Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Cleaning Your Plate Gets You

I was reading an article about research that was recently published in Biomed Central Public Health Journal. In the Reuters piece by Kate Kelland, the US was said to have a severe obesity problem.

The research wasn't about the USA however, it was about obesity in Africa! I grew up in America in the 70s . There were plenty of commercials showing starving children from countries like Ethiopia, sometimes accompanied by a plump Sally Struthers. And I can tell you that many of my peers and I were frequently admonished to clean our plates because of those starving children. Well, the clean plates - often meat and potatoes, gave rise to a serious problem in this country.

In fact, I have come to tell people who still have that clean plate mentality, that whether or not they eat that (whatever it may be - brownies or cookies someone brought to the office, or the other 600 calories of their 1200 calorie restaurant meal) whether they eat it or not there will still be starving people.

In a uncomfortable twist of fate, undernutrition is now superseded by overnutrition as a leading cause of death in the world. And in at least seven African countries, obesity in the POOR has risen at an alarming rate. The cause is the type of food that they are eating. It is fast and cheap and full of saturated fat and sugar.

This is considered a crisis as obesity is a cause of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. More affluent countries with these problems, i.e the US and the UK, are in a panic over the health care needs of the obese, and we have a health care system that is pretty decent. For the most part, African countries do not have the infrastructure, supplies, facilities or persons to handle the consequences of obesity.

1 comment:

shane said...

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