weight of the world panda

“….the United States has the highest biomass of any other nation. In fact … The world’s biomass would increase 20% globally <about the equivalent of 1 billion ‘right sized people’> if other country’s population was as large <weight wise> as America’s population.”

the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

 

 

While many people still debate whether obesity is a health crisis, in the New York Times, one-time food critic Frank Bruni – after reviewing recent obesity research in evolutionary science, medicine, public health, and beyond – concluded that it will require a “society-level change if we are to stem a near inevitable tide.”

 

I don’t know Frank … heck … I don’t even know who he is … but I agree. It may not be a crisis <I dislike that word as it is often simply hyperbole> but I do believe addressing weight issues will require society level change.

 

Anyway.

 

Discussing weight is tricky.

Especially if you dare to use the word ‘obesity.’

 

Not only do we discuss what is ‘too much’ and how do you truly discern what is too much weight … but you also end up discussing how to manage weight.

I also believe in discussing weight we often confuse:

 

–           ‘self-appearance feelings of health’:

I look in the mirror and what I see makes me feel healthy or not healthy – and give me energy thru positive feelings … or lose energy because of negative feelings, and

 

–           ‘healthy feelings of health’:

Because I have been eating healthier I am actually healthier and have real energy

 

eating is my hobbyYes.

We all look in the mirror and want to change something. And the advent of the worldwide web feeds whatever sliver of self dissatisfaction you have … and offers so many solutions <often absurd> you are positive you have a problem.

And most people don’t have a real problem. They just need to have a healthier body <whatever shape that healthier body may come in>.

But I have decided to address this tricky topic one more time because … well … let’s say it began with a story of ‘me and 5 lb weights.’

 

Huh?

 

The other day when I went to the field where I chug my happy ass around for as long as I can as a form of exercise … someone had left a pair of 5 pound hand weights.

For some crazy reason I picked them up and thought about jogging with them in hand as I circled the field.

And I did.

 

Yikes.

 

A couple laps and I thought I was dying.

 

An extra 10 pounds and it changed everything. My heart rate was up … I was sweating like a stuck pig and my legs felt like rubber <which typically doesn’t happen for a longer period of time>.

 

Never have I had a more clear understanding that weight matters.

 

It wasn’t in the mirror … and it wasn’t a slow realization over time <where my body was able to acclimate so it was less noticeable> … it was an immediate dose of reality.

 

 

Well.

 

It also made me think that it has become very easy for the normal everyday schlock toting around an extra 10 to 20 pounds to not only ignore all the noise about weight being discussed … but also to ignore the weight itself.

And I don’t care if you are qualified as ‘obese’ or not … carrying around extra weight on your body isn’t good for your body. It puts stress on everything … joints, organs, heart … everything.

 

So … yes … I do think weight <called obesity in popular media> is an issue. Although I actually believe eating, and what we eat and intake, is the core issue.

 

To be clear on that … research clearly shows that a combination of healthy eating and exercise is the best regimen people can incorporate into their lives to have a healthy body <whatever size body you have>.

But.weight of the world by country

Research also clearly shows that of the two … what you put into your body is more important than exercise or activity. Food is fuel. Fuel for energy and fuel for the brain and fuel for all the components n the body.

 

Anyway.

 

I am sorely disappointed in how we are addressing weight in today’s society & world.

 

In today’s world it seems like there is no middle ground … we are either supersized or superskinny.

 

And on either end of the spectrum we plunge into random diets and absurd eating and exercise plans including fasting, eating anything you want, grapefruits, lemonade comprised of lemons/maple syrup/cayenne pepper <that sounds horrible>, no carbohydrates, all carbohydrates … pick something … or don’t … because it seems like it is an all or nothing alternative life planning.

 

Everything, in other words, is nothing if not extreme.

Everything, in other words, is confusing.

Everything, in other words, makes self-improvement difficult to improve theyself.

 

It is commonly understood that many diets fail for this very reason …they have impossible regimens designed for long term behavior … they set unrealistic goals that are impossible to maintain if not consistently reach <albeit the first is always attainable so that you continue on their regimen>.

 

weight of the world kids friesI know I’m not the first to highlight moderation but as the dieting industry bombards us with absurd propaganda I would like to note that extreme self-improvement measures are frequently destined to fail.

 

But.

We need to do something.

 

US people size alone would increase the weight of the world by 20% if everyone everywhere weighed the same.

 

Yup.

Due To U.S. Obesity … the global population is about 17 million tons overweight.

 

And while I truly wish we would call this ‘the state of unhealthy eating globally’ I recognize it doesn’t have the same sense of urgency as Obesity does. Is obesity truly the measure … the yard stick?weight of the world north america

Not sure it should be <but> it is a place to start the discussion.

 

And if you do use it as the yard stick … United States is kicking everyone’s ass. By yards.

Shit.

We all must have an ass the size of US.

 

Although the United States represents just 5 percent of the global population, it contributes to almost one-third of the world’s global obese weight says a study from researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 

The study calculated the weight of the global population at 316 million tons, and estimated that about 17 million tons of that figure is due to the growing numbers of people who are overweight. Increasing levels of fatness around the world will threaten future food security, since current levels of obesity could have the same impact on global resources as an additional half billion people.

 

Researchers concluded that although the average global body weight is 137 pounds, there are huge differences across regions. The average is 178 pounds in North America and 127 pounds in Asia, for example.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States has the highest biomass of any other nation.

 

Despite what some reports try to convince us of … rates of obesity in the United States show no signs of abating.

 

In fact, some estimates predict that 75 percent of Americans will be overweight by 2020.

 

Approximately two-thirds of the United States’ adult population is overweight now.

This is because, on average, adults in the United States are eating upwards of 3,500 calories each day, when 2,000 calories a day is plenty for an active adult.

 

A couple of things have really impacted our intake of food:

 

weight of the world need want–              Definitions of cooking have changed <the shorter the time the better … and a decrease in sit down meals>.

 

–              The rise of the ready meal <this includes fast food>.

 

In the last 10 years the number of meals eaten away from home has increased dramatically particularly for young adults who seem to live in coffee shops, sushi cafes and fast food places …none of which really existed a generation ago.

 

Generationally we are evolving from where the bulk of the people <pun intended> were home cooking and doing a great deal more of walking daily … to driving, living a much more sedentary life and western style <fast> food.

In addition … portion size is probably more responsible than quality of food <as portions are really too big in the US> for weight increase <we suck at managing our volume of intake as a population>.

 

I say that because I began with society level changes to address weight issues.

And while I do believe weight is a personal responsibility … society <in which personals who are responsible exist> has shifted.

And the shift has nothing to do with marketing or marketers … products and services are developed to meet societal ‘codes’ <such as ‘food is fuel’ in America: Clotaire Rappaille Culture Code>.  Cooking changed and ready meals evolved successfully because they simply permitted us to ‘do more.’

 

If someone wants to address the weight issue they need to make sure that it doesn’t cut into the American desire ‘to do.’ by the way … that’s why the whole messaging strategy of ‘make time for sit down meals’ and ‘make time to exercise’ is slightly absurd. It is contrary to what our societal code is.

 

Anyway.

 

I have worked on a number of obesity-related campaigns and initiatives.

 

I have a strong point of view on how I would address it <s noted in my very long multi-post series on Obesity written in 2010:

 

–          http://brucemctague.com/about-unhealthy-eating-1-2-3

 

–          http://brucemctague.com/unhealthy-eating-part-1-obesity-aint-the-issue

–          http://brucemctague.com/unhealthy-eating-part-3-the-campaign-idea

 

–          http://brucemctague.com/unhealthy-eating-part-3-5-response-to-smart-comments

 

 

–          http://brucemctague.com/unhealthy-eating-part-4-implementation

 

People will argue with me but I believe we should treat habitual unhealthy eating as an addiction … or reflective of an addictive personality.

Anything less simply leaves open a window of opportunity for exceptions and debate on ‘what to do.’

 

Look.

In some ways I understand the challenge <firsthand> and in some ways I don’t.

 

I love addictive things … but I just do not have an addictive personality.unhealthy regret fun

What?

 

–          I smoked for a week to see what it was all about. I frickin’ loved it. I could definitely see why people smoke. I never picked up a pack again after that week.

 

–          I can eat an entire bag of m&m’s in one sitting. And I can immediately crave more <because I love M&Ms>. I can see how people cannot stop eating. But I can NOT pick up another bag of m&m’s for weeks if not months.

 

–          I can drink until I am … well … healthily buzzed. I love the feeling. I love that time. I can see why people become alcoholics <if you can maintain that feeling>. But I cannot drink for weeks if not months.

 

–          I have tried a variety of drugs. And I loved them. Loved the feeling. But I cannot remember the last time I took a drug.

 

Do I crave these things once I knew how much I loved them? Sure. Absolutely.

 

I enjoy the moment but don’t have an addictive personality which demands that I have more moments. I choose if and when I actually want another moment.

 

I shared all that to suggest that I understand the craving … but I also admit that I don’t understand addictive behavior. And, yes, I maintain unhealthy eating is an addiction like behavior.

 

In the end.

This issue is not as complicated to understand as the web and media and many discussions make it out to be:

 

–          Eat healthy <as often as possible>

–          Be active <as possible>

–          Eat a little less <just because there is a portion available doesn’t mean you have to eat it all>

 

weight of the world global_obesity_menAnd while I make a point to suggest the issue is simpler than everyone makes it out to be … the solution always takes work … and diligence.

 

For ideas visit ‘weight of the world’ <WOW>.

Weight of the World (WoW) is an educational program that promotes physical activity and healthy eating among children and youth and helps young people kick-start daily life changes in their schools, families, communities and the world.:

 

About WOW: http://www.weightoftheworld.ca/weightoftheworld/e/about/

 

 

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Written by Bruce