Here are my Top Ten articles on The Paleo Diet
Here are my Top Ten articles on The Paleo Diet
I was getting a lot of questions on topics other than diet and fitness training. With a more general health blog, I can focus on topics not specifically exercise or diet.
I hope everyone enjoys
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians are not as tall or thin as they think say they are.
This has caused Stats Can much consternation.
The data that Stats Can collects through it’s Canadian Community Health Survey and the National Population Health Survey rely on Canadians to provide their height and weight.
In 2005, 16% of Canadians were classified as obese; according to their self reported info.
But according to actual measurements, 8% of Canadians are not only fat, but big fat liars to boot.
Oh My God!
What could happen next?
Do you think Canadians lie about their age?
Their penis size?
In Japan, employers are forcing their employees to eat fish sausages, participate in a “lifestyle reform programs,” and attend boot camps designed to reduce the incidence of metabolic disease or metabo.
Not to be upstaged, the Japanese government has introduced compulsory ‘fat checks‘ for people over 40 years of age.
It’s not just the Japanese that are panicky about obesity.
But did you know about:
and my personal favorite
Maybe, for simplicity’s sake, we could lump all of these conditions together under one banner:
I am not for one second suggesting that people have legitimate mental & physical issues concerning food and their bodies.
But, why oh why, does every human peculiarity have to become a syndrome or a condition?
Why do we have to be afraid of everything?
Jeremy Sammut of ABC News (Australia) has written an article claiming that government sponsored programs that promote public health don’t work.
While his focus is specific to the Australian experience, his claim that Australia’s government has squandered public funds on advertising campaigns may be applicable to both Europe and North America. The fact is, obesity is on the rise in the ‘developed’ world. Attempts by national or regional governments to promote a healthy lifestyle have been unsuccessful in reversing this trend towards obesity.
Sammut makes a few very interesting observations.
First, he claims that when government assumes the role of health nazi/nanny, it absolves the individual of “their primary responsibility for the unhealthy lifestyle decisions they continue to make”, and as a result, “the lifestyle disease ‘epidemic’ is blamed on a lack of government-funded entitlement to preventive primary care”.
This takes us to the second point; “the limits of government authority over individual behaviour, and the importance of personal qualities in regulating it – why nearly 40 years of health promotion has coincided with ascending rates of lifestyle disease”.
And if we are going to allow government to assume authority over our behavior, we have to question the motivations behind this program.
Quite often, “advocates of more spending on lifestyle disease prevention often draw false parallels with the success of the campaign against tobacco smoking”. This argument is specious in that smoking bans and the ‘sin’ taxes applied on tobacco products are examples of public health regulation, not health promotion.
You would think that applying this model to public exercise and nutrition would be near impossible. Smokers were a minority group and their behavior was found to be less than enchanting by a large portion of the population. Simply put, the majority ganged up on them and enacted laws that made smoking a financial and logistical pain in the butt.
How would government apply this strategy when the majority of the population does not exercise, eats junk food and has no intention of changing?
They would start with the children. Apply a little parental guilt. Ban junk food from school (already happening). Slap a sin tax on ‘junk food’. Expand that tax to include bacon, eggs, cheese, filet mignon, etc…
Wow! Big Brother wants to tax my bacon & eggs.
While that is unlikely (I hope) to happen, Sammut’s argument is that the health promotion programs advocated for by certain lobby groups, prepared by marketing companies and approved by governments have not been successful.
In Canada, advocates of the ParticipACTION program (historical info) have considered it a success due to it’s longevity and the fact that “two years after the agency had ceased to operate in 2001, almost 80% of Canadians still recognized the ParticipACTION logo and message”.
No mention of it’s positive impact on the health of Canadians. Wasn’t that the point of the program?
As much as I appreciate the light that Dr. Sammut has shined on this subject, I was a little disappointed by his conclusion.
“It is therefore timely to review the evidence. Because when the assumptions are questioned and the evidence examined with a clear eye, what is revealed is that there is actually slim support for the belief that preventive public health policies – be they ‘community-wide’ or ‘high-intensity’ lifestyle interventions – have in the past brought obesity and lifestyle disease under control, or that they are likely to in the future”.
Review the evidence?
While I agree that most if not all governments have a great talent for throwing great big bags of money at problems that they have no hope of solving, does that mean that as a society we are doomed to accept gluttony and sloth as our birthright?
Here are two possible solutions.
In the U.K., doctors are able to write prescriptions for exercise.
Personally, while I believe that this plan is flawed due to the fact that when the government is looking to spend public dollars, there will always be bureaucrats and service providers ready and willing to overcharge and under-deliver. However, to be fair, I should mention that this program has not been in operation long enough to show whether it is successful or not.
Another possibility would be to offer tax refunds to those individuals that can prove that they are pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Instead of demonizing the couch potatoes amongst us, reward the energizer bunnies.
What do you think?
The BBC has reported that 83% of U.K. consumers “believed irresponsible marketing was making it harder to encourage children to eat well”.
The survey was conducted by Which?, the U.K.’s largest independent consumer organization.
The survey also found that “most of the 2,000 questioned want the government to do more to control the marketing of unhealthy food to children”.
Currently, the Brits have banned television commercials promoting junk food programmes aimed at children under 16.
Supporters of this survey are now calling for complete ban on junk food advertising on ALL programmes aired before 9 p.m. Additionally, they are requesting the government impose rules addressing junk food advertising on the internet and on packaging.
The ‘icing on the cake’ argument was offered by Clare Corbett, a food campaigner at Which?.
Corbett said “With childhood obesity and diet-related health problems on the increase, the government must take serious action and soon.”
The rant endeth.
The Daily Mail reports that “GlaxoSmithKline has applied for a licence to sell Alli in Britain and it could be available next year”.
For those that don’t know, Alli is the over the counter (OTC) version of Xenical.
As reported in USA Today, Caroline Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston University Medical Center and a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, has patients on Alli and Xenical. She tells them the drugs will block about 100 to 200 fat calories a day. At that rate, they would lose an extra pound every 2½ to 5 weeks.
A 2007 study printed in the Lancet showed that Orlistat reduces weight by around 3 kg on average and decreases progression to diabetes in high-risk patients; adverse gastrointestinal effects are common.
And what are the adverse gastrointestinal side effects?
Note – This is taken directly from the Xenical website.
“Because XENICAL works by blocking the absorption of dietary fat, it is likely that you will experience some changes in bowel habits. These bowel changes are a natural effect of blocking the fat from being absorbed. They generally occur during the first weeks of treatment; however, for some people they may continue for 6 months or longer while on XENICAL”.
These changes may include gas with oily discharge, an increased number of bowel movements, an urgent need to have them, and an inability to control them, particularly after meals containing higher amounts of fat than are recommended.
An inability to control your bowel movements.
Brits will just have to decide if the benefits of Alli outweigh (no pun intended) the side effects.
Note that in the first four months that it was available for sale in the U.S., Alli sold over two million starter packages. At $60 per package, that is $120 million in sales in only four months.