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Thursday, July 13, 2006

News Flash: Americans Fat AND Stupid

Further evidence that all of America needs to read the Trafon blog: A recent American Cancer Society nationwide survey discovered that only eight percent of the American public understands the proven scientific link between obesity and cancer.

That’s pretty sobering news, especially when you consider the Society’s prediction that one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States in 2006 will be attributable to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and being overweight or obese.

To counteract this dangerous trend, the Society has launched The Great American Eat Right Challenge to build awareness about the connection, provide practical advice for maintaining a healthy weight, and reduce cancer risk. But I think they can take it further, and make an even bigger improvement in reducing obesity rates.

Before dramatic advances in agricultural science, agribusiness, and the advent of refined processed foods, cancer was an insignificant fraction of what it is today. The nutrient-deficient, calorie-rich foods we now produce and eat play a major role in overburdening, eroding, and contaminating our GI tracts.

They also have fostered a near epidemic increase in all chronic degenerative diseases. That’s why we must ask ourselves, “What does healthy, ‘normal’ GI tract function look like?” I can tell you what it DOESN’T look like. It’s not bloating, heartburn, reflux, or gas after every meal.

It isn’t constant flatulence or painful abdominal cramping. It isn’t moving your bowels once every few days, or multiple loose stools every day. Even worse, when left untreated or unattended, these symptoms precede and contribute to the development of much more serious conditions--such as cancer.

As any adult knows, the search for pleasure at the expense of more responsible behavior usually has consequences. Food indulgence is no different, be it chocolate cake after every meal, or fast food for breakfast.

I believe it is difficult to be truly happy if you are constantly suffering with health-related issues. That’s why I hope people across the country participate in the Great American Eat Right Challenge, officially or not. Doing so will help them take charge of their life, and make healthy choices that keep them happy.

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