In The Best Idea Yet To Get People to Curb Their Junk Food Consumption, Emily Badger writes about a study conducted by researchers at Texas Christian University and the UT Southwestern Medical Center to help dissuade people from choosing higher caloric food products.
By substituting the calorie count on menu items with the amount of physical exertion necessary to burn the calories, subjects were more inclined to choose a healthier option. It applies a basic cost-benefit analysis to people’s food choices. This type of thinking is key to a healthy life and a healthy community, with plenty of research to support that, economic and otherwise. I am very interested in the study of health and nutrition economics and how that impacts the public as a whole. I am fascinated by facts like this:
“The direct and additional hidden costs of obesity are stifling businesses and organizations that stimulate jobs and growth in U.S. cities. In the 10 cities with the highest obesity rates, the direct costs connected with obesity and obesity-related diseases are roughly $50 million per 100,000 residents. If these 10 cities cut their obesity rates down to the national average, the combined savings to their communities would be $500 million in health care costs each year.”
In my personal life I am doing the healthy/unhealthy math all the time and making the extra effort to choose responsible food options. I have cheat days and indulge more often than I should but I also supplement a good amount of exercise.
There is one huge contributor though as to why I consciously make an effort to eat right. I raised, showed and sold two Black Angus cows for 4H when I was a kid. I got my first heifer when I was in the 4th grade. I had a responsibility to feed her every day and work on “taming” her so I could show her at the fair. Not only could I lead her (except for the poor timing of her being in heat during fair week, rendering her uncontrollable to a wimpy pre-teen) but she was comfortable enough to let me lay on her back. I did not view the animal as livestock, I viewed it as a pet. I’m not sure how every kid who auctions off their 4H project feels, but to sell my “pet” to the highest bidder broke my heart. It provided me with an invaluable lesson. It gave me a priceless understanding of the significance of a bite into any meat product. I don’t choose to cut meat out of my diet but rather seek out meat products from more ethically grown livestock.
That is not an opportunity a lot of people get to experience and I am utterly (cow pun) happy my parents encouraged me to do it. My food lifestyle is owed in huge part to my parents as well, as I had the benefit of growing up in a household that enjoyed things like gardening and home-cooking. My girlfriend, Ashley has a desire to be a nutritional educator in some capacity. She loves experimental cooking and using varying and wonderful combinations of foods and food groups. I’ll pass up the double quarter-pounder with cheese for an evening in the kitchen with a craft brew, making hand-crafted burgers with my lady any day.
Honey Badger [diet] fact of the day: