WIN Wyoming and WIN the Rockies
Fixing a Fat Nation
Fred Vanden Heede, grant writer and consultant, forwarded an
article to the WIN the Rockies office from The Washington Monthly
entitled "Fixing a Fat Nation - Why diets and gyms won’t save
us from the obesity epidemic." The article was written by Tom
Farley, a professor at Tulane University of Public Health and
Tropical Medicine and Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at
the RAND Corporation.
The thought bullets for this month come from a few of the
insights from the article. Please visit the website for The
Washington Monthly and read the entire article:
- In today’s environment, it is nearly impossible for most
people to stay thin. Desk jobs, television, the Internet, and
housing developments conspire against physical activity, and the
environment is laden with junk foods.
- It doesn’t take much calorie imbalance to make people obese
- just consistency.
- The call to "eat less, exercise more" has failed.
For many (most?) people, willpower is not enough to battle an
environment that promotes overeating and inactivity. We don’t
need another diet. We need a way to make healthy eating and
daily physical activity unavoidable.
- According to Advertising Age, McDonald’s spends over
$1 billion a year on promotion, and Coke spends more than $800
million. In comparison, the national 5-A-Day fruit and vegetable
campaign spends about $2 million a year.
- Smoking rates are going down and obesity rate are
accelerating. Soon (and it may have happened already), obesity
will become the number one killer in America.
- Effectively combating obesity will not require more drugs,
diet books or workout videos. Success will depend on retooling
our environment to get us moving and to put the junk foods
farther out of reach and to make items like fruits, vegetables,
whole grains and low-fat milk products easily accessible and
- Some people are more prone to become obese than others, but
human genes do not trump basic metabolic laws. Weight is gained
when calories eaten exceed calories burned. Our genetics are
still programmed from our hunter-gatherer days when we had to
store fat to survive the next famine.
- Americans know that being fat is bad. They’ve now been
hearing the message for over half a century.
Source: Fixing a Fat Nation - Why diets and gyms won’t save us
from the obesity epidemic. Tom Farley and Deborah Cohen, The
Washington Monthly, December 2001.
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD