Why the campaign to stop America's obesity crisis keeps failing -- says not so fast. Eating less and engaging in more physical activity does have enormous health benefits:
The results are fascinating: 20% of all deaths of people 35 and older were attributed to a lack of physical activity. That's moredeathsthan can be attributed tosmoking. Looking at specific diseases, the risk of dying fromcancerincreased 45% for men and 28% for women due to lack ofphysical activity. The risk of dying from respiratory ailments was 92% higher for men and 75% higher forwomen. The risk of dying fromheart diseasewas 52% higher for men and 28% higher for women, all due to a lack of physical activity. It turns out that being a couch potato can kill you, literally. source
However, according this new research, our obesity epidemic is rooted more in what we eat, as opposed to how much we eat. In other words, all calories are not created equal. And the number one villain is sugar:
At the moment, the government efforts to curb obesity and diabetes avoid the all-too-apparent fact, as Hilde Bruch pointed out more than half a century ago, that exhorting obese people to eat less and exercise more doesn’t work, and that this shouldn’t be an indictment of their character but of the value of the advice.
By institutionalizing this advice as public-health policy, we waste enormous amounts of money and effort on programs that might make communities nicer places to live—building parks and making green markets available—but that we have little reason to believe will make anyone thinner. When I asked CDC Director Thomas Frieden about this, he pointed to two recent reports, from Massachusetts and New York, documenting small but real decreases in childhood-obesity levels. He then admitted that they had no idea why this had happened. “I’m doing everything I can do,” he said, “to assure that we rigorously monitor the efforts underway so we can try to understand what works and what doesn’t.”