As a short, busty, relatively round woman who has never conformed to the perfect BMI even when she was skin and bones with quite the rack back in the day, this week’s news that 40% of American women are considered to be “very obese” was of interest. See, this writer has been fighting the fight for a long time, and in the process has learned a whole lot about nutrition, what actually makes us fat, and what contributes to weight gain.
In reading up on the study that claims 40% of American women are “very obese,” though, how the conclusion was reached was…illuminating. See, the researchers looked strictly at Body Mass Index, the very much discredited BMI that makes athletes into obese persons strictly because of the size and density of built up muscle tissue makes them “heavy” for their height. Several physician friends do not take it into account at all since allowances are not made for different builds and body types.
However, that does not change that we do have an obesity problem in the United States, and we have had one for the last thirty years…which incidentally was when high fructose corn syrup was introduced into the food supply, but that didn’t get a mention in the coverage. In fact, the “whys” of the epidemic were not even addressed.
“We did not look at the whys,” said Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist with the CDC and one of the report’s authors.
In fact, there seemed to be a lot of frustration from the clinicians given the efforts government sponsored agencies and programs have put into fighting obesity.
“The obesity epidemic in the United States is now three decades old, and huge investments have been made in research, clinical care, and development of various programs to counteract obesity. However, few data suggest the epidemic is diminishing,” Dr. Jody W. Zylke, the deputy editor of JAMA and Dr. Howard Bauchner, the Editor in Chief of JAMA,wrote in a corresponding editorial.
No, we’re just getting fatter, and given that advertising techniques and collaborating with the food and restaurant industries were discussed as tactics to fight the “epidemic” in the coverage of this story, there are all sorts of indications that the people who are studying the obesity problem do not understand some basic realities of what being an American are at this time in life. As one who recently had to switch back to gluten free foods (am now feeling 1000x better) which is eventually going to lead to dropping a few pounds, here’s a few suggestions regarding the scope of the problem and areas that may need “study.”
- Education on what constitutes “healthy food” (whole, fresh foods) is SORELY lacking, and very confusing. Those of us who are not nutritionists, but do know a lot about the topic, are self-educated. All we hear about from the CDC, AMA and FDA is what is bad for us, and for a lot of humans, taboo is worth trying.
- “Healthy foods” (whole, fresh foods with loads of nutrients) are expensive compared to processed crap right now. Given the state of the economy, strapped shoppers are going to go with the most economical option.
- Americans don’t know how to cook anymore. This concept is brought home to this writer every time she takes a homemade dish to an event where just about everyone else gets their recipes off of a convenience food box. This also leads to a lot of eating out where the portions are enormous and preparation techniques can be a fattening mystery.
- Convenience foods (processed in a box) are LOADED with some of the very chemicals that cause bloat, overeating, and, to an extent, food addiction. No one can eat just one serving of Doritos. And a Coke with real sugar goes so well with it. There are no discernible messages out there to get rid of monosodium glutamate (unless one has an intolerance), high fructose corn syrup, soy (which is NOT a health food), aspartame, and more junk out of diets.
- The Ancel Keys “low fat” diet dogma forces followers to eat carbohydrates to keep from getting hungry. (Dietary fat and protein satiate the eater, carbs in large amounts just make a person more hungry.) That craze didn’t hit full tilt until the 1980s when enough people were convinced that a few hundred years of gastronomy was wrong that the four basic food groups got overturned. New studies are vindicating Dr. Atkins and traditional diet methods, but the “expert” medical bodies don’t want to admit it.
- Food is comforting when you can’t get a date and men openly claim they are looking for foreign women.
Add to that the American lifestyle that is increasingly sedentary with people driving from the suburbs to office jobs just to sit all day, the stress that accompanies the lifestyle that releases cortisol into the system which helps pack on the pounds, lack of sleep which helps regulate pound packing hormones, prescription medicine with weight gain as a side effect…why the obesity “epidemic” persists has no simple answer.
It also appears that other than fat shaming, the “experts” who tell us girls who are not even into plus sizes other than the boobs that we are “very obese” are looking to make us sick in some way.
It’s enough to make an American woman tear her hair out. No one has to tell us we are overweight, but until any one of us has a true compelling reason to change that, or happens to have a change in lifestyle that facilitates it, most people aren’t going to lose weight just based on “it’s what you should do.” Amazing that the “experts” on the human condition don’t get that.