A Big Fat Crisis
"Like cholera and typhoid in the nineteenth century, obesity is
the twenty-first century's public health crisis. Our major approach
of exhorting individuals to be more responsible is just not working.
Ending obesity requires solutions that transcend human behavior."
If you're anything like me, this quote from Deborah A. Cohen's A
Big Fat Crisis will have you breathing a sigh of relief. We know all
the reasons we should make better food choices and exercise more.
Most of us have at least a basic idea of what good choices look like.
Most of us, maybe sometimes, maybe most of the time, find pretty big
gaps between what we know and what we do. We chalk it up to weakness
in the willpower department. When we frame the problem this way it
can cause a whole lot of guilt. It can cause us to unfairly judge
Believe it or not, Cohen, a doctor who does diet and activity
research for a living, shares our struggle. Shopping, especially with
children, is confusing. Restaurants are loaded with traps. Work and
family claim time that is needed for regular exercise.
What's a person to do? Well to start with, let's stop blaming
ourselves. According to Cohen, our less than stellar eating habits
are dominated by two powerful factors. Our brains, wired in long ago
times of scarcity, urge us to feast on foods high in calorie density.
Food is constantly present and big companies spend gazillions of
dollars making their usually unhealthy products irrisistable.
Cohen maintains that, considering the cost to individuals and
society of our current obesity epidemic, we need public policy to help
us eat healthy. Knowing many will scream about a nanny state, she
reminds us that restrictions on alcohol, smoking, and driving were
first widely opposed. At one point even public sanitation was
"...At that time, prohibiting people from tossing garbage and human
waste out the window and mandating indoor plumbing seemed like an
invasion of privacy and an attack on individual rights. Prohibiting
butchers from dumping animal carcasses and their entrails on the
public streets was considered undue interference with private
business. Implementing regulatory controls required long, contentious
Whether or not you are overweight, chances are high that you
aren't eating as well as you could be. That surely holds true for
me. Don't be ashamed. Get on over to your favorite book store or
library and score a copy of A Big Fat Crisis. For the cost of taking
the family out for a less than wholesome restaurant meal make a solid
investment in your health and well being.
On a personal note, last week we had a night of seriously major
thunderstorms. The hubby and I were running errands. Much to my
surprise we stopped at Subway for supper. I'm not gonna lie. I was
delighted with the chance to not cook or do dishes.
A great big shout out goes out to Cohen for her enlightening book.
Sent from my iPod