Obesity rates and other related statistics are rolled out every year, sometimes even more frequently, with each seeming worse than the last. The U.S. is on a fast train that’s heading towards a brick wall, unless something can be done to put on the brakes, and better yet, put it in reverse!
The overriding question that has to be on everyone’s mind is how did we get here and why does it seem we are helpless when it comes to making better food and lifestyle choices?
There is no doubt that a major component to our growing obesity problem is that we are less active than ever before. We live in a technology-based world where more and more of us sit in front of computers and televisions (remember when you didn’t have 300 channels and the entire world’s information at your fingertips?). Even careers in manual labor fields that provide some form of physical exercise have become more automated. (more…)
Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Blog Action Day 2010 focuses on the issue of water.
We have all become familiar with the concept of the carbon footprint: the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by any particular person, group, or product. The idea of the water footprint is a similar measure of water consumption: the number of gallons (or liters) used by a person or product. Although the method of calculating and standardizing the measuring of water footprints is being debated, it is currently most commonly expressed as a simple sum of the volume used during a product’s production.
Like fossil fuel, fresh water is a limited resource and its improper consumption leads to waste and pollution. Although water is usually replenished by natural cycles, population expansion in arid regions and water-intensive production are threatening to diminish water reserves. That’s why professor Arjen Hoekstra developed the water footprinting concept, to highlight the role water plays in production chain.
It’s no longer news that the United States is nearing an obesity epidemic. But did you know that women are at a much greater risk than men for becoming overweight? In fact, according to a recent study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women in the United States increased their caloric intake by 22% (and men by 7%) in the 30 years between 1971 and 2000.
Did you also know that women who have a lower socioeconomic status are 50 percent more likely to be obese than those women who belong to a higher income bracket? In many countries, especially developing countries, the trend is just opposite. Extra pounds are a sign of opulence, whereas thin figures are an indication of being poor. And this makes sense, right? If you don’t have money, you can’t put food on the table and your waistline inevitably shrinks. (more…)
People in poverty or in the lower income brackets get the short end of the stick in so many ways. Besides living in neighborhoods that are infested with crime and drugs, it’s hard to afford things like health care and nutritious food.
The health care part is pretty obvious, especially for anyone remotely aware of what it costs. But the idea of being at a disadvantage when trying to stay thin and eating a healthy diet may not be so obvious.
I’ve expressed my views here before on what I see as the unfortunate side effect of cheaper items that can be bought via mega-stores, like Wal-Mart. The “big box” stores, as they are called, give us the ability to buy many different items for much less since they buy in massive quantities. But the problem is, much of that food is processed and prepackaged, which is invariably high in sodium, preservatives, starch, refined sugar, and ultimately calories. (more…)