Tag Archives: obesity

Portion Distortion


Recently, The New York Times reported on a story from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Michael Jacobsen, Ph.D, is the director of CSPI – but I like to call him the “chief of the food police” as he is usually featured in the news media informing the public about high calorie popcorn served at theaters, the high fat food served at some Chinese restaurants and so on. In these stories, his emphasis is on the negative. While he does provide solutions at times, his message often is missed because of all the reporting on the negative. In the current story, he is criticizing food labels because the portion sizes are too small compared to today’s large … Continue reading

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Starving Children in China


A few decades ago children all over this country were expected to polish off platefuls of brussel sprouts and broccoli when reminded of the starving children in China.  My own mother didn’t employ this guilt trip very often, but even I remember being told how lucky I was to have a pile of droopy string beans when kids in Beijing were at that very moment scrounging the streets for scraps of food. Boy, how times have changed.  A recent National Public Radio report highlighted a new problem faced by the billion or so occupants of the People’s Republic of China: obesity.  Apparently, the United States has been exporting more than just capitalism and David Hasselhoff; the years of austerity under … Continue reading

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The Lean Lifestyle


A couple of years ago I had a discussion with a colleague of mine who exercises regularly, keeps herself fit, and watches her weight closely. She is a person who seems to effortlessly stay thin and whose size never varies by more than a few pounds. I was surprised to hear from her a relatively vitriolic tirade about her irritation with people who believe she doesn’t have to work hard to keep herself looking good. “You have no idea how many times I hear people tell me how lucky I am that I’m ‘naturally thin’ or have a ‘high metabolism,’ as if I don’t do anything to keep myself this way, and how I’ll never know what it’s like to struggle with my … Continue reading

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Happy Meals vs. Healthy Meals: Part 2

Inside Alegent

Oh no – is she seriously bringing up this topic again!? Yes. Yes I am. But relax. According to McDonald’s – we no longer have to choose (or let the government choose) between Happy Meals and health(ier) meals for our children. The fast food giant is instead making a pre-emptive strike on its high-calorie kid’s meals, cutting the serving size for French fries by more than half (2.4 ounces to 1.1), and by adding ¼ cup of sliced apples – without the caramel dipping sauce). They estimate the new Happy Meals will have about 20% fewer calories. Happy Meal aficionados in San Francisco are still out of luck, however. Despite the changes, the meals still don’t have adequate nutrition content … Continue reading

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Obese Children: Should the state intervene?

Inside Alegent

A commentary out today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests extremely obese children should be removed from their parents’ custody. The piece, penned by a Boston obesity specialist and a Harvard lawyer, argues that placing these children temporarily in foster care may be more ethical than other options, such as obesity surgery. An early AP report quotes the author, saying that, “state intervention ‘ideally will support not just the child, but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting.’” The article goes on to describe one of the author’s patients who first came to him as a 3-year-old girl, already weighing in at … Continue reading

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