Friday, October 30, 2009
It's Fall in New York City and Central Park is magical... the trees are brilliant yellow, there's a touch of romance you can just feel, and the breeze has an edge of chill to let you know winter will be coming soon...
And guess what?? A week ago the bleachers were going up. And this week?? Rows of bright orange flags and the finish line..!
Yes yes yes..! The marathoners are here--from all around the world. You can see them with their upright posture, striking features, and that look in their eyes that all runners share.
It's time for the ING New York City Marathon... and the energy is buzzing...
Running the marathon was a one-time thing for me. I knew it was something I had to knock-out in life, and I couldn't have been more elated when I crossed the finish line. (This is where most people boast about their times.) It's a long story and I sure could've used these tips, but suffice it to say that I finished well behind a guy dressed up as a giant pair of testicles...
Truly, people wear all sorts of costumes in the race. They're running and raising money and awareness for special causes... Since my own marathon, I can't help but go back year-after-year to cheer. It's amazingly uplifting... I dare you to spend five minutes on the sidelines without getting choked up. What about the running guides for the blind..? Heroes.
Hooray for all of your stories, your special motivation, your true grit..! I'll be just inside Central Park cheering, cheering, cheering for you this Sunday.
And congratulations in advance: 26.2 miles: You've gone the distance.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I've been asked if I'm protesting Halloween...
I don't really have a problem, per se, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day Weekend or the special occasions during the year when food becomes a big focus. If Americans generally ate right and exercised daily, those days of indulgence wouldn't pose much of problem. But in 2009 with obesity and overweight as the American norm, it becomes a question of "more." How much more do we need of what's already making us sick..?
For instance, it can be fun to go out drinking with your buddies, but it takes on a dark hue when a friend has a drinking problem. Likewise, most of us have friends, family, loved ones suffering from the health effects of eating-related obesity, diabetes and heart disease, maybe even cancer--it colors the entire event. How can we enjoy overeating among friends and family on Halloween, Thanksgiving or Memorial Day when we look around and see that it's killing the people we love the most?
Even so, Halloween trick-or-treating and dressing up can be a blast for kids. If they're eating right and getting their hour of exercise everyday, the extra candy kick once a year is no big deal. We trick-or-treat, let the kids eat a couple pieces of candy a day for 2 or 3 days, and then toss out the bag of candy. The kids never even notice.
But after-school or weekend Halloween festivities are far different from the school day. Candy really has no place in school, especially treats with ADHD-inducing artificial food coloring. (The entire EU now has warning labels for artificial food coloring. MD tried and failed to make moves against artificial food coloring here in the US.)
Only the most outdated, uninformed principals still allow candy into their school buildings these days...
Every year, our family requests that our children's school ask parents and teachers to keep the candy at home, and every year our requests are ignored. It's one thing if you choose to send in a piece of candy for your own child. It's entirely different to send in 25 pieces--no matter how well-intended the gesture is--it's really outdated in this era of obesity and diabetes. No child should face junk food solicitations during the school day. Not to mention E. coli-contaminated cookie dough and the occasional defective or tampered with treats such as those Pokemon lollipops a couple years ago that had metal shards. Why would a school want to take-on that kind of liability? Best advice for principals: Keep the candy at home.
And if your trick-or-treater happens by our house this Halloween, expect glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
"Smart Choice"... and all those silly industry-sponsored food-labeling systems telling us what is "better for you..." Pepsi, Kellogg's, Kraft... Up till two years ago Kraft was part of Philip Morris, aka, Altria...
Fruit Loops, with its first ingredient being sugar, is a "Smart Choice." Thank goodness Smart Choice has been suspended due to pressure from the Yale Rudd Center, CSPI, Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, NAAO, and a whole host of nutrition, health and obesity experts.
It was big news this week in DC at the annual meeting of the Pharma-backed Obesity Society. Other big news was that most of the marketing money spent to promote cereal to kids is spent on the least healthy "boxed breakfast candy." No surprise, right?
I spoke about this today on the Fox Business Network with Stuart Varney. (Stuart always gives me hell on screen and off...maybe a hater crush??...) Check it out...
CSPI likes the idea of having the IOM suggest uniform labeling guidelines to the FDA... I also like what Yale's Dr. David Katz is doing with his NuVal system of grading food products on a scale of 1-100 based on nutrition value.
Whatever system is decided upon, we know we need a clear, concise, universally adopted food labeling system we all can trust. If we're gonna eat it, we should know what "it" is...
Monday, October 26, 2009
Gaby Wood wrote a smear piece. She got all sorts of attention for it, and plenty of bloggers and lesser publications cite the article daily. It served her needs. But did it serve the reader?
I made my career in public relations, I earned a degree in journalism, and I'm nothing if not a news junkie. I get it. Doing P.R. is a bit of a Faustian Bargain--I'm not naive. And with National Action Against Obesity being a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization, i.e., no money, P.R. is an efficient means for moving the agenda forward--but a means that comes with a degree of risk.
So working with the press over the years, I've taken my lumps...comes with the territory. False introductions on live tv, lazy reporters who just cut-n-paste from rumor blogs, aggressive license-taking with the truth...
But also I've had the pleasure working with real pros committed to getting it right, getting the facts, and substantiating those facts. In most cases, legitimate journalists stake their reputations on sound journalistic methods and ethics--the Journalistic Code.
While various existing codes have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of — truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability — as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.
Gaby Wood of the Guardian/Observer conducted an interview with me early this year. As does any writer, she made choices. But in Gaby Wood's case, she chose to ignore much of the truth, was blase about accuracy, lacked objectivity and impartiality, and delivered a piece to the public that was not a fair and accountable example of journalism.
Gaby Wood decided I should look bad, and took every opportunity to deliver on her personal agenda, whether getting her jabs in about my maiden name, glasses and hair or reworking my answers into half-truths.
The truth is that I'm a national news pundit and nutrition counselor who regularly sees the damage of improper eating. That doesn't make me someone who hates food--far from it.
I grew up surrounded by the devastating effects of obesity's toll on those I love and respect the most. That is not an attack on my mother.
I believe the power of pop culture can be harnessed to influence positive change in nutrition. No, I didn't criticize Jennifer Love Hewitt--I defended her. Yes, I criticized Angelina Jolie for stuffing Cheetos down the throats of her beautiful children. Do her and Brad Pitt's kids not deserve better than transfat, artificial food coloring and MSG? If not, what's all that money and hired help for..?
I believe, just as we've done with littering, plastic bags and smoking, that we must stigmatize the products and practices associated with obesity-not the people.
I believe once we hold the individual responsible for his/her choices, we individuals will band together and force industry to make change. We've shown we can be swift and forceful. Look to the examples of transfat, bovine growth hormones and BPA.
I believe food makers and marketers knowingly harm their customers, and yet, justify their despicable methods by claiming customers "enjoy it."
I believe there's no need to fetishize food or unyieldingly pressure people to eat when nourishing one's body already delivers a cascade of pleasure chemicals.
I believe food should never be used as prize or punishment.
I damn sure don't believe harmful, food-like substances should be in daycare centers and schools.
And yeah, I'm a big proponent for the soda tax, testified for calories on menu boards, and volunteer on several sub-committees of the non-partisan Center for Science in the Public Interest. This makes me a frequent target of the food/beverage lobbyists.
I do not see obesity as a health and beauty ideal. For that, the pro-fat-acceptance movement wants to bully me into submission.
I seek to challenge cultural memes that have ushered in this era of obesity. That includes every business meeting having to involve eating, (I love eating and love meeting, but the combo diminishes the pleasure of both.), eating by the clock rather than the demands of one's day or needs of one's body, and falling into our culture of mindless, improper eating. My approach is mindful eating. And my results?
Gaby Wood wants you to believe the worst about me, when here I am fighting to stay healthy, defying a family history of obesity, and breaking the obesity cycle before it ensnares my own children.
She refused to report that I'm at a healthy weight for my height. Every item on my recent physical is healthy--from the mammogram and thyroid check to every single line item on the blood panel including triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, etc. I've conceived, carried and nursed two healthy children. I'm on zero prescriptions. And quite frankly, I really dig my body.
It's true I've never been wild about breakfast. (Now, 3am at Waffle House is a COMPLETELY different story.) If I'm traveling or have back-to-back meetings, I do enjoy oatmeal with sliced almonds, raisins, a little skim milk and a pinch of brown sugar. As many of you know, I'm a "mostly-Vegetarian." And while I don't exactly count calories, based on my weight and exercise habits, I average about 1600-1800 calories per day. (Burrito Bowls from Chipotle are the best..! More on that in another post.)
And yeah, I do exercise about an hour everyday. And no, I don't like to run with food on my stomach. I found out a long time ago, like many runners, that's a total no-go. Two pregnancies only made it more true.
Gaby Wood made a point in our meeting that she has blood sugar problems in her family and they must eat more frequently than most. I don't have any blood sugar issues. More importantly though, I thought I was meeting her for a half hour, not 2 and a half hours. I had worked late into the night, slept in, rushed to meet her, and then had to rearrange my day on the spot as the meeting dragged on, including making alternate arrangements for my children to be picked up from school. Gaby didn't disclose any of the above in her article--it didn't help tell the story she was determined to tell.
Gaby Wood ignored my vast knowledge about obesity and the food industry. She simply didn't do her homework reviewing the many available resources to her, interviewing clients and colleagues I've worked with over the years, or contacting the world-renowned physicians who support my efforts. There are more than 1000 members of the NAAO community in the U.S., as well as a few members in the U.K., Australia, Canada and India. There's even a high school NAAO club in Florida. How many of you heard from Gaby Wood? Gaby Wood didn't even bother with basic journalist practices of follow-up questions or fact-checking. Creative writing doesn't require one to follow journalistic code.
That's exactly what Gaby Wood delivered in her smear piece. She took threads of truth to weave together a fanciful yarn of pure fiction. Her piece has done incalculable damage to my personal and professional reputation. Yes her work was libelous. Yes her work was defamation. Sadly, repeated requests for retraction and formal apology will be answered only with the aid of lawyers.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Politics have become so politically correct.
In New Jersey's heavy and heated 2009 governor's race, the mudslinging is dirty. And expensive. Democratic incumbent and former Wall Street tycoon, Jon Corzine, faces Republican U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Chris Christie. There's an Independent in the race too, Chris Daggett. And who knows, voters might get fed up and go with him...
(For the record, I live in NY, so I don't get a vote and have no aim to endorse any candidate.)
So with all the hateful and ugly accusations--and they do get as nasty as deep-pocketed campaigns can get--the one thing nobody is allowed to say is the obvious.
Look at the photo and see if you can guess...
Chris Christie, 47, husband and father of four, successful prosecuter and candidate for New Jersey's highest office is morbidly obese.
Even though when polled, respondents' number one top-of-mind description of Christie is "fat," Jon Corzine is not allowed to say it. Political experts suggest that if he did, it might cost him his campaign.
We're a nation of predominantly obese people--34%. Second to that is our category of overweight citizens--33%. Then there's the rest of us falling into healthy weight and underweight... Those numbers are pretty outdated. There's probably fewer than 30% now who aren't overweight or obese.
Regardless, social taboos and America's limitless capacity for self-deception dictate that no one speak the "O" word. Remember when there was the "C" word so unspeakable that it could never be mentioned above a hushed whisper..? (What was that hi-larious movie scene at the dinner table??) Of course I'm referring to cancer.
Dr. Oz has said it numerous times. Someone who is morbidly obese has health compromised on par with someone who has been diagnosed with cancer--seems the word "morbidly" isn't just thrown in there for color. That extra 100 pounds puts a high risk and heavy burden on the body.
So imagine if Chris Christie had cancer. (Sorry Mr. Christie. Please know nobody in any way, shape or form wishes cancer or any ill health upon you... I do shudder to even write those words. I'm not particularly superstitious, but I NEVER take good health for granted...)
So let's say it was cancer instead of morbid obesity. Think the press or Jon Corzine would be allowed to suggest that health issue could play a part in performing the duties necessary as New Jersey's governor?
We found out without question something as basic as wearing a seatbelt was crucial to the task. So clearly morbid obesity is a reasonable issue to discuss? Social mores say no.
How are we possibly going to address our nation's biggest health crisis if we're not allowed to say it out loud??
And as a certified counselor for integrative nutrition, I can't help myself...
Here's a quick plan for Chris Christie:
At 6 foot something, you're going to want to keep your weight no higher than 200 pounds. That means your daily caloric intake should not exceed 2000 calories. (This would be a great time for New Jersey to mandate calories be posted on menu boards like we have here in NYC. It makes the whole thing so much easier...)
You'll want to keep to non-fried, non-starchy, mostly-Vegetarian fare. And whenever possible, stick with water. After infancy, our bodies aren't programmed for drinking our calories, especially the empty-calorie sweetened stuff. (Insert plug for soda tax here.)
That's it. If you want to eat more than 2000 calories a day, then earn 'em with exercise. (Every mile jogged rewards you with about 100 calories.) Just to be healthy, you'll want to exercise about an hour everyday anyway. And your kids need an hour of daily exercise too, so maybe that'll be a great opportunity to squeeze in a little family time while on the ever-demanding campaign trail.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Have you heard that argument for obesity?
People say obesity is not like other substance abuse because you can survive just fine without cigarettes and alcohol, but you can't live without food.
But here's how I see it:
You can't survive without inhaling air, but you can live just fine without inhaling tobacco.
You can't survive without drinking water, but you can live just fine without drinking alcohol.
You can't survive without eating food, but you can live just fine without eating junk food.
Look, I'm not saying we can't indulge sometimes. This is where the next argument comes in about "all things in moderation" or "it's all about keeping a balance."
Those truisms are great, but if you're already overweight due to eating habits, your body is telling you in every way possible that you're neither keeping it in moderation or balance. "Hell-o, Self?? This is your body talkin' to ya..!"
And there may be the point made that alcohol and tobacco are physiologically addicting. I don't think any of us would argue with that..! Let's all keep an eye on the expanding research on neuro-chemical dependency upon food. I'm starting to think tobacco, alcohol and junk food have more in common than we ever believed before.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Good grief. Do we really need warning labels on magazines telling us images have been photoshopped?
If so, please add all the fuss with makeup, lighting, hair weaves, and of course we'll need full disclosure on nose jobs, boob jobs and any tummy tucks.
Sheesh, How many of us would pose for a cover (not that anyone's asking) without the promise of photoshop? Those among you without stretch marks throw the first stone...
Here's what I had to say about it over at the New York Times...
I think we should stop being exposed to unrealistically smart people, absurdly talented people, child prodigies, and absolutely all professional athletes.
They just kinda make me feel bad...
Come on. What percentage of world leaders, captains of industry or Nobel laureates are sickly skinny or preternaturally beautiful? They too grace the covers at every newsstand, but we don't blame them for our bad self image.
Beauty is certainly a boost when it comes to natural selection. But healthy heterosexual humans find symmetry, good color, muscle tone, a man w/ broad shoulders, a woman whose waist is about 70-80% the size of her hips as indicators of positive reproductive opportunity--and therefore "attractive." Nowhere in nature is emaciated perceived as beautiful. Obesity doesn't typically fare too well either unless you're talking remote Mauritania where they're trading cows for teen brides to fatten up.
So accentuate the positive and stop fixating on physical beauty. (That means you too, Unilever/Dove/Axe and your bogus "campaign for real beauty" as you sell cellulite cream, guys solely in pursuit of sexual conquest, and a hyper-fixation on appearance.)
Yes, photos are photoshopped. But the real question is, "Why does that hurt your feelings so much..??"
And btw, it is perfectly "realistic" to have a healthy body within a healthy weight range for just about all of us if we eat right and exercise daily. That doesn't guarantee a Jessica Alba figure (natural or altered). But healthy looks good on all of us and delivers a great body image..!
Posted by MeMe Roth at 8:00 AM
Monday, October 19, 2009
Let's look at the stats. And please don't email me about exceptions. Yep, there's always gonna be an exception to the rule. But when it comes to obesity, we're concentrating on the overwhelming majority, not the small percentage suffering rare medical conditions like Prader-Willi, Cushings Syndrome or Rx reactions.
Back to the stats:
Everyone who's fat now is going to stay fat.
I hate that stat. But it's true 95% of the time. It doesn't have to be. People are capable of making permanent changes to their lifestyle choices. But the numbers don't lie--they're not gonna do it. And we certainly aren't cocooning anybody in a health-affirming food culture to make it any easier.
It's also true that eating one's way up to obesity or starving oneself down to scrawny can have a lasting if not permanent physiological impact. The net effect is a metabolism less cooperative than before. Still doesn't mean anybody HAS to stay obese, I'm just sayin'...
So if we have limited resources, and this obesity crisis is genuinely a public health emergency, what do we do??
We refuse to allow even one more child to become overweight.
To reverse obesity in America, we're gonna have to concentrate on the pre-pregnancy to 5 year-old set--before their eating habits, exercise patterns and body compositions have been set. This has been my mantra for 5 years... Zero-to-5-yr-olds-Zero-to-5-yr-olds-Zero-to-5-yr-olds...
Try convincing one of our Rice Krispie-lovin' preschoolers that she's having an apple for dessert. Btw, 20% of America's preschoolers are already overweight or obese.
So what we need is an all-out marketing campaign and incentive program to convince parents-to-be to be healthy BEFORE EVER conceiving. (Fat dads are 6x more likely to have fat sons. Fat moms are 10x more likely to have fat daughters.) And of course we know that obesity results in a higher incidence of all sorts of health problems for the next generation--including birth defects. (Darwin, is that you calling??)
What in the world is junk food doing in our daycare centers and YMCAs? Again, if there's no crisis, please ignore me. But if child obesity is the health crisis of our lifetime, then maybe we don't need juice, Capri Suns, crackers, candy, cupcakes, cookies, and an entire array of high-sugar, refined carb, transfatty empty calories imbedded among our most vulnerable population.
Now, if we're conducting an experiment to see how quickly we can foster a generation of insulin-dependent, type 2 diabetic tykes, then we're lookin' good. Big Pharma smiles upon us...
But the objective is to give each kid a chance to grow up healthy--all part of the "pursuit of happiness" ideology outlined in our Declaration of Independence. Without health, there is no pursuit of happiness.
Let's start with the YMCA. It's the nation's largest provider of daycare with 500,000 children in their daycare centers and nearly 10 million kids in their recreational programs. I've begged and pleaded with the YMCA for 3 years now to establish a nationwide nutrition standard and to dump Pepsi as a partner. (Sign this petition along with America's most-respected physicians who echo my pleas to the Y.) But this plea for a safe and healthy environment goes out to all childcare centers: KinderCare (I keep calling. When will we meet??), you too Creme de la Creme, Bright Horizons, Goddard School, Primrose...All of you can make this change to safeguard children's health. Are you willing? Are people finally listening to me??
Obesity Prevention Checklist:
All ob/gyn offices must offer educational series on healthful eating.
Formula pushers must be pushed off the premises and quickly replaced by breast-pump perks.
New weight-gain guidelines for pregnant mothers must be finalized. (Hooray for the advancements so far!)
Daycare centers must submit to the highest nutritional standards as part of their licensing process. (Thank you, Dr. Lynn Silver of the NYC Dept of Health for all you've done so far..!)
Pediatrician offices must feel obliged to talk nutrition with their patients and their patients's parents. (Think about the Obamas. Michelle says it was their family doctor who tipped them off they had a child weight issue and needed to change the way the family was eating.)
Junk food has to be removed from all schools. Period. Pls don't talk to me about diet sodas, organic juice and baked chips.
Marketing junk food to children has to end--tv, magazines, food promos in school, Happy Meal tie-ins--all of it. We've debated the harmful effects of marketing junk food to kids since the Carter administration. Time to call the question?
Kids must have easy access to safe indoor/outdoor, year-round recreational facilities. All kids.
Produce must be accessible and affordable to all Americans. Gonna subsidize? Forget corn and go w/ broccoli and avocados.
Schools and Daycare centers must be graded on their compliance to "Wellness Policies" and administrators assessed and paid accordingly.
We gotta get kids hooked on water, not sweetened drinks. Pass that blasted Soda Tax too...so we can raise some cash while curbing consumption.
There's more to do, but this post is too long already. You get it. No NEW fat kids. Nada. We'll graduate ourselves out of this crisis within the next 10 years.
Imagine all the misery that never has to happen if we do this...
Tina Fey calls it "gay magic..." Ya know, the makeup, the lighting, the hair extensions... Of course the 30 Rock funny-woman was referring to all the behind-the-scene beautifying for her current cover photo on Harper's Bazaar Magazine.
When I show up at the news studios, it's amazing how much warp-speed, hyper-primping goes on. I usually arrive lookin' pretty plain, then the hair and makeup experts work their magic...
But sometimes ya gotta go right onto the air...
Here's me from Friday's CNN appearance sans any gay magic... No make-up, no powder, no lip gloss--not even a fluff of the hair...
Thank goodness it was online rather than HD..!
And isn't that Katherine Hobson from U.S. News & World Report really great?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Have you read what I've read? For about 2 and a half years I've read over and over--even been announced this way on live tv--that I called American Idol winner Jordin Sparks "fat" or "obese..."
Because of these rampant reports on blogs and in the press, I've had death threats and all sorts of horrible disease and misery wished upon my children. It's been pretty ugly.
Does it matter that I've never called Jordin Sparks those things? I challenge anyone to find any record where I've actually said it. Look high and low, but you won't.
The closest I ever came was agreeing that she had "extra weight on her..." which I stand by. Mostly I talked about cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. Which is what we all should be thinking long-term when we see our youth already struggling with their weight. Visions of "un-health..."
So what was my beef with Jordin Sparks? She was being held up as a role model for tweens, especially when it came to body image. The problem was, when Jordin Sparks gave interviews, she boasted of over-eating, gorging on pizza, fries and burgers, and eating "two creme brulees instead of one." She said this was normal teen behavior...
I said, this is the wrong message at the wrong time. Not only wrong, but dangerous. Especially with a third of today's children projected to develop Type 2 Diabetes, (half of our children of color). This wasn't the message for an American Idol. This wasn't the message for any tween idol.
At first, I never thought anyone would believe the over-the-top sensationalism. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I still get hate mail everyday about it. While the pro-fat-acceptance bloggers never let up about it, and the food and beverage lobbyists play it up for all it's worth, the most disappointing is that reputable journalists cut-n-paste the nonsense right off the web and onto their "all that's fit to print" publications.
So right here right now...
Notice to All Bloggers and Journalists: If you report harmful, unsubstantiated rumors, you're committing libelous defamation.
I stand up against obesity heralded as a health and beauty ideal. I stand up against hazardous calories parading as food. I stand up against this garbage being shoved down the throats of America's children during the school day and while they're in childcare centers.
For this, I'm called all sorts of nasty names. I don't mind, as long as you criticize the truth. Making up lies about me scores you extra hits on your website, but it serves no one but yourself.
By the way, look at the latest talking points from today's Jordin Sparks. She's 100% about healthy eating, healthy body, healthy lifestyle. So hooray for Jordin Sparks..! She's talking like a real American Idol.
(Look for regular posts re: MeMe Roth: Fact or Fiction? There's just too much b.s. to ignore...)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Employee Obesity is costing Employers $45 Billion annually...
Employers are in a bind, with costs of employee healthcare packages seeing 7, 8, 9% year-over-year price increases. Ouch! What's an employer to do?
Scotts/Miracle Gro doesn't want to employ smokers or improper eaters. Neither does the renowned Cleveland Clinic (Dr. Cosgrove, Do NOT back down. You're the voice of reason on this topic. Do not be bullied into submission).
Yet, in Michigan, the obese have become a protected class. Is that fair? Should employers be forced to hire a high risk high cost employee population? Remember, 9 times out of 10, obesity is due to lifestyle choices. Clearly, we already have laws for disability and harassment/bullying. Do the obese deserve special treatment?
And if employees refuse to make minimal efforts to stay out of hospital beds, should coworkers pick up the tab? Will lack of health compliance cause the elimination of employer-based healthcare benefits for us all..??
Talked this up with Brian Sullivan on FOX Business Network Wednesday... Check it out.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Native Americans today are one of our most obese populations, suffering from rampant type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Obesity is GENETIC, right?
Remember when Christopher Columbus, on an errand for Queen Isabella, stumbled upon the Americas..? Look back over all those dispatches and drawings--you know--all the detailed descriptions of how FAT the indigenous people were...
Happy Columbus Day...
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
40 Retailers are Joining Forces to Fight Child Obesity..!
They're gonna help kids "balance their energy..."
You know, run 4 miles if the kid eats a packet of Pop-Tarts... Run a mile and a half to cover the calories of 2 Girl Scout Cookies... Run 2 and a half miles for that 20 ouncer of Coke or Pepsi or whatever...
You guys, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, are just so great, real Samaritans...
Looking over this illustrious list of retail do-gooders, something comes to mind. I don't want to be the master of the obvious, but uh, what if kids just didn't eat the shit you sell..?
Just for kicks, read over the list and add each company name to the template press release headline. And see if you can do it with a straight face. (Somehow Indra Nooyi can.) I couldn't.
"Company X" Joins Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to Reduce Child Obesity...
Kraft? Kellogg? ConAgra? Coke? Pepsi? Nestle? Hershey? the Girl Scouts?
Memo to Models: You are not real women.
We had a meeting and determined your lack of realness makes the rest of us feel bad.
Some of you puked or starved your way into making the whole lot look lousy. But the primary offenders are those of you born to be really really tall, with willowy legs and narrow hips. You piss us off the most.
So in a celebration of overwhelming mediocrity over rarefied beauty, we want you out of our magazines. And step away from the catwalk. We want to look at women who look like us--REAL WOMEN.
Don't give us your pity-party tales of being poked fun at growing up. "Bird Legs!" "Skyscraper!" "Skeletor..." So what if you were taller than every boy you ever had a crush on...
We're not impressed. We've been called FAT, ya know.
So here's to more "Dove Real Beauty" moments. Here! Here! (Pay no attention to Dove's sister brand: Axe. Hey Unilever, Axe guys aren't into real beauty??...)
Beauty is out. Obesity is in.
Next Week's Agenda: What to do with following troublemakers:
People with perfect teeth, perfect symmetry, pretty feet, nice hair, good posture, smooth skin, and all professional athletes.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
As a follow-up to the diet best-seller, French Women Don't Get Fat comes the au-contraire hit "McFrench Women DO Get Fat".
Look for the title tucked in with the latest Happy Meals, now being served about a hundred yards from the Mona Lisa...
Monday, October 05, 2009
Hooray for Eric Goldstein, Chef Jorge, Katherine Grimm, Chancellor Joel Klein, and the entire New York City Department of Education..! They want to make schools safe and healthy for all students... (I chatted this up on a couple MSNBC shows today...Here's the "Way Too Early" show with Willie Geist and here's "Dr. Nancy" with Dr. Nancy Snyderman and Greg Lukianoff.)
The School Food program already offers lunches with whole grain breads and without transfats and ADHD-inducing artificial food coloring. Now, as part of the NYC School Wellness Policy, they're saying "Bye Bye Bake Sales..." (Okay, schools can still have them once a month. why why why??)
40% of NYC's students are overweight or obese... 40%..!
These kids can expect worsening obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, orthopedic issues and fertility complications...
Think we should take this seriously? Thank goodness Mayor Bloomberg, the Dept. of Health, and the Dept. of Ed do.
Bake sales are an easy way to make money. True. (Actually, I can think of a lot of bad ways to make easy money...I bet you can too. Does that make it okay for the PTA..? Click Here for Dr. Joanna Dolgoff's list of non-face-stuffing moneymakers.) It's also true that the bake sale products compromise the health and well-being of kids, they contribute to obesity and diabetes, they create cravings and induce a false sense of hunger, and they habituate children to over-eating and consumption of non-nourishing, ingestible entertainment during the school day.
Hey, I'm all for enjoying a sweet treat now and then. And keeping those indulgences out of school allows them to be preserved for the weekends and special occasions. It should be a-okay for a kid to enjoy cake and ice cream at a Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party without worries of weight gain... But who keeps inviting Chuck-E-Cheese to school..?
During the school day, no kid should be confronted with constant junk food solicitations. Period.
And yeah, let's look to the intellect and ingenuity of today's students to conceive fundraising ideas that raise cash while causing no harm. In the era of the Internet, Walk-a-thons and Farmers Markets, I'm pretty confident today's kids will have loads of moneymaking ideas that don't involve stuffing their faces. We're only as limited as our imaginations...
And somehow because transfat, sugar, and enriched flour are agents of obesity and diabetes, which are conditions of habituation and progression, we ignore their seriousness at the peril of our own children's health.
If only baked goods caused lice...
**Big thank you to MSNBC's Willie Geist and Dr. Nancy Snyderman for having me appear today to chat up NYC's Bake Sale Ban on "Way Too Early" and "Dr. Nancy."**