It may appear as if we are living longer, but our long-term quality of life is poorer and overall happiness is decreasing. Last week, I discussed the cost of our current American obesity epidemic on our overall health and quality of life. As mentioned, our fast-paced, nutrient poor lifestyles aren’t just decreasing self-esteem while increasing uncontrollable waistlines. Our overfed, yet malnourished, society is also creating negative health effects on our bodies and brains. Furthermore, these downstream ill effects cause financial strain to our health system rob our future leaders of creative and intelligent working minds.
The result of our processed and fast food society has created a nation of children brains’ which are starving. They are less able to think abstractly and complete sentences beyond a tweet. Furthermore, they are now dying from diseases that were typically only affected adults. According to a Report by the Worldwatch Institute:
And hunger destroys would be Einsteins and Gandhis in childhood, while productivity losses among those who reach adulthood are widespread. ..
…hungry women are less able to provide for their families and to properly nourish their own bodies during pregnancy, which often results in lifelong impairment for their children and a consequent loss of personal and community potential.
…So whether the problem stems from hunger or from overeating, whether it occurs in poor countries or rich ones, malnutrition is bound to skew and slow a country’s development.7 ….
Therefore, eating “cheap” isn’t saving us money in the long run. Dr. Hyman discusses the costs beyond financial of “cheap” junk food on our future generation:
Never before in human history have we seen “adult onset” or type 2 diabetes in children. There has been an over 1,000% increase in type 2 diabetes in children over the last two decades. Fifteen years ago 3% of new cases of diabetes in children were type 2 diabetes. Now it is 50%. Forty percent of children are now overweight and 2 million are morbidly obese, exceeding the 99th percentile for weight. Scientists say that we have only 3,600 cases of type 2 diabetes in children. Nonsense. Almost all of those 2 million morbidly obese kids have either pre-diabetes or diabetes or what we should call “diabesity”. In adults 25% of diabetics and 90% of pre-diabetics are not diagnosed. In children most of the cases are missed.
A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found that medications don’t work and general lifestyle instruction isn’t much help either to treat type 2 diabetes in children. And the disease is more rapidly progressive and aggressive in children. Kids who haven’t even learned to swallow a pill are now facing giving themselves daily insulin injections. Poor and minority kids are more heavily afflicted.
Thankfully, modern medicine is beginning to see the light of changing our food quality and lifestyle choices. In other words, chasing genes as the cause of diseases and using powerful pills with dangerous side-effects is not the best first line of defense, economically or medicinally. Sure, our genes play a role in our risk factors for diseases, but not in their manifestation. We need to shift to retraining our health experts on the real lifestyle factors that affect obesity rates. A recent article in Medscape explains:
April 3, 2012 (Chicago, Illinois) — When it comes to predicting the risk for common diseases, including cancer, genome sequencing is not a magic bullet. It might be a valuable tool for people with a strong family history of a disease, but not for the vast majority of people, researchers report.
Genomic sequencing will never be a crystal ball that can reliably predict future health issues, explained researcher Bert Vogelstein, MD, Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland. “It cannot substitute for conventional risk-management strategies, including routine check-ups and lifestyle optimization,” he said at a press briefing here at the American Association for Cancer Research 103rd Annual Meeting. Dr. Vogelstein was summarizing the results of a study presented at the meeting and simultaneously published online April 2 in Science Translational Medicine.
Don’t get me wrong, we need medication when the issue is keeping people alive, but not as the main treatment in health and quality of life care. Rather, prescriptions should be used appropriately for the right conditions, not in replacement of poor lifestyle choices. In other words, using a statin medication for a man to prevent a secondary heart attack, while addressing his lifestyle risk factors makes sense; however, it doesn’t make sense to give the same man a pill for diabetes and reflux as he continues to chow down on Twinkies, corn dogs, and soda-pop. We should build our foundation on a healthy diet and lifestyle modification.
Dr. Hyman continues:
Do we really think we can medicate our way out of a bad diet? Can we really overcome the 54 gallons of soda consumed every year by the average American, or the 34 teaspoons of sugar consumed DAILY by the average child in America with a medication, or some handouts on eating better? One of the drugs used in the study, Avandia, has been responsible for over 200,000 deaths from heart attacks since it was introduced in 1999. The Food and Drug Administration has restricted its use. Should we be using this in children? This is pharmageddon.
One Answer: Eating at Home (Dr. Hyman):
Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in US pre-school aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don’t watch TV on weekdays.
We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network, than actually preparing their own meals. In his series Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can’t recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don’t know how to cook.
A recent meta-analysis in Pediatrics confirmed these results and how taking time for our children, with food and love, saves their health:
CONCLUSIONS: Educational and public health initiatives aimed at promoting shared family mealtimes may improve nutritional health of children and adolescents. Clinicians may advise their patients about the benefits of sharing 3 or more family mealtimes per week; benefits include a reduction in the odds for overweight (12%), eating unhealthy foods (20%), and disordered eating (35%) and an increase in the odds for eating healthy foods (24%).
I love this article, because it discusses not highlighting the health benefits of food, but using it a means of bonding, community, and social support. Investing in healthy foods in the long run will cut our spending and increase our quality of life. We can take back our children!
PERSONALIZED & PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE: MY PASSION
- Want more health support than Dr. Google, WebMD, or any “DIAGNOSE-YOURSELF-THROUGH-GENERALIZED-CONDITIONS-BY-A-SURVEY” website?
- Are your own best efforts in health confusing the heck out of you?
- Are you willing to step out of the insurance-driven, one-size-fits-all-health model that is keeping us alive and miserable with a lower quality of life?
- Are you willing to prioritize and invest in your pocketbook for your health and vitality?
…..then, consider going beyond a “pop-a-pill mentality”!
Learn more about my practice and how personalized medicine, with the support of a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and Functional Medicine Certification Candidate, can help you achieve wellness! Learn more.
REMINDER CURRENT CLIENTS, PLEASE REVIEW THE ABOVE LINK FOR THE UPDATED FEE SCHEDULE AND ADDITIONAL SERVICES AS OF JUNE 1st.
THIS MONTH’S MUST READ
Blood Sugar Solution By Mark Hyman is a good place to start with a step-by-step guide on how to balance your blood sugar and optimize ideal weight. It also contains a comprehensive cookbook! Don’t miss the latest from one of my mentors and an originator of functional medicine! Thanks to a few of my wonderful patients for bringing me this book and allowing me to tailor the suggestions just for you!
Nanci Hellmich, Obesity could affect 42% of Americans by 2030. USA TODAY. May 7. 2011. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-05-07/obesity-projections-adults/54791430/1
Jane A. Peterson, Editor. Worldwatch Institute. Overfed and Underfed: The Global Epidemic of Malnutrition. March 2000. http://www.worldwatch.org/system/files/EWP150.pdf
Mark Hyman, MD. Sugar Babies: How to Stop the Genocide of Our Children. Drhyman.com. May 3rd, 2012. http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/05/03/sugar-babies-how-to-stop-the-genocide-of-our-children/?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyman+newsletter+issue+%2372&utm_content=Get+the+story
Mark Hyman, MD. Can Social Networks Cure Disease? Part I. drhyman.com. April 20th, 2012. http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/04/20/can-social-networks-cure-disease-part-i/?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyman+newsletter+issue+%2370&utm_content=Get+the+story
Roxanne Nelson. Gene Sequencing Not a Crystal Ball, But Has Value for Some. Medscape Medical News from the: American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 103rd Annual Meeting. April 3, 2012. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/761425?src=ptalk
Mark Hyman, MD. How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life. Drhyman.com. January 7th, 2011. http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/01/07/how-eating-at-home-can-save-your-life/?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyman+newsletter+issue+%2370&utm_content=Read+more
Joseph Mercola, OD. Attacks Your Liver Like Alcohol – Is This What’s Making You Flabby and Sick? Mercola.com. May 7, 2012. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/07/the-sweetener-that-is-more-dangerous-than-alcohol.aspx?e_cid=20120507_DNL_art_1
Hammons AJ & Fiese BH. Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents? Pediatrics 2011; 127(6): e1565-e1574
- On the left hand side of my website is a link to Dr. Oz’s Sharecare. This little widget is a fun tool for information in an instant! Just types in your health-related question and viola, the answers appear. I am honored to be included amongst many of my mentors and other health experts.
- My next Holistic Health Forum will be in Rexford, NY on May 18th
- More on Weight Release on my Saratoga.com blog
- Dr. Northrup’s weekly streamline show on Hayhouse radio is a not to miss in mind-body medicine. This week, she reviews the option of urinary issues for women and a holistic/surgical approach!
- The Book is coming, the Book is coming!!!….it has been accepted by Balboa Press and I’m in the process of sprucing up the manuscript and deciding on a cover!
- Watch also for my new and revised FACEBOOK page for announcements within the next few months.
- I want to make my new Facebook page interactive with the whole international community… gather your friends and family and friend me and I’ll have some Facebook parties, answering your general wellness questions!