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[IP] overweight epidemic

SNIP>>>>>Janet Said: 
What I'd really like to see, though, is more discussion of more 
general, systemic approaches to this problem -- whatever the
problem is. What's causing Americans to get fatter? Increased 
intake of calories, especially higher-fat diets, and increasingly 
sedentary behavior. But that begs the question. We know that 
eating too much and not exercising causes weight gain. But 
what is *causing* people to eat more, to eat unhealthy food, 
and to get less exercise?  We tend to see weight as an indivi-
dual problem; and it is -- partly. But a change like this -- a 
rapid, broad change that has been taking place steadily over 
many years, and that shows no signs of slowing or reversing -- 
cannot be simply a personal, individual problem. There must 
be some economic and social changes that are contributing to 
it. I have some ideas about what these are (aggressive marketing 
of fast food, junk food, and soft drinks to children; growth of
portion sizes in restaurants; more meals eaten in restaurants; 
the proliferation of snack food businesses leading to a constant 
temptation to snack; growth of a general attitude that constant 
snacking is normal behavior; tv and computers encouraging 
people to stay home instead of going out and being active; the 
many factors that encourage people to walk rather than drive: 
urban blight, urban sprawl, fears about personal safety, etc.)
I even know of research that supports some of these theories. 
But no matter what the causes are, if we want to reverse this 
trend, we have to change not only individual behavior, but 
the social and economic conditions that enable it. (First step,
in my opinion: stop the advertisement and sale of junk food
in our schools!)
/Janet L. <<<<<SNIP

Janet , excellent post!!, and I believe you are exactly right in everything
you said.     As a psychologist, I believe that there are also many of us
starving emotionally, due to so many factors in today's environment, from
increased distance between poverty and wealth,  Children living where both
parents are working (just a fact, not a judgement), people appear less able
to give emotionally, children not getting enough plain old hugs and kisses,
etc.    I believe these are contributors to the "overweight epidemic" just
as too much TV, too little exercise, too much junk food in vending machines
which are far too accessible !   

As to what we can do, certainly stop the vending machines, ban fast food,
junk foot, but how can we address the emotional issues of eating too
much?.....we are not feeding our stomachs, we are feeding something we are
starved for.  

Bonnie Richardson
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