A Bit of Good News In a Big Wide World

“Americans Are Finally Eating Less.” That’s the NY Times(R) headline that caught my eye this morning as I perused FlipBoard(R). It was an encouraging article by Margot Sanger-Katz, but I have to mention that the very first thing I saw as I scrolled down from the splash photo was an advert for Panera Bread(R) coupons. Sigh. It begs the question – who makes these decisions?

Although I realize that this is a bit off topic for The DIY Bistro, as a nurse, health is up at the top of my priority list, so I thought I’d make a brief post – or rant, if you prefer – about this critical topic. I’ll just give you the highlights of the article.

There was a breakthrough study in 1999 that spoke to the fact that Americans were overeating, eating horrible diets and gaining weight like crazy. In addition, our kids were learning this bad behavior from us and they were becoming obese as well. It took more than 10 years for the message to sink in, but according to a study in 2013, Americans are finally consuming fewer calories, drinking 25% less full-calorie soda and the rise in obesity appears to have stopped. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that our diets really haven’t improved all that much. While there has been an effort by many Americans to eat less, there has not been much change in what they are choosing to put in their mouths. Fast food, desserts, salty snacks, candy, etc. – lots of empty calories with very little nutritional value. Many people have trouble getting their heads around how obesity can coexist with malnutrition, but this is where it lives.

But enough about the bad news. At least we’re moving in the right direction. It seems that what is driving this change is the problem of childhood obesity – and parents’ concern for their children. Because more parents want to set good examples for their children and to raise happy, healthy kids, they are eating less, being more active and encouraging healthier habits in their children. Whatever it takes to get this gluttonous society to stop and pay attention to the fact that they’re killing themselves and their children, I’m all for it. I truly hope that this will extend to healthier food choices as well, and that future generations will continue these efforts.

Rant complete. Have a good weekend.

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