Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Research and Policy Intersect with Public Media

Boyd Swinburn is the Alfred Deakin Professor of Population Health and Director of the World Health
Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Melbourne.  You have seen his name many times in my blog and I have read at least 20 articles which either discuss policy issues or examine research that he himself has conducted. 
Recently I talked about the 4 articles that are published in the medical journal the Lancet.  I also mentioned that Dr. Swinburn was to attend a UN General Assembly Meeting in NYC this month.  

His work as a researcher and as director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Obesity Prevention is getting him a lot of press these days.  His studies often include the USA, UK and Australia.  Today I am linking you to a popular press story which does his research justice.  Remember, I have read the work of both Swinburn and the other scientist noted in the report, Gortmaker.  I have blogged about Swinburn's work which shows that the weight gain in the last 30 years is much more about calories in then out.  In this article it is said again.  Our change in physical activity occurred decades before our weights began to rise.  Our bodies had adjusted to the change in activity and as individuals we WERE eating less to compensate for doing less- until the "tipping point" happened.  The calorie content of our food doubled and tripled. The journalist quotes the studies of Swinburn et al - and this is my favorite line "Energy intake rose because of environmental push factors, i.e., increasingly available, cheap, tasty, highly promoted obesogenic foods.” 

This is not a research article but a newspaper story written by Jane Brody - do take a minute to read it for yourself.  This is the type of policy work I hope to engage in myself.


Agness Mumbi said...

It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine.

Dinahsoar said...

Not sure what or whom to believe. See quote below-- from this link:


"One hundred and fifty years ago, Americans consumed two to three times more calories per day than they do now" -- mostly at breakfast, Smith says. Yet obesity and diabetes weren't at epidemic proportions "because half of Americans still lived on farms or did manual labor in cities."

I assumed the caloric intake today is much higher than past years, but maybe I believe that because it is what is being promoted by media and such?

What I know personally is that I ate far more calories in the past and was smaller. Now I hardly eat anything in comparison and have to fight weight gain.

As well, in the past I wasn't any more physically active than I am now.

The biggest culprit I think is sugar--it's in everything, and high fructose corn syrup has replaced cane sugar in so many products since the 1970's. HFCS must be processed by the liver, so the metabolic process is different than it is for sugar--at least that is what I understand.

It's all convoluted and confusing.

Another thing, I think we eat more carbs and less meat/animal protein. Back in the day whenever a woman or man wanted to lose some weight they cut out bread, potatoes and dessert. That was it..no calorie counting, etc. Obesity was not that common, nor was early onset diabetes.