The Nutritarian

Healthy Eating Insight

New York Times Article Confronting Obesity Problem

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 10•12

It seems that we need a better understanding of what is happening with food in society today.

From the 70′s to the 21st century Americans’ weight has increased by about 20 pounds and the national obesity rate has jumped to over 30 percent.  It is no surprise that more and more people are becoming concerned with this epidemic that is costing our nation over $190 billion.  Given this information, let’s ask ourselves, “How important is health and nutrition in our daily lives?”

According to this article, businesses lose billions because of higher healthcare rates, lowered productivity, increased absences, and elevated health insurance premiums.  Infrastructure remodling, to make structures larger, is also becoming costly.

This New York Times article addressing obesity shares  common themes found throughout this blog.

Four key points from the article:

  1. Conventional wisdom of 3,500 calories less to lose a pound of weight is wrong.  The body changes as you lose.  Interestingly, Dr. Chow, (I did not make that up) an investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, found that the fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight.
  2. Time is an important factor in weight loss. That’s because if you reduce your caloric intake, after a while, your body reaches equilibrium. It actually takes about three years for a dieter to reach their new “steady state.” Our model predicts that if you eat 100 calories fewer a day, in three years you will, on average, lose 10 pounds — if you don’t cheat.
  3. Huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. This is because a person’s body will respond slowly to the food intake.
  4. If you drop weight and return to your old eating habits, the time it takes to crawl back to your old weight is something like three years. To better understand an interactive model to plug in your information and learn how much you’ll need to reduce intake and increase activity to lose. bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov.  It will also give  a rough sense of how much time it will take to reach the goal.  Applied mathematics in action!

Ordinary people and especially the food industry may not want to hear some of this, but it is way too easy and common for someone to be consuming 6,000 calories a day, while one side is making money off of it and the other is getting ill and taxing society.  According to the article, ”There’s no magic bullet. You simply have to cut calories and be vigilant for the rest of your life.”

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