Fight fat with knowledge

Last updated 05:00 03/06/2014

TRUTH OR WHOPPER: Understanding which fuels are good or bad and what impact they have on the body is a part of the problem.

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Fighting fat in New Zealand

Fight fat by turning off the power switch Change attitudes around junk food, not the price Better food labels needed to help healthier choices The forces at work to turn us fat Ten ways to eat better More gym, less junk at schools Getting kids off their butts Fat shaming is bullying Your home can be your gym What obesity looked like 60 years ago

The majority of New Zealanders don't have the faintest idea about nutrition, wellness and exercise, or the relationship between the three. Our status on the world's obese list affirms this generalisation.

We need to acknowledge that the problem is far greater and more complex than many of us actually realise. If a systems thinking approach is applied, the breadth and depth of the problem we've created for ourselves becomes immediately apparent.

Let's challenge some of our underlying assumptions because it's obvious many are indeed flawed or based upon unsound science.

If you think this is incorrect, then ask yourself why our overall health is getting worse, not better.

We cannot agree on what makes us fat, we cannot gain consensus on what food we should really be eating and in what quantities, many of us think that by exercising more we will lose weight and we readily ignore, shun or spurn compelling new evidence on wellness, health and nutrition as much of it is conflicting.

We need to stop focussing on low hanging fruit and think that taxing sugary drinks is the silver bullet.

To what extent is a tax on sugar going to fix the total problem? Let me suggest we have no idea.

Sounds good, it worked for cigarettes so let's apply the same mentality.

We need to apply smart holistic thinking to identify solutions to the entire series of problems we face.

It's going to take a task force of subject matter experts to identify and implement lasting solutions. That in itself means the problem solution phase will be slow, problematic and onerous. This is a long term journey, not a five min bus trip.

The issue of sugar is an interesting one. Sugar is in a lot of food we need. Some of it is naturally occurring, other by human design.

Pick up any processed food and carefully read the packaging label to actually see what's in it. You'll be surprised if you even understand half of what's there.

Why is it that single ingredient healthy foods (vegetables, fruit, meat and others) are expensive while food such as sugary drinks, corn chips and burgers are cheap in comparison? Is the structure of our food system giving rise to our own obesity epidemic?

The human body is a complex adaptive system - treat it as such.

Our bodies are specifically designed to run on certain nutrients.

Much like a car with the wrong fuel - it will still run but it won't be long before it starts to experience mechanical problems.

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Understanding which fuels are good or bad and what impact they have on the body is a part of the problem.

Unfortunately it is far from being resolved unless you truly understand the fundamentals of nutrition, wellness and exercise and the relationship between them.

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