Posts Tagged ‘fast food’

Is Fast Food the Villain?

January 16th, 2014

So, the food police often point to fast food consumption as the main contributor to obesity, especially childhood obesity. So Barry Popkin and colleagues decided to look at the relative contribution of fast food compared to the rest of the diet. They looked at 4, 446 children, aged 2-18, from NHANES 2007-2010 and identified two dietary patterns: Western and Prudent. They found that half of US children consumed fast foods. 30% had most of their energy intake from fast food; 10.5% consumed more than 30% from fast food. Consuming a “Western diet” was more likely among fast-food low consumers. The remainder of the diet was independently associated with obesity, whereas fast food consumption was not.

Slight drop in fast food consumption

February 21st, 2013

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for health statistics finds a modest drop in calories consumed by adults eating at fast food outlets (and, somewhat ambiguously, “pizza”). An earlier report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the percentage of adults eating fast food increased from the early 1990s to the mid-1990s. Moreover, previous studies have reported that more frequent fast-food consumption is associated with higher energy and fat intake and lower intake of healthful nutrients. This report indicates that for 2007–2010, on average, adults consumed just over one-tenth of their percentage of calories from fast food, which represents a decrease from 2003–2006 when approximately 13% of calories were consumed from fast food. During 2007–2010, the highest percentage of calories from fast food was consumed among adults who were aged 20–39 or non-Hispanic black or obese. Among young non-Hispanic black adults, more than one-fifth of their calories were consumed from fast food.

Food Deserts Questioned…Again

August 25th, 2012

Is there a robust relationship between neighborhood food environments and childhood obesity? That is the question Roland Sturm and colleagues Victoria Shier and Ruopeng An set out to answer in a new paper in the journal, Public Health. Using standard definitions and a large database of 5th and 8th graders, they found “no consistent evidence across (counts of a particular type of food outlets per population, food environment indices and indicators for the presence of specific combinations of types of food stores) and outcomes to support the hypothesis that improved access to large supermarkets results in lower youth BMI, or greater exposure to fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and small food stores increases BMI.” See PubMed: Is There a Robust Relationship between Neighborhood food environment

Don’t tell Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In May, at the Weight of the Nation Conference, she declared that food deserts were a cause of obesity stating, “Obesity can be caused by any combination of factors. For some, it is an addiction like smoking. For others, it’s a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables near their home.” HHS_Secretary Speeches_Weight of the Nation

This may be just a case of sloppy thinking or poor staff work. More likely, it was an effort to buttress First Lady’s Michelle Obama’s major $400 million initiative to bring supermarkets to underserved areas. Let’sMove: Food desert programs. Sturm’s earlier paper had already questioned this policy. PubMed: School and residential food environment California

 

Great Video on America’s Problem

September 27th, 2011

Interested in a great video about America’s obsession with fast food and what it is doing to us? Check this out from Al Jezzera.

The TechnoPhysio Evolution

June 8th, 2011

Book Review:    The Technophysio Evolution    

The Changing Body, Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700

by Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel, Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong, (Cambridge Press, 2011)

The authors are distinguished economists (Fogel has a Nobel Prize in Economics). With dizzying detail, it traces the changes in the human body over the last 300 years in Britain, France and the United States. During this period, humans have become much taller and heavier than ever before. The book charts the “technophysio evolution,” a complex interplay between increasing technological changes and improved standards of living, resulting in improved nutrition. The improved nutrition is passed from mother to child to child with improvements in height and weight in successive generations. This is not a straight line but the trends are unmistakable – improved mortality with tall and heavier adults.

The Technophysio Evolution hypothesis has five elements:

  1. The nutritional status of a generation – shown by the size and shape of their bodies – determines how long that generation will live and how much work its members will be able to do.
  2. The work of a generation, measured both in hours, days, and weeks of work and in work intensity, when combined with the available technology, determines the output of that generation in terms of goods and services.
  3. The output of a generation is partly determined by its inheritance from past generations; it also determines its standard of living and its distribution of income and wealth, together with the investment it makes in technology.
  4. The standard of living of a generation determines, through its fertility and distribution of income and wealth, the nutritional status of the next generation.
  5. And so on, ad infinitum.

In other words, increasing body weight is a by-product of advances in wealth and income, producing healthier, i.e. larger children, who, in turn, produce better nourished, i.e., larger,  children.

The “techno” part of this evolution include everything from American colonists moving from a wooden plow to an iron one; improvements in food production and distribution, refrigeration, canning, changes in water, sanitation and public health which reduced mortality from infectious diseases while improving nutrition for more and more people.

The “physio” part incorporates research on the fetal origins of adult disease and will support the attention to epigenetics as an important aspect in the development of obesity. This is not purely genetics or genetic determinism but the process of transition of improvements in nutrition to the health of the mother and her survival as well as to the survival of more children for longer periods of time. Epigenetic changes is coming into focus as a critical stages for the development of obesity and will certainly receive more attention in the future. Epigenetic changes in early life and future risk o… [Int J Obes (Lond). 2010] – PubMed result

Is there an end to the process or is there a natural limit to this growth? Well, we don’t really know but none appears so far. (It seems to me, at least, that evolution has not felt it necessary to provide unlimited height of the species since there does not appear any survival value to being taller. On the other hand, nature has felt that there was a distinct survival value to being able to store energy (read fat) on our bodies and there does not seem to be a particular limit to this.)

by permission, Cambridge University Press

 

Interestingly, the authors find that, for American white males ages 40-59, the increase in BMI from 1870 to 1980 is less closely related to food consumption than to reduction of contaminated environments and work hours. “Not only have working hours,” they write, “declined substantially throughout the twentieth century, but the type of work became more sedentary, and so required less energy.” However, “The recent large increase of BMI in 1980-2000 (6 percent) is highly connected to increased food intake during the period (22 percent). (At p. 336) Further, they note the average BMI of American white males has increased by 15.7% throughout the 20th Century, half during the last two decades of the twentieth century. “This means that American body size is rapidly moving toward overweight and obesity.This would seem compatible with a new finding from Tim Church and colleagues at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center that in the 1960’s about half of jobs in private industry required at least moderate physical activity. That figure is now less than 20%. Over the last 50 years, occupational daily energy expenditure decreased from by 142 calories in men and a similar amount in women.  Trends over 5 Decades in U.S. Occupation-Related P… [PLoS One. 2011] – PubMed result

What are the policy implications of this Technophysio Evolution?

First, increases in body size are a product of 300 years improvement in technology, productivity and standards of living. This evolution began long before television, fast food, vending machines, sugar-sweetened beverages and other would-be villans in the obesity epidemic.

Second, the very same nutritional improvements which led to larger bodies in Europe and the United States are being actively pursued in undernourished parts of developed nations and throughout the developing world. This indicates greater and greater levels of obesity in the developing world with obesity related diseases.

Third, epigenetics needs to receive more attention as a point of intervention in the development of obesity.

Fourth, simplistic views that blame individuals and proclaim that just cutting back food  or going to the gym will fix the obesity epidemic.  Strategies which just repeat the ELEM mantra (Eat Less Exercise More) have to be questioned if those strategies are likely to affect this profound historical trend.

A few years ago, Gina Kolata, in her book, Rethinking Thin (Farrar,Straus and Giroux, 2007)  discussed the views of some obesity researchers that we are looking at a new stage in the evolution of the species. This tome adds significant evidence that our obesity strategies need to be re-thought to take this 300 year trend into account.

Archives

September 27th, 2009

APRIL 2009

April 24, 2009

After planting garden, Michelle Obama skips out to Five Guys for a burger.

First lady says she sneaks off to fun restaurants – washingtonpost.com

MARCH 2009

March 31, 2009

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius lead off her testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee stating, “Yet, at the beginning of the 21st century, we face new and equally daunting challenges.

We face an obesity epidemic that threatens to make our children the first generation of Americanchildren to face life expectancies shorter than our own.”

March 30, 2009

Review of new drugs for obesity Obesity Drug by Arena Has an Effect, but a Limited One – NYTimes.com

March 27, 2009

New York Times reports on walking school buses in Italy fighting obesity and climate change

Students Give Up Wheels for Their Own Two Feet – NYTimes.com

March 18, 2009

Another study shows obesity increases risk of death

Obesity Takes Years Off Your Life – Forbes.com

March 13, 2009

Mississippi to cover state workers’ bariatric surgery

Surgery: Long-term care is more expensive | clarionledger.com | The Clarion-Ledger

March 9, 2009

Obama sets out Administration policy on use of science The White House – Press Office – Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies 3-9-09

March 6, 2009

Abdominal obesity adversely affects lung function Belly Fat Bad for Your Lungs?

March 6, 2009

New study finds dietician students prejudiced against persons with obesity Bias Against Obesity Is Found Among Future Dietitians – Forbes.com

March 1, 2009

Obesity increases worker’s comp. Obesity supersizing workers comp costs – Financial Week

March 1, 2009

South Carolina Senator criticized for trying to dump bicycle paths from stimulus bill. DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner: Sen. DeMint’s pro-obesity legislation was the real pork in the stimulus debate

FEBRUARY 2009

February 27, 2009

Obama budget to cut farm subsidies; improve child nutrition Obama wants to cut subsidies to farmers | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register

February 27, 2009

Drug maker buries data on diabetes drug causing weight gain AstraZeneca Documents Released in Seroquel Suit – NYTimes.com

February 20, 2009

North Carolina looks to penalize persons with obesity: Smoking, obesity may cost state employees | CharlotteObserver.com

February 19, 2009

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announces national effort on childhood obesity Leading Research Funders Launch Collaborative To Accelerate Nation’s Progress in Reducing Childhood Obesity – RWJF

February 19, 2009

Clinton Foundation announces alliance on childhood obesity Alliance for a Healthier Generation Expands Efforts to Combat Childhood Obesity with Launch of Landmark Healthcare Initiative

February 18, 2009

Court of Appeals upholds NYC Calorie Disclosure Ordinance

http://www.citizen.org/documents/NYSRAOpinion.pdf

Court Upholds the City’s Rule Requiring Some Restaurants to Post Calorie Counts – NYTimes.com

CDC: Young Invincibles are obese CDC: ‘Young invincibles’ have significant health concerns – CNN.com

February 16, 2009:

Home recipes increase in calories: ‘Joy of Cooking’ or ‘Joy of Obesity’? – Los Angeles Times

February 12, 2009

CMS Issues decision on using bariatric surgery to treat Type 2 Diabetes; notes effectiveness of bariatric surgery in resolving Type 2 Diabetes. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Obesity linked to Birth Defects

Obesity During Pregnancy Linked to Infant Birth Defects – NYTimes.com

JAMA paper on birth defect risks with mothers with obesity. JAMA — Maternal Overweight and Obesity and the Risk of Congenital Anomalies: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, February 11, 2009, Stothard et al. 301 (6): 636

February 19, 2009

Fast food restaurants predict strokes

More Fast-Food Joints in Neighborhoods Mean More Strokes – US News and World Report

February 12, 2009

How evolution lead to modern obesity

AAAS: Modern obesity epidemic can be traced back two million years – Telegraph

NEJM — Expanding Coverage for Children — The Democrats’ Power and SCHIP Reauthorization

JANUARY 2009

January 24, 2009

Childhood obesity influenced by genetic variations

Science Centric | News | Childhood obesity risk increased by newly-discovered genetic mutations

January 21, 2009

Obesity imperils health care reform

FEATURE-U.S. obesity epidemic shows perils to health reform – Forbes.com

January 20, 2009

Employers try incentives for healthier workforce Firms offer bigger incentives for healthy living – USATODAY.com

January 13, 2009

NIH launches study of how genes and environment affect children’s development National Children’s Study Begins Recruiting Volunteers, January 13, 2009 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

January 9, 2009

Physical Activity May not be Key to Obesity After All

Physical Activity May Not Be Key To Obesity Epidemic

January 6, 2009

Obesity and Ovarian Cancer Linked

Obesity Linked To Elevated Risk Of Ovarian Cancer

DECEMBER 2008

December 22, 2008

A little overweight and inactive hurts too

Even a Little Overweight, Inactivity Hurts the Heart – washingtonpost.com

December 19, 2008

Limiting snacks in schools can increase fruit, veggie consumption

Limiting School Snacks Boosts Fruit, Veggie Consumption – US News and World Report

December 18, 2008

Childhood Obesity may affect thyroid

Childhood Obesity May Cause Thyroid Problems – washingtonpost.com

December 16, 2008

New York Debates Tax on Soft Drinks

A Tax on Many Soft Drinks Sets Off a Spirited Debate – NYTimes.com

December 12, 2008

Study looks at relationship between obesity, breast cancer and frequency of mammography

Daily Cancer News – CancerConsultants.com

December 3, 2008

Visceral obesity linked to depression in elderly

Depression Linked to Increase in Abdominal Fat – US News and World Report

Environment

September 26th, 2009

The modern built environment may send cues to individuals for eating. Obesity and the built environment: changes in envi…[Int J Obes (Lond). 2008] – PubMed Result

The local number of fast food outlets is associated with higher BMI, as is car ownership. Body mass index, neighborhood fast food and restau…[J Urban Health. 2009] – PubMed Result

Better access to supermarkets and less access to convenience stores are associated with higher BMI levels. Neighborhood environments: disparities in access t…[Am J Prev Med. 2009] – PubMed Result

Research Activities, April 2009: Child/Adolescent Health: Boosting and preserving green spaces in urban neighborhoods may help reduce childhood obesity

Local food environments, obesity and diabetes: http://www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu/pubs/files/Designed_for_Disease_050108.pdf

Journal of Public Health Policy – New Recreational Facilities for the Young and the Old in Los Angeles: Policy and Programming Implications

Journal of Public Health Policy – Disparities in Urban Neighborhood Conditions: Evidence from GIS Measures and Field Observation in New York City

Journal of Public Health Policy – The Relation of the Perceived Environment to Fear, Physical Activity, and Health in Public Housing Developments: Evidence from Chicago

Free full articles on the built environment: Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law — Table of Contents (June 2008, 33 [3])

Neighborhood safety, collective efficacy, and obes…[Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006] – PubMed Result