11 February 2010

America Needs Real Food

One of the best things out of the Obama White House last year was First Lady Michelle Obama's organic gardening, and now in 2010, her anti-obesity campaign. These are encouraging signs and welcome when all to often, our national leaders are prone to presenting very bad examples. Bill Clinton, in many ways is the prime bad example. His love for junk food was legendary and undoubtedly he led many a young person in the wrong direction. If the First Lady can get down on her knees and plant a garden on the White House lawn, that removes just about all excuses from everyone of us. If she can do it then we all can do it. If it is something important to her, then it should and must become important to all of us. It is a clear sign of what time it is. Yes, American teens are over weight, but at the same time 37 million are hungry. Obesity and hunger are the two sides of the same mal-nutrition coin. So what percentage of Americans actually eat a healthy diet? I have never seen such a figure. I bet it isn't high.

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Teenage girls 'live on junk food', survey finds

Only 7 per cent of teenage girls eat enough fruit and vegetables
Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor

Teenage girls are eating a worse diet than they did ten years ago and putting their long-term health at risk, a national nutrition survey suggests.
Girls of secondary school age are not only living on junk food such as crisps, cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks, but they are also smoking and drinking more than boys.
The pattern of consumption suggests that many girls are being influenced by fashion models. However, while girls aim to be slim, the study found that 37 per cent of teenage girls are overweight and 22 per cent are classified as obese. Among boys of the same age, 35 per cent are overweight but only 16 per cent are obese.
The preliminary findings of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, released yesterday, have made such depressing reading for health chiefs that civil servants have turned to social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo to see if 13 to 16-year-olds can be weaned on to healthy eating by their own friends.
Michelle Obama campaign against child obesity
The tactics are radical, but officials from the Food Standards Agency and Department of Health are dismayed that, despite all the healthy eating messages, only 7 per cent of girls are eating their “five a day” portions of fruit and vegetables and the average girl’s consumption is 2.8 portions.
Almost half of all girls are also failing to eat food rich in iron, such as cereals and red meat. A deficiency can lead to anaemia, which causes fatigue and lethargy and is a factor in some women failing to become pregnant.
Eleven per cent of girls aged 13 to 15 also admitted drinking alcohol every week, compared with 1 per cent of boys the same age, while 29 per cent of the young teenage girls said that they smoked cigarettes, compared with 16 per cent of boys.Dr Alison Tedstone, head of nutrition research at the agency, said: “Broadly, teenage girls don’t eat enough. Overall, they are a stand-alone group of the population whose diets are poor.”
An analysis of eating diaries found that the average teenage girl eats 54 grams of chips or fried potatoes every day while the average woman aged 19 to 65 eats just 40g. Each day the teenager also eats 14g of crisps or other salty snacks, 22g of sweets and choocolate, and 37g of cakes and biscuits.
The average older woman, however, will eat just 6g a day of crisps, 10g of sweets and chocolate, and 27g of cake and biscuits.
Researchers also found that teenage girls and boys were eating too much sugar and saturated fat. It is recommended that only 11 per cent of energy should come from food with sugars, yet secondary school age boys are consuming 16.3 per cent sugars a day and girls 15 per cent.
High levels of saturated fat which is linked to heart disease are also being eaten. The average recommended daily intake is 11 per cent, yet girls are eating 13.1 per cent a day and boys 12.7 per cent.
Dr Tedstone said she hoped that diets would improve as manufacturers reformulated products and lowered saturated fat and sugar content.

1 comment:

Nadia Muhammad said...

Poignant comment, “Yes, American teens are over weight, but at the same time 37 million are hungry. Obesity and hunger are the two sides of the same mal-nutrition coin. “ Interesting article about teens and obesity! It shouldn’t be a surprised to anyone that obesity is prevalent in children as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of overweight children aged 6-11 years has almost doubled since the early 1980’s!