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Pamela_M_Peeke_ MD_MPH_FACP posted:
Hi to everyone. Many of you probably saw on TV last week's event where the First Lady, Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius and our new Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin appeared at a YMCA in Alexandria, Virigina, and announced a national initiative to combat obesity. If you go to the Surgeon General's website you can download The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. Have a look at it.

I'm currently working on this initiative and have the great opportunity to share your thoughts about this campaign with the team that's been set up to implement the plan.

I need your feedback and thoughts. So, what do you think? What changes do YOU think the White House and HHS should make happen in order to reverse what is being called the obesity epidemic in kids and adults? Do you think this campaign is fruitless or can real change happen? Is there hope in your view?

Come on, really share. How about your raw, honest comments and thoughts from all of you on our terrific message board?

Then, I'll take it directly to the folks who need to know how America really feels about this obesity issue.

OK, let's get the dialogue going!

Dr Peeke
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tv2020 responded:
We need a FAT tax. Fast foods. Prepared foods.
 
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PaulaZT responded:
I would like to see high-fructose corn syrup banned from all food.

Thanks!
 
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rjkelley58 responded:
I would make gym mandatory from kindergarten through grade 12
 
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Aunt_Maude responded:
Eat real food Do something active every day Do something to help someone else every day. Choose to be happy -Martha grace McCune, RN,BSN
 
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Christine17082 responded:
I think an overhaul of all school lunch recipes is called for- less fat, sugar. I also think growing fruits and vegetables for each individual school wouldn't be to hard to implement. If the school doesn't have "land" you can always go for container gardens!! If the kids are involved in the planting, growing and harvesting, that would be ideal.
 
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wildlizzard responded:
I agree about banning high fructose corn syrup in prepared foods. Fast food places should be prohibited from super-sizing. Something about us Amerians always wanting to get more for our money whether it is good for us or not. Regular reataurants should also watch their portion sizes. We know two could share most entres and have room to SHARE a desert. Putting nutrition labels on fast food (not the menu but on the wrapper). Regulate maximum allowances of sodium and fat per serving.
 
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wildlizzard responded:
I like your idea of a school garden ... it would teach the children about growing things, reward them and expose them to foods with which they might not be familiar. I bet Mrs. Obama would like that, too!
 
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healthymomof3 responded:
I personally think that although people make terrible decisions about what to put in their mouths, I also blame the food companies and restaurants that produce the food we eat. There is no reason why everything available in the middle aisles of grocery stores needs to be high in fat, sugar and sodium and low in nutrition. There are many ways that food companies could be helping the situation, but instead they are out for the all mighty dollar. They produce fattening foods that for most people are feeding a sugar/fat addiction and making the epidemic worse. Restaurants pack salt and fat into their menu items to satiate people's palates at the expense of their bodies. I don't eat out hardly ever because even menu items that should be healthy such as a salad is usually doused in high fat dressing with as much sodium and fat as a cheeseburger.

People are lazy and love to eat out and eat convenient foods, but unfortunately those are the foods causing obesity. Then add in the technology era where you don't have to walk up stairs, you take the escalator, you don't have to get up to change the channel, you use the remote, you don't have to walk anywhere, you just drive, you don't have to wash dishes, you use the dishwasher, and the list goes on and on. People use to have to do a lot more physical labor and now days we are so lazy we pay people to clean our houses for us, we eat out, drive everywhere, entertain our children with TV and video games and we don't do much of anything physical.

So even though I am for less government, this is one place where the government needs to get involved. Based on sound research data that is already available, a panel of experts needs to set up realistic serving sizes with nutritional guidelines that all companies need to try to adhere to. If the company's product does meet the guidelines the company receives no penalty, but if the company's product does not meet the guidelines then it is taxed heavily to offset the medical costs of obesity. Maybe if you hit the restaurants and food companies in their bank accounts which is why they produce the junk food in the first place, to make money, they would start being responsible and trying to make healthier foods that taste good. It is possible, but you would never know it with what is available currently.

I personally have a healthy family, no one is overweight because we make everything fresh at home, we are very active and we are very selective at what we eat. We are busy, we have an extremely busy schedule of activities and jobs, but we make time for the most important people in our lives, ourselves to exercise and make fresh foods into delicious meals and stay healthy. I am sad with how unhealthy most people are. It is not rocket science to eat healthy and exercise, but the information that comes out every second about fad diets, what is healthy, what is not and what is killing us can be confusing and contradictory. Restaurants and food companies are making unhealthy options and we are getting lazier every second. Something has to give.

Maybe another option is to tax overweight and obese people more too. I think everyone needs to become accountable for what they eat and whether or not they exercise.
 
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healthymomof3 responded:
Sugar is sugar. It doesn't matter if it is high fructose corn syrup, honey or sucrose (table sugar) our bodies use it and store it in the same way. Pop is the problem for many people and diet pop is not the answer. Sugar substitutes still tell the body something sweet is coming and can mess up the body even more than actual sugar or HFCS because it responds with insulin where no sugar was actually consumed.
 
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wallflower27986 responded:
I would stop feeding my family table salt, sugar in any form (especially high fructose corn syrup) and anything with the word flour in it's name. I think the mayor on NYC is right in requiring restaurants to reduce salt in their menus. Children should get an opportunity to exercise, especially outside in the fresh air. Schools have done away with physical education and recess. When do they get to move their bodies? I would limit their TV and/or video game time. I would no longer buy processed foods to feed my family. I would feed them real food: fruits, veggies, grains as close to the way God made them as possible. If man has changed it, it probably isn't good for you or them.
 
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latricia7911 responded:
I for one will admit I get foodstamps. Not near enough, but I get them. I cook home cooked food, not fast food. I see these women with the same number of children getting three times the amount I do. I think they need to do what the WIC is now doing. Make a certain percentage of your foodstamp budget for vegetables and fruits only, a certain percent for meats, and the rest to spend on what else you need. That way there will be healthy foods bought for the family, not all tv dinners and chips or people selling them. Some of us would be thrilled to have fresh fruit and vegetables on our table everyday!
 
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cowfreak responded:
My perspective comes from looking at Physical Education classes in schools for the last 30 years, as a student, coach,educator, and parent. As a student in Arkansas, we students, had Physical Education daily and year round. The class sizes was medium-sized with maybe 50ish students, but the Physical Education teachers actually taught us skills and got us moving. My teachers and coaches made enough of an impact upon me for me to choose Physical Education as a profession. Presently, in elementary schools, there is usually one Physical Education teacher for the entire school, and about 70-80 students at once. Two of the regular classroom teachers rotate and so there are actually 3 teachers with all those students, Two, (the regular classroom teachers) of them who really DON'T want to monitor, but would rather sit and talk. This is a terrible position, as a Physical Education teacher, to be placed, since it means having to try to convince the regular classroom teachers to get off their rears and help monitor for safety. No Physical Educator wants to see her/his students injured. By putting Physical Education back into schools on a daily basis, children would be moving much more. They sit all day and their bodies need movemment, (as do we all)! In middle school, students have P.E. classes 1 or 2 times a week, and daily for a semester in some schools. When they do, it's usually with a large class size. Decrease the class size! Quit trying to cram so many students in gymnasiums like they are cattle.

As a Tennessee mother of a sixth grader, my child is only required to have Physical Education class one semester, and if students choose Band or Choir, they don't ever have to take it! It is seen as an exploratory class. Student class size is so large students do well to get even 10 minutes of exercise, daily. (And that is usually the warm up.) If a game is played which teaches a skill, (like flag football) students only play if their numbers are called. Last week, it took two class periods for my middle schooler to even get a chance to get out on the floor. Half the class was waiting in the bleachers. In our school, there are three teachers with 70-90 students. So there is a ratio of 3 to 85 children. (How well do you think I could get to know your child, or if she or he were having any serious problems?)

Bring Physical Education back, and provide motivated Physical Teachers! Being a coach doesn't necessarily make someone a good Phyiscal Education teacher. In my current experience as a parent, I am shocked when listening to my child tell me about her class experience of them having to sit in the bleachers and talk, during their Physical Education class because the coaches/Physical Education teachers were texting, working on the computer, and painting a wall! Provide teachers with mandatory, daily planning time so this doesn't have to happen! And bring in the professionals. Again, coaches don't always make good Physical Educators, sometimes they do, but many times they do not. I speak from experience, because I have been there and done that. Thanks, Dr. P., for listening.

A Physical Educator since 1983
 
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Jozy1 responded:
I am currently a nursing student at a wonderful school in Richmond, VA. I have many years of medical experience in the navy and owned a small cafe for 7 years. The health issues I have encountered as a nursing student have been extremely sad because the majority of them are preventable. At least 95% of the clients I have worked with are being treated for an illness that has exacerbated due to diabetes, usually uncontrolled, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. The problem begins with children. Lack of health education, healthy role models, and only one hour of physical activity at school, sends a message to our children that exercise and health are not as important as history and math. We cannot grow up to be prosperous adults if we are dying from diabetes and heart disease, and many children are developing these diseases due to poor parent choices and poor quality meals and exercise in the schools. We need to spend more time and money educating our children at school, in the doctor's office, and at home about healthy living. Our hospitals would surely see a decline in all the preventable illnesses.
 
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mbmac responded:
After traveling recently through the Netherlands and Germany I was really impressed by the amount of people who travel by bicycle. Amsterdam even had a parking lot for bicycles. If we were to all use bicylces as our primary source of transportation we could not only cut down the obesity problem but also the pollution and price of gas problem in the United States.


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