Our grandparents could walk for miles. Our parents could drive for miles and walk for miles too. What do we do?
Today, many of us have indoor bikes which assure us we are cycling for miles; some of us do indoor aerobics at least once a week for 40 minutes. Others prefer doing several laps of indoor swimming in chlorinated pools assuring us they are germ free. Some do calisthetics while others do indoor deep breathing yoga or modern forms of indoor yoga like those in 105 degrees only. Some do indoor iceskating. Others reach out for indoor rock climbing or gym activities like indoor weight lifting.
Most of us prefer modern entertainment and news formats like TV or computer games and our grandparents wistfully talk of the days when news was exchanged in social gathering holes like the local church or temple or the country bar or village market. Our parents talk of their childhood when they ran across and collected their neighbors to play after school or on holidays. There was never any talk of “play dates” supervised by hovering helicopter parents. Child predators and child kidnappers must have existed through millennia and yet, this generation of parents are extra vigilant of child predators and kidnappers lurking everywhere and children have to be escorted everywhere, even to school and playgrounds. Do children go exploring in the woods alone any more? Did any parent shudder when I mentioned this?
The summer Olympics in Great Britain of 2012, will witness Olympians breaking many previous records, demonstrating speed and strength unimaginable by our ancestors. Are we truly a superior human race today?
All this, and yet, this generation may be the first modern generation in which many parents may outlive their children, or the parents may be too scared to out live their child with Autism, and “new” debilating musculo skeletal and mental disorders. Many have fibromyalgia. Many are way beyond fat and the term obese needs to be replaced by a term implying double, triple or multiple times of what would qualify as a fat person until the 1970s. This is the first generation were women are being crippled by knee pain which was rare in their grandmothers. Young women are being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in numbers unheard off in their parents or grandparents generation. It is not unusual to have classrooms trying to accomodate for Autism Spectrum Disorder, and several young children with leukemia, or childhood cancers.
Several athletes are confessing to strength enhancing drugs undetectable by current standards of drug testing. Such drugs are in the hands of only the most “developed” nations and although in the knowledge of the athletes of the “underdeveloped” competitors through locker room conversations, it is unaffordable. So, the ancient Olympic and Cycling competitions have become a show case of which nation has access to the latest drug test busting, strength enhancing know-how; clearly demonstrated by the human athletes of “inferior” nations trailing far behind the “superior” nations. Has the human race evolved differently when divided by oceans in a few decades, when evolution from apes to neanderthals and humans took millennia? Unlikely, but athletes have positive attitudes and never complain. They simply do their best. It would be nice to know if our current generation of athletes are truly superior to those ancient Greeks in that first Olympics at Athens.
What has changed? Is it our attitude? Here are a few views below with links to their recent original articles:
If you want to form an argument based on knowledge, click these links below. You have more links? Leave them in comments to share with our readers. We want to hear what you think has changed.
1) A series of articles in New York Times on Obesity of which the most emailed one by Dr Carson Chow on May 14, 2012, entitled, “A mathematical challenge to obesity“, in which the conclusion is that while physical activity has not changed much in thirty years, food consumption has increased, and may be the leading cause of the rise in obesity”. Compare with article below.
2) Studies question the pairing of food deserts and obesity by Gina Kolata, April 17, 2012, also part of the above series of articles in New York Times, which summarizes conclusions from several scholarly studies finding that there is no correlation between food sold in a neighborhood and childhood obesity. Compare with article above.
3)The largest ever genome – wide study of childhood obesity by Dr Grant and his team, at Childhood hospital of Philadelphia. They characterize and identify a genetic predisposition to childhood obesity. They caution that babies born with these genes will not necessarily grow into obese children. To avoid obesity they advise better diet and a more active lifestyle.
Note from PursueNatural: Above authors say better diet and more active lifestyle – wait, is it not exactly what this generation is supposed to be doing? Yet, obesity rates are over 30% higher than in 1970s, while these obesity genes have existed for millennia, presumably even as we evolved from apes and neanderthals and our healthy, non-obese grandparents.
4) An article you must read is by Prof Yan Yu, in April 2012, in the journal, Obesity, as reported by Nature.com: “Educational Differences in Obesity in the United States: A Closer Look at the Trends” Quote.
……Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), we address these issues and examine changing educational differences in obesity from 1971–1980 to 1999–2006 for non-Hispanic whites and blacks in two separate age groups (25–44 vs. 45–64 years). We find that (i) obesity differentials by education have remained largely stable, (ii) compared with college graduates, less educated whites and younger black women continue to be more likely to be obese, (iii) but the differentials are larger for women than men, and weak or nonexistent among black men and older black women. There are exceptions to the overall trend…..
Unquote Read more.
5) “Why Have Americans Become More Obese?” by Professors David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser and Jesse M. Shapiro, offering an economic impact of this obesity epidemic. Quote…
In the early 1960s, the average American adult male weighed 168 pounds. Today, he weighs nearly 180 pounds. Over the same time period, the average female adult weight rose from 143 pounds to over 155 pounds (U.S. Depart- ment of Health and Human Services, 1977, 1996). In the early 1970s, 14 percent of the population was classified as medically obese. Today, obesity rates are two times higher (Centers for Disease Control, 2003).
Weights have been rising in the United States throughout the twentieth century, but the rise in obesity since 1980 is fundamentally different from past changes. For most of the twentieth century, weights were below levels recom- mended for maximum longevity (Fogel, 1994), and the increase in weight repre- sented an increase in health, not a decrease. Today, Americans are fatter than medical science recommends, and weights are still increasing. While many other countries have experienced significant increases in obesity, no other developed country is quite as heavy as the United States.
What explains this growth in obesity? Why is obesity higher in the United States than in any other developed country? The available evidence suggests that
….Unquote. Read more.
Note from PursueNatural Yes, you may be very thin and working hard towards being healthy the best way you know how. Yet, if your neighbor or the person in the next town is super, super obese and their three year old child is 200 lbs, yes, your tax dollars will be used towards this public epidemic of obesity related health issues. Money that could be used to improve roads and schools and repair century old bridges and tunnels and airports and pay for increased vigilance and security, will go towards treating the millions of super – super obese, unless you act now to add your voice to question this modern epidemic of obesity. Science says, the rate of rise of the super-super obese since the 1970s does not follow what would be considered a rational trend.
Read the above links. Be informed. Be knowledgeable. Be proactive. Is not your goal to be healthier and live in a cleaner, safer and more technologically superior environment than your grandparents? We may be planning a space module with overbooked flights carrying celebreties to space. However, our infrastructure on this earth may crumble due to lack of tax funding. Perhaps, begin to raise private funds towards infrastructure maintainance while the “new” diseases of obesity and Autism Spectrum Disorder and resultant health issues are worked out?