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obesity



The Plot to Make Big Food Pay for the Rising Cost of Obesity

In an attempted takedown like that of the tobacco industry in the 90s, lawyers are asking state attorneys general to sue the food industry to make them pay for obesity-related health care costs.

lawsuit

Lawyer Paul McDonald, partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, is heading up the movement asking 16 states to take on Big Food.

“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” he told POLITICO.

Mary Hartley, R.D. shared some of her concerns about litigation of this kind with us. “Lawyers who took on the tobacco companies are fishing for new money,” she said. “They want to take on the food companies, and they see the best route as through the attorneys general. Independent lawyers would do the legal work for the attorneys general in exchange for a cut of the settlement.”


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Mississippi Retains Least Healthy State Title, Hawaii Ranks Healthiest in 2013 Rankings

According to the latest, and frankly most, state health rankings, the healthiest states are mostly found in the western and northeastern parts of the country while the least healthy are in the South. America’s Health Rankings have released their list for 2013, with Hawaii taking the top health spot.

overall rank

The top three is rounded out by Vermont and Minnesota. At the bottom of the overall list are Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. To determine the overall health of each state, America’s Health Rankings combined information about individual health choices, environment, public policy and clinical care. States were also ranked on percentage of adult population who smoke, are obese, are physically inactive, and have diabetes.


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Obesity’s Dual Causes: Behavior and Biology

We’ve figured out what causes obesity. Larger portion sizes at restaurants, lack of exercise and poorly balanced diets are the reasons our collective waistbands are growing. That’s it, end of story. However, according to a recent article in the New York Times, it may not be that simple.

scientist

New research is suggesting biological factors may be just as important as behavioral ones when determining obesity‚Äôs cause. One new study states the makeup of bacteria in an individual’s digestive system could play a role in whether or not they become obese. These bacteria are responsible for regulating how much fat is stored in your body, and vary from person to person.


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When Did We Let Digital Fat-Shaming be OK?

Imagine a person just standing there minding his or her own business, and that person happens to be fat. If you place a clever caption underneath of the photo pointing out just how fat that person is and suddenly, somehow it becomes funny, right? Wrong. I’m sure you’ve these photos floating around on the interwebs. This is what is referred to as fat-shaming.

fat shaming

Personally, I have never found any photos exploiting overweight individuals as a “joke” to be funny at all. Being overweight in itself is not funny. And I have to wonder why this type of discrimination and bullying is still so acceptable in our culture. Even in Hollywood, consider how much negative attention a celebrity gets when they gain weight. Their image is shown on the cover of a magazine with a caption stating something about how fat they’ve gotten, and we’ve allowed that to be acceptable!

I gained a great deal of weight in my early teenage years and in high school, I was somewhere over 200 pounds. My saving grace was that I was funny and well-liked, so I didn’t become the target of much bullying (and most people would never have made fun of me to my face). I thank my lucky stars that things like Facebook and Twitter (heck, even cell phones or texting!) didn’t exist back then, because it’s so much easier to bully someone when you’re sitting behind a computer.
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Dietitians Speak Out in Support of the Trans Fat Ban Proposed by the FDA

The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.

fries

“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.

If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”

That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.

Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food.Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian
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