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Greece, Italy Have the World’s Most Overweight Kids

Most people know that the United States has a childhood obesity problem. Less well known is that according to the latest data from the OECD is that we are not actually the world leaders in experiencing this issue. It’s Greece and Italy who have the most overweight kids:


This may not jibe with a lot of hype about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet but it turns out that said diet may no longer be especially popular in Greece and Italy. In 2008, Josef Schmidhuber of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization said traditional eating patterns in southern Europe had “decayed into a moribund state” and drastically increased their overall calorie intake and especially consumption of animal fat, salt, and sweeteners.


May 29, 2014 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Diet / Weight Loss, Exercise | , , | Leave a comment

Kuwait has Highest BMI in the World

From the Daily Mail (UK)

The countries which contain the heaviest and lightest citizens can be revealed today.

This extraordinary graphic shows the average body mass index values for adults around the globe – with some surprising results.

With its wealthy society and love of fast food outlets, many would place the U.S. at the top of the list.

But it is pipped to first place in the body mass index chart by Kuwait. The Arab state has an average body mass index of 27.5 for men and 31.4 for women.

This beats America in second place which averages 26.5 for men and 29 for women.

From UPI:

Mexico is world fattest nation, United States No. 2

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 (UPI) — Officials at the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization say Mexico with a 32.8 percent adult obesity rate is the most overweight of the industrialized nations.

Previously, the United States with an adult obesity rate of 31.8 percent was the world’s fattest nation. Last year, the percentage of U.S. adults overweight went down slightly.

A report by the FAO said Mexico’s widely available inexpensive junk food and penetration of U.S. fast-food chains combined with a more sedentary lifestyle all contributed to Mexico’s bulging waistline.

About 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight, while childhood obesity tripled in a decade and about a third of teenagers are overweight as well, the Global Post said.

Weight-related diabetes claims 1-of-6 one of Mexican adults — or 70,000 people a year — suffering from the disease each year, the report said.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, Eating Out, Food, Health Issues, Kuwait | , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Kessler and The Power of a Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is an excerpt from an article in The New York Times; Health and you can read the whole article by clicking on the blue type. Dr. Kessler has written a book about how food is engineered to be irresistible. Yes, we all need to develop a little self-discipline. And yes, the decks are stacked against us.

Did you know that almost the entire taste of a potato chip is on it’s surface, designed to give you an immediate impact of taste?

This article talks about Dr. Kessler’s new book, and it’s implications for our food choices:

(photo from Bon Appetit magazine chocolate chip cookie and strawberry gelato sandwiches)

As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.

In an experiment of one, Dr. Kessler tested his willpower by buying two gooey chocolate chip cookies that he didn’t plan to eat. At home, he found himself staring at the cookies, and even distracted by memories of the chocolate chunks and doughy peaks as he left the room. He left the house, and the cookies remained uneaten. Feeling triumphant, he stopped for coffee, saw cookies on the counter and gobbled one down.

“Why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?” Dr. Kessler asked in an interview. “Is it the cookie, the representation of the cookie in my brain? I spent seven years trying to figure out the answer.”

The result of Dr. Kessler’s quest is a fascinating new book, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” (Rodale).

During his time at the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Kessler maintained a high profile, streamlining the agency, pushing for faster approval of drugs and overseeing the creation of the standardized nutrition label on food packaging. But Dr. Kessler is perhaps best known for his efforts to investigate and regulate the tobacco industry, and his accusation that cigarette makers intentionally manipulated nicotine content to make their products more addictive.

In “The End of Overeating,” Dr. Kessler finds some similarities in the food industry, which has combined and created foods in a way that taps into our brain circuitry and stimulates our desire for more.

When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full.

Dr. Kessler isn’t convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behavior, taste preferences and desire. In fact, he offers descriptions of how restaurants and food makers manipulate ingredients to reach the aptly named “bliss point.” Foods that contain too little or too much sugar, fat or salt are either bland or overwhelming. But food scientists work hard to reach the precise point at which we derive the greatest pleasure from fat, sugar and salt.

The result is that chain restaurants like Chili’s cook up “hyper-palatable food that requires little chewing and goes down easily,” he notes. And Dr. Kessler reports that the Snickers bar, for instance, is “extraordinarily well engineered.” As we chew it, the sugar dissolves, the fat melts and the caramel traps the peanuts so the entire combination of flavors is blissfully experienced in the mouth at the same time.

Foods rich in sugar and fat are relatively recent arrivals on the food landscape, Dr. Kessler noted. But today, foods are more than just a combination of ingredients. They are highly complex creations, loaded up with layer upon layer of stimulating tastes that result in a multisensory experience for the brain. Food companies “design food for irresistibility,” Dr. Kessler noted. “It’s been part of their business plans.”

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Chocolate, Customer Service, Food, Health Issues, Marketing, Shopping, Social Issues | | 1 Comment

Comment on Obesity Post

I normally won’t post a comment as a new post unless it meets two criteria – the author has a blog that is legitimate and the post is so well written that I don’t want it buried in the comments. This response to the Obesity Fuels Cancer in Women Post only meets the well written rule, but the reference blog was non-existent. Too bad – the comment is so full of good information that this commenter should be writing her own blog, and I hope she is.

Guess the link between obesity and breast cancer is significantly higher in comparison to other cancers because fat has an oestrogenic effect, which stimulates the lining epithelium of the mammary glands. The more stimulated the gland the greater are the chances of spontaneous mutations happening which could result in cancer.

By that metric, women with rather large breasts could also be at risk. Suddenly, breast augmentation doesn’t sound like a brilliant idea anymore.

My prof. would insist you could cut your breast cancer risk in half simply by taking a brisk walk daily for 45 mins and cutting back on red meat, smoking, alcohol and spicy food.

This after undergoing molecular testing for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation analysis if a first degree relative suffers early onset breast or ovarian cancer ( before age 45) so that you can begin annual screening by mammography alternating with an ultra-sound, a full 10 years ahead of the rest of the population starting at 30.

What’s useful to know is that you should not change your radiologist or the mammography machine as there can be wide variation in result interpretation with different machines and/or operators.

A final word of caution – ladies, don’t let’s apply deodorants under our armpits. Studies claim a higher incidence of cancers in the left upper quadrant of the breast due to such an application in mostly, right handed women. It is a truism – every little helps; baby steps can go a long way.

Monthly self-examination of both the breasts with flat of the palm; taking care to avoid the time of monthly periods can enable the detection of small pea sized cancerous lumps.

It is a step in the right direction that Q8 is slowly but surely awakening to the need of mass public education on breast cancer through TV and print ads, as well as through sharing space with commercial ads in cinemas and the distribution of flyers and brochures with the testing of perfumes and cosmetics in malls and shopping arcades across Kuwait.

It is unfortunate that similar campaigns are not being directed at men for lung and prostate cancer as well as to raise the awareness of the rare breast cancer happening in men with a far worse prognosis.

November 10, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Women's Issues | , , | 11 Comments

Obesity Fuels Cancer in Women

This is not good news – From BBC Health News:

About 6,000 middle-aged or older women in the UK develop cancer each year because they are obese or overweight, a Cancer Research UK-funded study says.
The study, which looked at 45,000 cases of cancer in 1m women over seven years, says this is about 5% of such cases.

It is published online by the British Medical Journal and blames excess fat for 50% of cases of womb cancer and a type of oesophageal cancer.

Last week an international study warned of the link between cancer and weight.

Cancers Linked to Obesity:
Multiple myeloma (bone marrow)
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

You can read the entire article HERE.

November 9, 2007 Posted by | Health Issues, News | , | 10 Comments