In fact, we're actually getting fatter. A study recently published in JAMA reports that among young folks, obesity has climbed from under 17 to over 18%, and specifically and most alarming: looking just at 2-5 year olds, at first we thought things we're getting better, but over the study period (2007 to 2015), obesity increased from 10% to almost 14%. Among toddlers!
We adults are not setting a good example: adult rates of obesity climbed from 33.7 to 39.6%, mostly from increases among women and in those over 40, both genders.
In general, we are eating according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and exercising more than ever.
What on earth could be going on?
I imagine you're not surprised that I have some ideas, and that you already know them, and probably can add to the list, but they all come down to ways that our normal human metabolism, which kept us essentially "trim" for millions of years, now seems to make so many of us fat. Our metabolic regulators seem to be broken, from...many causes, but let me just focus on two:
- Sleep dysregulation is probably part of it, in fact another new study identified cortisol hormone levels as the culprit that explains why circadian rhythm disruption can lead to persistent obesity.
- Smart response: adjust your day so that you stop eating at sundown, go to bed a few hours later, sleep 8 hours, rise with the sun and eat again 13 hours (at least) after you've finished your previous dinner. I know, for many: easier said than done. Oh, one more thing, eat in a relaxed state, a couple times a week with one or more chummy others if you can manage it.
- Too many of us have lost the skill, ability, resources, facilities to cook our own meals: eating at restaurants, of any caliber, jeopardizes our skill at making healthy plates for ourselves.
- Smart response: get a copy of my new favorite gift! Dinner Plans, by Jennifer Calihan of Eat The Butter! (YES!) and Adele Hite of Eathropology, both wise observers of our nutritional world AND creators of an incredible, "vintage" cookbook. Vintage, because you can play with the book AND your food (they say it's okay) and because you'll cook according to vintage wisdom, not modern packaging.
How about you, have you resisted the modern trends? Are you pleased to say you are swimming against the tide?
(The image above is from Dinner Plans, and mimics the guidelines in my FAR MORE BORING handout at the office: every time you eat, start with adequate protein, with the fat that naturally comes with the protein; add non-starchy vegetables! I can't believe I picked the one illustration in the book that's not brimming with color. Ah well, check out the book yourself, and hand off a copy to some new cooks, some experienced cooks: good for anyone.)