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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Where is obesity rate going?

      Recently I saw a report from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation on the rate of obesity in children that indicated a drop in obesity in children over the past 3 years.  Is this trend a short term improvement or the signs of the a recognition that obesity is one of the most important health challenges we face as a nation? Certainly the effort of First Lady Michelle Obama has given childhood obesity national attention to this issue. Amazingly this effort has been mocked by the political right.  Remember Sarah Palin serving cookies at a campaign stop?  Locally the Horizon Foundation has launched a campaign on this topic too.  The challenge will be how to sustain this effort into long term changes in lifestyles to keep the trend going down.  This maybe important in Howard County but the bigger need is in other areas of this Country.
     In discussing this with some friends this week we took bets on whether we would have more obesity 20 years from now than we do now.  The majority bet that we would have more obesity. The general belief was that the increase in consuming processed foods, fast foods and the more sedentary lifestyle were factors unlikely to decline.  While some of our population was becoming more aware of how to eat healthy and buying organic foods, the general sense was that for much of our population the availability of healthy food choices was limited and that advertisements still led consumers to unhealthy choices.  The general sense of the group was that the level of education was probably the factor that defined how healthy a person ate.  This certainly seems to true when you look locally at our available food choices.  With the completion of our Whole Foods store next year joining David's Natural Foods store and MOMS consumers in our area have easy access to natural and organic foods.  I doubt if these food choices are available in Appalachia, inner cities or rural areas of the South.

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