Monday, 16 March 2015

The Food and Fat Debate

There is a whole bunch of research and articles from "experts" on the change in our diet and the supposed onset of morbid obesity.  They largely say our eating habits have changed and the choices of food in our diet is driving that obesity statistics.  But is that the case?  Is it the definitive answer?

Well I tend to argue it is not.  Obesity is a symptom of the modern era, say in New Zealand in the past 30 years.  Yes the proliferation of fast food outlets has grown in that time but other factors have also changed in that time which goes some way towards arguing it's not just food choices but also lifestyle choices.

Back in the early days, not every family owned a car, van or any other automobile and walking to bus stops and the likes was the norm.  That changed when they started importing secondhand Japanese vehicles and they were more affordable.  Suddenly it was easier to get around.  In the process, exercising became less necessary and coupled with the food choices, obesity started to become a factor in the health equation.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg.  The sudden proliferation of electronic devices and a huge entertainment industry meant that children over the past 20 years have felt no need to go outside and play after school, instead tied to their electronic entertainment.  And not just children.  many adults also found it more beneficial to sit at home and watch DVD's or play on the Playstation, and become couch potatoes.  Sure there were couch potatoes before this evolution, but the devices made it easier for proliferation of addictions to those devices and less exercise.  Sure, food choices also featured more, too busy to cook a meal because they were on their devices so let's do takeout.

The other factor would also have to be the argument that folks are better off money-wise these days and buying takeaways is easier.  Tentative link but one nonetheless.

The fact remains society is just beginning to pay the full price for lifestyle choices.  Don't blame the
person that finds themselves morbidly obese or diabetic.  Blame the people that decided that society needed to take the easy route through life.  I can't see how a Sugar Tax is going to solve obesity and diabetes.  Not all those that suffer either eat a lot of sugar.  Sure some do, but it's the other food group to me that should be targetted - I call them Brown Foods.  Any food (most anyway) that are brown and most takeaways are, seem to be linked to eating issues and obesity.  Place a levy on those food suppliers to help with the Health Budget to care for those that can't help themselves (yes that does sound like what happens to smokers)

In the end lifestyle choices are an individual thing, as with all issues, but if a country can fight to rid smoking, and eventually alcohol, then it can also make it's people look like supermodels in their old age, slim, attractive and fit.

Yes I eat all the food groups mentioned, maybe treat myself once a week.  I also exercise at work so I burn calories.  Yes I was overweight once, and yes I changed my lifestyle not just for a healthier life, but for personal satisfaction.  I am still overweight (4 kilos) but it's a healthy overweight.  Yes I sit at my PC for hours on end.  But yes, I still work hard for 8 hours a day and that keeps the doctor at bay.  Yes, if they taxed food outlets I'd still buy, knowing I'm not the problem.  The problem is those that don't buy into a healthy lifestyle.  And if you raise the Fat Gene Card i'd throw back at you that not all smokers or drinkers come from a hereditary line of similar people. Addiction is an individual thing.

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