To Win We Have To Lose

Obesity has more than doubled worldwide since 1980. Between 1975 and 2005, the average weight of Americans had increased by about 20 pounds. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, are now the leading causes of death.

This epidemic is the result of the overproduction of food in the United States. In the 1970s, changes in national agricultural policy encouraged farmers to grow as much food as possible while at the same time technological changes made our farms much more productive. We began to produce more corn and corn derivatives than we needed and industrial profit motives fooled consumers into a world of cheap unhealthy fast food. Today, Americans dine out on large restaurant portions and oil-saturated foods about five times a week.

Where do we begin to tackle such an immense problem? I am hopeful that we have reached the 100th Monkey Effect when it comes to facing our country’s needed nutritional transformation. I woke this morning to learn that today is National Bike To Work Day.

Tomorrow is International Food Revolution Day, created by Jamie Oliver of BBC’s Naked Chef to teach food lovers how to be conscious about daily food choices and learn to cook from scratch. There are events around the globe at homes, schools, restaurants, local businesses, and farmers’ markets. If there is no event nearby like here in Pittsburgh, you can download and share Food Revolution eBooks, and The Dinner Party Starter Kit from their website.

Not quite ready to bike to work or participate in the Food Revolution? Watch the HBO Series “The Weight of the Nation”. The 4-part series spells out the history, personal stories and successful action plans targeted at young and old alike in a way that will convince you, as it did for me, that it’s time for less sugar and processed foods, more local produce and home cooking and regular physical activity.

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