By Dean L. Jones
Television show host, physician and cardiothoracic surgeon, Doctor Mehmet Oz this week volunteered to help rid those bogus business offers that peddle so-called miracle pills and cure-alls to lose weight. Dr. Oz appeared before the Senate’s consumer protection panel, Chaired by US Senator Claire McCaskill, where he explained how his outreach about green coffee and many other products can help Americans shed pounds and get healthy.
It is somewhat sad knowing that our federal representatives are conducting hearings about the vulnerability of our eating habits. With the severity of so many other issues plaguing the American populace, being overweight should not have to take center stage. However, for a large variety of reasons a majority of people disregard the obvious like the American Heart Association’s recommendation to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts, and reduce or eliminate red meat and sugary-filled foods and beverages.
Long ago, being fat was revered as a sign of health and prosperity, as plumpness was a status symbol, showing that you did not have to engage in manual labor to earn your meals. Today the tables have turned, where historically, rich people were fat and poor people were thin due their inability to eat. Although we are more enlightened and being fat is simply not a good quality option, still 34.9% of the adult US population is obese. And those with little money who aim to lose weight, eating right is quite difficult. The working class and low-income citizenry are far more likely to be overweight than those of greater means.
It seems ridiculous, but as income falls, the rate of obesity rises, mainly due to the access to the cheap prices food for lower-income sectors, but it is the unhealthiest and most fattening foodstuff. For example, on average $3.00 buys you a fast food deal with French fries, a cheeseburger and an unlimited refill of soda. The option to buy raw ground beef at $3.33 a pound leaves literally no money for a side dish of healthy vegetables.
Our local economy has given permission to operate ineffective food marts. The challenge is there is no real food sold in these sham grocery stores, where every item carried is empty calories, unless you buy the last banana sitting near the register. The latest top ten highest obesity rated states are Mississippi-35.4%, West Virginia-34.4%, Delaware-34.3%, Louisiana-32.7%, Arkansas-32.3%, South Carolina-31.4%, Tennessee-31.3%, Ohio-30.9%, Kentucky-30.6%, and Oklahoma-30.5%. The state with the lowest obesity is Montana at 19.6%, and California is at 23.6%.
Time was, when someone brought something to eat, it was cooked from fresh ingredients. Nowadays, the phrase ‘bring something to eat’ constantly results in trouble, where processed sugary, fatty and salty laden items will ensue, thus perpetuating higher rates of obesity. In view of that, stay SugarAlert!
Dean Jones, Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributes his view on health attributes derived from processed foodstuff items.