mercredi 25 avril 2012

Poverty is the Obstacle for Prevention of Obesity in the USA and other richer countries




POVERTY IS THE OBSTACLE FOR REDUCTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY. IN USA AND OTHER RICHER COUNTRIES

I am closely involved with several Indigenous groups in their effort to combat Obesity in the Young. Things in common for the Indigenous People living and trying to maintain their culture amidst Immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia, are:
Threats to their efforts to maintain Culture and Religion
The Food Deserts they are allocated to live in, where healthy food is not available.
Disparities in social life: Income, lack of respect from the Immigrants and their descendants.

For years, I have felt that Obesity (as well as Diabetes) among the Indigenous peoples are Social in nature and that a western, science oriented approach will not solve this problem.

Despite the increasing number of Nutritionists and others involved, childhood obesity as well as adolescent obesity as well as adult obesity have only climbed steeply.



So it was so heartening to read an article published today on line, 23 April 2012.trumpeting that at least in one state in the USA, the rate of obesity among the children was dropping. In one of the wealthiest states, Massachusetts, the childhood obesity has been decreasing. (Pediatrics, the official journals of American Association of Pediatrics, the authors are from the Harvard Medical School).

Two Points from the article stands out:
A.  Even though there has been a decrease in Obesity among the Young, the same privilege did not extend to poor people.
B.  From their research, they couldn't determine why such a drop in the rate of obesity had occurred: they suspected the following SOCIAL factors might have played a role.
1.  Decreased Maternal Smoking
2.  Increased rate of Breast Feeding
3.  More limited TV advertising of sweet foods to young children
4.  Greater awareness of Childhood Obesity
Strangely enough, the poor had no access to good food, good nutritional counseling or medical care.
One instance I know is that the Gov. Assistance vouchers encourages them to buy Juice that is loaded with Sugar and Carbohydrates, but in general there is very little socially conscious nutritional counseling that easily available to the poor in the USA.
I am currently with a group of Indigenous people with wonderful spiritual connection in the middle of a State that most Americans have not visited, the nearest town is 100 miles away and the nearest small city is 160 miles away. There is one supermarket in town; even the corporate giants of Junk Food, such as McDo or Burger King have a branch here, because of the isolation. The supermarket is the main source of food.
As Michael Pollan had said, shop along the periphery not the central part of the supermarket since healthier items tend to be on the periphery.
Here, apart from part of a wall with some withering fruits and vegetables, the periphery was loaded with the same, chemical food, food that is preserved, plasticized, in fact they were mostly “Food Substitutes”
And some incongruity as well, banana chips made in Philippines, Add water to make Smoothies made in Turkey, and highly priced sports and juice drinks. It was very interesting to note that most of the “healthier items” were priced beyond the means of an average resident of this place, one of the poorest counties in the USA, with an average annual income of 7400 Dollars (poverty level is at 24000 Dollars for a family of four).
POOREST COUNTIES IN THE USA

There were thousands of items in the shelves of the supermarket, I inspected about 200 items and was getting depressed towards the end, as I could find only FOURTEEN items that I could honestly recommend to friends and relatives! And to those who seek counsel. (That is SEVEN OUT OFA HUNDRED)
I am listing the fourteen of the 200 I inspected yesterday afternoon… and I don't doubt that the ratio of the rest of the supermarket would be any better. In an inspection of food items in two poor areas of the USA, where the indigenous go to shop, the ratio was pretty much the same, but those being less isolated had greater choice of fruit and vegetables, but still 8/10 items were not conducive to good health.
I told my coworkers who were with me, that in fact, we were choosing between Bad Food and Worse Food!

Del Monte Fruit Naturals
Calvo Guacamole  
Hendrickson’s Oil and Vinegar
C and H dark brown sugar
Crystal Brown Sugar
Shure Fine Olive Oil (of all the food items from this cheap producer, this is the only one. I would avoid them)
Post Raisin Bran
Post Shredded Wheat
(Kellogg’s had unwanted ingredients)
Crystal Farms Cheese
Daisy Sour cream
Earth Grains 12 grains Bread
Sara Lee 12 grain Bread (avoid any other bread from Sara Lee)
Chobani Greek Yogurt (avoid Yoplait which may be dangerous to your health, also Activia)
Tofu

In general, well-known brand names were of lesser quality, had unwanted ingredients or were calorie dense (Uncle Ben’s Rice).

As an easy code to remember, I told them:

AVOID FOOD ITEMS THAT CONTAINS DESCRIPTIONS OF INGREDIENTS:
HIGH.
LOW…
UN..
NON..
HYDROGENATED…
NATURAL
ORIGINAL

I also found the following book very helpful for counselors and their indigenous clients.
EAT THIS, NOT THAT
BY DAVID ZINCZENKO
It is a helpful guide to the supermarket shopping and also has lots of myth busting nutritional advice.
All staff working with me will have a copy of the book with them and they can familiarize with the items described in the book and also the various Fast Food place and the choices there …

As we were leaving the supermarket very close to where one would pay the cashier.  .
Was
DELI EXPRESS MUFFIN that would take the cake even in this country where so much bad food is available:  a whopping 640 calories for one single small muffin!
IT WOULD TAKE ONE WHOLE HOUR SERIOUS EXERCISING ON BIKE OR ON A FOOTBALL FIELD TO BURN OFF THAT SMALL MUFFIN….


SO, What did I have for lunch today?
One of the staff members had prepared wild elk and wild rice with onions and mushroom..  Thank You..