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Global obesity


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#1 flowerrose

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:53 PM

I watched this documentary recently: http://www.abc.net.a...rontier/4151576 and was quite horrified. I thought the days of Nestle manipulating the impoverished nations were long gone. Apparently not.

On a more micro level, our class has recently moved from shared morning fruit to packing our own morning snacks in prep for year one (age 6). I spend a lot of time in classroom and have been appalled by the number of break time Mars Bars, chips and consistently bad food choices coming into school. One kid only has white bread jam or fairy sprinkles sandwiches and a packet of chips every day because his parents say that's all he'll eat. The portions seem enormous too. Don't get me wrong. My kids' diet is not great and they do have a lot more sweets and treats than I'd like - from me and others. They both eat a lot more processed food than I did growing up and I worry a lot about transfat - but, still, six year olds do not need a full adult-sized chocolate bar every morning!

So, does the obesity trend worry you? Are you making any changes at home in response - boycotting offenders on the global scale, altering your family's diets? Do you worry about going too far the other way - creating food issues whilst trying to moderate the intake?

#2 Mel B

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 02:19 PM

On a global level although it shocks me, I'm not consciously taking action like boycotts etc. I think that education is probably key. Individuals have to take responsibility for themselves ultimately.

My kids don't have a perfect diet but it's reasonably healthy. I have friends who are evangelical in their obsession with what kids eat and frankly it annoys the hell out of me. I've had to intervene when a friend was literally trying to force my son to eat the quantity of broccoli that she deemed he should have. What she didn't take into account was that her kids were eating massive plates full of food, whereas mine have much smaller appetites, and eat far less of all types of food. Needless to say we haven't been back to her house for a meal.

I don't think extremism at either end of the spectrum is helpful, and both have the potential to be harmful. I don't want my kids associating food with shame and I would rather they eat a moderate amount of treat food semi regularly rather than have extreme limits placed on them and have them sneaking food or gorging at parties, etc.

But I try to limit my focus to my own children. Eddie has improved massively in his eating habits in the last year, but for a good couple of years he had quite a limited diet. It wasn't horrendous but it wasn't perfect either. The difficulty was that he also suffers from hypoglycaemia, so I didn't have the option of starving him into compliance because he cannot skip meals, or even snacks. It was frustrating receiving unsolicited advice from other parents who didn't understand his medical condition.
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#3 flowerrose

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 02:49 PM

Re individual accountability - that is true when the information is readily available but, what these companies are doing is going into desperately poor, barely literate areas and aggressively marketin via 'health information representatives' who do a hard number on how healthy the prepared food is because it is more hygienic than home cooked fare then flogging it cheaply to capture the market. Now, the documentary didn't present the flip side, we didn't see if there was any health impact in reducing the unhygienic food prep but we did see the increase in diabetes and other health issues that followed in countries where there was no access to healthcare to manage it.

And I never comment. I just bitch about it anonymously on here! ph34r.gif

#4 Maxi

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 04:16 PM

I watched this yesterday and found it interesting. It's not focusing so much on obesity but the impact these foods have on behaviour, concentration etc.

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Obesity of other children won't necessarily affect my child's schooling experience, but poor behaviour will. It's not fair to the teachers or children.

I'm one of "those mums" who hasn't given my three year old lollies and she thinks she doesn't like chocolate (mwah ha ha!).

I was disappointed that Pepsi were contributing a certain percentage of sales to research into my condition (CRPS). This is in the US. Caffeine can trigger flare-ups!
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#5 Mel B

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 04:45 PM

QUOTE(flowerrose @ Nov 13 2013, 03:49 PM) View Post

Re individual accountability - that is true when the information is readily available but, what these companies are doing is going into desperately poor, barely literate areas and aggressively marketin via 'health information representatives' who do a hard number on how healthy the prepared food is because it is more hygienic than home cooked fare then flogging it cheaply to capture the market. Now, the documentary didn't present the flip side, we didn't see if there was any health impact in reducing the unhygienic food prep but we did see the increase in diabetes and other health issues that followed in countries where there was no access to healthcare to manage it.

And I never comment. I just bitch about it anonymously on here! ph34r.gif


I must confess I haven't watched the documentary yet, so I can't really comment. If such practices are being used that's reprehensible, however I find myself more concerned with famine than with obesity. I guess we all have issues that press our buttons more smile.gif

Anonymous bitching I am all in favour of. I do it often when my SIL is handing out lollies and cordial to my kids ph34r.gif tongue.gif
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#6 Angel_Elle

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:09 PM

We have always been concisios about "balance" for the lunchbox snacks - i have managed to get the kids eating homemade carrot cake so im more than happy to give them that instead of any other cake.

But in regards to "healthy choices" and children - worst thing i have heard happening is recently a few schools in QLD were doing a healthy lunchbox challenge....which is great but until you actually heard the feedback from the parents especially from one in a class where they had even further restrictions placed due to a child's allergy all they could have was: fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. BUT due to the bans can not have eggs, fish/tuna, milk, yogurt, custard (only permitted dairy is cheese). And only permitted protein is meat (ham). The kids where given points up to a total of 5 meeting the criteria then anything that didn't they were deducted a point - alot of the kids were coming home starving as they wouldn't eat or it wasn't enough, the teachers said home-made food would mean points deducted (didn't matter if it was carrot cake). A few of the children apparently started stressing out over it and the different views from teachers in the same grade over whether air popped popcorn got a point added or deducted - overall didn't give the kids a "healthy food" relationship as it became too "competition" orientated.
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#7 flowerrose

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:33 PM

QUOTE(Mel B @ Nov 13 2013, 02:45 PM) View Post

If such practices are being used that's reprehensible, however I find myself more concerned with famine than with obesity. I guess we all have issues that press our buttons more smile.gif


I don't see concern about either to be mutually exclusive. You can equally detest catastrophes, drought and famine along with the other, far end, of the spectrum. I'm not talking about western societies here. The images of famine are bound to be far more emotive and require urgent action to save lives, whereas obesity tends to be a slow burn phenomena. According to the UN obesity outstripped famine as the biggest global killer in 2006 and ever since. The documentary focused on those areas traditionally associated with famine and deprivation - South and Central America, African sub-Sahara, South East Asia and India. Experts are saying that maternal obesity is causing skyrocketing numbers of neonatal deaths in these areas, children are dying or becoming disabled from diabetes. It is far worse than it appears. The point the documentary makes is that, behind the immediate image of what seems like plenty, obesity is as much to do with poverty as famine before it.

#8 aChocLover

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:04 PM

I'm probably on the obese scale - I'm certainly overweight. Due to my own weight issues, I am very conscious of what my children eat and do try to offer a balanced lunch for school. However, I have also occasionally put in treats - mainly around events where we are inundated with it birthdays, easter, halloween etc.

I grew up feeling deprived of anything packaged. I was so jealous of the kids who got to take chips to school. It was always a sandwich, some fruit and water in my lunch box. Oh and speaking of jealousy - frozen sunny boys - how I was desperate for my mother to buy us them! No such luck wink.gif So, I can say that for the most of my childhood, I ate very well - healthy wholesome foods. However, it was pretty much all managed for me. I remember studying the food group pyramid, but that was about it - I really don't recall much in the way of balancing food, exercise, portion control etc. We talk a lot at home about appropriate foods, better foods vs sometime foods. But moreso, we talk about health and fitness. Mummy needs to lose weight, not to be "not fat", but "healthy".

We don't actively boycott companies, but I do attempt to make good consumer choices (local, fair trade, no supermarket brands etc). Nestle is one company I don't actually buy from, but tbh, I haven't looked into them as a parent company and understand what other 'brands' they have. I am interested in watching the documentary later though.

As for the obesity epidemic, personally I'm concerned. I know the damage and the risk, I just have to get off my arse and frankly, prioritise my health a bit more. I think there needs to be more education to children so that they grow up knowing the balances and actively make good food AND LIFESTYLE choices. How you get that message out to communities being manipulated by big-corporates, I don't know.

#9 Mel B

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:47 PM

QUOTE(flowerrose @ Nov 13 2013, 06:33 PM) View Post

I don't see concern about either to be mutually exclusive. You can equally detest catastrophes, drought and famine along with the other, far end, of the spectrum. I'm not talking about western societies here. The images of famine are bound to be far more emotive and require urgent action to save lives, whereas obesity tends to be a slow burn phenomena. According to the UN obesity outstripped famine as the biggest global killer in 2006 and ever since. The documentary focused on those areas traditionally associated with famine and deprivation - South and Central America, African sub-Sahara, South East Asia and India. Experts are saying that maternal obesity is causing skyrocketing numbers of neonatal deaths in these areas, children are dying or becoming disabled from diabetes. It is far worse than it appears. The point the documentary makes is that, behind the immediate image of what seems like plenty, obesity is as much to do with poverty as famine before it.


I agree of course they are not mutually exclusive. I'm not seeking to deny the magnitude of the problem at all. But humans only have so much time, passion and money to connect with causes that are meaningful to them.

I support a couple of different aid agencies and I suppose to a degree I rely on them to determine where the money is most needed. They are probably unlikely to publicise that they are targeting obesity, because frankly it is not going to appeal to many donors and may actually turn people away from the organisation. But if they choose to direct money towards anti obesity programs then I'm fine with that. I don't have the expertise to decide which specific program is most crucial.
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#10 ~MG~

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 02:01 PM

It is scary....There is more and more children that are coming through not only school but childcare as well that are overweight and then some children are obese.

I am not sure what the answer is because there is loads of information out there and seriously we all know what are healthy options and what are the sometimes food....and it really does start with the family at home.

I have been told that my children are underweight to the "norm" but seriously they are happy and active kids who eat a balanced diet. And yes a balanced diet includes Macca's, icecream, lollies and chocolate. We are an active family as well and are outside running around or bike riding through the back streets...so the occasional homemade treat or choccie does not bother me at all. My kids know what is healthy and why we eat healthy and they also know that hot chips/macca's/lunch orders are treats so when they are at a party they don't gorge themselves either.

But really and honestly parents need to step up and take responsibility for their children and themselves in relation to food and being healthy and stop blaming others for being overweight/obese and or making excuses etc. As far as educating the children....we need to focus more on the parents IMO - what children see in the home in relation to food is what they are going to think is the norm.

I eat a balanced healthy diet and I am active - And my children are living the same healthy lifestyle as what my hubby and I do - and they see us going to fitness and we bike ride or walk to school on the days that I am not working....it is all about choices and what you think is important - And for me this is important to show our children that being active and eating healthy is the way to go to avoid health issues as well as being overweight.



#11 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE(~MG~ @ Nov 26 2013, 03:01 PM) View Post



But really and honestly parents need to step up and take responsibility for their children and themselves in relation to food and being healthy and stop blaming others for being overweight/obese and or making excuses etc. As far as educating the children....we need to focus more on the parents IMO - what children see in the home in relation to food is what they are going to think is the norm.



For a large portion of the population in Western countries, yes. But as a global epidemic it is so much bigger than this.

I hate the whole 'big Pharma' conspiracy thing that comes with the immunisation debate but in the world food debate you really do have big conglomerates manipulating and forcing food choices on populations. OR just eliminating choice.

#12 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:15 PM

Oh I don't mean it in an 'evil manipulation' kinda way, more a creating a market for their product for profit even though it's not the best thing kinda way.

Aren't Monsanto the ones who sue farmers for cross pollination with their GM crops?




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