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

Crop ProtectionGetting To The Root Of Good Soil Health Requires Some D…
August 21, 2014
Dave Gilliam of Horticultural Alliance says more citrus growers are paying attention to what's happening below the ground in their groves. Read More
Citrus‘Super Cold’ Winter, Sizzling Summer On Tap In 2015…
August 21, 2014
The 223rd edition of the folksy regional forecast manual predicting extremes. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateMountains Of Data Being Used To Combat Citrus Greening
August 20, 2014
As HLB research evolves, new methods need to be developed to effectively utilize information. Read More
VegetablesAnnual Santa Maria Vegetable Meeting To Cover Progressi…
August 20, 2014
University of California Cooperative Extension will host annual vegetable meeting focusing on nutrient management, plant growth, weed management, and more. Read More
Leafy VegetablesTanimura & Antle Introduces New Lettuce Variety 
August 20, 2014
The California grower now offers George T’s Colossal Romaine Heart, in honor of the company's founder, George Tanimura. Read More
CitrusBorder Crisis Not Helping Farmers
August 19, 2014
As thousands cross into the U.S. seeking refuge, calls for ag labor reform are lost in the uproar. Read More
Cucurbits24 Sweet Watermelon Varieties [Slideshow]
August 19, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on 24 watermelon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
FruitsHandheld Produce Quality Meter Debuts At 2014 Internati…
August 19, 2014
Researchers to present data measuring dry matter, color, and sugar content of cherries and other product pre- and postharvest. Read More
GrapesNew York State Assists Grape Growers Hit By Harsh Winte…
August 19, 2014
State to open winegrape market to grapes grown outside the state. Read More
FruitsEuropean Fruit And Vegetable Growers Hit By Russian Ban…
August 19, 2014
Angry at European Union/United States sanctions over Ukraine, Russia has banned many food imports. Read More
Apple Grower of the YearGet The Latest News On The Nation’s Apple Crop
August 19, 2014
American and Western Fruit Grower editors will be tweeting in real time this week from the Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference. Read More
OrangesSour Forecast For 2014-2015 Florida Orange Crop
August 18, 2014
Paltry prediction signals lowest output in 50 years. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioConsortia Inc. Bolsters Executive Team
August 18, 2014
Industry veterans Christina Huben and Dr. Susan Turner bring experience to plant biotechnology firm. Read More
Stone Fruit‘Ladderless’ Peach, Nectarine Orchards Explored
August 15, 2014
University of California researchers explore the concept of so-called pedestrian orchards. Read More
CitrusU.S. Sugar Buying South Florida Sugar Cane And Vegetabl…
August 15, 2014
Purported deal worth $100 million to purchase farmland and assets of Knight Management Inc. Read More
CitrusFlorida’s Future Farming Leaders Dig Up Knowledge…
August 15, 2014
Class 3 of FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program learn a lot from road trip to California's Salinas Valley. Read More
CitrusWater Bond Will Appear On California Ballot
August 14, 2014
Voters will decide if thirsty state will spend $7.5 billion, including $2.7 billion for storage. Read More
BerriesFamiliar Face Settles In As New Florida Strawberry Asso…
August 14, 2014
Kenneth Parker’s deep roots in the community and knowledge of production challenges make a good combination for executive director role. Read More