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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weight Loss - The Diet Conundrum in Your Community

Join the Club.  At one time or another, almost everyone on the planet has struggled with their weight and we all have been on the proverbial "diet."

Perhaps our conundrum is found in the word itself. Webster says that as a noun, the word diet means the kinds of foods that a person or community habitually eats.  But as a verb, the word means to restrict oneself to small amounts of special foods with the goal being weight loss. goes further and refines the definition to include regulating food intake to improve the physical condition.

Our community diet of habitual foods depends on our economic status, where we reside, and ethnic origins. According to the 2010 Surgeon General's Report on Obesity on Obesity, "many racial and ethnic groups and geographic regions of the United States are disproportionately affected." (p.1)
.....among 40- to 59-year-old women, about 52% of non-Hispanic blacks and 47% of Hispanics are obese; for non-Hispanic whites, the prevalence is 36%. These differences also are seen among children and teenagers. For example, obesity is  much more common among non-Hispanic black teenagers (29%) than among Hispanic teenagers (17.5%) or non-Hispanic white teenagers (14.5%)......some reports indicating 83% of people with serious mental illness being overweight or obese. (p.2-3)
According to,  for the 5th straight year the state with fattest people is Mississippi.  They are followed closely by people living in Alabama and Tennessee. The leanest people reside in Colorado and the runner up state for lean people is Connecticut. A map and chart will show you where your state stands. 

Southern regional cuisine may account for a big part of the problem.  People in the South take good things and fry them.  Think chicken fried steak, fried okra, fried collard greens and cheesy fried grits.  Add cornbread, ham hocks and chitlins and you have a heritage rich in fat foods. 

So if like most of us, you are not moving, what can be done to improve nutrition in the community where you live?  The Surgeon General suggests that our social and physical environments either offer or limit opportunities for nutrition and as a society we need to change our habits to embrace healthy choices. One prevention measure in the report recommends limiting TV time.  Changing the channel may also help.

The very stuffed hosts we see on cooking channels should provide a visual cue that something is wrong. Paula Dean, the queen of southern cuisine, needs to protect her heritage and use her platform to demonstrate a healthier cooking style. And Emeril Lagasse, the king of New Orleans cooking, could join her.  I honestly don't know how the Barefoot Contessa can hail from a thin state like Connecticut when her secret ingredient is butter. Only Jamie Oliver, the Brit, is trying to use his fame to improve our health in America.  What is wrong with us?

The Surgeon General's Report concludes: "Good nutrition, regular physical activity, and stress management significantly contribute to achieving optimal health." (p.12)
Americans will be more likely to change their behavior if they have a meaningful reward—something more than just reaching a certain weight or BMI measurement. The real reward has to be something that people can feel and enjoy and celebrate. That reward is invigorating, energizing, joyous health. It is a level of health that allows people to embrace each day and live their lives to the fullest—without disease, disability, or lost productivity.
Why do we have to be told that life is worth living?

Article first published as Weight Loss - The Diet Conundrum in Your Community on Technorati.

79% of Amazon users based on 3353 reviews liked this scale because
it was easy to use (no tapping) to start it, easy to read, accurate, and calibrated to increments of .2lbs.

My scale only is calibrated to increments of .5lbs so I will be trading up to this one. 


Dream of cakes said...

Interesting post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I will visit that site soon...

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and tweaking my salmon recipe to make it even healthier! I enjoyed your blog post and will have a look aroun :)

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