If you’ve been following the latest news about the “fat epidemic” in America, you probably know that two out of three adults in this country are now classified as “obese” or “overweight” . . . according to the latest data from the public health experts at the federal government.
But do you also know about the huge role that sugary drinks (aka “liquid candy”) now play in help in helping to make the good old USA the fattest place on Planet Earth?
According to the researchers, the average American adult now consumes an astonishing 150 pounds of sugar per year . . . compared to only about five pounds a century or so ago.
Pretty scary, don’t you think?
And there’s more. In recent years, a team of nutrition experts at the Harvard University School of Public Health has been conducting a long-term study of sugar consumption in the U.S. According to the Harvard experts, a sizable portion of the staggering sugar intake comes from soda pop and other sugary drinks guzzled by millions of us each day.
Of course, the worried nutritionists at Harvard also point out that the tidal wave of sugar is contributing heavily to soaring rates of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease each year. Treating such sugar-linked ailments now costs a stunning $190 billion annually – and that scary price-tag now looms as a significant factor in driving up healthcare costs for all of us.
Let’s face it: today there’s simply no doubt that our national soda pop addiction is taking a huge toll on public health every day in America.
So what can we do to turn back the tsunami of “liquid candy” that now threatens the good health of all of us?
One very encouraging answer to that question emerged last Friday – on Halloween afternoon – at DMC Harper University Hospital . . . where more than 200 physicians, nurses, Detroit community leaders and gung-ho high school students from all across the Motor City got together to kick off the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge.
Along with several of my colleagues, I helped to launch the first Health Challenge a few years ago, as a badly needed public health education program in which hundreds of thousands of Detroit-area residents are asked to abstain (until midnight on Dec. 31) from fat-triggering soda pop, fried foods, candy and other sugar-laden foods . . . while also getting plenty of health-promoting exercise. (To learn more about the Challenge: http://healthforlife.dmc.org/61days.)
Last Friday’s exciting event at Harper brought together community leaders and dozens of excited youngsters for a high-octane “pledge ceremony” in which all of us vowed to make “good food choices” during the holiday period that runs from now through New Year’s Eve.
Why did we take the pledge to say no to “liquid candy” and other “junk” foods this holiday season?
It’s a no-brainer, my friends. After hearing about the increased average risk for diabetes (26 percent) among those who drink at least one 20-ounce soda pop every day (along with their 20-percent average increased risk for heart attack) . . . we are determined to protect our good health by eating and drinking more wisely during the next couple of months.
And if you aren’t part of the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge yet, just climb aboard and grab a seat – because it’s never too late for all of us to start improving our health by paying more attention to what we eat!