OBESITY AND DIABETES – THE COMING EPIDEMIC?
BBC Radio 4 listeners with sharp ears may have noticed a shocking item recently on obesity. It is growing so fast in America that diabetes is predicted to affect 52% of their population within 10 years. As with many social trends from America, the UK would seem bound to follow.
This frightening statistic is highlighted by Aza Raskin, the whizz kid founder of Firefox who has turned his not inconsiderable talents to the challenge of developing practical tools to turn back the tide of obesity threatening to sweep away the good health of the Western world.
The focus of his attention is the mismatch between feedback we get when we eat and what is actually good for us. When we eat chocolate cake we get all sorts of good signals (delicious taste, enjoyable texture, end of hunger pains, etc) and we don’t feel different for the rest of the day or week. It’s the incremental cake we do or do not eat over weeks and months that makes us fit or fat. More info on his initiative – Google “Massive Health”.
Whatever the complex social reasons behind the statistics, one simple truth has never changed – if you eat more calories than you burn off you will gain weight. Those people who have got the exercise habit know and appreciate this by being able to eat plenty of healthy food without piling on the pounds.
Is it too much to hope that our innate common sense and lower tendency to over-indulge will stop us following the American lead? A bigger factor may our more active routine (more walking up stairs and fewer office elevators) which puts all of us within easy reach of “getting the exercise habit” as a lifestyle.
Now is the time for all of us budding couch potatoes to enjoy Sutton Park and the opportunities for outdoor exercise. As Christmas approaches and diaries fill up with office parties, family gatherings and festive social events, good food and plenty of it will be there to tempt us. Now is the time to burn it all off with the exercise habit!