Editors Dish On The Issue Of Obesity

Rebecca Bartels

The issue of obesity isn’t one that will be going away any time soon. Two editors at Meister Media Worldwide hone in on the subject and what is being done in the U.S. and Mexico to combat the issue.

Rebecca (R):  Nearly one-third of Americans are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With the effects of such an issue being as heavy as diabetes and heart disease, one has to wonder what led to this scary statistic. 
Lauren (L): Obesity in Mexico is a problem too.  It has tripled since 1980 while currently 30% of the country’s population is obese and 70% are overweight, according to national statistics. Furthermore, Mexican president Felipe Calderon recently announced that Mexico had the highest rate of obesity for children between the ages of 5 and 19.  
(R):  Mexico? Whatever happened to the traditional and healthy Mexican diet? You know, corn, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables?
(L):  Apparently a great deal of the population is now favoring a processed diet comprised of fast food, sugary snacks, and an endless supply of soda. Sound familiar?
(R):  Livestrong, a health-conscious group dedicated to fighting for a healthier world, suggests that this high obesity percentage is due to the fact that Americans eat more carbohydrates than any other food group.
(L):  Other countries consume high levels of carbs, and they don’t have this problem.
(R):  Well, it would be one thing if we were consuming whole grains and fiber-rich foods, but  let’s be honest, we’re not. We love our sugary and salty snacks but the fact of the matter is, they don’t love us. Our habits have to be broken on a larger scale, so what are we doing about it?
(L):  The Mexican government is already taking steps to challenge the statistics through a variety of national programs and guidelines. “The Plate of Good Eating,” which was the country’s first dietary guideline designed in 2000, illustrates a diet consisting heavily of fresh produce and low in fat. The government has taken even more positive steps by enforcing all public elementary schools to ban the sale of junk food, and to replace their earlier breakfast programs with dishes rich in produce and whole grains.
(R):  Yes, but maybe the real change should come from within. The Obama administration, and others before it, have also been actively working on making school food healthier. Now look what just happened, the spending bill will allow tomato paste on pizzas to count as a vegetable.
(L):  Nothing new there – the Reagan administration proposed to allow ketchup to count as a vegetable in school meals. There are lots of tomatoes in tomato paste and ketchup after all.
(R):  It takes more than one pound of potatoes to make one pint of vodka, and you don’t see it promoted as a healthy food. Okay,  that’s a stretch… but speaking of potatoes, remember the “peel back the truth” campaign back in ‘08? The industry did a pretty good job on educating consumers about the nutritional benefits of potatoes then.
(L):  Agreed, but that started only as a reaction against the effects of the low-carb fad diets. What needs to happen for our industry to really start tackling the issue of a growing society of obese and unhealthy members? Other than the obvious reasons, increasing consumption of fresh vegetables is good news for growers.
(R):  Things might be changing as we speak. One sign is the back-to-basics diet trend is on the rise. Broccoli consumption, for example, has more than doubled in recent years, and McDonalds has switched their side dish in Happy Meals 
from French fries to apple slices, now requiring customers 
to directly request a substitute of fries instead of fruit. 
Lauren and Rebecca: These developments mean good things not only for waistbands, but for growers’ pocketbooks, as well. Bad habits are tough to break, but by taking steps in the right direction, we as a nation can improve our quality of life and keep the agriculture industry booming one healthy choice at a time. 

Rebecca (R):  Nearly one-third of Americans are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With the effects of such an issue being as heavy as diabetes and heart disease, one has to wonder what led to this scary statistic.

Lauren (L): Obesity in Mexico is a problem too. It has tripled since 1980 while currently 30% of the country’s population is obese and 70% are overweight, according to national statistics. Furthermore, Mexican president Felipe Calderon recently announced that Mexico had the highest rate of obesity for children between the ages of 5 and 19.  

(R):  Mexico? Whatever happened to the traditional and healthy Mexican diet? You know, corn, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables?

(L):  Apparently a great deal of the population is now favoring a processed diet comprised of fast food, sugary snacks, and an endless supply of soda. Sound familiar?

(R):  Livestrong, a health-conscious group dedicated to fighting for a healthier world, suggests that this high obesity percentage is due to the fact that Americans eat more carbohydrates than any other food group.

(L):  Other countries consume high levels of carbs, and they don’t have this problem.

(R):  Well, it would be one thing if we were consuming whole grains and fiber-rich foods, but  let’s be honest, we’re not. We love our sugary and salty snacks but the fact of the matter is, they don’t love us. Our habits have to be broken on a larger scale, so what are we doing about it?

(L):  The Mexican government is already taking steps to challenge the statistics through a variety of national programs and guidelines. “The Plate of Good Eating,” which was the country’s first dietary guideline designed in 2000, illustrates a diet consisting heavily of fresh produce and low in fat. The government has taken even more positive steps by enforcing all public elementary schools to ban the sale of junk food, and to replace their earlier breakfast programs with dishes rich in produce and whole grains.

(R):  Yes, but maybe the real change should come from within. The Obama administration, and others before it, have also been actively working on making school food healthier. Now look what just happened, the spending bill will allow tomato paste on pizzas to count as a vegetable.

(L):  Nothing new there – the Reagan administration proposed to allow ketchup to count as a vegetable in school meals. There are lots of tomatoes in tomato paste and ketchup after all.

(R):  It takes more than one pound of potatoes to make one pint of vodka, and you don’t see it promoted as a healthy food. Okay,  that’s a stretch… but speaking of potatoes, remember the “peel back the truth” campaign back in ‘08? The industry did a pretty good job on educating consumers about the nutritional benefits of potatoes then.

(L):  Agreed, but that started only as a reaction against the effects of the low-carb fad diets. What needs to happen for our industry to really start tackling the issue of a growing society of obese and unhealthy members? Other than the obvious reasons, increasing consumption of fresh vegetables is good news for growers.

(R):  Things might be changing as we speak. One sign is the back-to-basics diet trend is on the rise. Broccoli consumption, for example, has more than doubled in recent years, and McDonalds has switched their side dish in Happy Meals from French fries to apple slices, now requiring customers to directly request a substitute of fries instead of fruit. Lauren and Rebecca: These developments mean good things not only for waistbands, but for growers’ pocketbooks, as well. Bad habits are tough to break, but by taking steps in the right direction, we as a nation can improve our quality of life and keep the agriculture industry booming one healthy choice at a time. 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Food SafetyUSDA Issues Updates To Food Safety Modernization Act
September 19, 2014
Water testing, definition of applicable farms based on produce sales among clarifications to proposed rules. Read More
GrapesThird Straight Record Crop For Washington Grapes
September 19, 2014
Numbers expected to climb as more vines planted in the state. Read More
GrapesFrench Winegrowers Face Higher Labor Costs
September 19, 2014
French wineries may come under added financial pressure as the government considers imposing social charges on wages paid to harvest workers with short-term contracts. Read More
IrrigationCalifornia Boosts Local Water Control
September 19, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown signs historic legislation to strengthen local management and monitoring of critical groundwater basins. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed America Shows Heart Through Charitable Prog…
September 19, 2014
Company’s corporate giving mission bears fruit for the American Heart Association. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateAdditional Aid Coming For Florida Citrus Growers Gouged…
September 17, 2014
Through USDA’s Tree Assistance Program, eligible growers can cash in on cost share for diseased tree removal and replanting. Read More
FruitsFlorida Fruit & Vegetable Association Seeks Fresh A…
September 17, 2014
New partnership bolsters Fresh From Florida program. Read More
CitrusFDA Announces Cooperative Agreement To Implement Nation…
September 17, 2014
Agreement will provide information to help plan and carry out the produce safety rule in partnership with state regulatory agencies. Read More
NutsAchieving A Super-Premium Walnut Crop
September 17, 2014
What are the best ways to get high quality walnuts that are light in color and fully developed? Read these 8 harvest best practices to find out. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Highly Dependent On Groundwater
September 17, 2014
Fully 87% of large growers use groundwater to irrigate their trees. Read More
NutsWarm Winter And Drought Casting Doubt On Pistachio Harv…
September 17, 2014
Though Rabobank report says that one billion pounds still attainable by 2019. Read More
Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug On The Move In California
September 16, 2014
Find out more on management tactics and what counties are impacted by this invasive pest. Read More
Cucurbits14 Stand-Out Melon Varieties [Slideshow]
September 15, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on these exceptional melon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardView Highlights From The 2014 United Fresh Washington P…
September 15, 2014
Browse this slideshow to view photos from the 2014 United Fresh Washington Public Policy Conference, including pictures of this year’s Grower Read More
Apples & PearsCanneries Hope To Encourage Growers To Grow Pears For P…
September 15, 2014
Higher wholesale prices offered as means to boost canning pear acres. Read More
FruitsDeadline Nearing For Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistanc…
September 15, 2014
Fruit growers who suffered losses due to frost or freeze in 2012 could be eligible for assistance through USDA’S Farm Service Agency. Read More
BerriesBotrytis Gray Mold Pressure Increasing With Humid Weath…
September 15, 2014
Michigan State University researcher offers tips to reduce the spread of spores. Read More
Fruits5 Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Orchard’s …
September 15, 2014
These deadly sins may be hurting your customers’ experience — and costing you money. Read More