Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I struggled with my obesity issue last night. I was reviewing my old papers and other people's papers and the same old data bases and the government's websites and feeling that something was OFF.

For starters, I didn't understand WHY I was doing this again - I already know what is going on, the extent of the problem, the diseases its causes, the economic impact, what the government thinks, what non profit agencies think, what local agencies and their coalitions think and STILL the numbers of obese people and amount of preventable disease in our country just keeps rising.

I went to sleep overwhelmed and frustrated. I awoke thinking maybe this afternoon I could sit down and really get into this again. Then I went for a run and had my epiphany.

Everything we read about obesity frames it around three behaviors. This is true in statements from the President and First Lady, the Health and Human Services Secretary, and the Surgeon General. If they say it, then the federal agencies (DHHS, CDC, NIH, etc) say it and the nonprofits say it and the research dollars and grants go to these three areas - You know what they are: consumption, physical activity and sedentary behavior. Those are the triumvirate of the prevention model for this country.

Remember that Harris Interactive Poll I mentioned Sunday? People believe that IF they are overweight it is because __________ Seriously - what is the answer we have all come to accept and desperately want to believe? (no not genetics :)) People think that they are overweight because they do not get enough exercise. They think IT because someone is perpetuating the myth that the best way to maintain a healthy weight is through exercise and that is NOT confirmed in the science. It seems that even public health experts don't want to EAT LESS.

Physical activity and exercise are absolutely key to preventing disease states and disease progression but they are NOT the gold standard for weight maintenance. And that my friends, is the theme for my class paper :)

You should have seen me explaining this to my professor - talk about passion :) I realized that none of my strategies, as good as I like to think they are, will work if people think calories don't count!


Jess said...

Eat "less" (volume) or eat "fewer" (calories)?

Are you not still pro-volumetrics?

Deirdre Dingman, MPH, CTTS, CHES, PAPHS said...

Oh my my - you blasheme! less calories my dear - never less volume - I thought about that when I wrote it - funny - I will continue to advocate for nutrient info at point of purchase and Go Slow Whoa type labeling, but TEACH people how to maximize without over consuming!

I guess Volumetrics is a strategy to employ to eat less...

Didrika -aka 'Didi' said...

Hi Deirdre, This is Didrika Bouman-Collier. I'm originally from the Netherlands, and I am a very healthy vegetarian:)I now live in Kentucky and there sure are alot of obese people here.I am really shocked at how large americans are getting. Here is my thought;
the answer to the obesity problem could be: a vegetarian diet, no coffee, tea , soft drinks, only fruit juices or veg. juices or water.. no snacks between meals. Lots of legumes... these foods, when shopping for a good deal, are very reasonably priced. Yes, it requires cooking at home.. But poor people would benefit tremendously.. Also lots of walking or bicycling too (but that's another subject-lol). All very simple lifestyle changes... and very healthy.. Good luck. Anyone can do it. I did...
sincerely, Didi

Deirdre Dingman, MPH, CTTS, CHES, PAPHS said...

thank you Didi! i like it all, though I think juices are problematic because of the sugar - as far as eating better - see my post for today - the COST is ridiculous - what in the world are you doing in Kentucky! it is one of the smokiest and fattest states in the country - though it is beautiful and has the horses :)