More than twice as many kids are driven to school these days compared to 25 years ago, and that's having an impact on everyone. In a study released April 5 by Metrolinx, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area's transportation planning agency, researchers found a decline among youth in the use of physically active modes of transportation to commute to school over a 25-year period. And this has huge implications for the future of Toronto.
The food industry is notoriously misleading, undeniably corrupt, and has the one of the largest revenue streams in the world. Coca Cola has lobbyists in Washington, and the meat industry makes no bones about being in bed with the political process. Despite our leaps and bounds in medical science, why can't we effectively tackle the obesity epidemic?
Canada is dealing with an obesity challenge. At the moment, one in four adults and one in ten children are defined as being obese. One might believe the answer to obesity is simply to eat less and exercise more. Yet, over the last few decades, researchers have learned this condition is far more complex than initially believed.
They're coming first for your devilish Coca-Cola and Pepsi. But they aren't stopping there. They also want taxes on sugary fruit juice (you sinister Sun-Rype suckers!), and anything else that tastes slightly better than water. It won't end -- because big government types truly believe higher taxes can solve every problem -- there's no evidence it will work.
Controlling obesity is never an easy prospect and for some, the best option is to undergo bariatric surgery. The practice has been around since the 1960s and involves restricting the volume of the stomach either with a band or through surgical removal of a large part of the stomach organ. There's also another factor in determining the benefit of this surgery: the microbes living in the gut. The tens of trillions of bacteria can also be affected by the change. Although this was known hypothetically for years, in 2010, it was shown for the first time.
The rise of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease motivates some people to become more careful about the food choices they make. If you are looking for an easy tool to help make healthy choices and help prevent the onset of chronic disease, the glycemic index has been shown to do just that.
When it comes to treating weight problems, even experts believe that similar methods can be applied almost universally: Put your patients on a diet, have them engage in regular exercise, and, if all else fails, recommend some surgical procedure. What gets rarely looked at are the differences between overweight individuals that may have led to their unhealthy weight gain in the first place.
A campaign to advertise healthy foods to youngsters, fruits and vegetables has emerged from the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit. But, in reality, I fear that it may do more harm than good especially if it is taken up in this country. All promotions to children, because of their age and lack of development, can end up manipulating them.
By the end of this decade, diseases stemming from poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices will top all other causes of death worldwide. At the same time, there are no effective policies in place to tackle the most pressing problems such as the obesity epidemic and other so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs).