A recent study from the Annal of Internal Medicine says guidelines that are set to regulate sugars in foods are unreliable. It is also important to note that this study was funded by sugar “giant”, so to say, such as Coca-Cola, McDonald, And Pepsi. This conflict of interested could be a problem considering that sugars are scientifically linked to the current obesity epidemic in America.
For anyone who drinks soda or any sugary based beverages regularly may want to start reaching for water soon. New research suggests that drinking two or more sweetened drinks per day could be doubling your risk for diabetes. In this new study conducted Swedish researchers found that consuming two or more 6.07 oz. servings of sweetened drinks daily doubles the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This creates a big dilemma for many Americans because the average size drink is 12 ounces. Furthermore if you are consuming just one standard drink a day you have already doubled your risk unknowingly.
“Not all studies have been able to look at sugary and artificially beverages separately,” said Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg, a nutritionist at the Karolinksa Intitute in Sweden, “(but) it’s getting more and more established that soft drinks increase risk of type II diabetes.” (CNN)
So how are we going to change society’s consumption of sugary drinks? Soda companies have already started cutting sugar in their drinks, but just a few weeks ago Pepsi Co. just announced they will be finally turning against sugar. While the news may come to a surprise for such a prominent soda company; the reason why they opting for less sugary drinks is to turn around sales as soda consumption begins to decline. Since new studies are verifying the health risk behind the added sugar in soda. Society has been consuming less of the sugary beverages. Even though Americans consume 30% more sugar daily now than three decades ago, according to the Obesity Society, nutritional trends are increasingly focusing on the dangers of eating too much sugar. Pepsi hopes to diversify their offerings by 2025 and grow sales of drinks such as tea, coffee, bottled water, and downsizing bottles.
Soda companies are not the only companies trying to help eliminate this obesity trend. Local fast food restaurants have also opted to change the format of their menus and promotion. Recently, Burger King has decided to jump on board with other fast food chains by taking soda off their kids menu.
“Many kids today are active and busy today, and for a lot parents they don’t have time to always make sure their kids are making healthy choices.” Ann Taylor – Registered Dietician “Which means when kids are out and have easy access to soda for processed sugars it creates a dilemma to continue raise obesity rates.”
Fast- food chains are feeling the urgency from advocacy groups to do their part to help fight obesity. According to The Center for Science in the Public Interest says sugary drinks are a hefty contributor to kids packing on the extra pounds. Fast food chains are continuing to try to develop new ways to balance their nutritional menu to help lower this unhealthy trend.
The good news is not only can soda and fast food companies make changes but we all as community as well. When looking at the nation’s first “soda tax” on sugar-sweetened beverages, which went into effect in Berkeley, last year showed that it worked.
A local research student named Kristine Madsen at UC Berkley conducted a study that showed once the tax was put in place there was a significant decline. People in Berkeley reported a huge increase in their water consumption.
“Being a student on campus it was always hard to avoid unhealthy caffeine, so sometimes I would opt for a soda, Julia Surges 2016 UC Berkley Graduate “but when the tax was put into place I opted for coffee and water.”
Cutting sugar is in high demand right now for society, and thanks for advocacy groups and researchers soda are no longer the main source of revenue for these companies. This research may show that soda companies need to cut sugar from beverages to survive due to consumer demand, but consumers need to actually take control monitoring their daily sugar intake in order to a decline diabetes and obesity rates.
The black plague has killed more than fifty million people. By conservative estimate, that would be one out of every ten American dead. But that was over six hundred years ago in Europe. Today is the modern world and many people have access to quality health care. America has abundances in food, so much so that people are dying from overeating. The scale of which can be considered unprecedented, very much like the black death.
Many organizations have called obesity an “epidemic” because a staggering one-third of American adult are obese. In a published study by RAND Health, obesity can be considered worse than smoking or poverty due to the magnitude of health problem it causes. People with obesity is linked to more chronic disease such as heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. About three hundred thousand people died directly from obesity each year. That would be around thirty-four people dying every one hour. More death than influenza, pneumonia, and Alzheimer’s combined.
Many adults see obesity as a single problem with one consequence and one solution. You’re overweight because you’re eating too much. By being overweight, you’re not healthy and you can stop being overweight by eating healthier. This can be considered true to some extent, however, many experts agree that prevention is key. That is why more organization such as letsmove.gov , run by First Lady Michelle Obama, is teaching kid to eat healthier. In a recent interview with ASSET program manager at John F Kennedy high school, Chandler Cooper says “ We have a strict guideline to which we serve snacks to student”. Also, JFK high school cafeteria manager, Mrs. Frances say “The food we serve to kids are low fats, low sugars and contain certain things that they need. We can’t just cook whatever we want.”
Prevention at a young age is proven to be an effective tool to stop diseases as well as certain behavior. One such example would be the truth anti-smoking campaign which shows the danger of smoking as they really are. If the same thing can be applied to obesity, it could lead to less American dying from their own weight.
Sugars, spices, and everything nice, these are the ingredient for making the perfect little kids, but is it really? Some people might not think about it, but there’s sugar everywhere in our food. If you asked a scientist what sugar is, they might say it’s glucose or fructose and that it provides energy for all living things. If you ask an average person, they probably will say that’s it’s a sweet treat that should be taken in moderation. What a lot of people don’t know is exactly how much sugar is in their food.
When we asked a random high school student of how much sugar do they think is a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, he said that he thought “[the Coke had around] ten plus grams.” Compared to when we asked of a University of Berkeley Student, Stanley Ou, the response was “[the Coke was around] sixty-seven grams”. The correct answer is sixty-five grams which is nearly the same amount of sugar in five Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. Even though both answers are wrong, it is clear who is closer to the correct response. There’s a chance that’s an average person would not be so educated on the subject of how much sugar is in their food or how it will affect their health.
One of the U.S. closest trading partners, the United Kingdom, now has plans to tax products with a certain sugar amount to combat obesity. It is estimated that around sixty-four percents of adults living in the UK are considered “overweight or obese”. That number is even higher in the U.S with sixty-eight percent. Do keep in mind that there are five times more Americans than Brits which makes that percentage carried more weight. So if the UK are taking steps to reduce the obesity rate, why isn’t America?
One problem with trying to reduce sugar in American food is the sugar lobbyists. Despite many published scientific studies in America of how sugar is linked to obesity, there’s seen to be nothing happening. Sugar lobbyists have argued that the effect is exaggerated and it would hurt the U.S economy if sugar were to be taxed and restrict anymore than they are right now. Whether whatever the case may be, the fact remains that American are gaining excess weight.
California lawmakers Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, have put together legislation to impose a two-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks meaning that the prices for soda would increase.
There’s an increase in diabetes and obesity in California and all across the U.S. This video talks about the certain topics related to healthy foods for the citizens all over California and Sacramento.
One out of three adults in the United States are obese, according to a study completed by The Journal of the American Medical Association. That means that 78 million American adults are at risk of heart disease, stroke, different types of cancer, and type II diabetes because of obesity. It’s now without a doubt that obesity is one of the most prominent public health issue of our time.
In 2015, Arkansas had a rate of obesity at 35.6% of the adult population. That’s the highest rate of obesity than any other state in the United States. The lowest rate of obesity is 21.3%, that’s in Colorado. Arkansas, West Virginia, and Mississippi have rates of obesity over 35%.
While unexpected, there’s an interesting pattern that shows matches between obesity and poverty. Arkansas, West Virginia, and Mississippi are the most obese, but as well as the poorest states in the United States. Obesity is also increasingly racialized.
The highest obesity rates are found with Hispanic and Non-Hispanic black adults, especially in poor areas. The media may show the shocking statistic of the obesity rate in the United States, but rarely mentions the links between obesity and poverty.
Obesity is an increasing issue in the United States that nearly every family, especially minorities and those in poverty. Studies like these could help us better track the causes of obesity and could eventually lead to a way to decrease the large amount of the obesity rate in the United States.
A New York Times article states that Coca Cola is now funding scientists who are saying that the main cause for obesity is that people don’t exercise as much as they should and that it does not have to do with a bad diet. I spoke to some Sacramento residents to get their inputs.
Picture taken by: Vox Efx
After years of data collection by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a report from the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has shown that the number of obese Americans has surpassed the number of those who are simply overweight.
Using the preferred method of the Body Mass Index, or BMI, researchers found some interesting stats on this issue. The “normal” range for BMI is 18.5 and 24.9. Having a BMI between 25 and 29.9 puts you in the overweight category. A BMI a 30 or more is considered to be obese.
The data, compiled between 2007 and 2012, reveals that while obesity is up across the board, not all demographics are equal. Among women in the US, 37% are obese. On the other hand, 35% of men are considered obese. But when combining the stats for obese and overweight Americans, two thirds of women and three out of four men are above a normal weight.
Among African Americans the numbers are even more troubling. 39% of men in that category and 57% of women are obese. Furthermore, 7% of black men and 17% of black women are considered “extremely obese” with a BMI over 40.
Those who identified as Mexican American had an average obesity rate of about 41% among men and women. Whites in the US came in at about 35%. No data was collected by the NHANES from Asian Americans on this topic.
In local news, California is fairing better than a majority of states. According to a 2014 study called The State of Obesity, the rate of obesity in the Golden State was about 24% among adults in 2013. Though that’s a slight increase from 2004, and more than twice the rate from 1990, it’s still better than the next 45 states. Mississippi and West Virginia tied for number one with obesity rates of about 35%. The lowest obesity rates can be found in Colorado, DC, and Hawaii.
It’s tempting to call that good news for California, but that still means that almost a quarter of its residents are obese, and looking at Sacramento, the stats only get worse. A UCLA survey in 2013 revealed that 70% of baby boomers in the region are obese. Almost a third of children in Sacramento County have an “unhealthy weight.”
Obesity is not necessarily the problem, but it does directly contribute to significant health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. And while the signs of America’s expanding waistline are abundant, so are the ideas on how to shrink it.
While conventional wisdom reduces the problem to diet and exercise, more and more medical professionals, politicians, and concerned Americans are exploring other causes. A statewide conversation in California has led to increasing support of a warning label on sugary drinks that are linked to obesity. Others still are focusing on the poverty and so-called “food deserts” that leave many without healthy options, not to mention lack of access to medical facilities in the areas that need it most.
Others in Sacramento are trying to close the gaps of access to healthcare and healthy food, particularly among poorer areas. Groups like Sacramento Building Healthy Communities, Alchemist CDC, and many others with the help of the California Endowment are working to do just that.
Featured image from Flickr.
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A newly released documentary called “Fed Up” puts an emphasis on the obesity epidemic in America. The Tower Theater presented a special one time showing of the film on June 19th.