|A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
It’s been a real education for me to write these Newsletters especially as I ventured out into what’s happening to our Food System and started doing Newsletter Series on important topics like the Food Revolution, theOrganic Industry in the U.S. and Obesity in America. I only hope you’ve also found them educational. If you missed one, they are all Linked up here. As we move into 2015, we plan to look even deeper into the most important topic on our planet–our FOOD! Thank You for being our audience. Without YOU, there’s no one to write for.
Obesity in America! Part 1
We purposely chose to use cartoon images to illustrate this subject not because we believe it’s a joke; but because the seriousness of it needed to be toned down so the information could be digested and not rejected. Pictures of actual people (our loved ones) would be too real and too heart-breaking to look at.
This year’s end, Part 1 of a Series entitled “Obesity In America”, is an exploration into the number one health challenge facing our nation and the world today-Obesity.
And one of the most horrifying statistics is this:
the U.S. is at the top of the List of the 10 Most Obese Countries in the World
. We usually take great pride in being at the top of Worldwide Lists; but toping this particular List is an embarrassing and heart-breaking travesty. Here’s that infamous line up:
Top 10 Most Obese Countries:
1. United States
This Series is an exploration into how and why this has happened to the once strong, fit and hard working people of the U.S. and what we can do about it.
In the cartoon depiction above, the little man holding onto his side of the bench for dear life wears a country tag around his neck that says “Nepal”, which is a country that has one of the lowest numbers of obese people in the world. When you compare the GDP of the U.S. to that of Nepal, the obvious conclusion is that Nepal is a very poor country and the U.S. is a very rich one, which is part of the cause of this disparity between obese people and thinner people. But the question we need to ask ourselves is this: “Just because we’re one of the world’s richest countries (China’s GDP just surpassed the U.S.), does that mean we have to be the world’s most obese people?” The Pictograph below from the above article by U.S. News & World Report published in late May of 2014
tells us just how bad it’s gotten in the U.S. since 2010.
Over one fourth of our children, over one third of our women and almost one third of our men are now considered to be Obese. This is devastating!
And, as you can see from the infamous List, we’re not alone. As China, the #2 Country on the List, gets richer and spawns a true middle class, they’re waistlines expand right along with ours. Obesity appears to be the scourge of developed nations in the 21st Century.
According to an article published in Fortune in late November of 2014 entitled “Fat – the $2 trillion burden on the world’s economy”
, “taking together the costs of healthcare, of lost productivity and other spending needed to mitigate its impact, consulting firm McKinsey reckons the annual cost of obesity fat now tops $2 trillion, or 2.8% of global economic output. That compares with an estimate of $2.1 trillion for war and terrorism, and for smoking, and is way ahead of alcoholism ($1.4 trillion), illiteracy ($1.3 trillion) and even climate change ($1.0 trillion). Twice as many people worldwide live in countries where more die from being too fat than from being undernourished. The most frequent causes of death include heart disease and type-2 diabetes. McKinsey estimates that almost half the world’s adult population could be obese or overweight by 2030 if current trends continue.”
We digress and ask this: What Did You Miss in 2014?
Before we get our teeth deeper into the Obesity Subject, we want to make sure you didn’t miss any of the other 11 Newsletters we published this year. So here is a convenient List with Links to every one of them. Pay particular Attention to the 4 Part Series “FOOD REVOLUTION” and the 3 Part Series “Organic Industry In the U.S.”:
(This is Part 1 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
(This is Part 2 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
(This is Part 3 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
(This is Part 4 of the 4 Part “Food Revolution” Series)
(This is Part 1 in a 3 Part “Organic Industry in US” Series)
(This is Part 2 in a 3 Part Organic Industry in US Series)
(This is Part 3 in a 3 Part “Organic Industry in US” Series)
Now back to our main subject, Obesity in America.
Nearly 1 of 5 Deaths in the U.S. is Associated
We are losing our friends and family members to a silent epidemic that is killing us by the thousands. A new report reveals staggering statistics about the extent to which the obesity epidemic is robbing Americans of their health and longevity. Columbia University and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the real impact of obesity on death rates.The study found that nearly one in five US deaths is associated with obesity, which is more than three times higher than previous estimates.
The effect varies somewhat by your gender, race and age. The younger you are, the greater obesity’s influence on your mortality. And contrary to a previous study, obesity is not protective if you’re elderly. The Columbia study found the following percentage of deaths associated with high BMI (body mass index) of 25 or above (overweight or obesity):
- Black women: 26.8 percent
- White women: 21.7 percent
- White men: 15.6 percent
- Black men: 5 percent [we believe due to a smaller number of black men compared to black women, white women and white men. There are approximately 3 black women to every 1 black man]
The authors wrote:
“We believe that it is imperative for the US public and those who construct policy for that public to recognize that population health and more than a century of steady gains in life expectancy are being jeopardized by the obesity epidemic. Indeed, evidence has already implicated high rates of obesity as a significant contributor to the United States relatively low life expectancy among high-income countries.”
Everyone knows one of the main culprits behind our obesity epidemic is too much Sugar. When it comes to Sugar, we are all Addicts. And, our sugar addiction is getting stronger by the year as that’s the very nature of addiction-addicts crave more and more of the addictive substance.
Here are more startling facts and images about our sugar consumption from “Nursing Your Sweet Tooth” an info-graphic created by Online Nursing Programs
. You can see this info-graphic in its entirety in the Forbes article entitled “How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating?”
, which was published in late August of 2012. Our images are original art using the Online Nursing Program statistics, which cover 2012. We added some numbers to bring you up to date in 2014, and it isn’t pretty.
This is unbelievable. It’s even more shocking when you see how our sugar consumption has risen over the years. It has gone from 20 Lbs. each annually in 1820 to 150-170 Lbs. each annually in 2014. Taking the middle 2014 number of 160 Lbs. means that we’ve each increased our annual sugar consumption by 140 Lbs.
If you’d like to share these jaw dropping statistics with friends and relatives, go to our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall
where they’ve been posted for sharing.
When we talk about sugar in this Part 1 of the Series, we are using it as “the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. They are carbohydrates
, composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides
and include glucose
(also known as dextrose), fructose
.” (Quote taken from Wikipedia’s Sugar Page
) We’ll get into defining the various sources of sugar in Parts 2 & 3.
Where is SUGAR hiding in our food environment?
The answer to this question is EVERY WHERE! But here are some specifics regarding the percent of sugar intake for each sugary category whether it be sugar in the form of glucose, fructose or galactose.
1. Soft drinks account for 33%
2. Candy accounts for 16.1%
3. Cakes, Cookies, Pies account for 12.9%
3. Fruit Drinks account for 9.7%
4. Dairy desserts and Milk account for 8.6%
5. Other Grains account for 5.8%
One of the first alarm bells that was rung about this national addiction was the book by William Dufty called “Sugar Blues”. That book was written in 1986, which was almost 30 years ago. “Sugar Blues” caused quite a stir in its day; but it wasn’t enough to change our behavior or cure our national addiction.
Several authors continue to write these tell-all books about the harmful effects of sugar on the human body-effects so harmful it’s as if we’re all committing Sugar Suicide
. This one was published as recently as 2013. Go ahead and click over to Amazon and dare to look inside these books. Still the national addiction rages on. Why?
Big Corporations pushing (quite literally) their drug of choice while even using “druggie” terminology.
We’re all still addicted to sugar because some of the world’s largest corporations are producing these sugary sins and brain washing us from childhood to want them. This is not an excuse for not taking our sugar addiction into our own hands, but it is an explanation as to why it’s so hard to break this very profitable habit. This billboard is advertising “Diet” Coke; but “Diet” Coke is actually worse than “Classic” Coke because it replaces sugar with one of the world’s worst additives, aspertame (that’s a topic for another Part of this Newsletter Series on Obesity in America). Look for it in 2015.
This billborad is equating Coke with “happiness”. Professional Advertisers have gone to school to learn how to motivate the consumer. They equate sugar with fun, joy, happiness, energy, taste and success just to name a few of their favorite buzz words and images. This billboard is saying that Coke tastes “Delicious” and costs only cents all in one word. Of course, the Coca Cola corporation is just one of the many large corporate sugar pushers in our food environment.
How is Fast Food contributing to Obesity in America?
A discussion of Obesity in America wouldn’t be complete without talking about our Fast Food Culture; but not this month. We’re saving that topic for Part 2 of Obesity in America coming in January.
And then there’s the other big contributor to our Obesity problem, high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the forms of sugar that is so deadly. That one also brings in the controversial subject of GMO’s in our diet and how they may be contributing to Obesity.
See You Next Year for Parts 2 & 3 of this Series on Obesity in America.
Thank You for joining our Subscribers List and following the first year of our Monthly Newsletters. We did it! We hope you’ve learned more about Aquaponics, our two companies and our Food System. You’ve probably discovered by now that we’re on a mission to improve that system with Aquaponics.
Have a joyful and healthy Holiday Season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the staff at Aquaponics USA & Aquaponics World.
P.S: Remember to Forward this email to friends and family who are ready to learn and change the way we grow our food and who are ready to take more responsibility for what they are putting into their bodies.
Aquaponics USA/Aquaponics World