Heartfelt with Dr Melissa Walton-ShirleyView all posts »
Frustration abounds: EU and US governments stranglehold preventionAug 31, 2009 09:04 EDT
In press conference today, we heard from Dr. Faergeman of Denmark about the need to eat less red meat. It causes cancer. It’s responsible for 18% of greenhouse admissions. It increases thermal stress. The resulting unstable climate will produce more famine and disease. I saw flashes of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” and a vision of myself swimming for my life in the top of the New York Public Library after the Tsunami “ as he spoke. Getting back to reality, I realized I was still safe, warm and dry in the pressroom and I’m an American so I probably don't believe in global anything.(kidding). But you don’t have to believe in global warming to understand that red meat is not the optimal way to nourish our bodies.
INDIVIDUAL solution: Eat a fish. Ride a bike. Save a cow.
GOVERNMENT solution: make red meat less affordable to produce, less affordable to purchase and give government support to agriculturists who grow vegetables and fruit.
Dr. Sandra Erbs of Leipzig Heart Center dragged us to the depths of despair with her presentation on the most sinister of all medical affronts, childhood obesity. Even prison inmates know that child predators are the bottom feeders of their society, and so it is with regard to obesity in the young as a CV risk factor. Obese children ranging from 7-17 years already have thick CIMT’s, elevated LDL’s, lower HDL’s, 8-10 mm hg greater systolic BP’s, and impaired endothelial function. Worst of all, virtually all of them have elevated insulin levels. Though the term pre-diabetic was utilized, I beg to differ. As I always say, you can’t be “borderline pregnant”. You “either are or you aren’t” glucose impaired and it’s the same from my perspective with diabetes.
INDIVIDUAL solution: Moms and Dads get your kids off their butts, away from the television and the internet, and onto bikes and playing fields. Firstly, we parents need to get off "our" butts and get out there with them. Purchase healthy foods and socialize distaste for eating poorly and implement a system of praise for eating well.
GOVERNMENT solution: Mandate physical education in every school. Reward work environments that foster fitness programs for their employees with tax breaks. Offer tax breaks to any business whose income is based upon promoting physical activity. Let’s get away from the absolutely stupid “big is beautiful campaign” that’s been going on for 2 decades in America and replace it with more truthful and unsettling "Fat is fatal" campaign instead.
Dr. Jaakko Tuomilehto from Finland gets my “I want to be most like you” award. He presented information on modifiable risk factors and the impact of governmental intervention. What else can one expect from a guy who comes from Finland, the first country to ban public smoking and to legislate salt content? “Oh my Gosh!!” the “right to choose” folks in America are quaking in their boots right now. Because of our absolute preoccupation with ensuring our ability to eat transfat “because we want to”, and smoke anywhere “because we want to”, and “use a salt shaker “because we want to”, we don’t “get to” enjoy the 75% reduction in cardiovascular disease burden like they have in Finland. We’re laughing all the way to the emergency room but there aren’t many jokes at the funeral and we aren’t able to really connect the dots in America. The Europeans already have the picture and just need to slide a few pieces together. Admirable.
Individual solution: Layperson: get on the Internet and learn something about your health. Physicians: get on the phone and impact legislation.
Government solution: President Obama-you have a huge pile of cash that would move from the pharmaceutical industry and Medicare directly into your lap. Smoke free legislation is a no brainer. Salt monitoring is a no brainer. Transfat legislation is a no brainer. Exercise implementation is a no brainer. Since it doesn’t take brains, it’s going to take brawn. Ted Kennedy had both. Wish he could have stayed around a lot longer in that regard.
I love America, but it’s always difficult to leave Europe where the physicians are so enthusiastic about population science and its impact on quality of life.
I’m so motivated that I’m going to go eat a fish, ride a bike…save a cow, right now.