Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Too Fat to Fight

This post won't be about writing or my books. Today I came across this article. Here's a paragraph from that article.

A new report being released Tuesday says more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

Perhaps the school curriculum should now include a course on nutrition and what kids should be eating. If we all took a more conscientious approach to what we put into our mouths at any given point in our day and night, and realize like any machinery, there are certain things we need to be healthy, then we will again produce young men and women who are healthy enough to join our armed forces.

This to say the least is embarrassing for this country. Our kids are now too fat to join an organization that is devoted to protecting us. Lord help us all!

Yet, when I see statistics telling me we are spending in healthcare every year 98 billion dollars in just the treatment of diabetes it makes me wonder. Is there a conspiracy between the healthcare system and the fast food chains to produce this state of affairs. Again to say the least this is embarrassing for all of us in this country.

We are indeed becoming a "sick nation." And it seems no one knows how to put the BRAKES on this rampage of disease that is basically caused by lifestyle and diet.

Yet, it all comes down to economics. Stop buying the soda--which adds absolutely nothing to the health of our bodies--and you put people out of jobs. Stop buying all that processed foods that can never provide all the nutrients whole unprocessed foods do into our bodies--and again you put people out of work.

It's a Catch-22 situation where we make the choice to be able to make the money to put food on to our table or we make money to pay the co-pays that go with those numerous visits to a doctor's office for diseases that are caused by our diets.

Education is the key to helping our children become healthy and fit so that if they want to join the armed forces they won't be rejected based on their overweight status.

Eating whole rather than processed foods will help. Portion control will definitely help. It is one reason why when I go out to eat I usually cut the portion in half or even more than half, and end up with two even three meals that week.

The information is out there on what is going to help us attain a good weight. Again, it is simple. Become aware of what you are doing to your body...which over time many lose perspective and actually become out of touch where they are in their diets.

The body is a machine. It does need certain foods to survive. It does not need the processed foods, or any quasi-food that adds absolutely nothing in terms of nutrients.

The body will utilize all the vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes you can feed it. When it comes to pastries, and soda, candy...basically all that sugar, all the body can do is turn it into fat storage which pushes the numbers up the scale.

Exercise is also a must. Our bodies were meant to move...and incorporating that every day is the key along with eating the correct foods the body can utilize will produce a well-oiled machine that our nation can be proud of once again.

A common sense approach to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet is needed more now than ever before because our healthcare is actually more of a security threat in terms of costs than anything we can incur from outside sources.

Who needs terrorists to destroy what we have? Just scoffed down those donuts, gulped down all that sugar laden soda, scarfed down the double burgers, and the extra serving of fries...and don't forget those milkshakes that hold more calories then anyone is allowed in a week. We don't need any terrorist to bring down this great nation. What we eat and the poor choices we make will do that for us.

Enough said. I'm out of here to take my PeekaPoo for her long walk!


Beth said...

I agree that something needs to be done to educate people of all ages about eating healthier, preferably while they are still young enough to learn easily. Because there are people out there who could definitely benefit from the help.
But the flip side of the 'too heavy for the military' is that the military has very strict weight limits. I was never below 140 once I achieved my full height growth as a teen. I was perfectly healthy, just had a heavier body structure than, say, a cheerleader. When I went into the service after high school, the weight limit for a female my age was only 144lbs. Didn't leave me much leeway for those variations in weight that happen naturally on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

Hi Beth, I totally agree with what you're saying. Weight involves other factors like muscle weight. I am wondering if the military uses the BMI method as well for those who weigh above the requirement but are actually at a healthy weight and have more muscle mass. I myself would rather weight more on the scale with at lower fat percentage than the contrary. One can look thin yet still have a fat index in the higher 20's to 30's as oppose to someone whose fat percentage is lower than 25%. But I am noticing when I go to my grandchildren's events the young people who don't look healthy and are obviously overweight. It disturbs me because of the statistics I see re diabetes in younger children. It is downright scary. One book I am reading now is The China Study which gave the statistics of 98 billion for treatment of diabetes. I hold my breath every July when the notice comes in to let me know how much I am going to pay next year for my healthcare. When my husband died it was at $256 in 2002and now it's up to over $500 a month. I do pray things will turn around for our kids.
Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas

P.A.Brown said...

So they want to advocate better nutrition in schools. Wonderful. If their aim is to make kids in school healthier then why are they cutting back on sports activities and mandatory phys ed? These programs are being cut in the name of saving money. You can't have a sedentary school population and expect them to be healthy, I don't care what you feed them.

Along with good nutrition, there needs to be more places kids can go and play sports, it needs to be available for ALL kids, not just well off ones and it needs to go from kindergarten to high school.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this as well. Whoever thinks that by cutting out sports is going to help our kids, I have to wonder where is the sanity in that approach. Good nutrition as well as exercise is a definite must. I know my late husband who taught high school math and who also coached the girls' tennis team advocated both...good nutrition and physical activities. I totally agree that there should be mandatory phys ed in all the schools and can't believe that anyone would think otherwise. It all goes hand in hand. Again, our bodies were meant to move in whatever way possible. I am into my 60's and go dancing every weekend...and believe me the type of dancing I do is either rock and roll, swing, salsa, etc. I'm guessing some of these kids would not be able to keep up with those of us who are even into our 70's and upward. I just hope parents will take up this call to ensure that their kids are not only fed a wholesome nutritious diet but also that they get the required amount of physical exercise during the school day. All of my grandkids are involved in some sport; either soccer, baseball, or tennis. They also know when they come to "grammy's" house in the fridge they will find fruits, veggies, and lots of my souper douper bean soup, of which the recipe is right here on my blog!

Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas

Fiona said...

There are entire areas in the big cities that are referred to as "food deserts" because there are no places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. No one is being taught cooking in school anymore, because parents have abdicated their responsibility to teach nutrition, morality, sex ed, and basic financial management to their own kids, because they are busy working 2 jobs each to pay for their mcmansions and their health care. They are too tired to cook when they are home, so they all eat fast food, then fall into bed and wake up the next day to do the same. Yet all of the models/celebrities are too thin, but then they have the time and money to be able to hire personal trainers, while the rest of us try to find the time to go for a walk. The problem is much bigger than simply taking junk foods out of vending machines in schools; putting calorie counts on restaurant order counters is a good move. But if the customer doesn't bother to read it, then what? I find it ironic that now that the military is complaining, people are looking around at our fatness. If there were real jobs in this country, not outsourced to Mexico, India or China, then people would be too busy working to eat all of the junk that's around them. I'm not going to yell at an unemployed person who can't afford medical care, that he/she is too fat and that is now a pre-existing condition. It's a much bigger problem than young adults being too fat to be sent off to die because they can't find a job in their own country.

Anonymous said...

We are indeed becoming a "sick nation." And it seems no one knows how to put the BRAKES on this rampage of disease that is basically caused by lifestyle and diet.

And genetics has nothing to do with diabetes? I strongly disagree. Yes, it would be better to eat healthy and exercise but willpower doesn't solve everything regarding ANY disease. Blaming fat people for being fat is a catch-22 from which they can't ever escape.

I'm a fat woman who is the daughter of fat parents who were children of fat parents and so on. While I admit that I'm not as active as I should be the same can NOT be said of my parents, yet both had diabetes and as yet, I do not.

My mother worked around the house and raised two very active kids and that's HARD work. In late life, she cared for my grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. My dad spent most days out in the field on a drill rig or surveying (he was a geologist). The man had NO butt and arms of steel but he STILL had a fat belly and chest. His parents were farm stock and farmers work their butts off. They also eat "natural food" but they were built like peasants and designed by nature to weather feast and famine with equal ease.

Certainly moderation in all things, but the blame game is neither healthy nor helpful.

Anonymous said...

I agree the blame game is neither healthy nor helpful. When I see kids making poor choices in what they eat, or schools making poor choices in what they feed them for lunch, and the continued increase in diabetes in children, which was not the case in my parent's generation or even my generation, then someone has to carefully assess exactly what is happening here in this country and why this is becoming so prevalent in our society where health care costs continue to rise to rise. Sugar or simple carbohydrates is what causes our systems to break down, meaning what we eat determines the state of our health. Unless it's juvenile diabetes, this is an avoidable disease for most.

Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas

Anonymous said...

At one time my weight was way up there, I was on statin drugs, which made me sick and actually feeling worse with all the brain fog. I took the bull by the horns and educated myself because I knew I wasn't going to get that from any of the medical professional who simply tell people to "cut down" on their eating, etc. After reading about how the body works, and that yes it is a machine that needs certain nutrients to survive, and that it does not utilize the types of foods found in those aisle where on a grocery store shelves you find all the processed food. The interesting thing is the foods our body can use to flourish are not expensive as much as these processed foods. Legumes, veggies, fruits, seeds, and nuts is what the body needs. A semi-vegetarian diet will do far more to make a person healthy than any of those statin drugs or drugs for high blood pressure. I'm not advocating not taking them because the American diet ensures that those with these ailments need something to keep this under control.

I make homemade soups with beans, veggies, especially leafy greens and I make ALOT of it. I take some to my family, one being my sister who has lost weight and is down a couple of sizes.

Tonight I brought her almonds, and Baramundie fish, sweet potatoes and sweet peas...and we had a delicious low cost dinner together.

I spent one summer educating my granddaughter who now goes through the supermarket aisles and reads labels on boxes of stuff to see if they have trans fats or too much salt and sugar. Today they are advocating legislation for restaurants to cut down on the sodium in food.

I do see a dietary revolution taking place because again the statistics are pointing to a terrible crisis with our younger generation in this nation.

I believe if each one of us takes the time to do the research on exactly what our bodies need to stay healthy, what we really need to eat to foster a more healthier lifestyle, we might be able to turn this crisis around.

I'm growing my own garden again this year, which can be done anywhere if one has a place to put a few planters or pots in which to grow some veggies. Plus there are always the farmer markets.

My good friend's husband died unexpectedly one night, from a heart attack that originated from his diabetes. He had already lost his legs to this terrible disease.

My own husband loved his soda, his potato chips, and his ice cream. He was not fat. In fact he played competitive tennis and coached the girls' tennis team. I would try to encourage him not to buy the soda, or the ice cream, and especially the salty potato chips. During a hot week in July he played a lot of tennis, and ate the salty foods and drank a lot of soda. July 4th weekend he experienced a massive heart attack and died in my arms. He was 55.

One reason I feel people really need to become aware of what they eat, why they eat certain foods, and which foods will benefit them and which will not.

Again, The China Study may enlighten and show the way to how things should be as opposed to they way they are now.

Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas

P.A.Brown said...

Anyone ever see Food, Inc? I caught it the other night and found out one surprising thing. Things like government subsidies on foods such as corn have actually made junk food cheaper than good quality food. You can buy a McD's hamburger for a buck. Or you can buy a pepperoni pizza for $5.00. So how do you feed a family of four when even a simple real meal is going to set you back 3X what it would cost you to get fast food somewhere? For some people, barely making ends meet, they can't afford 'good' food. Maybe we should start telling the government to stop subsidizing corn-based junk food.

Laura said...

As a member of a family also fighting the effects of Type II Diabetes, and suffering other chronic issues myself, weight is always being talked about. I try to eat sensible size portions at all times. If we eat at McDonalds, we split a soda, a large order of fries, and each get a burger. That way we don't end up with fifteen thousand calories in one sitting. In high school I was taught about nutrition, not just in home ec, but also in health class, and in a class where I learned still more about proportions versus age, height, and weight.

Portions and proportions should be smaller the older we get, because we can't move as fast or as well as we get older. Portions for children should be "child" size, not "super" size. Until we learn that bigger isn't always better, a lesson from our grandparents and great grandparents would be, in times of plenty use less, so that in times of need there'd be more to share. It worked for us in the Depression, and should never have fallen to the wayside. Imagine, if all of us used that philosophy in all aspects of our lives.
Rev. Laura A. Neff

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Marie! This really hits home for me because type 2 diabetes runs on my late father's side of the family. He developed it in his 40s and I'm positive it shorterned his life considerably. I'm now in my 50s and made major changes in my own life style ten years ago. I workout 5 days a week, switching up my workouts each day for variety. I use hand weights, an exercise bike and aerobic dancing to keep me from getting bored with the same workout day after day. I've lost the excess weight I put on over the years throughout three pregnancies and I'm all about portion control when I eat to keep those unwanted pounds from coming back. I mostly dring water and fresh made tea and a glass of fruit juice daily and only drink a vary small portion of soda on occasion. I'm hoping these changes will keep me from developing this deadly diesease.

Anonymous said...

Susan, from your posting shows it does really take some effort to put ourselves on the right track, but well worth that effort. I have a friend who was close to 200 pounds and did the Weight Watcher thing...and is determined to keep the weight off...she's lost close to 50 pounds. She and I go dancing every weekend. She like me also enjoys making those healthy soups. It's a matter of changing lifestyle and incorporating the exercise into our daily activities. I always say take baby steps, and you'd be surprised where those baby steps take us. We don't need to give up everything. I had ginger ale last night, which is pretty much the only type of soda I will drink on occasion. I have a small stepper in my bedroom and I do that when my schedule does not allow me to do more. I also keep free weights on my bureau (5,8, and 10 pounders) and take five/ten minutes a day to do those. I used to go to a gym but found two to three hours was not what i could do although I miss going. Still, short spurts of some form of exercise during the day will still produce positive results.

Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas

Anonymous said...

Laura, yes it is so much about portion control. Today I'm meeting a friend at Ninety-Nine. They have these specials for $9.99 and I always cut the meal in half and bring 1/2 home. And we also order one of those decadent desserts and cut that in half. He's a very special person in my life and well, sharing a dessert with him can be a very romantic experience. :) And he loves when I make him some of my healthy soups that gives us both enough energy to dance through the whole weekend...together!

Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas

Angela Kay Austin said...

I saw a story about this on HLN this morning, and a lot of questions popped into my head.

Product placement in schools-the products that pay for placement within the walls of our schools provide funding to those schools, and some of them are in desperate need because programs like No Child Left Behind, left children behind.

Household income-a lot of parents are trying to simply feed their children to keep them from going hungry, and unfortunately processed foods and sodas are cheaper than baked chicken and juice.

As others mentioned, the deletion of school sports programs.

And, let us not forget unemployment.

There are so many other issues that need to be considered. When they look at the income, education, and ethnicity of the majority of new recruits they could narrow down on some more specific problems, and maybe tackle not only obesity, but those, too.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Marie, as a writer who also teaches exercise classes, I say your post is right on. And the comments show how complex and yet simple this problem is. I'm encouraged by posts like this, and articles and new programs all over the country that are slowly shifting our fast food nation's culture to better health.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem originated with the word convenience, meaning fast foods are convenient...packaged foods are convenient. Yet, by becoming aware of how we spend our time, and delegating part of that time to what we eat will help refocus more on the fact that we pretty much are what we eat.

I had a delicious meal at the 99 Restaurant...salmon, asparagus and Jasmine rice. Decafe tea, and a glass of Shiraz (red wine.) My friend and I parted and I did some grocery shopping. Tomorow I'm making a pumpkin soup. It took a little time to find the ingredients, but I figure I make enough soup that will last me for several days. These soups are filling, nourishing, and help me control my caloric intake. I have fun with it because I make a whole stock pot and bring containers of it to friends. One is a woman who has diabetes and is not doing well, and now looks forward to my soups. I'm going to put the recipe here at my blog for those who would like to try this soup.

If we think of ourselves as this one whole "feeding tube" and that everything we put down the tube the body must be able to utilized to feed every cell in our body, then the brain will start to focus on those foods we shop for when we're in the grocery stores or in a restaurant. The problem in this county is that we have so many choices that it all because muddled in our minds and we lose our way in terms of good nutrition.

Marie Roy aka Collette Thomas