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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 25 2011: Someone please answer me this, why does McDonalds taste so good?
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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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          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: It's always a choice:>)
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          Oct 29 2011: Steven,

          Take a look at: http://news.yahoo.com/whats-mcrib-made-anyway-125300382.html

          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, http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v10/n6/abs/oby200266a.html and written up by the BBC with the caption "Fast food 'as addictive as heroin' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2707143.stm

        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

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