Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fast food not to blame for fat kids

Children are getting fat because they are missing out on playing with their parents, who are tired when they get home from work, switch on the television and drink a beer. Indeed, children today are eating less fat than they were 30 years ago. A University of South Australia academic yesterday told a state parliamentary inquiry that lack of exercise - not increased fast-food consumption - was a key factor behind the nation's growing childhood obesity epidemic.

Tim Olds, an associate professor of the university's Health Sciences School, contradicted the growing body of evidence linking junk foods with fatter kids. Dr Olds said he had reviewed 1700 published studies around the world researching children's diets over 30 years. He discovered the data showed "a clear drop" in the energy intake of children today compared with up to 30 years ago. He said he was shocked to find that even allowing for under-reporting of food eaten, children aged up to 20 today were eating less, not more - including less fat. "I think it is the 'energy-out' side of the equation that's been affected," Dr Olds said. "No matter which way you turn the data, kids are eating less than they usedto." Two-year-olds in Australia ate 16 per cent less than a decade ago, while the energy intake of 11-year-olds was down 5.6per cent over the same period.

The inquiry into fast foods and obesity has previously heard that higher calorie intake, not less exercise, is the "main determination of weight gain in children". Peter Clifton, co-author of the CSIRO bestselling diet book CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, gave evidence to the inquiry last month that parents needed to cut sugar-laden drinks and high-fat processed foods from their children's diet.

Dr Olds said social and urban changes meant smaller backyards, with children less likely to play unsupervised outdoors, being driven to school and spending more time playing computer games and watching television. Tired parents did not take their children to the park after work but wanted to "sit down, have a beer and watch the news". Dr Olds called for an active curriculum in schools, which studies indicated would be more effective than dedicated physical activity lessons.

Studies also showed "there was no clear association between consumption of soft drink and the likelihood of (children) becoming overweight" on a population basis, he said. Although bans on junk food advertising "could be a useful strategy", it was "unlikely to cause a change by itself".


Beware of Turkish honey! "Mad honey disease is among the rarest afflictions in the world, but it appears to be on the increase. Only 58 cases have been reported worldwide, but eight people were treated in 2005 alone. The trend towards eating more natural products may be driving a rise in cases of the disease, whose symptoms can include convulsions, low blood pressure, fainting and temporary heart problems, according to a new report. "Mad honey disease has the potential to cause death if untreated," say the researchers. "Because of the increasing preference for natural products, intoxication induced by consumption of honey will increase in the future." Just a spoonful of the wrong honey can cause problems, according to researchers, who report their findings this week in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Mad honey poisoning is most prevalent in honey from the Black Sea region of Turkey. Compounds called grayanotoxins, found in the nectar of rhododendrons, mountain laurels and azaleas, are thought to be responsible for the disease. Though harmless to bees, they are psychoactive and poisonous to humans. Affected honey is said to have a very bitter taste."

Miracle mandarin oranges: "The humble mandarin is being hailed as the latest "super food" after two Japanese studies found that it may dramatically reduce the chance of getting liver cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A team at the National Institute of Fruit Tree Science studying the health effects of carotenoids - the vitamin A compound that gives mandarins their orange colour - surveyed 1,073 people in the town of Mikkabi, in Shizuoka, who ate a large number of the citrus fruits. They found chemical markers in the population's blood samples that were linked to a lower risk of liver disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and insulin resistance (a condition associated with diabetes). A second study found that drinking mandarin juice appeared to cut the chance of developing liver cancer in patients with chronic viral hepatitis. Researchers at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine studied 30 patients suffering from viral hepatitis for a year. Each had a daily drink containing carotenoids and mandarin juice. After a year, no liver cancer was found in the group, compared to a rate of 8.9 per cent among a group of 45 patients with the same condition but who did not drink the juice."


Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.


No comments: