I've always been interested in reading about food- how it's made, where it comes from, what happens to it before it hits the grocery stores, etc. And the more I read about food and the way our society is (not just with food, but with health in general), the more alarmed I get.
Compare YOUR childhood to that of today's children and you begin to get a picture of what I'm talking about.
Tag vs MarioKart
Campouts vs sugar-filled indoor sleepovers
walking to school vs never being allowed outside alone
Regardless of how valid an action (or lack of action) might be, it's still contributing to this horrible obesity epidemic that the world is in.
So, I was quite please to find something online a few weeks ago.
Did you know that Yale University (and many others including MIT and Stanford) offers free online versions of actual classes taught on campus?
Ok, so you can't get credit for them, turn in work, speak to the professors, or anything like that... but if you're a knowledge hog like me (or want to experience multiple random topics free of charge and free of committment) then these courses are JACKPOT!
I haven't looked into all of the schools, but the Yale course I'm following is pretty simple. You buy the books (or get them at the library for free like I did), watch the videos and follow along, doing assignments if you wish. The videos are simply recordings of the actual professor, teaching a class of actual students.
So anyway, onto the absolutely wonderful thing I found - a class on the food industry and obesity.
It's PSYC 123: The Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food
Here's the Open Yale Course link if you're interested. oyc.yale.edu/psychology/
To view other course offerings, click "Courses" in the top left corner and it will show you all the free course offerings.
Anyway, I've just begun. I watched one class and am most of the way through chapter 1 of one of the books Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It by Kelly D Brownell (The other book is called In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan).
What have I learned so far?
* One fourth of all vegetables consumed in the US are french fries.
* Obesity now contributes more to chronic illness and health care costs than does smoking.
*Ronald McDonald is the second most recognized figure in the world, topped only by Santa Claus.
That is exceedingly alarming to me! And I'm not even done with the first chapter yet!
Another thing really bugs me.
People often quote statistics regarding how often people regain weight, regardless of how much they lost.
X percent of people regain all the weight they lost or more.
Who cares? I mean really? Think about it.
All that statement tells me is "It's a waste of time. Don't bother."
What we really should be focusing on is:
x percent of those who adopt and stick to a healthy lifestyle succeed.x percent of those who do not, don't.
When I hear that first statistic, what I want to ask is:
"Were they 'dieting' and quit when they reached their goal weight?"
"Did they focus only on pounds/inches/fat/calories and ignore the reasons they got overweight to begin with?"
"Were they eating real food (not packaged diet food) and living an active life (not just exercising for an hour 3x a week and not moving the rest of the time)?"
I don't care HOW MANY people fail at losing weight - I care WHY.