May 18, 2012

Food policy and obesity links

There's been so much buzz about food policy and obesity lately that it's difficult for me to ignore. Here are some links that cover different aspects of the food policy landscape:

HBO's Weight of the Nation series. I've only watched Part 2, "Choices" so far, but I found it engaging. I loved the vignettes of people, and am very sympathetic to the struggle to lose weight. But, as Marion Nestle points out, the series was co-sponsored by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine, which means that the series could not take a political stance on the issue. Nestle suggests that we focus on actions that we can take as a society, rather than continue to play the individual blame-game, or put the onus on individual communities, especially children of all people! It's inspiring to see children step up where adults have failed, but piecemeal reforms to the nation's overall food environment are extremely challenging.

For a disturbing series of articles on childhood obesity and the failures of American food policy, see:
And finally, a piece in the NYT that challenges the heart of American food policy by using mathematical models of the causes of weight loss and gain. I know it's not my usual style to support something that reduces everything to math, but check out the article.

The upshot of all of this: losing weight is hard. Exercise is good, but you won't lose weight without cutting back on food intake. It will take years. And you will never be able to eat as much food as those lucky people with high metabolisms who have never been overweight. Thanks, science, for being such a bummer...

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