Thursday, August 22, 2013

WWR? Mexico beats the US in the Race of the Scales

The What, Why and Really? 
Race of the Scales

You should have already known I was going to use this picture.
That's the one and only, Usain Bolt, by the way.
Photo Credit: NYTimes



Photo Credit: Wallibs
In LANE 1 we have the Uniiiiiited States, the undefeated champion, who's been toping the charts since the 1970s and 1980s when high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils were dropped oh so hard into our diets.

You can follow the paper trail all the way back to Earl Butz, the secretary of state during the era of Nixon, who instituted the development of legislation that significantly reduced subsidies for farmers.  This essentially forced farmers to produce massive amounts of corn so that it could be exported around the world.

So what do you do when you produce way more corn than you can handle?

You turn it into High-Fructose Corn Syrup.  I'm just going to put in a plug here for the doc, Food, Inc. (video below)



It gives you the history of the invention of such things (I shall not call it food) as high-fructose corn syrup, excessive use of soybean oil in everything and trans fats. Your mind will be opened due to blowing up.


Photo Credit: Studio

And in LANE 2 we have Mexico, the contender for the gold.

This is gonna be exciting!!  The United States has never lost this race and is, of course, the favorite to win.

But Mexico has been vigorously training all season........................running laps around donuts, pumping quarter pounders at the Burger King gym, undergoing some intense conditioning using a new workout formula invented by Coach Crispy Chicken.  I heard it was 2000 lbs of fries a week, just for the warm-up.  So hardcore, man.  Mexico might have a good chance of taking the gold in today's race.

On your mark.  Get Set.  GOOOO!
....................................And their off.

The United States has gotten off to a great start.  Currently holding a pace of 31.8, the percentage of adult Americans that are overweight.  Additionally, 70% of Americans age 20 and over are overweight and obese as reported by CDC.  Leme hit ya with some statistics about the kiddies:
  • 18.4% of children between 12-19 are obese
  • 18.0% of children between 6-11 are obese
  • 12.1% of children between 2-5 are obese
Have mercy!  

Now we've seen the whole spectrum of Americans, lets' see what the deal is with Mexico.

.................And now it looks like Mexico is pulling up, just a few percentages behind the US.  Mexico is coming around the turn very strong.  This could be an upset.  I don't see any signs of Mexico slowing down.  If Mexico hits the turn with less then 1% between the US, it could be all over today.

The United States is trying to maintain the lead.................BUT it looks like Mexico is closing the distance rapidly.   I don't know if the US can hold it.  Nooooooooo, they can't.  Mexico is inching forward with a strong pace..................AND it looks like Mexico has taken the lead.  The Unites States is battling through but just can't keep up.  Mexico is moving strong and inching towards the finish line....................And MEXICO takes the GOLD!

Mexico has OFFICIALLY surpassed the US as the nation with the highest obesity rate.  This doesn't include small islands like the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, where obesity and diabetes rates are unprecedented.  I will chat a bit more about that later.

Photo Credit: NextGen


Mexico is eating more processed foods, soda and other sugary drinks than ever.  In comparison to other nations, Mexicans are drinking more sugary drinks than any other country.  Advertising, convenience stores and mega-food markets have contributed to increased demand and consumption.  Diabetes is currently the biggest killer in Mexico.  Check this out:
  • By the year 2025, it is estimated that 11.7 million Mexicans will be diagnosed with diabetes out of a population of 114.8 million. 
  • Each year, 40,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in Mexico.
  • In the year 2000, the #2 cause of hospital death in Mexico was diabetes even though it was the 11th most frequent cause of hospitalization.
  • The kiddies are feeling it too: Currently 14% of the population affected by diabetes are under the age of 40. Smh. Poor babies.
  • 1 out of 6 Mexican adults currently suffers from diabetes.
  • 70,000 Mexicans now die of diabetes every year which is roughly equivalent to the number of death due to involvement in Mexican criminal gangs.
Yoooooo, what is this right here?  This is absolute madness.

The assimilation of a westernized diet (AKA fast food and junk food and loads of meat and loads of grease and loads of salt and loads of sugar) in place of the whole-food, natural and plant-heavy eating pattern of the past is what's going on here. 

My random two cents: I mean, fresh produce must be DEPRESSED as hell.  They have been rejected, tossed to the side.  So few folks want to hang out with them, which includes me, of course.   But they are tired of me.  They need to see some new faces.  I'll introduce you, no worries.  :)

Mexico is not the first country to demonstrate what happens when a nation adopts a Westernized diet.  Take the following countries, many in the region of Oceania, for example:

  • Nauru (95% obesity rate)
  • Micronesia (92% obesity rate)
  • Cook Islands (92% obesity rate)
  • Tonga (92% obesity rate)
  • Nieu (84% obesity rate)
  • Samoa (83% obesity rate)
Other countries such as American Samoa, Palau and French Polynesia are known to have an obesity rate of at least 75%.  The introduction of many elements of the Western diet through importation of such foods has been credited for the increase in not only obesity but chronic disease. This was due to these nations in some way being colonized by Western societies such as the US, France, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Here's a really interesting point on what is termed "dietary colonialism" for all my sociology majors out there....an excerpt from the paper, The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands:

"Specifically, traditional foods of past generations have 

been supplanted with food purchased from Western 
nations...The traditional 
foods of the islands such as fresh fish, meat, and local 
fruits and vegetables have been replaced by rice, sugar, 
flour, canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, soft 
drinks and beer. The diet is high in calories and with little 
nutritional value. Many Pacific Islanders 
have come to depend on food imported from abroad. 
Consequently, commercial ventures on the islands tend 
to stock these high-fat, energy-dense foods. Over time, 
purchasing these imported goods has become a sign of 
social status in the community and traditional foods have 
decreased in importance. Even before World War Two, 
missionary wives and other women from the West were 
strongly advising the women of the Pacific on the “proper 
way” to feed their families. The island women were taught 
to “bake tarts and serve a roast beef dinner in order to 
keep their families healthy”.  The 
ingredients for these meals could only be obtained from 
sources outside the islands, and so a situation of “dietary 
colonialism” resulted.  

This dietary colonialism is more than evident in 2013 as it has pervaded the entire world.  Obesity is currently a global crisis as stated in the most recent report on the burden of global disease.  The WHO estimates that currently ONE BILLION people are overweight.  That's 1/7 of the world's population.  I did the math myself and that number is too dagone big!

I don't think it can get much clearer as to what is the primary cause of obesity and most chronic diseases and no, it's not genetics.  The CDC lists four common causes of chronic disease:  poor nutrition, lack of exercise, tobacco use and alcohol consumption.  Changing, modifying, altering, transforming or improving nutrition by any means (maybe not all means............"450 calories per day" diets are out of control, Kaiser!) is the best way to start.  This ain't rocket science, my people.   Crap + Body = Crappy Body.  Healthy Stuff + Body = Healthy Body.  It's just math.


Thing is, what are we really gonna do?  Like for real.  Many times the info that needs to be heard, that needs to be registered, hits the brain like a wall.  "Oh, so that whole 2 hour discussion we had on why you may probably get diabetes if you keep drinking 4 cans of soda religiously and how diabetes complications will leave you looking like a pirate, wasn't really the business?  I see, it just didn't really do anything for you.

You're blind here, missing a limb there,
lugging around your own luggage
and your grill is all kinds of messed up.
Photo Credit: Wiki
The reality is that lectures hardly ever work, unless an individual is actually ready to receive the information.  Otherwise, it goes in one ear, hits the wall of "I don't really care about this right now" surrounding the brain, floats through some cerebral fluid, bumps into to a couple other squishy stuff, travels up the side of the head as the the pressure in your head increases from annoyance and THEN comes out of the other ear.  Instead of just talking, we have to get to the doing. 

So I will leave you with this.  What are some effective ways that you think we can get folks moving in the right direction, towards healthier lifestyles?  My people, I would love your feedback on this!

Thank you for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!


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