Boomer Obesity: Bad Habits and Bad Food
Go ahead. Pedal your butt off on a stationary bike. Or, walk quickly on a treadmill for an hour. Then tell me how many calories were burned up in that hour. Surprised? You’ll be fortunate if you burned off one of those Mocha-Locha-Choco-Lacha Double half-cups of HalfCaff Caffe Lattes -to which you have grown so fond.
A recent study has the Baby Boomer generation’s incidence of obesity at 36%. The two generations directly before and after them are at about 25%. it is also evident that a significant percentage of Baby Boomers who are not obese are overweight.
Really? How did that happen? Where’s it all going? Will I be able to work in my garden? Will I need a caregiver? Any chance of maintaining my independence? How long will I be able to stay on my feet?
The best exercise, it is said, to engage in for weight loss is pushing yourself away from the table. Which I believe was more true about 30 years ago than it is now. These days, one must consider abstaining from the myriad of available snacks between meals. It seems no one can go two hours at work without grazing on something. (Mostly true in an office environment).
And, therein lies part of the problem. Many work places have kitchen areas for that purpose with refrigerators, toaster ovens, microwaves, coffee stations and snack items bought in bulk as part of the ‘coffee club.’ All this fosters habitual and continual eating. The kitchenettes ought to have a warning sign – CAUTION: Boomer Obesity Zone.
Another big problem is the so-called “Western Diet.” The ‘BIG FOOD’ industry with the proliferation of highly processed soy and corn based ‘food-like substances’ is poisoning us. That is an established fact. It is also a generally accepted fact among nutritionists, nutritional scientists and their ilk. For the past thirty years or more, America has been marketed a low-fat diet and the result is a society more obese than it was thirty years ago.
During that time the nutritionism wizards have been busy trying to isolate the components in real food (aka fruits & vegetables) in order to include them in new forms of highly processed food-like substances -each trumpeting its purported health benefits on brightly colored packaging and being the beneficiary of multi-million dollar marketing campaigns.
No matter that the wizards can artificially produce beta-carotene in the laboratory. It has not the same benefits attached to it as eating a carrot. Carrots (and any other fruit or veggie you can name) contain hundreds (if not more) substances beside beta-carotene. Most of them haven’t even been isolated or named yet. Hence, it is unknown just what substances are the most beneficial and in what combinations or proportions. To state that Beta-Carotene is the one is just plain Bad Science. Some Nutritionism Wizards have quietly admitted that.
But it is too late. Their employers -the BIG FOOD Industry, have billions of dollars at stake and they’re not giving up so easily. Witness the push-back to advocates of healthier foods in schools. And the push-back to banning soda pop (Coke, Pepsi and the like) in schools. There is a lot of money behind the High Fructose Corn Syrup Lobby.
What is known about traditional diets is that societies that have not strayed from a traditional diet (one that evolved through the ages, i.e. the French, the Italians, etc.) suffer significantly lower incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure -all of which have been labelled “Western Diseases.”
It is ironic, I think, that the corner convenience store (the Seven Elevens and similar) are primarily purveyors of corn and soy products. Outside you can pump your fuel blended with ethanol (corn based). Inside you can find a variety of highly processed corn and soy based food-like substances -none of which has much in the way of nutritional value but does well to contribute to our epidemic of Western Diseases. Or, should I say pandemic?
The end effect of these bad habits and unhealthy eating is a drain on the healthcare industry. It’s a problem that has been viewed as ‘Too big to fix.” Baby Boomers make up about 20% of the population. Obese Medicare beneficiaries are estimated to cost 34% more than their non-obese/overweight peers. According to a recent survey, approximately 77 million US baby boomers may be eligible for Medicare coverage.
How then to best preserve your independent lifestyle? That is the key question on my mind. How do we maintain our homes -or, even keep our homes clean, if we are confined to wheel chairs? The odds of being able to ‘stay on your feet’ are stacked against you if you are grossly overweight. If you’re not getting around -it’ll be tough to perform any of those pesky house repairs that will be awaiting your attention.
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