Corinne Finnie

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Whose responsibility is it to educate our young people on healthy eating, physical activity, and positive self esteem?

Many statistics indicate that the overall North American adult population is not only overweight, but the number of people with Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and depression is consistently rising. Now, we see children as young as 12 suffering with the same conditions. The World Health Organization has called this situation an "overnourishment" epidemic. Parents do not have the practical information to teach their children about nutrition, teachers have a full curriculum and limited resources to contribute, food manufacturers are focused on making margins and are willing to go only so far, Community Dieticians have limited time and resources - whose responsibility is it to make educating children about comprehensive wellness a priority?

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    Oct 27 2011: Corinne, thanks for posting this, although it's certainly not an easy question to answer.

    Obviously, parents can't teach what they don't know.

    I think that as we learn more and more about what *not* to do as well as what we need to do, we'd benefit from more community programs and other outreach efforts to provide this information.

    I think we also need to start cracking down on school lunches that provide unhealthy food and drinks, even if they're cheaper to buy and fix. In the long run, such meals end up raising the incidence of obesity and diabetes.
  • Oct 27 2011: It is ultimately the responsibiltiy of the parents. I was raised by my mother alone. She worked constantly to make sure I had what I needed. Lots of good food(fried of course) and love from a parent. Food was food it came and went and exercise was never really mentioned. I was always running around in the neighborhood but still considered a little husky for my age. Now I am 27 and over weight myself and have been over weight all my life. After months of researching weight loss tips, exercise routines, and how food and fat is digested, stored and spent. I have made a plan for myself and finally been able to start losing weight.

    I remember health class in junior high. There was nothing that even comes close to what i learned about how the body actually works with food and how calories work. It seems to me that the school system was more concerned about showing reproductive courses and having a real pigs lung to show how they expanded and contracted. Schools in the US are really suffering from intelligence withdrawal. Teachers are ever more detached from teaching meaningful information bound to a useless curriculum that doesn't let them expand into things they need to teach.

    The ultimate responsibility lands with the parents. What children see at home is the basis for what they do in adulthood. I was able to change my ways through education at my own will. In adulthood you are responsible for your own education and just because you graduated and you think you are finished are going to at a loss for sure. Those who rely on the Government for education, assistance or thinking that the Govenment will always be there when a disaster happens only have themselves to blame for not having initiative. Those who dont have that initiative will probably suffer more for it.

    Stop eating crap you will feel better.
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      Oct 28 2011: Great addition to the conversation!!!! I agree with you completely and appreciate your insight!!
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      Oct 28 2011: So well said Justin, and a great job on your part for taking control of your life:>)
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    Oct 21 2011: It is the job of the parents to do this. Simply put.

    If they are failing at it, then they need to start leading by example, as all parents should.
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      Oct 21 2011: Agree it should be parent first.
      Who else will care more for kids ,if parents don't?
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      Oct 21 2011: I agree completely. Parents need to lead by example, and teach their children wellness tools that will allow them to maintain good health. But, obviously, with the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry and the countless fad diets that bombard our society, adults are 'losing' the battle on wellness. How do they know what to do and who to trust?
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        Oct 22 2011: Understand what you mean by industry impact (weightloss industry is not a barrier. It grew as society as a whole running after thoughtless consumerism & sedentary life style).
        Who shuold fight back ? Will government do ?
        While government's ,main focus is it's political agenda, how it will deliver this extra job?
        Future is everyone's own hand. Internet & communication technology , made information easily accessable then ever before. If parents are self informed , set example for kids, will not be that more powerful to kids than confusing advertisement those industry monsters?

        If not we really have big problem with our credibility to our kids.
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    Nov 9 2011: I think I wrote about 4 or 5 comments on this conversation.

    Why? Well because it is important... and because I think there is much to understand and change.
    I will let other comment not directly following other I did but with its own line.

    Whose responsibility is to educate overweight and obese parents? professors? day care workers? nutritionists? health care providers?
    Whose responsibility is to stop food brain washing literally from birth?
    Whose responsibility was to teach you to eat as if there won't be a next meal in about 3 hours?

    SCIENCE: Over eating and bad eating habits modify your neural chemically system in ways that leads to obsessive compulsive disorders, depression, addiction not in strength wise but in pattern like comparable to drug addictions.

    Obesity is a disease, actually an epidemic disease.
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    Nov 2 2011: Every adult in contact with a child on this planet.
    • Nov 10 2011: yeah but what do you tell em?
  • Oct 26 2011: Everybody

    You cannot raise perfectly under one person's responsibility.
  • Oct 26 2011: It takes a village, does it not, to raise a child? You mention many of the stakeholder groups that should be acting on this in your question. The answers below have perhaps naturally focused on the day-to-day manifestations of the symptoms of the problem: media-driven body image & food giants' bottom lines, but:

    Your question is much broader, I think, than you intend. It's our responsibility - all of us, in everything that we do, to be role models and help the next generation do a better job of moving humanity forward towards a sustainable future than we are doing. Health is part of it, as is stewardship of the environment, reducing global inequalities, pushing the frontiers of science, knowledge and understanding.

    Making this virtuous sentiment a practical reality is the hard part: there are a multitude of starting points outside the formality of the classroom and, if they're lucky, a loving family.
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    Oct 23 2011: Dear people, true information on nutrition will never come from food and health industies or the government. Teach what? The false science of the subsidized chemical grain based agriculture system that monopolizes the food supply? The cholesterol mythology?
    High glycemic carbs, polyunsaturated vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, feed lot meat, eggs, pasteurized milk are the problem. Check Weston A Price Foundation and learn how food fraud has become genocide. Heart disease, cancers, diabetes, obesity, brain issues and intelligence appeared with the advent of modern foods, avoidance of sunshine, saturated fats, sedentary living, industrial toxins and the mass anxiety of media.
    The doctor is in,......the kitchen!
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        Oct 25 2011: However, it appears that people who eat nutrient-dense foods list alarmingly to the left.


        (Look at the *photo* in the web site above!)
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      Oct 23 2011: Captain - I like how you think!!! This is the basic truth in wellness. It is not about balancing carbs/proteins fats to illicit a caloric reduction. It isn't about figuring out which food is the latest 'miracle' food. It is about choosing foods wisely - being a saavy consumer and eating whole, living foods. Children already know this but they get bombarded with excellent marketing schematics and poor examples in their own household. They lose the intuitive nature to eat to survive. It truly becomes about satisfying a desire.
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    Oct 22 2011: Corinne thank you for raising this topic. This is a critical issue in North America and needs to be resolved.
    I believe that at the heart of this issue, beyond poor parenting, is poor adult living.
    With changes in our educational system we can better inform our children about the dangers of unhealthy eating and the positive results of physical activity but I think this will have a diluted impact if the parents that are raising the children are themselves poor examples of these value systems.
    I feel the burden of responsibility lies heaviest on the parents. To target the children we would most need to affect change in the adult role models they are influenced by. I do believe a fat tax, and health care reform with emphasis on rehabilitation not financial aid would be viable solutions.
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      Oct 22 2011: Thank you Timothy - the fat tax is a whole other conversation. There are interesting arguments surrounding this topic.

      The World Health Organization has stated that early intervention is necessary to ensure that children will not grow up to be overweight/obese. So, children before the age of 6 need to be of normal weight and engaging in a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and physical activity to assist in developing as a healthy adult.

      So, let's say a child grows up with parents that (1) did not know how to role model a healthy lifestyle (2) choose not to role model a healthy lifestyle and that child grows up to be an overweight adult. Now that individual has to pay a fat tax with the burden of either scenario above. Will the fat tax alone be a motivating factor to learn, choose, do better?

      On a personal note:
      I have to say; however, when I see an overweight family feeding their toddler french fries, pop, and ice cream - I wonder if they realize the road they are sending their precious child down and I do wish there could be some retribution.
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        Oct 22 2011: Corinne I am somewhat confused by the scenario of the overweight child you present in the third paragraph. The fat tax I was speaking of is that which was imposed by Denmark earlier this month, a tax on saturated fats. Under their new system, a food product which contains 2.3% saturated fat or more will be subject to an additional tax. This would effectively raise the cost of foods at places like the Colonels, Clowns, and Kings. Rising prices at these places could motivate people to go elsewhere. Economists would be better able to evaluate what the compound affect of this might be, but I believe the best way to see what it would do, would be to try it.
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          Oct 22 2011: Ahh - thank you for the clarification!
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      Oct 25 2011: Well said Tim!

      This issue is quickly becoming an issue for India and China too as they migrate up the socio-economic ladder to middle class. Novartis is investing hundred's of millions of dollars in research and production facilities in China in anticipation of a wave of illnesses (e.g. diabetes) associated with over consumption of fat, starch salt, sugar.
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        Oct 26 2011: I have read about this myself. Tragic!
  • Oct 22 2011: Kids... I don't know how many of you know the definition of a parent but not to worry if you don't, society today has erased the meaning of the word and redefined it to mean nothing more then 'a person you received you DNA from'. A parent is responsible for the physical and psychological development of a child, but todays generation is reduced to rely on Social media for development. Everything they know now is a learned behaviour from their surrogate parent, advertising/Hollywood. It is not easy to be a parent and most parents had the same lack of parenting growing up they are currently giving the the youth of today. Ignorance is bliss and pointing the finger at someone else is all too easy. NO is not the fast food restaurants fault your 4 year old weighs 120 lb. It's yours for taking the easy way out and not wanting to be a parent and tell hem No, being a "Friend" to your kids is far more important.

    Just a little last minute thought to any who say parents don't know the information or were to get it. We are in the age of information. With even a small amount of effort you can find any information you want. I can Google how to make a Nuclear Bomb and get most of the information needed, so don't tell me that you "don't know". Work - its a four letter word I know, but its not an outside agency that needs to give you the information/tools to be a parent, so you can sit on your butt and tell me you raised your kid.
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    Oct 22 2011: We over-eat because our appetite is a biological system, tuned to a reality where sugar was available only in ripe fruit in the autumn (when it was a REALLY good idea to add weight) and where you generally had to walk a couple of miles for your dinner and then maybe only got half a portion and had to walk another mile for the rest. The older you got, and the more your joints ached, the stronger your appetite had to be, in order to get you to feed yourself. In the end, you starved to death. Today, you’re more likely to eat yourself to death. It’s a big difference.

    The responsibility for better education belongs to whoever CAN to do anything about it. "Responsibility" in this sense of the word is the direct reverse of "freedom". If you are free to act, then you are 100% responsible for the consequences of what you do or not do. Responsibility in this sense has nothing to with blame. Blame is something we do to each other, not something mystical that is already there, and that the "blamer" points out.

    So, each parent is 100% responsible, as is each kid, each teacher and each politician who could have set up a better system. And each food company executive is 100% responsible for the way he balances his company's short-term profit and the long-term health of its customers.

    We do stupid things like over-eat and under-exercise both because we don't know any better (Remedy = information, as you indicate), and because our actions are governed by systems inside our brains that are no more rational than dog brains, and are EXTREMELY prone to short-term planning (No remedy known yet).
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      Oct 23 2011: I could not agree more with everyone having 100% responsibility.
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    Oct 22 2011: Corinne,


    But children need far less education with expert information and far more engaging, experiential encounters with healthy lifestyles. They need modeling that makes active, healthy behaviors the norm, not the exception.

    Answers to systemic problems like these require systemic solutions.

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    Nov 18 2011: For the last year and a half I have been part of a holistic effort to create healthy communities in nine towns and 11 schools. The short answer to Corinne's question in my opinion is that its everyone's responsibility. Most certainly families, but also schools, corner stores, farmers, and more. Our policy and decision makers have a responsibility to ensure that their directives whether school wellness policy or zoning encourage opportunities for health rather than discourage or hinder.

    Corinne notes some great research and there is other relevant findings as of late to the impact of environmental factors being at least as important if not more so than personal choices. Environmental factors include access to healthy food options such as fresh and appealing fruits and vegetables. It's also about safe places to be active outdoors and clean air.
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    Tao P

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    Nov 15 2011: Parents, family and community. Lets all stop relying on the state to educate. They do a terrible job at it. It's time to stop wasting money, resources and potential in these poor excuses for schools. Include children in day to day life and they will grow in a similar fashion as to how they begin to talk, by exposure to stimulus. If one can step out of the 'more money more teachers' dogma and look at how ineffective schools are we can begin a serious discussion
  • Nov 14 2011: This is a very difficualt issue to tackle in north America as people are required to pay-for their healthcare, mainly through insurence. This means there is a reduction in the ammount of interventory action that can be taken by the government as a sink or swin mantra is reinforced through leaving all responsibilities for ones immediate health to the individual(s). On the other-hand in countires where healthcare is provided majoritivly through the state the qaulity of the servie provided (per-person) increases (i.e. change4life in Britain) but is loosely enforced and ill-promoted, largely because of miscommunication and an unwillingness of multi-angency co-operation.

    With this in mind the main theme involved in healthcare in the 21st century is 'responsibility', who is responsible for the deterioration of mass health issues such as these.

    1) Legislation needs to be reconfigured concerning the fat, salt and sugar content within food - especially food aimed at children - the traffic light system used in Britain is a good start but there is much more to be done. As with the imagry on cigerette packets some form of verbal or imagry shock tactics could be employed to educated people are the dangers of overeating and the consuptions of high fat food stuffs.

    2) All schools should be responcible for offering a healthy meal menu whcih should be advertised to parents in an appropriate way. For instance, inviting parents and children into school to cooking lessons/demonstations similar to that provided my Jamie Oliver. It is of grave importance that children understand where food comes from, how it is produced and what is added to it during its manufacture.

    3) Simply, governments need to act to reduce the cost of fresh ingredients in supermarkets including making sure that farmers are given a fair deal in the production process. Far too few politicians have the gall to go up agaist the corporations that are profiting on the back on one of the worlds largest health dangers.
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    Nov 13 2011: Some really interesting thoughts here:

    I can see how there are many different cause and effect elements in how people make their choices, both young and old... and each new generation initially find themselves reliant, on those who precede to provide example...

    Diet is habitual, and as mentioned, wellness can be achieved through lifestyle choices. The issue in a modern world that demands so much of our attention, with the carrot of convenience and the stick of long work days, people have grown to see food as a fix rather than where it should be; at the apex of way of life, much like quality of sleep and clean drinking water. I for one can relate to being lazy with my diet at times.

    Parents naturally have a responsibility to their children; and schools equally have an opportunity to educate children irrespective of what may be absent at home. Broadcasters can, and do, play a vital role in inspiring the young and old to make lifestyle changes. From experience I personally believe we can be thankful here in the UK whereupon for years the majority of family TV programmes have been broadcast over a mere handful of channels, which has enabled the funding and focus of quality public documentary programming to a broad domestic audience.

    Most importantly, people themselves have a responsibility to effect habitual change in their own lives. The individual should lead themselves, follow examples of where they want to go, not where they have been. It is too easy to fall back into old habits right? We live in a free world so start by rejecting the unhealthy in favour of the healthy. We can also petition and mobilise into groups to effect local change at the heart of our communities.

    Finally, it is clear that our retailers and their wholesale suppliers have a responsibility to position healthier foods before all others in terms of both visibility and pricing. It is possible for the public to vote for it as shareholders and as customers.
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    Nov 10 2011: More ideas...

    Unfortunately in this capitalist neo-liberal world where money is almost the only grand motivation, may be the solution must come in that line. I mean the motivation that would change people behavior.

    A solution where there are consequences besides the "far away" coming Diabetes, Cardiovascular, Self-esteem, etc.
    Consequences where people being or having overweight/obese siblings, or not engaging in a non harmful life style (I don't even write a "healthy", but at least not harmful) have a chance and then if not compliant their pockets will be targeted (not popular I know that's why I started with "unfortunately").

    A) If a child/worker is found to be overweight/obese the family living with the child/worker has to go through a two month teaching program where is taught how to engage in physical activity (doesn't mean gym or a sport), adequate eating (each family has its own culture and routines), psychological work;
    B) Once these 2 months were successfully completed they would have to visit a local center monthly for 1 year;
    C) After this year, there would be an analyses of the progresses made by each individual and the family;
    D) If they would meet a set of previous established objectives they would be discharged from the program.

    Where is the "pocket attack"?
    1. Time is money, people attending these programs would "loose" time;
    2. To pay for part of the costs with structures, all professionals and activities these people would either loose part of a financial assistance/benefits they might have or pay their taxes + X in the year of their program;
    3. If people in the program quit, fail to comply or do not achieve the objectives, there will be different fines, extra charging on hospital taxes or health insurance, no co-payment from governments in medication.

    I see this as a government health plan not sponsored by food supplements/pharmaceutical industry or gym companies.
    • Nov 19 2011: Hi Joao. Nice point of view. It,s original, but I don,t understand, but I can´t understand points 2 and three your hypothesis. Could you explain it to me e bit more, please. I,m a pediatrician involved in childhood obesity and I meant you have an original idea, but I can´t see you echonomical way support
      Thanks a lot
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        Nov 19 2011: Hi Manolo.
        A project like this has to be sustained in part by those who need it. To charge everyone would be unfair. We have to keep in mind that this plan is not to attack people is to help them, that's why their's a 1 year and 2 months program before "heavy" measures.
        Point 2):In the country I live people with financial difficulties have a financial support, let's say at school the government pays for all or part of the books, or the meals at school, couples with certain number of children and small income or people who don't have a job also and a lot other. For those the motivation to learn and adopt a better life style would be in loosing this supports.
        On other hand people with money enought not to have these supports would have to pay taxes + X in the year of their program. As such they would be also motivated to comply with changes.

        Point 3) by not achieving the goals set in the beginning or leaving the program people would have to pay a fine and/or would loose their financial support when buying medicines or visiting an hospital. In the country I live, people go to the hospital and according to their social status pay differently (direct translation "moderator taxes"). And everyone when goes to a pharmacy with a prescription from the doctor have some cheaper medicines because the government pays part.

        This would work in two ways: people would feel a financial motivation to change behaviors and on other hand is socially fair. Why? Health represents a huge part of government year budgets, on health as you know cardiovascular diseases are the 1st cause of death, desability(stroke) and chronic diseases. Obesity is central to HTN, DMT2, hypercholestorolemia, and a lot other.. so it is only fair that those consciously contributing to increase this problem to loose their financial supports from the government. It is a question towards self and other.
        • Nov 19 2011: Thanks Joao.
          I´ll reread your answer, searching the way to adapt it to my country. I live in a society where people thinks to cure theirself is not their responsabilty; they think they should be cured by public health, whithout cash and effort, of course!
          Sincerelly yours
  • Nov 10 2011: We need to all choose a versatile and general system of facts on healthy body-fueling principles and all of us need to stand behind that canonical information in a unified and official way so it becomes more ingrained in our civilization. It needs to become the "Bible" of healthy eating. Like the Apple Computers of health where it makes it easy for the masses to pick it up and use it successfully.

    It has to be simple, effective, and popularized through unity so that it can overcome and eradicate the other smaller lifestyle based myths and old-wives tales about food that are spamming our public consciousness.

    It would be in the same official spirit as the food pyramid, but much deeper (yet still easy for the masses to understand and practice)
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    Nov 9 2011: Parents, parents, parents.
    Better societies come from better parenting.
    • Nov 10 2011: Cool you just solved the problem! :)

      Now all the obese parents in the world will teach their children to be healthy!!! yayyy!!!
  • Nov 2 2011: Kids are going to eat what's available. I believe this begins at home. With a good foundation kids will make better decisions at school.
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    Nov 2 2011: For me it is easy - parents at first - they should give grounds to all this - they are first contact of the baby/kid with world, they are to show the kid how to behave, how to survive... And when there are good grounds, then schools come as a second step - having classes in gym at least twice a week for everyone, having 5 vegetables/fruits a day.. learning by watching :)
  • Oct 31 2011: Miss Finnie you are very intuitive but you also like to stir the pot and I like that:) This is my first response on here but it is an important one because I too deal and see this every day and I believe it is one of our greatest dillemas as americans.

    The answer to this question is simple and we all know it but like most americans we try to dissect it until its enigmatic.


    Judgment seems to be selective in the US and its not right. We must first look inward and respect ourselves and than project that outward and assist people in respecting themselves.

    Ignorance is no longer an excuse and I believe that is at the heart of this problem. PEOPLE NOT ONLY LIKE TO BE INGNORANT THEY CHOOSE IT and we all allow it... thats the sad part.

    thank you.
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      Oct 31 2011: Jay,

      I'm with you. This is a systemic problem, which requires a systemic "all of us" solution. A lot less talking and lot more doing, by everyone.

      I'm involved in a delightful initiative called "Play it Forward: Paha Sapa" that engages people from all ages, ends, economic, ethnic and abilities of our community spectrum in engaging physical play and healthy eating.

      What never ceases to amaze me if how much fun we are having, while others with their wrinkled brows are stuck in conference rooms trying to find answers. In my mind, they'd do a lot more good if they brought the problem to their local park with a football or frisbee and invited people to play.

      A "subversive," non-standard way to illuminate healthy lessons. But effective, I'd say, if only....

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        Oct 31 2011: Andrea, please, tell us more about the Play it Forward idea.
        I like the word-play.
        The movie Pay it Forward was a turning point for me personally, and helped me to propel my energy in a bolder way towards a personal call to effect change.

        I am seeing "play" is a constant with you... just saying...
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          Oct 31 2011: Karina --

          Yes, play is a theme with me. Maybe more so as I also engage with serious topics like politics that can be so draining I need to build outlets into to de-stress and keep myself as healthy as possible. It's my way of detoxing!

          And I'm very bought into to the endorphin-effect of play and positive social interactions.

          That said, I'm now heading out for Halloween treats. But promise Corrine I'll work them off soon!

      • Oct 31 2011: all great ideas are non standard thats what makes them great and the KISS method will always prevail. thanks for your follow up.jjon

        I apologize this reply was meant for Andreas thread
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      Oct 31 2011: I agree with you!
      A good idea you have pointed out is that people opt to be ignorant! I would say they choose not to live accordingly to what they generally know is better for their health.
      As a young medical doctor I like to talk with patients and try to understand their options. In the end when comes the part of health advices and related attitudes (physical activity, ways to deal with stress, eating habits) they know almost every general behavior they should have. Most don't practice any because they don't want to.

      They don't have the culture of spending time and effort on such changes.People prefer to think that science will come with something new soon enough to help them, they prefer to ask for medication to stabilize their conditions... It is part of our task to tell people what is correct, but I clearly feel that most don't care.

      To change behaviors will take time... I can't see a drastic change on this in a near future! Though I work for it every day :)
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    Oct 30 2011: All the parts of your question/title to this topic are part of a lifestyle!

    There is no real meaning in pointing out who is responsible, it is something that most people, even those not living for a healthier life know. Is something like asking who is responsible to tell teenagers that smoking is bad for their health?

    The main concern is how to change the lifestyle of our days to a different one.
    How to drive everything (education, industry, health, pharmaceuticals) spinning around the actual life style towards one where the concept of Wellness is a center piece.

    For most people Wellness is thought as something expensive and exclusive. But Wellness is nothing more than a lifestyle where people invest time and money in options, activities or products that are biologically and psychologically better.

    To exercise, to have an healthy diet, to build self esteem is part of a self respect culture! A culture of long term thinking, a culture where what you are matter more than what you own. A little too different from what exist today?
    • Nov 9 2011: Very well said. I too am in health care and am in rehab and see the break down every day but all it takes is one patient to change the way they eat or is some way their life and its all worth it. thanks again for your insight.
    • Nov 10 2011: this is a big element.

      The ones on the other side of that lifestyle, the ones on the dark side need to be given hope and clear plan to empower themselves.

      The problem is the ones that do seek out a life change usually fail because the information is too hard to process due to over saturation and bogus diet plans and techniques that riddle our civilization.

      We need a super official authority on health to set everything straight in a publicly conscious way. A clearly refined and easily understood method of fueling and maintaining these walking delicate supercomputers we call our brains and bodies.
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    Oct 27 2011: I feel that it is everyone's responsibility. The media plays such an essential role, so why not have celelebrities, commercials, or your everyday individual contributing to this effort. I feel it would be great to have twice as much commercials talking about healthy eating as opposed to pepsi commercials. As for positive self esteem we would have to change our media's perception, which is essentialy OUR perception. There is already an accepted world wide view on how a male or female is particularly suppose to look. To initiate positive self esteem I feel that we need to start advertising average looking people on our commercials or tv screens (not this glamorous made up) portrayal of a female I could never be. This would take rejecting and challenging world wide opinions on others as well as ourselves.
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    Oct 27 2011: I believe that the statistics you have described in your question are applicable all over the world (especially in the developing countries like my own, India), and not just North America. However the situation isn't probably as bad here as I believe it is there. But with brands like McDonalds cropping up at every 500m and the heavy western influence, urban India is surely headed North America's way..

    Its fairly clear from the comments here that its the responsibility of everyone, with whom the child interacts, to make the younger generation aware. Each person you mentioned has their own role to play -

    1. PARENTS- Encouraging the child to eat green vegetables and fruits. Discouraging eating out. Its as simple as that. As long as the child is being raised at home, encourage home-made meals and avoid food from outside. The kids generally stay with their parents for atleast 18 years and this time is enough to inculcate good food values in them. Even though "Parents do not have the practical information to teach their children about nutrition", I'm sure every parent can differentiate from the 'good food' and the 'bad food'.
    2. SCHOOLS/COLLEGES- Awareness through teaching and special courses. Small but periodic workshops is another option. Guest lectures by dietitians, nutritionists etc. too. A very good technique is injecting a fear of the consequences of over-consumption of junk food into the brains of the young minds, which may be with the help of case-studies, images, videos etc. A combination all these techniques is the most efficient solution.
    3. FOOD CORPS- We can only hope they do it as a part of their corporate social responsibility.
    4. GOVERNMENT- Awareness campaigns >aware public >less diseases >healthier public >less headache for the govt. in form of health spendings

    5. Parents - Again, yes. Teaching them to stop following others' lives on facebook & start concentrating on their own. Self-education from the 'Good Internet' *cough..TED..cough*
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    Oct 26 2011: Hi Corinne,
    I guess I can sense your worry and concern here,
    This issue is happening not only in the United States, though it holds the highest rate of obesity.
    It also has been the major concern of many other countries which are having increase in its junk food level, such countries are China, Australia and many of developing ones.

    Obesity is our world's major issue currently. Sleeping late also is an affecting factor to weight gaining. Anykind of living creatures, not only human, when they eat excessive amount of food (especially synthetic ones) and are exposed to light at night (such as: working until midnight, staying up for the football match); they will definitely gain weight. And if, this process is being continued and nobody feels like he/she is in charge for the initial course of action, obesity, diabetic disease and any other adverse issues will increase whereas the level of healthiness decrease.

    It is our responsibility together in educating our young people on healthy eating, physical activity and positive self esteem.
    The aternative way to make kids eat their veggies is to make the food delicious yet healthy. All the healthy, cheap and tasty food' recipes which are not made for vegetarians only are everywhere, to be found in every source (first-hand and second-hand resource, from direct conversation w/ poeple until the internet).

    I suggest the schools make healthy living a tradition and provide balance in the curriculas they adopt. Seminaries for the parents and teachers must be held regularly in order to increase their awareness for the impact on the causality in the case where students' negative self-esteem, substandard physical activity and unhealthy habits make their way into students' lives.

    I think the best possible way is to start action on students first, from every level—smallest grade to the highest. Since they are still very young at age, they are capable to start off wonderfully before it's too late for them to change lifestyles..
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    Oct 25 2011: Being both a grandmother of a 17 year old, 7 year old with autism and mother of a 15 year old, I feel it is an extensive community joy and responsibility. Extended family, elders, spiritual leaders, neighbors, professionals, politicians, teachers, administrators, NGO's, businesses, peers, grocery stores, coaches. Learning is inspiration. Wherever wisdom comes from for my boys, I am grateful. Thanks for the inquiry. Michelle Obama is releasing a book on this subject.
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    Oct 25 2011: The parents first then the entire community, by example.
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      Oct 23 2011: Agreed Ed!
      And just to be clear, I'm not saying the fast food choices are cheaper (in the long-run they cost us so very much more!), but as you say, they are perceived to be!
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    Oct 23 2011: There are many blanket statements here. I propose an actionable idea.

    We should develop an educational curriculum which surrounds healthy eating. I suspect just about every subject can be linked in some way. Obviously, all the sciences from biology to physics can be taught and connected back to the way our body works. Math, reading, and writing can all be done in relation to health and the body. Even history and art can be tied in. Show students how their body works and how those workings relate to the rest of the world around them.

    I am not talking about extra courses, I recommend integrating this into the core of the curriculum.

    Not only will this approach help teach healthy eating, but it will help answer the age-old question from students: "why do I need to know that?" Everyone can relate to their own body. If you link what they learn back to their body, they will understand the need.

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      Oct 23 2011: I like your idea. If the education is to be effective, it should aim way beyond just "giving the kids information". It's like the campaign against smoking: Most kids know that smoking can kill. In fact, if you ask them, most of them (apparently) have exaggerated ideas about the danger ... but they still smoke. Sugar and hydrogenated fat tastes WAY better than smoke.
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      Oct 23 2011: Drew and Jorgen,
      I like this idea too:>) I agree that everything is interconnected, and when people have appropriate information, they may make better choices. Whenever there is a shift in perceptions and ideas that affect the society, it has to come from many different segments of our communities. Because the health issues we face affect the entire society, I agree Drew, that it has to be integrated into the core of the curriculum, and into the core of society. Everyone, or as many as possible, need to be a part of the change. It's fun and interesting to learn how the body and mind work, and I truly believe that if it is presented well, kids AND adults would be interested, and take part in the change we want to see:>)
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      Oct 22 2011: Not my intention - but please explain how you see this question as singling out any one demographic.
    • Oct 22 2011: I've heard this link between poor diet and poverty and I think it's an indirect correlation. I think poor diet, as well as poverty, are correlated to being uneducated. So they only seem like they are directly connected. Evidence does show that eating healthy is actually cheaper than eating a poor diet, but when was the last time you saw a commercial for carrots and how amazing they looked, and that wonderful combo with the milk and broccoli? For ONLY 5.99??

      The problem is that uneducated people tend to believe eating at McDonalds is cheaper, and all they can afford. A lot of people say 'they don't have time to cook' - even though I can give you thousands of recipes that don't take more than 5minutes. But they don't know about those recipes, because they remain uneducated to them.

      My comments to the specific question is posted separately - but my answer still remains "the parents"
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      Oct 22 2011: British Columbia is more progressive on this topic then most other provinces. Many Dieticians look for best practices coming out of B.C. when it comes to wellness and children. Rousing applause for Mr. Garner.
  • Oct 22 2011: This is an interesting dilemma. "Responsibility" as in "responsible for...[prop x]" is a murky compass. It points in every direction with apparent accuracy. Think about the following propositions: "Parents are responsible for what their kids eat." "Education is responsible for what kids know about food and nutrition." "The medical community is responsible for assisting families in raising healthy kids." "Corporations are responsible for being truthful about the food they sell." "Each adult is responsible for what they eat."
    Responsibility abounds, but it doesn't quite point us in a clear direction. I very much agree with Andrea about the systemic nature of the issue. What I ponder is whether we can synthesize all of the various points into a coherent direction.
    Great question, Corinne.
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      Oct 23 2011: There is no dilemma here. Yes, responsibility abounds, but it points clearly at me. I, Drew, am the one responsible for all the aspects you mention. That is very clear and not a dilemma at all.
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        Oct 23 2011: I agree is not a dilemma, unless we see it as such.

        Russell...I agree....the medical community, families, corporations and each and every person who is part of our communities can take responsibility. That is very clear to me:>)
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    Oct 21 2011: The French.
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    Oct 21 2011: You are correct Corinne. I do believe however that the answer is buried within your statement.

    Parents need to stop listening to fads, stop letting the television tell them what is right for them (a mistake many children make), and get back to basics...not for themselves...but for their children.

    If a doctor told me, "If continue to eat McDonalds, you will make yourself sick and have a heart attack.", my next visit would be to the fruit/vegetable isle of the supermarket.

    I understand that I am over-simplifying something here, but when it comes down to it, arent we all masters of what happens to us anyway? If that is the case, why do we make things so difficult for ourselves by focusing on negative reasoning behind what others do, and start doing what is required to make us healthy?

    Too many people suffer from a bigger problem...Feeling everyone should fix everything for them, and having to hit rock bottom before they make significant changes. We have more info available these days to stay healthy.

    I dont think it is used because many look for the quick and easy way out first. Positive actions take work, and to me, over the past 30 years...I have witnessed parents getting lazy.
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      Oct 21 2011: Excellent points: if I may just add:

      Parents are getting vey busy - the parents of young children in our society are now called the "Squeeze Generation" - squeezed for time, financial independence, resources. Perhaps a contributing factor is that families now typically contain two working parents and less time is focused on gardening, cooking from scratch (no boxes included), and taking time to make conscious decisions at the grocery store.

      I am curious about what rock bottom looks like before something changes in our society whereby children's comprehensive wellness is a priority. Is it children as young as 12 being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (formly called Adult Onset Type 2 Diabetes - not really applicable anymore)? Or a statistic like 30% of North American children in our schools are overweight and/or obese?
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    Oct 21 2011: Primarily parents, but also all adults who take on a leadership role.

    The priority will vary according to the nature of the adult's role, but teachers, activity leaders and the like are all role models for the children they come into contact with.

    There is a wider role relating to ensuring that there are plenty, safe, and varied opportunities for activity, and for controlling the tide of advertising targeted at children. That's a responsibility every generation has in relation to the next one.
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      Oct 21 2011: I am very impressed with sports program and other extracurricular activity programs that incorporate wellness into their curriculum. Children respond well to those that display great leadership, and this is not different when it comes to topics such as nutrition. Teachers and coaches/activity leaders could have a valuable role in this journey.
      • Oct 21 2011: I am interested in your comment about programs (esp. sports) that include wellness issues in their curricula. Could you give me an example? What ages are targeted? Thanks.
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          Oct 21 2011: I have worked with swimming teams, youth basketball programs, hockey schools - that felt it valuable to add nutrition and self-esteem activities/lectures into their programs. I have developed a resource to help programs do this more effectively and extensively.

          The age groups vary from 6 to 17.
  • Nov 19 2011: hi Corinne
    I,m a paedatrician, pediatric endocrinologist. I work in Zaragoza, Spain, I lead groups of obese children and parents whith "niñ@s en movimiento" program. Do you know it? . I,m very impressed by interest of your question. I would like to know, if possible your method.
    My best regards :
  • Nov 15 2011: Everyone! It takes a village after all.

    Also, you cannot force the willing. That meaning if the young person wants to be healthy and the parents are bad at it, they will learn from others, and actively seek out demonstrations and information.

    So instead of teaching people facts, or info. I think we should teach them curiosity and drive. If that is even possible.
  • Nov 13 2011: I believe that would fall under number 3. An example would be a parent educating why they cooked chicken on a specific evening for their child and that is has essential proteins that help the body gain muscle etc. etc.
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    Nov 11 2011: What you would like to hear if you were in the chlld's shoes. A smile, A hug, A word of caution or instruction A word of encouragement. Whatever is appropriate in the moment.......
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    Nov 10 2011: This might sound like a weird answer but my response is that it is 'somebodies'" responsibility. By that I mean, it is the parent's or other family members but if they do not do it whose is it? The doctors who care for the children, the educators who see them day by day, the politicians who are supposed to have the citizenry and their well being as their highest goal. My point is that we all have to take responsibility so that we do not continue to let our children down.
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    Nov 9 2011: Humans have very little control over their weight. What people eat have has very litte effect on their weight. Study after study conducted the past fifty years bears this out. Would any tell an anorexic all they need to do is eat more food and exercise less? There is no difference.
    • Nov 10 2011: This is not true. With calorie counting and a protein based diet with progressive weight lifting, people can transform their bodies.

      Some are more prone than others to be addicted.
  • Nov 9 2011: First the statistics are correct and one only has to wander through a mall to validate this. Secondly, for those of us, old enough to remember who ate all meals at home (which were prepared by our mothers) that was not the case. The "responsibility" I would suggest is three fold. The first is (sorry for the truth) laziness, translating to men and women not cooking (not showing their children) and setting a pattern that becomes a norm. The second is government by (historically) not insisting on good food in our schools (pizza days? and other ilk) with motivation coming from our lobbyist groups (why would 3.2 billion be spent annually if it did not accomplish some set of goals) and reinforcing a norm. The third is you. And it's a you in multiple contexts.....first a disregard for yourself and your children, secondly a disregard for family, eating healthy meals together that are more than just a meal but also an opportunity to communicate....versus, "I brought home burgers and fries, get off your game console and grab one while they are hot".
    On a more personal note....most men and women are not attracted to fat people and I suspect it has to do with basics....our desire for a mate that "looks healthy" as well as (bluntly for many) some level of disgust though we do not express it. From a scientific perspective, yes the desire for concentrated calories is's less work. But to say we can't (or even that it contributes since this was not the case to the same degree in very recent times) eat sensibly I hope is not a reflection of declining mentality. At a government level.....meaning from your local PTA to the Feds...there is obviously a lot that can be done. The simplest is the PTA and an examination of what is served in your child's know the rest of the drill with respect to Washington if interested. I would also mention that change at this level is easy....getting Congress to move is not. Lastly not buying "crap". Good luck.
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    Nov 9 2011: Corinne, please could you tell me more about your self esteem building programmes. Its pertinent to a question I posed on Ted. I'm keen to find practical exercises that help to develop a healthy mind. Thanks
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      Nov 9 2011: Hi Jerry - I will e-mail you a private message re: my program. Thanks for the inquiry
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        Nov 10 2011: Thanks Corinne, I look forward to learning about it.
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    Nov 9 2011: I think it is most clear that the responsibilty is combined. The Child, his close enviroment and the oarger social enviroment is responisble for healthy education. However, it's almost impossible to regard to a child's enviroment as one. His parents are his close-native enviroment, which holds the mere responsibility for his education - but nowadays at an early stage- a child develops his own views about nutrition, and he is closer to his equals. His school as a pedagogical institute also holds the formal responsibilty for teaching him, but his friends at this stage is most likley the group which will affect him most- and thats how children get stuck in fast food chaings.
    I think the solution needs to come from the equal group. Health care and nutrition education should use digital media, TV, and mass media which reaches chldren and youth and campaign that being healthy is more cool than being fat and eating fast food. Thats why social networs can contribute alot to this matter.
  • Nov 9 2011: In all honesty, I attribute obesity to the environment the child grew up in. There was an interesting conversation I heard about a month ago suggesting that obesity may VERY well be a form of child abuse. On the converse, I think educating children and parents is the best way to go. The number 1 cause of deaths is smoking, followed by obesity and it is rampant.
    • Nov 10 2011: It is. That is why it cannot be left in the hands of the parents. I have had seen examples of parents and teens that clearly have no sense of counting calories and how to choose food that covers their macro nutrients. Its not just for athletes that play sports, it should be everyone.

      They should teach it clearly in energy management class or PE class.

      Especially parents who are poor. Their childs health and fidelity is the last thing they focus on. Food is about survival not thriving to them. Its a sad defeat.

      School lunches are a big leverage point to turn the tide.

      Egg whites, chicken breasts, tuna, whole grain pasta/rice/bread, yogurt, almonds.
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        Tao P

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        Nov 15 2011: Look beyond what passes for health food Nicholas. You're on the right track but keep digging. Think about what fat is, why some kinds taste good, why many nutrients are fat soluble. Trust your taste buds.
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    Nov 9 2011: Parents :)
    • Nov 10 2011: You seem to care, but what about the others??
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        Nov 10 2011: There is more information available more than ever before on this subject. This is the golden age of information. It starts with good parenting but I take your point Nicholas and agree - really it's everyone! Everyone needs to help and there in lies the difficulty. Past a certain age I think it is the responsibility of the individual to make the choice.
  • Nov 9 2011: 1: be grateful for what you have and do not waste food if possible

    2: why and in what ways it can be a detriment to self to be a glutton

    3. give love and time as a parent and listen to what your kids express, project and need.

    these messages teach respect, accountability, love for self and others and make it a partnership bwtween parents and their children.

    Leading by example is the most important message
    • Nov 10 2011: what about understanding the basics of protein and how it helps the body?
  • Nov 9 2011: I think it starts with the parents, but everyone needs to be accountable. This includes everyone from daycare to school systems.
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    Nov 7 2011: Certainly not parents.
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    Nov 7 2011: Everyone's.
  • Nov 6 2011: they are themselves because they are not a small child now.
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    Nov 6 2011: I live in France where kids are practically "bottle-fed" red wine. I think the education starts at home, however, many parents (here in France), don't consider it important to educate their children on eating right and responsible drinking because they, themselves don't eat or drink responsibly. A doctor here in the Basque Country told me that she told one of her patients who had high cholesterol to eat only one egg per week and to stop eating processed meat products. The patient cried "Well what will I eat ??!!" So in order for parents to know what to do, we, as a society need to educate the parents and limit the kind of advertising we receive for junk food and alcohol. I think that each country should make it a priority to get their citizens and their littlest citizens, healthy.
  • Nov 5 2011: Under my the technical point of view we should try change uses of living in the familly, not only advicing population and collectivity. It is diffcult because parents dont recognise problem, even them also have it!. Eabc one has his one responsability and general trends are in the media and profesionals.
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    Nov 4 2011: Parents should be get informed to be abel to guide their children and make them used to a healthy lifestyle. Is also teacher's responsibility of course, if they spot obesity they should together with the parents and the boy or girl find a solution and help him or her to be healthier and have a better quality life style.
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      Nov 4 2011: Hi Marien

      Thank you for that insight. Teachers are not equipped to identify children who are obese - it should come from the primary health care practitioners; however, teachers can definitely identify which children are not eating an overall healthy dietary pattern. They see what the children bring for lunch and two snacks each day. It is valuable if teachers can then offer some nutrition education to the entire class to encourage the student body to choose healthier foods more often.
    • Nov 10 2011: Yes so this theoretical parent wants to be informed... where do they go?

      Thats what we need, a definitive destination where people can get good concise info.

      If they type it in google they will become confused maybe.
  • Nov 4 2011: Who wants to keep you alive? your parents presumably, your family friends . well they need to do the teaching....
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    Nov 3 2011: I would say both parents and medias
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    Nov 2 2011: Parents or guardians of course. Kids eat what's at home. Schools teach about healthy living (either in biology or ethics class) but if the kids are offered fatty burgers and ice-cream every night at home, what they learned at school has no meaning.
    • Nov 10 2011: Also parents are the only source of food they have outside of the few hours at school.
  • Nov 2 2011: Obviously, parents/family/teachers, but there is way more to it IMHO :

    Most of the time, people compare themselves to others in order to find the "right thing to do". In my opinion, there would be no problem with healthy eating or physical activity if everyone did their part. I don't think that this is in anyway utopic because I think it works in a positive feedback loop manner (e.g. the more people play sports, the more you tend to play sports yourself). The same goes for appropriate grammar...

    Unfortunately, we live in a society that has close to no "expectations" of the average Jo and almost pushes people to take bad decisions : work more, buy more, eat more... (e.g. from Super Size Me : "In its peak year the Five-a-Day Vegetable Campaigns total advertising budget in all media was a lowly 2 million dollars" versus "In 2001, on direct media advertising, that's radio, television and print, McDonald's spent 1.4 Billion dollars worldwide")
    => How can you expect someone to make the right decision when everything from the environment says otherwise ?

    As of positive self esteem's case :
    - tell people to stop continually comparing themselves to photo-shopped models
    - stop being so superficial : accept that you were born that way and deal with it rather then pulling yourself down continually
    - start working on your inner self as well (should be the real source of self-esteem)

    All in all, I believe that we still keep undermining the importance of the environment in our decision-making and that we should start to have higher social expectations in children and start to make bad influences pay twice as much to advertise (I would personally ban them)
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    Nov 2 2011: Corinne -I think the key phrase in your explanatory statement is "overnourishment epidemic".

    In western societies the availability of food that "overnourishes" at prices that are so amazingly affordable even to the very poorest people, is epidemic.If you are so inclined, you could feed yourself into obesity just from pocket change andbottle returns. Many do just that.

    I firmly believe that food is medicine - the most important medicine we take - and for an alarming number of people it is being misused and causing real damage (at this point the libertarians may want to jump in and claim what people do to themselves is none of our business... I'd like to start a conversation sometime about how to help libertarians see that very few things we do in life are done in a vaccuum; most things are connected) For many people food is the great pacifier; It tastes so good that it becomes the focal point of many people's lives. If nothing else goes right, three times a day they can look forward to the "happy meal high". It is well-documented that food is used as a coping mechanism for stress, disappointment and many other of life's slings and arrows. I'm not only criticizing the person for succumbing to the temptation but also (and more importantly) criticising society for not helping. What are we here for if not each other?

    The answer to your question? So many of us have responded with one word: education. But I think that is an oversimplification. I think we need a concerted effort by the "village"; the individual him/herself, parents, schools, families, government, organizations, businesses and anyone else within the "village" to do what they can to support and educate each other. Compassionately. The message needs to be unified, clear, compassionate and must include a long-term commitment to provide alternatives.
  • Nov 2 2011: Under my the technical point of view we should try change uses of living in the familly, not only advicing population and collectivity. It is diffcult because parents dont recognise problem, even them also have it!. Eabc one has his one responsability and general trends are in the media and profesionals.
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    Nov 2 2011: I expose a project about the positive influence of Horses
    they help us build basic and useful skills,skills so important in society
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      Nov 5 2011: Yes!
      I am so glad you bring this up, Jorge!

      I love riding, and found a local organization of therapeutic horse back riding for the handicapped.
      Volunteering with them in the arena has been such a fulfilling experience, I think it gave me more than it gave the children that participated.

      Horses are incredibly gentle and understanding, and there was a chemistry that is hard to explain. Because I was practically born on a horse, knowing this is natural for me, but it was amazing to see how it worked on children that had never seen one, and specially children with big mental impairments. They still could relate to these gentle giants, looked forward to the rides, felt secured and empowered, and gained strength and self esteem. Even when they didn't at other times, they would smile when they were with their horse, or on it.

      For regular children, the interaction with horses is also extremely positive, bringing another dimension to their education. Children not only learn necessary skills to ride properly and improve physically because of the exercise, but develop additional abilities that other activities do not provide. Responsibility for a living being, a personal relationship with the horse, emotional maturity, teamwork, and long term commitment are a few of them.

      Horses are awesome!
  • Nov 1 2011: The federal government is the first to step in. It has by providing food stamps, free or reduced lunches in schools.
    Food stamps and free or reduced lunches do not count calories. An average person needs about 2000 calories a day. A gallon of ice cream is about 10,000 calories or the equivalent of five days of calories. Instead of providing food stamps that buy pretzels, chips, fried foods, sodas, etc - have stamps that provide 2000 calories per day. if you buy a gallon of ice cream - food for five days - that is the person's decision - but they don't get the chips, pretzels, sodas, fried food with it. In school, free or reduced breakfast and lunch should be equal to about 1000 calories - the family should provide the other 1000 - and if they are on food stamps, they get 1000 worth of calories for the student, and 2000 for themselves. Overweight individuals should not be allowed to get food stamps because they can be detrimental to their health, and should only be allowed food stamps for 2000 calories per day when they are within an average weight per a group of similar people.
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    Nov 1 2011: Everyone's Responsibility - Parents, Neighbours, Teachers, Friends, Business, communities - the MEDIA - Everyone has to educate and at the same time practice healthy eating, physical activity, and positive self esteem - because it is one thing to tell people to eat this and not that, do your 90 minutes daily and feel good about who you are an who you'll be - but many of us, myself included don't always provide the best example - and if there is one thing that youth recognise quickly is when someone is genuine, it goes a long way. Brocolli will never taste as good as chocolate, but does it need to, or do we need to show youth an example of what we should eat when, and that sugar, fat and salt aren't always the enemy, but most of the time they are.
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    Nov 1 2011: Hello!
    Peter Han introduced here the concept of how our systems are biologically wired to preserve grease, sugar and salt being that these elements were short on offer in distant times.

    What was Human answer to that in the course of thousand years? Evolved! No genetic therapy or major evolution! That takes a little bit more than thousands of years.
    Humans had a need to have more and sustainable sources of food so they evolved accordingly.

    In a simplistic way at first Humans collected from nature or/and hunted, then kept animals and bred them, then they settled down in places where they could have both animals and crops, and then evolved in every way we needed to maximize production of food preserve it and have it available every where needed or wanted.

    In the last 45 years or so people in "occidentalized" countries have had abundance of food and peace and not only there is still hunger in the world as paradoxically there is overweight and an obesity epidemics in the former.
    Worse... we reached the point where we need to think how to teach and implement actions so people know how to eat, live relaxed and build self esteem. Really? How ashamed should Humans fill? To have to learn such basics... but the true is WE ALL NEED!

    "Now" that we have over satisfied our basic needs of eating, Humans need to evolve towards a more "inner" issue.
    How to live in a way where we respect and Love nature, other species, our self and all other people.
    A way to have a world where there is space in our life to evolve spiritually, where we can have the space and time to feel better. A place where Human basic needs are met and they do not overcome their definition of BASIC to one of OVER feeding, OVER stress, OVER diseased as in "occidentalized" countries nor lack in other countries.

    We need to be more than our basic nature and instincts.
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    Oct 31 2011: Corrine--

    Re: Karina's request, here is more on the healthy community initiative I'm involved with:

    Paha Sapa: Play it Forward, is a citizen parent-led anti-childhood obesity initiative assisted by U of Minnesota researchers. We use a constructivist/democratic approach in which “experts” are all. We were recently featured in front-page features of a couple of local media, a good sign we are tapping an unmet need.

    We focus on cross-sector, cross-generational solution for community health. While many parallel efforts address narrow sectors such as urban children who need more opportunities for play and access to healthy food and suburban families who are overwhelmed with over-scheduling and on the fly-meals, ours blends the lines.

    So, we have rich and poor, all different colors and ethnicities, old, young, pros (college athletes) novices, and everything in between. Which is more truly representative of our diverse community.

    We spent the summer planning and trying different things. Community members joined a variety of semi-spontaneous small group (15 - 30) pick-up games/activities.

    We've done kite-flying, water games, night games, pick-up football, basketball, kickball, bocce ball, geo-caching/scavenger hunts and a number of other cool activities that appeal to a range of ages from kids to grandparents. “

    Play it Forward” implies our mission of all community as welcome and needed for sustained, positive change.

    We’re engaging more of the community with a large event this wknd.

    We decided to partner with an elementary school, city park&rec, etc. All market the event and will send staff to it. We don't "do" passive partners ;-). All must engage in the fun!

    Ie: the owner of a local coffee shop will bring drinks for all, but also teach tennis. The local food coop will feed all a soup lunch, but also lead a game involving identifying vegetables. I’m hoping our Mayor will dance Zoomba, which a football coach/YMCA leader is org'ing.

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    Oct 30 2011: I think this should initially start with the family,parents should teach their childeren healthy eating habits,especially when a child is 3/4 years old because thats when a child starts taking his/her parents as a role model and if a parent has a bad diet that is likely to affect the child.Once this stage is passed,things like this should also be taught in primary schools.
  • Oct 29 2011: Teaching youngsters about healthy eating, physical activity and positive self esteem begins very early with the parents setting the example for them. Part of the problem with the healthy eating is the lack of quality in the food we have available in the stores today.Too many processed foods. The fast foods available may be tasty but they certainly are not healthy for you.
    I recall when I was young that I was always encouraged to go outside and "play". Today with TV's, computers, and all the gameboy things, children are no longer going outside to play and get the fresh air.This carries on into adulthood.
    Positive self esteem starts with the parent giving honest and constructive criticism and well deserved praise.
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    Oct 29 2011: The resounding majority thinks that parents are the main source of information for children with regards to healthy eating. What do you think are the top three key messages that parents should teacher their children today to change the course of their children's dietary patterns and, ultimately, wellness?
    • Oct 29 2011: In my opinion:

      !. Learning to group/attribute what foods are in the groups of, and rich in, protein, carbs, and fats.
      2. Learning to count calories
      3. Learning the idea that increasing protein in the body turns the body into a fat burning machine.

      Since most parents don't know this stuff themselves they should be reached out to as well to complete the cycle.
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    Oct 29 2011: Fast food, the corporate way to clean up the gene pool. Think about it...All the way to your next coronary.
  • Oct 28 2011: Justin Hainline, your answer is great!
    I too believe the answer lies primarily with the parents. As many have pointed out that the parents cannot teach that which they don't know. BUT, the information is out there and readily available. It doesn't take that much to sift through the "magic pills," "latest ab or thigh slimmer contraption" or "over do the protein fad" sites and find sound information on sustainable healthy lifestyle.
    It is the responsibility of the parents to find out this information AND to (within the best of their ability) set the example and share the information.
    Schools are back up. I remember learning about nutrition in elementary school, but it needs to continue past that.
    Doctors SHOULD be back up but up until recently many medical schools did not even require nutrition classes for doctors.
    Health insurance plans should offer coaching and classes, again as back up.
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    Oct 28 2011: I'd say the responsibility is of the parents...but the teachers and friends also play a huge role....
    parents need to guide the children in proper direction and let them evaluate the path...thats how they learn to be on their own...
    also i believe the media...TV, Internet, etc play a major role...we do as we see...right!! :)
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    Oct 27 2011: Good call on opening this talk!

    Whose responsibility?

    We could start at almost any one. As Dana Mulvany said here " Obviously, parents can't teach what they don't know."

    Family? Well even though people that don't know can't teach..obese grandparents or parents with difficulties due to obesity...can surely teach their relatives how to avoid obesity.

    Doctors and nurses? They have their role specially at GP clinics, where there's a closer and more intimate contact between people. This said, is way from being effective. Most people won't listen.

    Schools? Again essential but difficult to know how much will children really practice what they learn, most don't with other knowledge why would it be different with food and exercise? And if at the school coffee, canteen or at home things don't work, why bother? Recommended physical activity is about 30min moderate aerobic exercise at least 4 times a week... how many schools ensure this physical activity?

    TV and Media? Well there is already a generous stream doing that... Is not working as it should... could help more if there was more social awareness and responsibility... but that is not drama, crime and sex so it kills TV ratings!

    We can't forbid anything! It is proven that it turns something much more appealing...

    People could start doing what they preach for one and then governments as in other things could really attack industries such as coca-cola, pepsi, beer and other alcohol, mcdonald and fast food, chocolates and alike... well the list is endless! The "recent" changes in law and so on are ridiculous...they knew they it wouldn't have any impact what so ever..
  • Oct 27 2011: Parents then Teachers - where the first ppl from whom kids learn/ imitate/ adapt/ understand/ love/ hate aand thus live..
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    Oct 27 2011: Some of the conversations on this forum are the perfect example of how parents and caregivers could easily get distracted from how to model and teach their children what a balanced, healthy dietary pattern looks like. With so many well read people who are passionate about nutrition and exercise, it is no wonder the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar machine. Unfortunately, the information that gets pumped out of the next "fad" diet plan does nothing to teach children about how to make wholesome, balanced choices.
  • Oct 26 2011: I respect your opinion but I can't agree with you Nicholas. Nobody can convince me that those fake substances may make me feel better. They might make my body stronger for a while but certainly not healthier. And I don't see why we should replace the natural products with chemistry. I am sure that in the past people did not need this type of protein in order to be muscular :) But maybe they worked a bit more physical work. I am sure they did not go to gym but they ran outside for doing this and that.

    p.s: I've tried one of those stuff once and I can tell you that after five minutes it was all black in front of my eyes. I never ever felt so bad. So if I wonder if it is so good for the health why it made me feel so bad:)
    • Oct 26 2011: I am glad you brought up these thoughts because they reflect the thoughts of many. It gives me a chance to give examples of criticisms I have for certain pieces of logic when it comes to these things. I can't possibly give the whole big picture because that would be many more essays, but I can at least attempt to poke holes in your ideas from my point of view.

      When you say fake substance we get into the classic artificiality debate. Many people have this hesitation when it comes to the idea of putting something fake or not real in their bodies. I am sure science fiction stories in our society help propagate this notion of natural vs artificial. In most people, the natural side always wins the battle. But in the end you lose. It steers you away from what is really more important for your overall health: your nutrient quota. You are not going to get results from the fake substances. You get results from filling your QUOTA and that makes your metabolism keep your body at an optimal rate. You mistakenly stop at a cause and effect relationship, when the results come in a roundabout way from the totality of your caloric intake/burn rate. Your increase of protein in your body is what gives you your final results, not the powder itself. The powder just helps keep the math correct. It gives you the raw numbers to correctly fill your daily formula.

      You cannot possibly eat that many chicken breasts and have a full time job. You need the protein to help you turn the tides of the calorie battle to your side.

      The raw building blocks of protein are amino acids. If you eat tons of real protein, tons of fake protein, and tons of the building blocks of protein (amino acids), you are getting a way better spectrum of daily intake to fill your protein gauge as opposed just eating breasts. Remember, this is a war for many people and you want every advantage you can find.

      There is nothing fundamentally wrong with nutrients that don't come from food. The body doesn't know.
      • Oct 26 2011: Alright, I wonder how to start here. And I will give u an example: Imagine that you are old, u can't walk much and dont have much strenght. What do u think that u would eat, what do you think that it would be better for u in order to live longer and feel better - the so called "fake substances" or carrots potatoes, chicken, beef and fish?
        • Oct 26 2011: That question has already been answered.

          The answer is the correct amount that it takes to fill your gauges. Ideally both protein powder, fish oil, and vitamins. And also carrots (not potatoes which are sugar, but yams) etc.

          You need a paradigm shift where you don't place importance on the "goodness" or "badness" of the food but rather how much of it and when.
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        Oct 26 2011: Nicholas,
        I realize, from reading your profile, that you are associated with "Extreme Energy Retail", and your expertise is sales. I also agree, as I said, with some of the information you provided earlier.

        However, now, it appears that you are trying to sell your product, and a couple ideas you put forth in your last comments are simply not true.

        You write:..."natural vs artificial. In most people, the natural side always wins the battle. But in the end you lose. It steers you away from what is really more important for your overall health: your nutrient quota"

        Nicholas, no one is going to "lose" by eating natural foods. That is simply not true.
        • Oct 26 2011: Yeah one way or another I'm gonna turn this message board discussion into profits for my product. Wait for it it's coming.

          If people aren't losing, then why is there a health epidemic? Why do so little people know the real facts about transforming ones body?

          Yes I am into sales which means my expertise is communication. I know how the masses think.

          And I am telling you the current approach isn't good enough .

          If the average person goes on google and types "how can I change the oil on my car" surely they will find a solution.

          If the average person goes on google and types "how to get in shape" they will find a gang of trendy links and articles and most likely they will never end up at the message boards, instead they will be lost.

          There's only a few things that work and give results, everything else is misleading.
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        Oct 26 2011: Remember that micronutrients play a very important part in wellness, recovery, and fitness levels - not just the macro.
        • Oct 27 2011: What is happening is that we place too much emphasis on the micro nutrients. What we should be pushing is the concept of the big picture.

          I would argue that it's not a series of facts that you collect like pokemon cards but rather a total philosophy, and we should primarily concentrate on pushing that, and putting emphasis on that instead of focusing on the tips and tricks method which on a massive scale, creates misconceptions about what is important and what is vital for real life results.

          What is more important to focus on? The core elements of what necessary for success? Or the auxiliary tidbits that are inconsequntial in the big picture.

          Did you know that even missing 1 vital vitamin category can impede the progress of ones metabolism? How many people know that? We are so busy demonizing artificial pills that we confuse people and mislead people that will never end up eating enough fruits and vegetables to compete with theoretical pill taking, but also will not take pills on principal alone.

          Wouldn't you agree that the priority emphasis should be on the core basics?
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        Oct 26 2011: Nicholas,
        You provide some good information in your previous post...
        You say..." Yeah one way or another I'm gonna turn this message board discussion into profits for my product. Wait for it it's coming". Thanks for letting us know what your intention is. I agree with you that there are some things that are misleading. I think bending the truth, to sell your product is misleading.
        • Oct 27 2011: Colleen I Do hope you're joking lol...
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        Oct 27 2011: On the natural vs synthetic debate, why don't we look at the distinction between folate (natural, found in leafy vegetables among other things) and folic acid (synthetic, found in supplements and now "fortifying" our flour in North America).

        Folate is needed by the body to synthesize nucleic acid, especially in utero to develop the spine and skull properly. Folate is therefore desireable for pregnant women. Folic acid is an acceptable way to boost those levels up in that population, for the 12 or so weeks that it is necessary.

        For the rest of us, however, folic acid (the synthetic) has been associated with an INCREASE in colon cancer - 42 countries show the same trend: introduce the fortification and colon cancer goes up. And yes, it could be a secondary or tertiary factor, but really, does it matter at the end of the day? Frankly, I'd be concerned even if it were only "anecdata".

        When dealing with the artificial, we really do have to assess bioavailability and the effects that it will actually have on the body.
        • Oct 27 2011: We are all the totality of our socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, morals, ideas, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. In an effort to communicate to the masses, we have to understand how people think and engineer backwards from there. To get real life results, you need real life practical and logistically applicable solutions.

          Its too complicated to explain the human element in such a small space, but there are many things that will keep a person from fulfilling their daily intake or making the choice to get up and go to the gym. People are human after all.

          If people don't use N.O./caffeine supplements they may not get up and go to the gym in the first place. If they don't take protein powder, they may not get results, if they don't take fish oil pills they might not get enough healthy fats to sustain their gains, if they don't take multi-vitamins it impedes gains as well etc...

          How sick will they get then? The downside of the absence of these supplements outweigh their supposed/potential danger.

          And since when do fish oil pills, Optimum Whey protein, and Orange Triad multivitamins cause cancer??
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        Oct 27 2011: No Nicholas, I'm not joking, and I thank you for being clear about your intention.
        • Oct 27 2011: To clear things up, I own trendy retail shops in malls, this year I happen to be selling bracelets because that's in demand. It has nothing to do with me or this discussion since I only carry the product because it's a selling trend, I don't even care about or wear these things.

          Thank you, and have a tremendously majestical day :)
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        Oct 27 2011: Nicholas,
        You're not clearing anything up. Your profile says you are associated with
        "Extreme Energy Retail", and your expertise is sales.

        You stated in a previous comment...
        "Yeah one way or another I'm gonna turn this message board discussion into profits for my product. Wait for it it's coming".

        You have provided information that is inconsistant and misleading.
        People on this forum are not foolish.
        • Oct 27 2011: Don't try to malign my character.
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        Oct 27 2011: Dear Nicholas,
        This is not about your character. It is about the information you have presented.
        The topic question is..."Whose responsibility is it to educate our young people on healthy eating, physical activity, and positive self esteem?"

        You started commenting with some great information about the body functions, and how to address this issue. Then you began saying that bodybuilding, doing so many "squats" every day and taking supplements was the ONLY way to address this issue. I believe you may have found something that works realy well for you, and you want to share it with others.

        When you started saying that physical labor and eating natural foods was useless, and that you were "gonna turn this message board discussion into profits" for your product, your posts started looking like a Nicholas Ravencroft sales pitch. Your method (body building and eating only supplements and power bars) is not the only way to resolve this issue, nor in my opinion, is it the best way.

        Your character is your character. The only thing I am doing, is looking at your posts and the information you are providing about yourself, your methods and your intention. I admire and respect your knowledge about the body, and the fact that you have found a process that keeps you healthy. I do not agree that doing bench presses or squats, and eating power bars and suppliments is the only way to address this issue.
        • Oct 27 2011: Lol Colleen, I stopped taking you seriously when you said you weren't joking.

          You want to argue that physical labor and eating natural foods is equal or superior to progressive weight increase total body programs and eating whole foods in conjunction with scientifically calibrated nutrient formulas but yet at the same time you don't even have a basic sense of irony...?

          ??? that is the third time you quoted my phrase which I wrote in irony, as if it was a straight statement.

          How can I trust anything you say from now on when you don't even grasp a fundamental concept such as this Colleen? :)

          How does it reflect on the totality on your intelligence?

          I am a man who believes in logical reasoning and sound critical thinking. If you demonstrate you don't have any, I no longer wish to debate with you.

          It was already bizarre when you somehow randomly made a connection between the title of my company and my motivation for wanting to express my criticisms on marketing in the health and fitness industry. If you want to debate a topic, say so Colleen, don't resort to passive-aggressive borderline ad hominem attacks.

          Its not that I found something that works for me and my friends and family, its that I found out that almost everything else Doesn't work and leads to people giving up. How many gimmicky diets are there on TV and the internet that don't work and serve to mislead people? Obviously I am right because the current state of health awareness in the world is low compared to the technology for communication that we have at our disposal.

          The first step I know for sure is to stop demonizing weight lifting and supplements because without those two tools it greatly increases the chance of failure in the humans who attempt to transform their bodies without them --leading the individuals to give up; which is what is happening today.

          Encouraging them to do relatively inefficient things like labor/jogging makes them give up after not seeing results.

          Psychology is key.
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        Oct 27 2011: NO? Beet juice. Spinach. Proteins? Soy protein. Beans. Nuts.

        They're all options - and one size does not fit all. Some women should not be having phytoestrogens (soy, maca, cohosh) and therefore should be taking a different set of supplements - and foods. And yes, there are supplements that can work for people.

        Hell, I spent the weekend before last at the CHFA Expo East, so I am well acquainted with a wide array of options. My point is there is no one magic fix that works for everyone -- and with different lifestyles people are going to have different nutrient and fitness needs, even if they are genetically identical twins.

        Taking a protein bar and heading to the gym is not a substitute for going to a health practitioner and knowing what is going on in their own body and getting a program customized to their needs.
        • Oct 27 2011: Taking a pre workout out "shot" of Beet Juice and Spinach is not gonna make you get up and go to the gym like some Jack3d or NO Xplode would.

          Again to many people with realistic busy lives this is the only way they can muster energy at the start or end of their day to get up, put on their socks and shoes and shorts and go to the gym.

          Soy protein is not nearly as effective as whey.

          Nuts? IM NUTS ABOUT EM! Every night before I go to bed I eat almonds mixed into low-fat yogurt.

          One size does fit all though: Rippetoe Starting Strength (and many similar systems based on weight progression and programming) is the easiest most realistic and efficient way to to get from being "out of shape" to being "in shape."

          Once people get a taste of results they will stick with it.

          If they go months or even years running on treadmills and mulling about on Nautilus machines, not lifting barbells and dumbbells, and eating a traditional measly breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or just lunch and dinner) they will eventually just check out of the gym all together and continue to live a non-anabolic lifestyle.

          Have you READ Rippetoes Starting Strength???

          Its hard to explain this stuff and how sensitively everything hangs in the balance of ones motivation if you haven't actually done it. Have you ever been in phenomenal shape? Do you understand the sacrifice it takes to get there?

          Only a taste of results will keep people on track and motivated & the only way to get these results is to do nothing less than the seemingly "extreme" methods I am proposing.

          The reason I know nothing less works is because I remember the times BEFORE I found I used to subscribe to Mens Fitness and I used to have a Bowflex. I used to run around the gym aimlessly working out my forearms and calves when my whole body was skinny and out of shape. I remember the vagueness of it all. And that is what we are fighting up against. That is the hurdle to overcome to get to the goal spreading effective change.
        • Oct 27 2011: When you say "taking a protein bar and going to the gym" we are not on the same page. I am talking about whole daily supplement schedules where you take all your pills and powders like clockwork religiously on time and consuming whole foods based on caloric intake.

          No practitioner is necessary, the ailment is usually the same: being out of shape.

          Chicken Breast
          Egg Whites

          Brown Rice
          Brown Pasta
          Brown Bread (whole grain, not whole, not whole wheat, but WHOLE GRAIN)
          Vegetables and fruits

          Oil Pills
          Fish oil
          Various fats contained in the inter-lapping sources above

          Orange Triad Multivitamins or Animal Pak Multivitamins
          Optimum Whey Protein or other super premium modern protein
          Amino Acid Pills
          More Water than what you think is necessary and what feels right (if you ever feel thirsty you've been dehydrated for a long time)
          Pre workout fuel like Jack3d or NO Xplode
          (All the various daily scheduling information is on the labels of these products)

          The starting weight is whatever weight you can do easily and comfortably. Start low.

          Workout A:

          3x5 Squats
          3x5 Bench Press
          1x5 Dead Lift

          Workout B

          3x5 Squats
          3x5 Military Press
          3x5 Cable Back Rows

          Week 1:
          (Mon) WORKOUT A
          (Tue) OFF
          (Wed) WORKOUT B
          (Thurs) OFF
          (Fri) WORKOUT A + 5lbs extra on every weight from previous WORKOUT A
          (Sat) OFF
          (Sun) OFF

          Week 2:
          (Mon) WORKOUT B + 5lbs extra on every weight from previous WORKOUT B
          (Tue) OFF
          (Wed) WORKOUT A + 5lbs extra on every weight from previous WORKOUT A
          (Thurs) OFF
          (Fri) WORKOUT B + 5lbs extra on every weight from previous WORKOUT B
          (Sat) OFF
          (Sun) OFF

          Continue the cycle till you max out at an exercise at which point you take your max weight and multiply it by .7 and continue this cycle with all exercises until you reboot twice. By that time months have gone by & you are very strong, ready to become an intermediate.

          ^How can masses be taught this in a significant, efficient, easy to understand and authoritative way?
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        Oct 27 2011: Nicholas,
        I communicate clearly and honestly. If you don't want to take me seriously, that's your choice, and I don't mind.

        1. Eating natural foods and doing physical labor, along with many other practices, can contribute to better health.

        2. I am not, in any way "attacking" you Nicholas

        3. I am not passive agressive. I simply say what I mean, and mean what I say, based on information you are providing.

        4. I do not advocate "gimmicky" diets either...on that we agree.

        5. I am not, in any way "demonizing weight lifting and supplements". I have simply stated that it is not the only way to manage good health.

        6. I agree...psychology may be one of the keys.
        • Oct 27 2011: 1. Yes but if you take in the big picture, such statements lead the masses to believe that the effects of such practices are more significant than they really are, therby sending mixed messages and giving them an easy out/alternative to the more focused, organized, and efficient approach it takes to achieve real life results. The results they are actually looking for, yet going on in misguided ways about achieving them and applying what they know. This is a key theme in my general criticism, not toward you personally, but to the way things are now.

          2. Well I would hope not! :) I am all about positivity.

          3. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I act like a robot too.

          4. Agreed.

          5. Glad to hear that, I just hope the level of emphasis is balanced. I would define good health as being in an anabolic state.

          6. Agreed.
    • Oct 26 2011: As for the workout aspect, physical labor is super inefficient, is technically over training, and has no superior merit to a standardized exercise program. Its our old myths of our cultures that propagate this. The pride of hard work mixed into the wrong field.

      The first week you do squats you won't be able to walk and you will feel terrible. On your third week (if you systematically increase the weight 5 or 10 lbs every workout) you will feel like every muscle fiber in your body craves to go to war!

      Then after you have done this for 4 weeks you can reap the benefits of your system and enjoy your new strength and energy and vitality, and joy, and wellness; you can then truly be on a grand path for total health and body transformation.

      Supplements are tools to achieve a goal. Literally they supplement the things you can not normally achieve on natural food alone (conveniently/logistically).

      Stay away from anyone who shuns nutrients, it is the best indicator that they don't know what they are talking about.

      Its not a lifestyle. Its your life. Its life and death.

      You have to get over the early hump. Nobody should ever give up because they are out of shape. you start light with weights you can handle and you do Squats, Bench, Military Press, Deadlifts, Back Rows, and abs. You stick to those, until you master them and are lifting heavy weights. Simple 3 x 5 sets. (search Rippetoe Starting Strenght)
      • Oct 26 2011: I dont see why u think that our system needs all those things - Squats, Bench, Military Press, Deadlifts, Back Rows, and abs. etc. Isnt it better to do something outside;). I would love to see my man with six pack but dont u think that some people have it naturally:). I think this is nicer, no
        • Oct 26 2011: Because anything less is simply ineffective.

          The human body needs strong growth signals to make changes and you can only send those signals with systematic programming.
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        Oct 26 2011: Nicholas,
        Again, I realize, from reading your profile, that you are associated with "Extreme Energy Retail", and your expertise is sales. I also agree, as I said, with some of the information you provided earlier.

        You say..."As for the workout aspect, physical labor is super inefficient".

        There is certainly nothing wrong with "squats" and various other exercise programs. I don't think it's wise, however to disregard physical labor as a way to keep the body in relatively good shape. Nor is it logical to tell people to "stay away from anyone who shuns nutrients" because "it is the best indicator that they don't know what they are talking about".

        Some of us are simply trying to be healthy...not body builders:>)
        • Oct 26 2011: The starting approach is the same weather you want to be champion body builder or just healthy.

          Squats are key. My 50+ yr old mother did them starting with 20 pounds and got up to over 100.

          The human muscle can get so strong it could rip itself off the bone if it wasn't for the nervous system.

          Your metabolism should not be stagnant, it should always be alive. Running on treadmills and taking BRISK walks with ones dog doesn't do enough to really stimulate protein gain.
  • Oct 26 2011: Everyone should share this responsibility, but mostly parents. The "I'm too busy" excuse
    is not acceptable. Getting kids on the right track should be moved up on our list of
    priorities. Healthy kids grow up to be better citizens. We could practically put drug companies
    out of business if we did this. That would be good.
  • Oct 26 2011: Family
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    Oct 26 2011: it is responsibility of educational institution starting from kindergarten right up to college finishing. At home, parents should educate and implement healthy eating habits, drinking more and more water to cleanse the intestine of toxic waste generated by digestion every day in day out.

    Aloe Vera - A Brief History
    "Four vegetables are indispensable for the well being of man:
    Wheat, the grape, the olive and aloe.
    The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirit,
    The third brings him harmony, and the fourth cures him"
    Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
    "You ask me what were the secret forces which sustained me during my long fasts. Well, it was my unshakeable faith in God, my simple and frugal lifestyle, and the Aloe whose benefits I discovered upon my arrival in South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century".
    Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
    There are in fact over 200 varieties of Aloe, but it is the Aloe Barbadensis Miller (Aloe Vera or "true aloe") plant which has been of most use to mankind because of the medicinal properties it displays. Ancient records show that the benefits of this plant have been known for centuries, with its therapeutic advantages and healing properties surviving for more than 5000 years.
    Its antiquity was first discovered in 1862 in an Egyptian papyrus dated 1500 BC. It was used to great effect by Greek and Roman physicians. Researchers have found that both the ancient Chinese and Indian used Aloe Vera. Egyptian Queens associated its use with their physical beauty, while in the Phillipines it is used with milk for kidney infections. Legend suggests that Alexander the Great conquered the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean to secure supplies of Aloes to treat the battle wounds of his soldiers.
    Aloe Vera remained a prominent herbal remedy but as the Northern European countries expanded their colonisation of the globe, it starts to fall from grace.
  • Oct 25 2011: I believe places like do a good job giving out good, peer reviewed and controlled information.

    These days kids are all over the internet.

    Ideally education comes from the parents but in this case, due to health being such a modern field, parents just have out dated information. Heck, when they went to school, coaches still taught that lifting weights was a bad idea for sports.

    We need to get rid of the food pyramid and teach a class in school on energy management of the human body.

    We should see food not as a pleasure or vice but rather a source of fuel like how we fuel our cars. We should discourage deliciousness so to speak. We should teach everyone they have 3 meters: Protein, Carbs, Healthy Fats. You have to correctly fill those meters and the big total calorie meter correctly every day. Did you know a potato is mostly sugar? Everything is sugar and fat. Pizza is sugar and fat.

    Everyone, including old grandmas have to:

    take fish oil pills
    drink lots of water
    take weapons grade multi-vitamins like Orange Triad, not Centrum
    take flax oil pills
    take amino acid pills
    lift weights like squats and total body weights with upward weight progression
    take protein power in their meals

    I can't believe nobody has found ways to disseminate this information in a seemingly authoritative way. All we have is a food pyramid. Fueling a human body correctly is a complex art form.

    They should replace geography class with human energy management class.

    The populace would be much more energized and happy.
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      Oct 26 2011: Congratulations Nicholas for taking your health seriously and making positive choices in your life. As a former competitive bodybuilder - I need to warn you about the imbalanced lifestyle that bodybuilding websites and magazines endorse. Just remember - food is fuel (as you have stated correctly) but food is more than macronutrients..... micronutrients are a necessary part of your growth and development. Pill form works but is not always the best source. Green, organic, fresh foods are king....
      • Oct 26 2011: Indeed, thank you for congratulating me.

        I see what you are saying but I respectfully don't really agree with the vibe of all of this, and I think this is where the problem lies: in the way so called knowledgable people begin to communicate the details of something that needs to be presented as the big picture.

        A lot of people, because of ideas expressed in this way, run around completely misguided on what type of categories of nutrients there are, and what to place importance on.

        Its as if you completely ignore the idea that it is much more important to have your necessary basic quota of core nutrients filled. You're not saying it, but to the audience member it is implied.

        So many people don't feed their brains because they have no idea what protein is and isn't and will go days eating random things, never covering the necessary basics, but thinking because they are eating a lot so called healthy things like greens and fruits that they are doing something "right."

        Its not about right and wrong foods, its about quantities.

        The other thing that confuses people is that there is a sea of information that is not necessarily wrong, but not for them. For example, the main true goal of the typical person that needs this correct information is ultimately to look better naked. How ever you want to phrase it, it is achieved by one thing: body transformation techniques. Most of your information is for people who are already in peak intermediate physical condition and are maintenance and good habits of practice.

        No these people want to transform their bodies.

        The only way to do that, whether you are fat trying to lose weight, or skinny, trying to gain, is to have the correct amount of daily protein/calorie burn ratios.

        You can eat 100 oranges (impractical) or you can take one vitamin pill (same result). Even more beautiful, you can (and should) do both to be fully covered.

        Body transformation answers cannot easily be found in google due to saturation such as this.
      • Oct 26 2011: Have you ever played a video game like an RPG or the Sims and all the meters have a working interplay, and the people understand these! This is something they can learn.

        It should be that simple, like a fun game to master that ultimately gives you mastery over your own health.

        You have your Main health/energy bar for the day which is Blue (Calories)

        You have your Protein Bar which is red (for meat)
        You have your Healthy Carbs bar which is orange (for grain)
        You have your Healthy Fats bar which is shorter and light brown (for oil)

        Now someone develop a gameshow or a game like this. Or at least a 3D graphics montage and narration and have Obama announce it as the successor to the food pyramid.

        You might catch me cooking some WHOLE GRAIN penne pasta every morning day after day, not changing my died because again, its about quantities, not variations or minuscule quality advantages.

        Even during Arnolds time, even in the 90s they had bad information.

        Everything is about efficiency which leads to achievable real world results of body transformation for the common man. Its not THAT complicated, its just hard to communicate it correctly and authoritatively.

        Too many people know too many myths and they continue to spread them because they just create their own hybrid ideas by gathering random tips from random sources, not realizing that the results they want come from correct diet and programing your body to send growth signals by systematically increasing weights in planned workout programs.

        Personal trainers are a joke, most magazines are a joke, people need to know how to do the math for themselves, how to shop for food, and how to schedule meal, pill, and workout plans.

        And they need a great communicator with authority to teach them how to do it and undo all mythological and misleading notions the general "running around at the gym using random nautilus machines and then going home" crowd has.
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          Oct 26 2011: Hi Nicholas,
          I'm impressed with your knowledge about the body and nutrients, and I think that's what it takes for people to be more aware of what they are putting in their bodies. I also LOVE your idea of making awareness of the body and nutrition a fun game, rather than a struggle. I have always found the exploration of the body systems interesting and really amazing too!

          However, I agree with Corinne, that "Pill form works but is not always the best source. Green, organic, fresh foods are king.... " I grow my own food, so I know it is organic and very fresh. There is nothing more satisfying to me than going out in the gardens and plucking my meals off the vines. That is part of the fun for me:>)

          Personally, I love eating healthy foods to fuel the body and do not like taking supplements or eating power bars. We all need to find the balance of what works best for us, and information is always a good place to start.
      • Oct 26 2011: Yes that is how my mom is too. She has read a life time of hollistic and organic articles from various sources where they champion the whole organic and fresh thing.

        How is this on topic?

        What I am saying is that such a idea is a personal life outlook thing. Its a personality trait. It makes one feel in tune with themselves. Its almost spiritual.

        But again, misleading.

        You go around telling people its all about organic broccoli, and then thats all they go focus on. Ignoring their daily protein intake.

        We have to let go of our strong nature vs chemicals obsession so we can make room for proper communication of the totality of the system.

        Supplements are not substitutes. They are supplements. My main point was not to do away with healthy auxiliary nutrients we get from fruits and vegetables, but rather to not glorify them so much to the point where people who don't yet comprehend the big picture get confused.

        We are stuck trying to teach advanced concepts to beginners. The boy hasn't even eaten protein or complex carbs all week but we give him an apple.

        Too many times we worry about details without focusing on what comes first, the core basics. That is where the emphasis needs to go.

        "Pill form works but is not always the best source"

        The best source is the one that is the most realistic. I am not telling people to ignore real life fruits and substitute Orange Triad. But I do get the distinct feeling from the language that your tone doesn't bother to keep your readers from thinking they should ultimately do away with pills (bad) and eat only organic fruits (good).

        The girl who takes pills only will be better off than the girl who eats two or three fruits a day. (2-3000% of daily needs)
        The girl who eats only fruits is gonna be missing out on one vitamin or another and is not as complete as pills. (less than 100%)
        The girl who takes both has the artificial covering of her needs and the real life digestive benefits of natural food.

        Purity != total health
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          Oct 26 2011: Nicholas,
          You ask "how is this on topic"? It feels like it is TOTALLY on topic from all angles:>)

          "Whose responsibility is it to educate our young people on healthy eating, physical activity, and positive self esteem?Many statistics indicate that the overall North American adult population is not only overweight, but the number of people with Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and depression is consistently rising. Now, we see children as young as 12 suffering with the same conditions. The World Health Organization has called this situation an "overnourishment" epidemic. Parents do not have the practical information to teach their children about nutrition, teachers have a full curriculum and limited resources to contribute, food manufacturers are focused on making margins and are willing to go only so far, community Dieticians have limited time and resources - whose responsibility is it to make educating children about comprehensive wellness a priority".

          People who do not yet comprehend the big picture may take information from many different sources to get in tune with their body, eating habits, physical activity practices, and various other tools, which may help them find balance. I totally agree with what you've written above, and as I said in a previous comment, I believe it to be about balance of many factors. Each individual may start from a different point, so the more information we can provide the better. Thanks for your insightful comments:>)
      • Oct 26 2011: People will die first from body ailments caused by lack of protein and a reliance on unhealthy carbs before they die because they ate too much un-organic food.

        My mom used to always believe in eating super holistic, but her midsection started to bloat and her upper body wasn't being properly supported. Her heart was weak and she would suffer from all types of muscle pain and visit chiropractors and all this other stuff.

        One year after I had done a lot of studying on for myself, I got really muscular and in shape after a few months on the Rippetoe Starting Strength program. (The most famous and recommended system at

        I spent a few days drawing systems and nutrients and simple work out plans and convinced her to try it because I want her too feel happy and transform her body. Any time she would doubt me I would flex.

        I can't tell you how hard it was for me convince her to take protein. It was as if being organic was a part of her identity.

        Within 3 months she became wayyy stronger, her pain was relieved and I had breathed new life into my ailing mother. All it took was a few months of doing things totally correct, water, foods, increasing weights, protein powder, vitamins, timing, and she was a new person.

        It was the goal she always wanted to hit, she was just being misguided by magazines and articles that talk about broccoli too much without any total context.

        Before we can start making progress, we need authoritative figures to start giving people more perspective and undo some of the incorrect myths people rely on to change the state of their bodies.

        Common folks don't have an innate grasp of science and physiology. They see it as magic. Too often they assume with linear logic that if they eat "good" food they will get "good" results when in fact its more complicated than that, and the magic lies in the quantities and the details of the weekly programing cycles.
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    Oct 25 2011: I feel that it is both an equal responsibility between the school, parents and the child's physician.

    We all have to keep in mind that we want these kids to ultimately grow up to be awesome at life, and it is not very hard to do. All it takes is communication and a stern ability to ensure what you tell them to do is good for them. If you have to tell them a made up story about a kid named Mike who never followed the rules and became alone and poor then do it. They need to know that bad decisions have consequences no matter what. The guidance must be encouraging and rewarding, with love or what ever you choose. they need incentive to be the best they can be.

    As parents you might want to experiment with different vegetables and fruits to get an idea of what your kids like, and a word of advice, buy and like what they like. This is a good strategy to get them to eat healthy. Also make sure they take their vitamins everyday before school. Ask your child's doctor when a appropriate time is to start giving them vitamins, some kids might have diabetes or other forms of ailments that could be harmful if taken.

    Most importantly make sure they get out and play, not just sports and exercise but fun time play, chasing fireflies or playing games like hiding seek. The more active they are the healthier they will stay. Video games are good too, just not too much game time, it is best to keep things like TV and Game use monitored and controlled. these things are privileges.

    Time with the grandparents if possible. Self explanatory. I like to think that with every new generation the human race gradually gets smarter and smarter. But not without the wisdom available from our elders.
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    Oct 25 2011: By the way, although I haven't combed through this entire conversation, we would be remiss not to mention Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative. Not since JFK's push to improve physical fitnessin our youth has our country made such a concerted effort to educate children and parents about the importance of healthy eating to our overall well-being. You could say that we as a country have been on a decades-long eating binge. Now it's time for the pendulum to swing...

    Here is the link:
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    Oct 25 2011: There is no question in my mind that it is a collaboration. We all have our parts to play. The child, the parent, the family, the schools, business, government, society as a whole.

    To use an analogy, what responsible farmer would not toil long and hard to bring his or her crops to harvest? Collectively, we are the farmers who grow our future. Yet we seem to be unable to come to agreement on how to bring our children up to be better than we. Isn't that what we are here for?
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      Oct 26 2011: Thank you Jim for your insight. I agree with your sentiment. Who is responsible for educating the parents about healthy eating, physical activity, and positive self-esteem? How much more information do adults need enhanced access to before they start turning this obesity, heart disease, diabetic ship around, not only in themselves, but in the next generation?
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    Oct 25 2011: I think it is first of all the responsibilities of parents and the community beginning from the schools, govt, churches and the media.
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      Oct 26 2011: It takes a village they say.... but what if there are too many varying voices in the village - who do the children listen to? Parents serve packaged food and fast food for dinner, teacher says to eat 3 servings of fruit a day, food manufacturers tell us that Fruit O's are part of a "nutritious" breakfast.
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    Oct 25 2011: Anyone can assume responsibility to help educate others, and some occupations consist in educating people. Some accept information and use it; others reject it. Sometimes it's fear that makes people reject well-meant instruction or factual information. Sometimes it's simply that they don't like you.

    I really don't see what *age* has to do with responsibility to others. If you choose to show a 10-year-old how to do a pushup, or if you choose to give a recipe for fruit salad to an obese 29-year-old, or if you listen to an old man rejected by his kids as he tells you his adventures in Korea -- it's all the same.

    And if you decide it's all a lot of work and that you simply want to take care of yourself and your own nutritional needs and health, well, that's a (limited) form of 'taking responsibility' also. Lots of folks do not. They have BMIs of 32, advanced diabetes, and COPD and their attitude is, "Hey, doc. I'm sick! Fix me up or I'll sue you!" This is *NOT* being responsible!
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    Oct 25 2011: Someone please answer me this, why does McDonalds taste so good?
    • Comment deleted

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      Oct 25 2011: Grease, salt, and sugar in concentrated form. The human body was built for an environment where these three ingredients were difficult to find so when a primitive human found such, he/she gorged on it as a physiological reflex. Our technological advances have far far outpaced our physiological evolution so we now find ourselves with a surfeit of grease, salt and sugar everywhere. Our bodies still think we are in primitive times when they are rare so we gorge ourselves on them.
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        Oct 25 2011: But what if I don't believe in evolution? I mean, it is just a "theory"...

        VV this is true.. although I don't understand what that has to do with what were talking about..
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          Oct 25 2011: You don't have to believe in jet engines for them to suck you in if you stand too close to one:)
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          Oct 26 2011: Evolution itself is scientific fact. The "theory" of evolution is the mechanics of how it works. Similar to the fact of gravity. We know it exists we just do not know how it works exactly. Which is why we have various theories on gravity. Same thing with Evolution. It has passed the muster to be scientific fact. To deny it scientifically would be similar to denying gravity.
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          Oct 26 2011: We know how evolution works better than most scientific theories: to my knowledge its almost unique in that every experiment since its suggestion has supported not refuted it making it as close to fact as you can get in Science. The term "theory" has different meanings in Science compared to daily usage. In everyday use "theory" implies uncertainty whereas in Science it reflects that it is a human-made concept and may be biased. That doesn't mean that someone can't suggest a theory that turns out to be dead-on (as in Darwin's case).
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          Nov 1 2011: I saw an e-mail yesterday that posed the question "If apes evolved intio humans, whay are there still apes?" - Left me thinking what will the next evolution be - what will humans evolve into?
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        Oct 27 2011: Animal fats (along w bone soups,meat and organs) and natural salt are what man had adapted to, sugar not so much. Well diversified diets today are more difficult to maintain since the emphasis turned to grains, processing and confined grain feedlots. Eating fat was never a problem until "science" produced a mythology around cholesterol and saturated fats in order to sell their carb/vegetable oil/corn syrup abominations.
        Yes, the American "heart-healthy" diet is an industrial lie and the drug paradigm invented to treat this technological mis-nutrition is illogical. Now staying healthy is a matter of avoiding high carb/sugar intake, foraging for healthy fats, diverse proteins, fruits, vegetables and having the knowledge to supplement the missing vitamins and minerals.
        Paleo nutrition is simple and straightforward, the modern grocery store and distorted mainstream health information pose a mine field that needs study and application to traverse.
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        Nov 1 2011: @ Scott
        Possibly a genetically engineered human being? that'd be sweet


        Why would I joke about something like that?
      • Nov 10 2011: I agree with this Peter guy.

        A big step in undoing the chaos that is todays health landscape is to communicate to people effectively the idea that the human body does not crave the things that are healthy and efficient for it.

        We crave carbs more than we crave protein but it should be vice versa and we should consume based on mathematical measurements rather then the whims of our intuition.

        This results in people having very one sided diets. (all carbs and fats, or all sauces, soups, and vegetables)

        Whatever you crave is not what is right.

        This again comes back to the primary need of everyone needing to understand which foods have which sources of macro nutrients. Key element.
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          Tao P

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          Nov 15 2011: A human knows what it requires. Only when food is distorted, a sugar addiction is formed, and we deprive ourselves of quality fat and salts do we then resort to the garbage that is junk food. We eat McDonalds when we are low on quality salt and fat in our diet, and we find poor substitutes. If one stops thinking about eating something because 'it's good for you' then one can listen to their true cravings, one can trust their taste buds. The problem is when one requires sodium, and they do not answer this with sea salt but refined salt, their cravings are not truly satisfied. Same goes for the garbage fats found in most restaurants.
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      Oct 25 2011: Steven,
      If we eat a lot of fast foods, we get used to the tastes, and some of the ingredients are addictive, so it makes the body and mind think that we want or need those foods. When we are eating more healthy foods, we start craving what is better for the body and mind, and they satisfy us in a more healthy way. When we are aware of the ingredients and how they impact the body/mind, it seems amazing that fast foods are so popular. It tells me that people are not really aware of what they are eating or the impact it has on health.
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        Oct 25 2011:

        "I'm Lovin' it"
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          Oct 25 2011: It's always a choice:>)
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          Oct 29 2011: Steven,

          Take a look at:

          The article describes what goes into the McRib:

          "At face value, the sandwich contains just pork, onions, and pickle slices slathered in barbecue sauce and laid out on a bun. But the truth is, there are roughly 70 ingredients. The bun alone contains 34, says TIME's Melnick. In addition to chemicals like ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80, the most egregious may be azodicarbonamide — "a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufactur[ing] of foamed plastics like gym mats the and soles of shoes." According to McDonald's own ingredient list, the bun also includes calcium sulfate and ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, among other chemicals.
          Ooof. What's the meat made of?
          Pig innards and plenty of salt. Typically, "restructured meat product" includes pig bits like tripe, heart, and scalded stomach, says Whet Moser at Chicago Magazine, citing a 1995 article by Robert Mandigo, a professor at the University of Nebraska. These parts are cooked and blended with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins, which act as a "glue" that helps bind the reshaped meat together."

          Still Lovin' it? Your choice of course as Colleen mentioned.
        • Nov 10 2011: I think its more important to tell people what to eat than what not to eat.

          Lack of that critical information does more harm than the consumption of "unhealthy" foods and furthermore it leads people into assuming that if they avoid bad foods, they have completed their health responsibilities to themselves.
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        Oct 29 2011: sounds delicious pete!

        m'mmm I'm still lovin' it!!
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          Oct 29 2011: OH MY...sounds delightful doesn't it Steven??? I wonder how many people would still be eating it if the above information was on a label, on the sandwich?
          AND you say it is getting expensive!!! You're actually PAYING to put this stuff in the body?
        • Nov 10 2011: Im pretty sure everyone on earth is aware of exactly how unhealthy fast food is. That is not the problem.
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      Oct 25 2011: Steven: "why does McDonalds taste so good?"

      Ah, to be young and footloose.... be careful, Steven, your foot may end up in your mouth.

      Answer this - Why does heroin feel so good? - and you'll have answered your own question
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        Oct 25 2011: So... McDonalds is heroin??
        I wouldn't know. I havn't tried heroin. Have you?
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          Oct 25 2011: Allie - Great job spotting the faulty analogy (actually overstatement) Steven, however, did not spot it... Now, can both of you spot the point being made?

          Just because something tastes good does not mean it is good. (to their credit McDonalds has made some strides in improving the nutritional value of their meals)

          Make no mistake about it - you are what you eat. If you are smart, you won't wait until it's too late to find that out. Food is in a very real way medicinal and can trigger addictive behavior. On occassion I love a good, calorie-laden, salt-soaked, fat-heavy meal.... Food should taste good, but not stop there.

          The question being asked/debated is "Who's responsibility is it to educate our young people on healthy eating, physical activity and positive self-esteem?"
          Steven's answer was, in my view, thoughtless. He sounds to be much less interested in discussion and much more interested in mouthing consumerisms like "I'm lovin' it".

          No big deal - just know that there's a time and place for everything.
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          Oct 25 2011: Allie - Here's how McDonalds compares to heroin:

          It "tastes" good
          It's addictive
          It can kill you.
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          Oct 26 2011: Elaborate, please.
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          Oct 26 2011: Okay guys, lets try to educate each other not make each other feel stupid? The point of these discussions is to exchange ideas, not compete.
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          Oct 27 2011: (Thanks Letitia for encouraging a true on-topic discussion)

          Allie - My comparison of fast foods to addictive drugs was just that - a comparison. It is one that has been made many times before and for good reason. I couldn't care less about what your definition of a true analogy is.

          I've stated my position on the question of who is responsible for educating young people on healthy eating, physical activity and positive self-esteem elsewhere in the conversation. The "overnourishment" epidemic has such a pervasive and deleterious effect on our society that it will take time, but the change has begun.The movement is gaining momentum. Parents, educators, communities and government will coalesce to find solutions.
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          Oct 27 2011: Hey Allie - I think I figured out the answer to your quizz (with 25 days to spare)

          The answer, of course, is (d) - The one you didn't include in the choices.

          Its the one that reads, "A person who would do practically anything for a Big Mac"
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          Oct 29 2011: Ahh!!! Reverse age discrimination.... That's where you're coming from!!!!!!!

          Since you like quizzes I have a short one for you:

          1. Do you know how old I am?

          2. Do you know how old the McD's addict is?

          And since you gave me a hint for my little quiz I'll give you one for yours: Don't judge a book by it cover.
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          Nov 1 2011: Allie -- You have failed the quiz miserably. You have not provided any verification of your facts.

          Oh, wait a minute! Do we have to be absolutely truthful in our profiles? But how can we protect our privacy? I would just "hide" but that's not my style.

          Let's not bring Steven into this. I was referring to someone named Ronald.

          My parents loved Cat Stevens. They would sing me to sleep with his songs.

          As for judging the book by it's cover for "some comedic effect" comment - funny thing is, that's not me on the "cover" (or is it?)

          As for the whole privacy thing, I am responsible for my own actions.

          I like you Allie. I liked when you pushed back on the "addict" analogy. I pushed you back by giving you my rationale. Since then, however, as Letitia tactfully pointed out, you've been off-topic and all over me with stuff that is beginning to feel weird. Your stealth mode doesn't help matters.

          But I'm feeding into it.... I'd much rather exchange our different points of view of the topic.

          So I have a possible solution. Let's return to the topic and continue our debate about how food can be analagous to addiction to heroin. (Steven immediately responded by asking if I have tried heroin - Steven totally missed the point)

          I said previously: "Here's how McDonalds compares to heroin:

          It "tastes" good
          It's addictive
          It can kill you"

          You replied: "No actually Jim, it is a faulty analogy."

          I replied, "Elaborate, please."

          You, at that point, started in on me personally. We both should have listened to Letitia. She now looks to be the wisest of the three of us.

          Can you elaborate?
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          Nov 1 2011: Birdia?
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        Oct 26 2011: The direct answer to the question being posted is it's the parent's responsibility to educate children how to make healthy lifestyle choices, including dietary selections. When adults decide to have children, they're on the hook to provide their children guidance in all areas of life. However, the majority of North Americans (51% in of Canadians, 68% in America) are either overweight or obese and they have little to no interest in their own personal health, much less the health of their children. So the question is, "when parents don't care about their health and the health of their children, whose responsibility is it to educate children how to eat healthy?" Given the rate of degenerative diseases found in our youth today, it's clear no one is making this issue a priority.

        By the way, while you're on the topic of McDonalds, of all their menu items , can you name the 7 they serve that DON'Tcontain High Fructose Corn Syrup (which is the #1 contributor to obesity in America)? Let me get you started, Bottled Water is one.
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          Oct 26 2011: Robert - "So the question is, "when parents don't care about their health and the health of their children, whose responsibility is it to educate children how to eat healthy?" Given the rate of degenerative diseases found in our youth today, it's clear no one is making this issue a priority."

          Change of this magnitude take time. They require nothing short of a re-education. There is a groundswell of movement addressing the issue. From healthier school lunch menus to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative to Jamie Oliver to restaurant menu changes to blogs (such as yours) to food coaches, etc. etc. etc.
          It will not happen over night, will not happen quickly, but the change is underway.
      • Oct 26 2011: Jim, in support of your analogy, here are links to two studies, but there are others as well. The first is a study published in 2002, and written up by the BBC with the caption "Fast food 'as addictive as heroin'

        A 2011 paper titled "Food Addiction and Neuroimaging" states "Functional neuroimaging studies have further revealed that pleasant smelling, looking, and tasting food has reinforcing characteristics similar to drugs of abuse. Many of the brain changes reported for hedonic eating and obesity are also seen in various types of addictions"

        I think "pleasant smelling, looking, and tasting" is subjective, in this case. Nonetheless, it may partially explain why people continue to knowingly make unhealthy choices for themselves and their children.
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        Oct 27 2011: Let's also remember that aside from the taste of the food that fast food places work so hard to create to entice us to crave, many fast food places work hard to create an entire "user experience" to attract us to their establishment.

        For example, McDonald's current slogan of "I'm Loving It" focuses on the feeling of happiness, affection, attraction rather than the taste of the food or its nutritional content. Also, the elaborate play areas in many fast food places such as McDonald's further create happy memories for the very young. They associate a visit to McDonald's with happiness, fun with friends and family. When they mature into adults, they recollect these happy feelings and associate McDonald's as comfort food.

        Fast food places that investigate in sophisticated marketing prowess such as McDonald's understand the power of creating emotional bonds, especially for young children. So aside from the nutritional and taste aspects of food, we need to also consider impact of sophisticated marketing in cultivating emotional bonds to certain fast food establishments.

        It worked on me growing up with Ronald McDonald tv commercials and Happy Meals. I never particularly liked the taste of McDonald's food as a child but always remember visits to McDonald's with fondness. I have long since stopped patronizing McDonald's because of the poor nutritional content of their food but do acknowledge the power of their marketing campaigns on impressionable youth.
      • Nov 10 2011: It all comes down to the convenience of it all. They are bathing in depression and its a vicious cycle. The depression begets the choice to skip cooking get the fast food, and the fast food propagates the lethargy.

        People know its unhealthy but they they have not been give hope or a plan of attack to resolve their life long energy crisis.

        Lifting weights is the key --its the only thing that snaps the cycle.
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      Oct 26 2011: McDonald's tastes good because they spend a lot to time and money researching what the majority of fast food eaters thinks tastes good. It is not a mistake. But it takes concerted effort to make healthy choices regardless of what food manufacturers are doing. At one time smoking was marketed as a healthy choice.... will our society ever get to the point of being "that" honest about fast food/packaged food products and start putting pictures of heart disease on packages of chips?
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        Oct 26 2011: I think parents should have a greater sense of responsibility at this level. I mean, let's face it: We all notice that young people are becoming more obese, more inert. The pratice of sport (not one in particular. Generally speaking) should be encouraged by all citizens and teachers.
        It is simply incomprehensible that, in the 21st century, still exists "all of this neglect of health". It is important that schools take an active role, in terms of encourage physical activity of young people. Personally, and i don't want to sound too hard, I think it's a true (and always will be) lack of respect for all disabled people, any person who is healthy and could play sports, but simply doesn't, mostly because of laziness. The levels of obesity, cholesterol, heart disease, can be explained not only by what the young community eats, but also for what does (or does not) in his spare time (the so called "facebook generation", Playstation 3, Xbox, etc.). That said, I think that changing the course of these events, can only happen with the strength, motivation, and genuine willpower of parents.
        Exercise should not be considered as a mere hobby. Regardless our professional obligations or our personal life (married, children, etc), exercise always helps to alleviate the daily stress, soothes our own mind.

        To conclude my observation, i think the real problem is not only the lack of nutritional knowledge, but rather a lack of a "sporting attitude" throughout our society, whether in the U.S., Japan, or even in my country, Portugal.
        Of course this problematic, is not because of "Macdonald's massive campaign", TV, or internet. That's just consequences.

        Parents should promote sports, at a very early age (of their kids).
        If children start, as an example, to run at the age of 5 or 6, they will benefit from a state of mind much more balanced, and may even be more competent in their professional life (more health, less stress).
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        Nov 9 2011: Its quite a harsh demand. A cigarrete every day is enough to harm. A cigarete a week is enough to harm. A package of chips a week is fine. Its all about the amount of time we spend in fast food chains, about proportions. Its a triple responisbilty of the parents, school and the equals group to press on into healthy diets
  • Oct 24 2011: Just like anything we learn, it all begins at home. So to the question of "whose responsibility is it to make educating children about comprehensive wellness a priority?", I answer it is the parents responsibility. Why do I keep seeing that government, schools, or any other entity has to take responsibility for our youth's increasing problems? be it depression, overweight, drugs, etc. Schools (dept of Education), health dept, or any other entity should just be an extension to support to what is the parents main responsibility. If you teach your children to eat well from infancy, then they are likely to have good eating habits, but you have to keep up the work. Same with exercise, teach them from early on. What can we expect from little kids that walk into McDonals with an overweight parent? What can we expect when a child is holding a soda can while sitting in their stroller? It is the same as being abused, the child who is abused will likely become an abuser; note that I said LIKELY... all these bad habits (to put mildly) can be broken, they don't have to go on & on, generation after generation. Educate at home first, and then use however little support you may get from those who help you educate your kids. Could schools do more to help? I think so, but let's keep in mind that we send our kids to school mainly for academic learning. They at least have health education in their curriculum (which prob doesn't do much for already overweight kids). Whatever you teach your children from the beginning of their lives is likely to stay with them, so if -for example- you thought them that chips & sodas aren't good, they might choose something else from the vending machine (yes, we should definitely take a look at the junk they have in those, or why do they have them at schools at all?).. then again, it'd be better to send them a good lunch from home!
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      Oct 25 2011: Patricia - very well said. Unfortunately when more that half of Canadian adults and over 65% of Americans are either overweight or obese, personal health is NOT a priority for themselves or their families and the children suffer as a result. Again, great comments. Rob....
  • Oct 24 2011: This is a problem which is far too big to be tackled by any one group, organisation or gouvernment department - this is a worldwide problem that as far as I've seen or heard - has shown no signs of slowing down.

    The problem is we have the tools, resources and knowledge to properly combat the issue but all the people involved aren't talking to eachother.

    The gouvernment has a role to play, not by introducing a new "fat-tax" (which I disagree with, but I'll leave that for another day!) but by taking a new, interactive approach to encouraging the education of not just children, but everyone. Funding is a major part of this - there is a program here in Australia called "Active After School Care" where the gouvernment funds the schools to bring in sports or fitness coaches to take the children through exercise instead of the regular out of school hours care. More programs and inititaves like this need to be supported by the gouvernment.

    The schools have a huge role to play - after watching Jamie Olivers food revolution I thought he made an incredibly good point - schools need to stop being viewed as education facilities and start being viewed as community hubs - offering, like Corrinne has mentioned - healthy eating programs, exercise programs - not just for the children, but for the parents as well... which leads me to my last point.

    The parents.

    At the end of the day, they SHOULD have the most responsibility, however I don't think all parents actually take this responsibility on - too often passing it onto others. The fact that here in Australia we have almost one third of our population not just overweight, but obese presents a huge problem. The problem is that a large potion of the population doesn't understand healthy eating and exericse themselves.

    There are many more groups who have a stake in this, and many more underlying issues - but I've hit my character count!

    Cheers guys!
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    Oct 24 2011: I think that schools could be more diverse in the way they promote healthy lifestyles without actually spending more time from the curriculum on the subject. For example, I didn't start exercising (really at all!) until University because I found high school gym class to be such a negative experience. I think having programs that feature different kinds of activity (not just competitive sports) such as dance for example would appeal to a larger group of students. I think the same could be done with meal plans: serving a variety of healthy cultural dishes instead of just salads ;) I think if you open the doors to variety, then people can see there's a healthy and still enjoyable lifestyle for everyone.
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      Oct 24 2011: I agree completely regarding the non-competitive class. I taught yoga at lunch time for Grade 5 and 6 students who wished to drop - in. At the other end of the gym was basketball. I was surprised to see that the yoga class had more boys than girls and it was mostly individuals who are not inclined to play pick-up bball at lunch. It was a good option for them.
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    Oct 23 2011: everyone society as a whole should be thinking this way just like kids these days are told they have to look hot to be cool, as a society we portray the wrong messages fill our kids with misinformation.
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    Oct 23 2011: Yes, Colleen, in those two example I meant myself personally. But that's not the same as saying I am making unhealthy choices in my life. I'm just saying I have to work hard to make it fit.
    What you said in the above comment, however, was that I was giving away my personal power and responsibility and I wanted to make myself unhealthy. Both of those comments you made are incorrect.
    Yes, I made the two comments above that you are highlighting, and yes they are personal examples. But I don't think you should take 2 comments out of the whole of what I said and extrapolate that it means I am choosing to be unhealthy.

    And for the record, I do agree that it is possible to be healthy on a low income and tight schedule. And bravo to you for having learned how to do that!! I just think we always need to put ourselves in other people's shoes because not everyone is at the same point in their lives as everyone else.
    Lot's of people are still further back on the learning curve of this issue, and that's ok. It doesn't mean they don't care about their health, it just means they have a bit further to go to get to a point where they can make helthy choices.
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      Oct 23 2011: OK...thanks for letting me know that you did in fact mean yourself personally. I didn't ever say you wanted to make yourself unhealthy Terri. If you say my comments are be it.

      Thanks for your kind words. I totally agree that we need to put ourselves in each other's shoes, and we are not at the same point in our lives. I've simply had 65 years of life and death experiences to practice and learn, so I share my experiences simply as my experiences. People will take from that any information they can use...or not.
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        Oct 25 2011: You are so proud for your age (I salute you), but the matter of concern for you should be the concept of acquiring information at different speed scales (because it's real, that is, age doesn't necessarily imply wisdom).
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          Oct 25 2011: Renārs,
          I agree...age does not necessarily imply wisdom. I believe that life is about learning, growing and evolving in every moment, so I will be learning, and eating healthy foods until the time I take my very last breath on this earth school. Positive self esteem and being "proud" of my age, is very connected to eating healthy all my life:>)
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    Oct 23 2011: HI Colleen.
    At what point did I lead you to believe that I was having a personal problem with my food choices? this whole convo is not about me, its about helping people who need help.

    I am an educator, I see people struggle with these issues all the time. I am not making up "stories" as you are suggesting. These things are real. Great for you if you have managed to live a life in which you don't see these things happening.

    Also, I find your suggestions to be offensive and condescending. I am not, nor have I ever, "giving up" my personal power or responsibility. And I most certainly don't "want to do this to myself" Do you think that is what is happening to people who are over wight and struggling with food choices? They WANT to be unhealthy.

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      Oct 23 2011: Hi Terri,
      In your previous comment, you state...
      "Even for me, and I work in fitness, there's no way i can do a proper meal every day, my schedule just doesn't allow for it. I think employers and industries need to look at what their work demands are doing to their employees. We are all working long hours (in many cases shift work) to make ends meet, and then burning out from it. something's gotta give there.
      And yes, the kids being directly marketed to by the fast food chains - ugh. I don't envy parents of young kids at all in this situation. Also it is really, really difficult to get kids to try anything new. If money is an issue int he household (and I saw this constantly growing up in a poor community) the parents never push this issue either. They can't afford to have their kid not like a new food and then refuse to eat because they don't have the money to buy/prep another meal to replace the "inedible" one. Parents will stick to the things they know their kids will eat without fuss because they can't have an un-fed child".

      You say..."even for me, and I work in fitness". You were not talking about you with that statement? Sorry if I misinterpreted, the way you framed your statement.

      Further, you state:..."there's no way i can do a proper meal every day, my schedule just doesn't allow for it. I think employers and industries need to look at what their work demands are..."
      Again Terri, I apologize if you were not really talking about yourself.

      I never suggested that you are "making up stories". I also have worked and volunteered in various capacities in health care and social services, and I'm sorry to say, the reasons you give for not eating healthy are common challenges. I am also busy, on a very low income, and I make the choice to eat healthly. If I did anything less for myself, I would feel it is giving up my power to make good choices regarding what I put in the body. Sorry if you do not agree

      My suggestion is..."let's change the stories" of ALL people
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    Oct 23 2011: @Drew Bixby - I'm replying to your comment here because there's no "reply" button on your comment>>>

    My reply:
    Re: the early and mid 1900's - back then there was usually 1 person in the household employed outside the home. Today we have people trying to raise their kids while both parents are working long hours, often with long commutes to industrial areas. So yes, the rush, rush, rush lifestyle we have today has made an impact on the health of ourselves and our children.
    In the early 1900's when the husband would go out to work and earn enough money to provide for his family, do you think he was the one preparing nutritious meals for the kids? Of course not! There was his wife at home doing all of that as a full time job.

    Now, tell me, who in this day and age can afford to have 1 parent work and one parent at home full time? Nobody I know, that's for sure. Certainly no one my age (I'm at the young end of Gen X). No employer these days pays enough for one person to work and keep their whole family fed. That's a thing of the past.
    perhaps this is not happening where you live, but the following are rampant here:
    - cutting hours to make employees part-time so they can't be paid health benefits
    - only hiring part-time staff so they can't join the existing unions (which are for full-timers only), and can't get paid stat holidays or vacation time
    - jobs being located in industrial parks where employees have to have long commutes
    - outsourcing middle-class jobs overseas so employers can make higher profits
    - shift work is becoming the norm more and more as businesses are trying to be more competitive

    All of these things mean that people have to work more hours (or travel more hours) and are away from the home and kids more frequently. So yes, employers putting these measure in place to boost their profits has cut deeply into the way we run our households, and therefore our personal kitchens too!
  • Oct 23 2011: I believe it is the responsibility of the parents. Being a father of two twenty somethings, they learned about nutrition in school, but they learned their eating habits from my wife and I. We have more information at our finger tips as parents than at any other time in history. We have not chosen to implement what we know in our own lives. I think our culture and the schools can help but it's upto Mom & Dad to lead the way.
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    Oct 23 2011: I believe that its really isn't a teaching thing, but more of a ....hmmmm.... kinda like how guildlines are better for you but not rules...ahhh i mean encouraged. I believe the key is encouragement really and not encouragement in just the common form as in using just speech as the medium. But as the example too, encouragement should be from the parents and if the parents adopt a healthy lifestyle, the youth could possibly be inspired to follow. but as in an education facility i think the schools instead of just trying to throw a pitch of eat healthy and you'll feel better, but actually try to provide healthy food as a trial. in my middle school a snack program was initiated and students regualary came to get free healthy food ranging from guacamole to pears. show that healthy food is delicious and that you actually will feel the improvements of living of high end "fuel"
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      Oct 23 2011: I established a pilot project in a primary school that had included a healthy snack program. When the kids were interviewed to discuss outcomes about the project, they were asked which healthy snack did they enjoy the most. A resounding majority said the organic apples followed closely by homemade granola and all fruit, low sugar yogurt.

      One student said they liked learning about healthy eating because then he can teach his children about nutrition. And another Grade 2 students said it made her feel like the school staff cared about her.

      Brings tears to my eyes.
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        Oct 24 2011: I love what you did and now believe that the next step is to continue encouraging healthy eating, especially through the high school years
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          Oct 26 2011: Thank you Colin - I agree that the education needs to be introduced in the primary schools but reinforced and supported in middle and secondary schools. Really a division wide initiative.
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    Oct 23 2011: "Whose responsibility is it to make educating children about comprehensive wellness a priority?" This is a matter of opinion not being a father I can easily pass the buck to the parents of the children. However it is in the peers where the problem resides. The advertising giants and food manufacturers sell a bad product and have the wealth to put it in your kids face. A move for educating has to start in the home and in the early years of school. What i see as a solution is a move away from the mono-cropping and factory farms of today and focus on growth of food on a local small scale where diversity not conformity is the goal. Then with markets providing better food and providing better accessibility than the processed market then we could see some change.
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      Oct 23 2011: When I teach young people about reading labels and the real truth behind marketing strategies, they are shocked at how they are persuaded into believing some packaged food products are healthy choices. Give them tools to be smart, health conscious consumers and then, it appears, they teach their parents about what to buy.

      Any healthy school projects that I have been involved in has proved that most students will pressure their parents to buy healthy foods, as long as there is support and encouragement in the classroom.
  • Oct 23 2011: I meant more the quality of the choices people are actually selecting from and I think that's what you're saying also with the broccoli french fry comparison.. The other thing I was trying to say was that we've become very disconnected from our food so alot of kids haven't even seen actual chicken parts cooked in their homes; they think chicken comes in bread covered "Nuggets" that go in the microwave and vegetables come from cans lol!!! In the end what I'm saying is we have the ability to create a business models that allow people to eat well, keep the food we eat very local and for the producers of those products to make a profit.
  • Oct 22 2011: I believe parents should be educating the young. Specially in United States and Canada, food has become 'fuel'... whereas in the majority of the world, food remains a centrepoint for social gatherings. A healthy social country should continue to eat family meals together (with no television), should have their friends over to eat, etc. By respecting food, and understanding that hard work is involved in all its production, food will no longer be considered fuel. Fast food would decline because fast food rarely 'respects food'.

    Many parents believe that the education of their children is the duty of the education system, but since animals or humans have been on Earth it has always been the responsibility of the parents. Parents want to see their children grow, want them to have more than the others, want to see them survive and be happy. Education is the fundamental need for all these factors, and yet it is left to a stranger who may or may not be following a mandate written by more strangers in, very likely, another part of the Province (in Canada's sake). Does this make much sense? Sure, math can be taught by someone who knows math, but we cannot have a teacher for every aspect of life. It is rare to see parents just sitting around doing their taxes with their kids, but how often to they sit and eat with their kids? Wouldn't that be a great opportunity to talk about healthy eating?
  • Oct 22 2011: Let them educate themselves...

    When it comes to healthy eating, its probably not best to shove it down their throats...
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    Oct 22 2011: Government, Community School and Family.
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      Oct 22 2011: Thank you - I am interested in your perspective. Can you explain in what capacity should Government participate in educating our young people about healthy eating, physical activity, and self-esteem programming?
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    Oct 22 2011: Even though this issue should be the responsibility of the parent(s), obviously they are not doing a good job of doing so. Parents nowadays rely way too much on other institutions to raise their kids, and to me it is plain wrong. Parents need to start owning up and actually "parent" their kids. This phenomenon is not only related to poor health habits among our children, but also behavior and values.

    And to answer the problem of only being able to afford junk food for poorer families, it is cheaper to make a healthy home cooked meal than to poison your children with greasy fast food.
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    Oct 22 2011: Wow, what a great question & conversation!

    I must disagree with the idea that parents have info on healthy eating. Yes, it is available! But that's not the same as parents knowing it is available, or knowing where to get the info. We may know where to get it, but that doesn't mean all people do.

    Also, there's still the issue of separating the good from the bad - not everyone is a critical reader who can tell the difference between genuine nutritional advice and fad diet advice. The ability to determine which is which is very closely linked to education level and socio-economic status, which, of course, has a bearing on upbringing. Poor food choices often go back for generations.

    Furthermore, having the correct information to eat properly doesn't necessarily mean having the money to do so! I believe the changes in the obesity rates are largely due not just to portion size, but to junk and fast food now being cheaper to purchase than healthy food in most communities.
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      Oct 22 2011: I think you have pointed out two of the failures we are facing here Terri. Awareness of healthy eating, and the means to do so. An additional failure is laziness.

      As rushed as the daily life is of many family units, especially single parents, sometimes it is just plain easier to go to a local fast food place than it is to prepare a healthy meal. Children in their fashion would probably most often prefer something sold by the Colonel, King, or Clown than what Jared wants to eat, so appeasing them after the stress of a busy North American lifestyle is probably easier than plying them to eat a zesty asian inspired salad.

      This same excuse would account for families choosing the television in lieu of a walk through a park.
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        Oct 22 2011: You're right Tim, the rushed day it a big problem. Even for me, and I work in fitness, there's no way i can do a proper meal every day, my schedule just doesn't allow for it. I think employers and industries need to look at what their work demands are doing to their employees. We are all working long hours (in many cases shift work) to make ends meet, and then burning out from it. something's gotta give there.
        And yes, the kids being directly marketed to by the fast food chains - ugh. I don't envy parents of young kids at all in this situation. Also it is really, really difficult to get kids to try anything new. If money is an issue int he household (and I saw this constantly growing up in a poor community) the parents never push this issue either. They can't afford to have their kid not like a new food and then refuse to eat because they don't have the money to buy/prep another meal to replace the "inedible" one. Parents will stick to the things they know their kids will eat without fuss because they can't have an un-fed child.
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          Oct 23 2011: Terri, you said "employers and industries need to look at what their work demands are doing to their employees".

          What demands do you mean? What are employers "demanding" that is unreasonable? We were less overweight in the early and mid 1900's when employers demanded much more from employees. I don't think employers have any major role in this discussion.

          Yes, people are busy, but that doesn't make them any less responsible for poor choices.
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          Oct 23 2011: Terri,
          All of what you mention are the common "stories" that people get caught up in to avoid eating more healthy. You seem to be giving responsibility to other people, when you could take charge of your own eating habits and health. You are giving up your power to make good choices regarding what you use to fuel your body/mind. Why do you want to do that to yourself? If we don't make choices for ourselves, someone else will, which is happening right now. Let's change the stories:>)
    • Oct 22 2011: The argument that people don't have the information or don't know where to get the information keeps coming up. People come on this is a simple task, we accomplish this task all the time with different subjects. An example would be "How do I get to "Place X". If you know where you are and where it is you want to go then you put fourth the time and energy to look for the information on how to get there. Yes, if you type in a address in Google it may give you more then one location but using common sense and committing a little more time you will ultimately find a step by step guide to get you to your location. Just like the information when it comes to healthy eating, the information for how to get to a desired result is known.

      America as a whole is a society of the "now", we don't want to work for it, we want that pill to make us skinny or that food we don't need to wait on or cook. I eat healthy most of the time, but I have the days where I don't want to cook because I'm tired or I'm hungry now, so I sacrifice heath for covenence. We are capable of sending a man to the moon but too dumb to know how to find information on healthy food??? We continually give excuses rather then the truth, people are lazy. The truth is not always kind and will hurt peoples feelings. So today we point the finger at others and tell someone "its not your fault" its the company that sold it to you, they should be responsible for what it is you eat. Freedom to buy whatever you want, is not freedom of responsibility. Stop giving people the luxury of being ignorant
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        • Oct 22 2011: My only opinion to this 'awareness' is do you believe that people are unaware that fruits, vegetables and other unprocessed foods exist? Because you only buy at a large market, you don't know about healthy eating? Regardless of you upbringing, all people of sound mind know food doesn't grow in bags, cans or packages of meat. I will agree that upbringing and friends plays a large part of what drives people to consume the food they do, however being that humans as a whole don't like change most stay set in their ways because its comfortable. I'm sure anyone reading this now could research healthy eating with minimal effort and change there eating habits, as long as they had the desire. Unfortunately it's only when a catalyst ie. Heart attack, death in family that people actively work towards change and information on healthy eating. (not an absolute reason people look towards eating healthy)
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        Oct 22 2011: I think it keeps coming up, Me!Apache, because it IS true. I work in fitness, and you would be amazed at how many people don't know what many other people consider "basic" or "common" sense. it's really not common at all.
        It is not an excuse, it's a reason.
        And to be clear, I'm not giving a free pass to people who are lazy. That is most certainly not o.k. with me. I'm just saying some people really struggle with this sort of thing and figuring it all out is not nearly as simple for them as it happens to be for you.
        Ed Schulte, you are right, the quality is a huge issue too. Again, there are class factors there though. I know many people who are very well informed but with this economy simply don't have the cash in hand to make the healthier choices. When it comes down to the bottom line, people need to be fed, and the most food for your money sometimes wins.
        The real solution is to helping people eat better is to fix the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. To make the labour rules so that the working poor can actually afford to live a healthy lifestyle rather than pay-cheque to pay-cheque.
        Even with economic solutions it will still take at least a few generations to fix. It's not a magic pill.
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        Oct 23 2011: Me!Apache: Well put, and I agree completely. It is up to each person to eat healthy and nothing anyone else does will change that. I understand the point people are making about how many don't know what healthy is and I don't think it's a failure to teach proper nutrition, I think it's a failure of the education system on teaching people to think critically and to go out and find the answers. Western education is a joke at this point, it doesn't teach people to think, it teaches them to parrot and react without thinking. That is the crux of the issue I think.
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    Oct 22 2011: I'm from the UK - we aren't known for eating the highest quality food in Europe but whenever I have spent time in the USA I have been utterly astonished at the way food is served and eaten. The main issue is that the portions are usually enormous - I mean absurdly, grotesquely so. This is the most striking thing of all - people are eating two to three times the amount at every meal that diners in the UK, France and Spain would eat - never mind in less wealthy countries. Frankly I remember wondering how everybody wasn't over weight.

    I believe that schools should be responsible - if we are going to send our kids to school for six - eight hours a day - they may as well learn about nutrition from an early age. It would engage them and also be beneficial in their future lives.
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    Oct 22 2011: If you look at numbers, you can always prove a point that society has hit rock bottom. But different are times now, compared to the 1940's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, etc.

    In 1977, my parents divorced when I was 4 yrs old. And that was during the beginning of the women's movement, where divorcing was seen as a sign of rebellion, and courts or religions barely favored the wife. So, a mother with barely an opportunity to work... Why am I healthy adult?

    My mom saw her position, got family to help out, and made the best of it. Fortunately, as a child with a working mom, I was allowed to be a child and test my limits. No one scheduled play dates, and no one threw numbers at our family indicating we were at rock bottom, and using that comparison with others to make it seem as if we deserved something for the choices my mother made.

    The sense of family she provided, the ability to test myself as a child, and her strength as a parent...That is why our whole family is doing fine. No one has a weight problem, and we are brutally honest with each other when problems arise.

    Btw...I have epilepsy. I am sure others do too. But my upbringing taught me how to deal with those things I cannot control, instead of feeling obligated to have someone fix it for me. Maybe I am still a JFK generation of "ask not what your country will do for you...", and healthcare is ridiculously overpriced, but maybe if we buried numbers and allowed for some mystery or tests in our lives, we would know how to deal with problems on our own.

    I dont use myself as an example only. We all have problems. The answers lie within ourselves and those who have taught us in our family how to deal with them.
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      Oct 22 2011: You are correct - parents do have the practical information in front of them but it is shrouded amongst fad diets, quick fixes, well-thought out marketing strategies - which are meant to fool parents into thinking they are making a healthy choice - when they are not. Case in point - refer to the food label on a breakfast cereal bar. Advertised as a Trans Fat Free, high fibre quick, nutritious snack. After analyzing the food label and identifying the 30 or so food additives to keep the cereal bar soft, golden brown, and with the appearance of being fruit filled - it becomes apparent that this food product is very low in nutritional value.

      Who is responsible for the lack of availability of practical information when we put a cereal bar filled with sugar, propylene glycol, and food colorant in our children's lunches everyday?
  • Oct 22 2011: I believe that the individual differences in calorie expenditure is so incredibly small that it's not even worth considering, so no, I don't believe that genes play a part in how your body handles calories when it comes to weightgain or weightloss.

    I saw a documentary (which I unfortunately don't remember the name of) about obesity on youtube and they explained a study done with pre-school children. They had a stimulating activity (drawing with crayons, I believe) performed in groups and put a plate of cookies in front of each group. There they noted that some of the children were totally uninterested in the cookies, some were marginally interested and sort of tried one cookie but was equally distracted by the activity and some of the children could not take their focus off of the cookies until every single one was gone.

    Amateurishly enough, I believe that would somehow map to children growing up to be thin adults, normal-weight adults and overweight adults. Well, guess it sucks to belong to the overweight-prone groups but that would not really explain the real problem of obesity spreading. Somehow, the prone to be normal-weight and prone to be thin groups must be getting closer and closer to the overweight prone people in terms of amount of food consumed. (This also would work very well with my anecdotal experiences which I wrote about earlier.)

    That's a large part of why I'm interested in how food is presented to children in areas where obesity is widespread.

    I guess I'm answering environment.
  • Oct 21 2011: Margaret Mead said this:

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

    I believe it is important to understand how cities are fed in order to begin solving the issue. Many of the products we eat that are causing the obesity issues are manufactured because of issues of spoilage and transportation among others. We now live in an age where advances in technology allow use to grow more (REAL) food in much smaller parcels of land like hydroponics and gene manipulation; we also have things like internet based social networks that would allow us to distribute that food efficiently. Although I firmly believe in personal responsibility I do not believe that anyone who actually wants to solve this issue is being responsible if they believe it will solve itself without leadership. Here is a Ted talk I liked which isn't actually about obesity but rater how food comes to a city. Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities
    • Oct 22 2011: Are you sure that it's the quality of the food that is causing obesity and not the quanitity?
      If you could change a large portion of the high-calorie food that obese people eat to an equal amount, in weight, of, for example, broccoli, then that would be great and chanses are that some people would lose weight. But it would not be because they would be eating something better, but because they would actually be eating less.

      As an example, say that french-fries has something around 400 calories per 100 grams and broccoli has 40. If you'd switch 500 grams of french-fries to 500 grams of broccoli, you would actually reduce the amount of calories consumed by 1800 calories. Same amount, but less.

      There has to be something else about obesity then that their food just happens to have more calories per 100 gram.
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    Oct 21 2011: Thank you Pontus for this insight. As we all can well imagine, this discussion is complicated with many factors that contribute to the uniqueness of each situation. My question to you is: Do you believe that genes play a major role in how your body may or may not deal with calories. Or, does it take the environment to turn on "those genes" that determine how and where our subcutaneous fat storage occurs. Environment or Genes.. or both?
  • Oct 21 2011: The parents, until a certain age. It just feels like a habit thing (physical activities, diet) that the parents should control.

    But how?
    I know nothing about how the food is presented to children who are so overweight that they risk diabetes and heart diseases. I was fat as a child but never at the magnitude that some american children seem to be and never really lived in an area where obesity appears to be the norm (as some americans appear to live in).

    I know for an anecdotally irrelevant fact that even if you're brought up in the same manner you will not have the same weight, apetite or interest in food (my sister was skinny and I was fat, same parents, same youth). Yet I I know how it feels to be prone to always overeat and I don't think my sister does. But we both ate at the same occasions (different amounts).

    To the point, I think that I would have easily become obese if food was presented to me more often. When I think back, I exclusively ate when I got food from my parents. Of course, I ate more then average at those occasions. I think we ate around 3 steady meals plus often an extra meal of a sandwich and cookies or something similar. I never went into the kitchen to take food unannounced. Yet if one of my parents had asked me "would you like some?", I would always say yes and I think my sister would say no a lot of the time. The question is, would my sister also have been fat if food was presented more often in a "it's time to eat"-manner?

    So how is food presented/made available to children with obesity as compared to other children? I think a key point lies there, but I don't know for sure.

    I don't have room to cover my opinions on physical activities and self esteem.
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    Oct 21 2011: I would agree with most everyone that parents are the primary people who should teach proper nutrition. This is, I think, limited to parents of children under the age of 10. When the children pass this age the parents, in some cases have disassociated themselves from the teacher mode. This then makes it fall on the school and teachers. Since a student will spend a minimum of 6 hours a day under the care of the state via teachers. It behooves the schools and districts to teach the students about proper nutrition. Schools also need to provide proper food in the lunch programs. Not just what comes from the federal hand outs (I am speaking from a US perspective) and left over foods in programs.
    The nutritionists need to balance diets, look at fats and carbs and make the meals, snacks, and treats good for the human body. I know many of the school nutritionists work hard to try and do this but with limited foods available. Maybe, beyond education we need to bring back school farms where students can grow nutritious foods that they can serve at the school. Who knows, maybe all of us are responsible from parents, to teachers to the food industry.
  • Oct 21 2011: It's your responsibility Corinne, it's your responsibility to yourself to live a life driven by the passion of the things you enjoy doing. I have been toying with the idea of bringing healthy choices to my menu web-site because I myself fight almost every day to find a reasonably priced meal that's actually healthy and convenient.
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      Oct 21 2011: This kind of support and insight is inspiring.

      Having resources that parents, teachers, day care directors, etc can use; such as, your menu web-site is very helpful along the way.