obesity rates crept up again, to 26.7 percent. That’s 27.4 percent among men, 26.0 percent among women.
But what’s especially depressing is that the real obesity rate in the US is probably much higher than this. The figures above come from a telephone survey. But a different national study, in which people’s actual height and weight were measured directly, found obesity rates of 33.8 percent (33.2 percent among men, and 35.5 percent among women). That’s over a quarter higher than what the telephone survey found.
The upshot: on average, we’re either shorter or heavier (or both) than we’re willing to admit over the phone.
But in other slightly more optimistic food news, USDA is now reporting that US food consumption per capita peaked in 2002. As the chart to the right shows, there’s been a modest decline since then: as of 2008, we were eating a bit less than we did in 2000. Still, we eat a heckuva lot more than we did 40 years ago, and most of the extra calories come from oil, sweeteners, and grains. In short, junk.
We are bombarded with ads on how this or that dry cereal is so healthy when most of it is laced with sugar. I cook oatmeal from scratch and add raisins and prunes and try not to eatprepared cereal very often.I have added more fruit to my diet but the fact is that most fruit is not tree ripened anymore before marketing. Gone are the days when more of us lived on farms or in small towns where we grew our own food or were close to the farms that did grow it. Instead of getting blueberries out of the back yard we get them from Chile or wherever. Our strawberries look green near the stem and are so hard that the beautiful bright red at one endis only decorative but not tender and delicious.If I had the energy at my age to spade up the back yard Iwould grow all my vegetables and fruit like we did in mychildhood. Someday hopefully we will decentralize our citiesand go back to growing food nearby. The problem is that the wonderful farmland has been sold off for development and we would have to use chemicals in a greenhouse these days to produce what we used to produce in the Kent valley.
“Still, we eat a heckuva lot more than we did 40 years ago, and most of the extra calories come from oil, sweeteners, and grains. In short, junk.”This is despite the deliberate move of many toward whole foods, lower fat, organics, and locavorism. I see it at the supermarket checkout here just outside health-conscious Portland. Folks without the dress and manner of professionals [admitted stereotyping] buy carts full fried chips, fatty meats, fructose sweetened drinks, and uber-processed meal items. My guess as to why:- effect of advertising- little time available or allotted to food preparation- little access or interest in dietary information from trustworthy sources- addiction- influence of children who, let’s be honest, love junk food
I would be interested to see a breakdown of the types of oils, grains, and sweeteners consumed. Some studies suggest that refined grains contribute more to obesity than whole grains per calorie. See, for example:http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v13/n11/full/oby2005240a.htmlI also wonder how much of the oil, grain, and sweetener category is sweetener. Are refined sugar and High Fructose Corn Sweetener the primary culprits here?
“Our strawberries look green near the stem and are so hard that the beautiful bright red at one end is only decorative but not tender and delicious.” You got it. Farm subsidies go to agribiz whose focus on shelf life has depleted nutrients and flavor, crop diversity and in the industrialization of farms we deplete soils and create toxic environments AKA inefficient and wrong minded. Good News, CSAs and local organic farms are growing. Shop farmers markets and talk to growers (certified organics aid the importers more than locals as is pricey -yup USA gov appears lost in a mindboggle of old patterns. So we all need to show up and create the community connections that will reform our food and other economic chains. Support local arts, crafts, talent and services. Barter, encourage co-ops, Slow Money, Community Banks, experimental fair profit businesses, many new things on the horizon, so seek and support. Please!!!!