Just a bit of background in case you are like me and only recently learned about the glorious SXSW. SXSW—which is short for South by Southwest—is a collection of film screenings, “interactive events,” music festivals, and conferences that happens in Austin, Texas every March. (Today is opening day!) It started as more of an indie-music thing but now it’s one of the top tech meet-ups in the world. And there truly is something for everyone, including dozens of food-specific offerings like discussion panels.
Below, a sampling of this year’s SXSW food-and-health related seminars:
March 8 “Dear Taco Vendor, How Are You Securing My Data?”
This important seminar explores the idea of exchanging personal information as currency. SXSW, like many other festivals and events, offers free swag in the form of clothing, grab-bags, and, of course, food. You’re not often charged money for these items, yet you have to “earn” these free things by logging into your various social networking accounts and promoting the company. This seminar discusses the process from logging in to ways the companies benefit from your information. The security of your personal life is important. Get to know the way of the world in 2014! (more…)
If you are like me, you have seen Cool Runnings, the ’90s family film about Jamaican bobsledding, about a million times. If you are not like me, I am really sorry.
For the 2014 Olympics, we got some exciting news. Jamaican bobsledding is back in the games. It’s been twelve years since the nation qualified to participate, but the team pulled it together this year, exciting the world with nostalgia and joy. Seriously—this is an amazing feat.
As for the United States bobsledding team, we are excited to have both male and female teams competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics. There has been considerable focus on Lolo Jones, an already well known Olympic athlete who has joined the Olympic team this year.
In his book I Can Fix America, author and entrepreneur Dave Duley explores the ways individual Americans can take stewardship of the privileges that come with U.S. citizenship. One of the major premises of the book is that Americans need to take responsibility for their personal health, because the government simply cannot afford the costs entailed by our current obesity crisis. “In my analysis, one of the major issues that jeopardizes the finical stability of our country is our rising health care costs,” Duley tells DietsInReview. He concludes that obesity is unpatriotic.
To further his point, Duley compares the costs of obesity to the cost of the War on Terror. “More people have died in the past ten years from obesity than terrorism. More money has been spent to treat the obese than to engage in the War on Terror, on both the Afghan and Iraqi fronts.” The direct costs of the War on Terror amount to $1.3 trillion, while the costs of obesity amount to $1.5 trillion from 2001 to 2011. The tally of deaths makes for an even more dramatic disparity over the same period of time: the war caused the deaths of 6,850 Americans, while obesity is responsible for the deaths of over one million (see Duley’s sources here). Then there are indirect costs associated with obesity, such as lower productivity and increased numbers of sick days.
“This behavior is hurting America. It’s jeopardizing our whole medical infrastructure system. It’s creating this burned for future generations,” Duley says. “How can we justify that to our grandchildren? We’re doing them a disservice by not taking care of ourselves and ratcheting up this debt.”
We know that states in the south lead the nation’s obesity problem, so it’s no surprise that Mississippi and Georgia also have the highest rates of obese children. According to date collected by the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2007, 20 percent of more of children eight U.S. states are obese.
A child is considered obese when he or she is in the 95th percentile of the body mass index, which uses heights and weights established in the 1960s. Slate created an interactive map that shows the rates of obese children by state.
Jeff Wyaski of Pleated Jeans created this map of the United States using information from the census and AmercasHealthRankings.org to illustrate what each state is infamous for in a funny, colorful manner. Here are some of the health-related statistics Wyaski chose to highlight:
Alabama’s Shame: Stroke
Oklahoma and Alabama are tied for the highest rates of stroke at 3.8 percent.
Arizona’s Shame: Highest Rate of Alcoholism
Connecticut’s Shame: Breast Cancer
On Average, 134.1 out 100,000 have breast cancer in Connecticut, according to StateHealthFacts.org.
Georgia’s Shame: Most Sickly
Based on the highest rate of influenza.
Kansas’ Shame: Poorest Health
Based on the highest number of sick days taken per month, at 3.5 per days.
Kentucky’s Shame: Most Cancer Deaths
It’s not surprising to find out that Kentucky also has the highest rate of tobacco smokers, at 25.6 percent of the population.
The newest trend to hit lifestyle branding comes from supermodel and established fashion designer Heidi Klum, who has partnered with New Balance to launch her new fashion line Heidi Klum for New Balance. The active wear collection launched on October 7, 2010 on Amazon.com and not only includes standard pants, hoodies and sweatshirts, but versatile sweaters, leggings, tunics, woven and knit tops, and dresses.
“Heidi Klum for New Balance combines New Balance’s expertise in fit and form with Heidi’s commitment to sophisticated style to create a versatile collection for women that is both everyday wearable and luxurious,” said Kerry Kligerman, Executive Vice President of Apparel for New Balance.
Ranging in price from $32-$168 (US dollars) the collection pieces are available in America, Japan, United Kingdom and Klum’s home country of Germany, and she says she is excited to launch a collection that is easy to shop and stylish to wear. (more…)
This September, we’ve seen a lot of initiatives to improve school lunches as back-to-school coincides with National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Jillian Michaels urged Congress to pass a bill to improve school lunches, The Great American Salad Bar Project was launched by Ann Cooper and Michelle Obama continues to promote her Let’s Move! campaign.
While all these initiatives are exciting, they are also a reminder of how far America has to go before it can consider its population healthy and fit. As the chart by Paul Kendrosky below illustrates, the U.S. is the most overweight nation in the world. Just under 70 percent of our population is overweight. We’re followed by England and Spain. If this trend prediction is correct, 75 percent of Americans will be overweight within ten years.
In the past few years, we have seen a rise in the number of films and documentaries highlighting how our current food industrial practices are not just taking years off our lives but perhaps off the planet’s also. Films like Fast Food Nation, Fresh, and Food Inc., are just a few recent notables in what appears to be a growing trend among filmmakers, activists, scientists, journalists and farmers to urge Westerners to become more mindful about our food choices and more proactive in demanding safer and healthier food.
The new film by British filmmakers, PLANEAT: How to Feed a Planet, is an eye-opening look into how our love of meat and dairy is taking its toll on our health, environment and the planet.
SELF, the national women’s well-being magazine, announced that Burlington, Vermont is the nation’s healthiest city in its 10th annual Healthiest Places for Women survey.
DietsInReview had an opportunity to talk with SELF Features Director, Sara Austin about the survey. You can listen to the interview to hear Sara discuss the relevance of these results and how irrespective of whether you live in Indianapolis or Bethesda, we can all find ways to improve our health.
Washington, D.C. may be more famous for political gridlock, but apparently the capitol city knows how to get one thing done correctly – fitness.
The second annual list of America’s fittest cities published by the WellPoint Foundation has been released, and Washington, D.C. has landed itself in the top spot. It made its way up from fourth place in 2008.
The WellPoint Foundation collected data from the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. There is only one other year to compare the statistics, but what the second year allows the researchers is to evaluate the progress or regression of the areas examined. (more…)
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