Author Bonnie Taub-Dix has been treating USAToday.com readers to informative – and engaging – posts on the “Healthy Agriculture, Healthy Nutrition, Healthy People” conference in Greece on her Better than Dieting blog. We thought it fitting to share her insightful sound bites with you.
Bonnie’s post from October 7th:
I sat at the Inaugural Conference of the World Council on Genetics, Nutrition, and Fitness for Health during the past 3 days, surrounded by scientists from countries like Greece, Italy, France, Chile, Sweden, Canada, and the US, just to name a few. Some presented complex papers and showed slides that brought me back to my college biochemistry classes, while others discussed the results of their own personal studies as well as historical research reflecting a path to a healthier life.
Although the accents and intricacies were diverse, the messages were unified: the world is not a very big place but its population is, literally, growing bigger. Obesity does not discriminate – it threatens us all.
Since you couldn’t sit next to me and share the passion conveyed regarding the topics discussed, I thought I’d share a few sound-bites:
· I heard that in some countries, the rich are obese because their weight is a sign of wealth. When I questioned Dr. Yannis Manios about this surprising trend, he replied, “The more wealthy you are, the more educated you may be…but that doesn’t mean you have a knowledge of how to eat well.” We need to teach consumers how to make educated decisions.
· In other countries, obesity is skyrocketing among the poor. Dr. Federico Leighton pointed out that Chile’s climate is varies from north to south, with it’s mid-section carrying the least obesity and resembling a Mediterranean climate. (The Chilean miners stuck underground were from the north, where obesity is prevalent.)
· The connection between malnutrition and violent behavior was brilliantly sewn together by Dr. Bernard Gesch. “Proper diet is more than a recipe for good nutrition– it may be a recipe for peace.”
· Dr. Ole Faergeman had a strong and succinct solution to save our planet by stating: “How do we prevent climate change? Eat plants, plant trees, leave the coal, gas and oil in the ground.”
· Dr. Despina Komninou believed that “Obesity runs in families…including in our pets!” Looks like we could all benefit from a long walk.
· ”We have to be very careful about the message we give regarding the connection between genetics and obesity,” said Dr. Louis Perusse. It seems like if we can’t change our genes, we have to adjust our lifestyles so that we can fit into our jeans!
And although this next sentiment whisked by quickly on a passing slide, it was the one that I held onto the longest: The sun setting is no less beautiful than the sun rising – embrace the progression of the lifecycle.
Aging can be beautiful. May we all age together in good health.
Thanks to all of our guest bloggers for sharing their insights from the conference and for shedding light on nutrition, fitness, and the role of agricultural practices on climate and overall health.