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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Are You What You Eat?

Published February 25, 2013 10:53 AM by Pam Tarapchak

Soda has taken a hit recently. First, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban in the city on soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. Second, the Center for Science in the Public Interest wants the FDA to cap the amount of sugars added to beverages, as well as other foods such as breakfast cereals. In an ironic twist, Coca-Cola has even launched a marketing campaign speaking out against the challenge of obesity and ways they are committed to fighting this epidemic (think exercises to work off the 24 ounce Coke you just drank). These are just a few campaigns targeting the growing obesity trends in America.

While I get that consuming large amounts of sugary drinks and foods is less than healthy and can ultimately result in obesity if done in excess, where does a person’s responsibility for their own health come in to play?  Is obesity really the fault of the manufacturers producing sugary foods? In reality, people have choices — you can eat healthy foods and exercise, or you cannot. It’s that simple, right? Kind of.

We live in a world of large portions and fast foods that easily fit into our jam-packed lives. It’s easier to grab a burger and fries for lunch than to cut up the fixings for a salad. More time is spent with electronic devices than with exercise. Is this the same for everyone? No. But given that more than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese, these are common scenarios. So, to move toward a healthier future, individuals have to start making smarter choices today. Drinking more water than soda. Walking on your lunch break. Teaching children the importance of nutrition and healthy eating.

We can point fingers at many external factors that play a role in the obesity epidemic. But are they really the cause? Perhaps taking excess sugar out of drinks is one step toward a healthier America, but it’s not going to get you to grab for a bottle of water and get off the couch and move. That’s your choice.

How do you think obesity can be tackled?

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