by Jason Block, MD
by Jason Block, MD
In 2014, Mexicans purchased 137 liters of soda per person – that’s more than 1 liter every 3 days. (Only three countries consume more soda per capita -- Argentina, the United States, and Chile). In 2012, sugary drinks accounted for an astounding 17% of total daily calories consumed among Mexican children and 19% among Mexican adults. Mexico also has the highest overweight and obesity rates in the world, coming in at 72% of its citizens as either overweight or obese, just above the US. In response, Mexico has aggressively implemented policies to address excessive sugary drink consumption and overweight/obesity. In January 2014, Mexican lawmakers implemented a tax of 1 peso (around 7 cents) per liter (about a 10% tax) on any non-dairy, non-alcohol drink with added sugar. Taxes like these are often referred to as “soda taxes” but usually cover more than just soda, as the Mexican tax does. They also passed a companion 8% tax on unhealthy snack food, covering “salty and other snacks, confectionery products, chocolate and products derived from cacao, puddings and flans, candy, peanut butter and hazelnut butter, ice cream, and popsicles.”
by Renata Smith, MPH
What do Rob Gronkowski, Cindy Crawford, and newly crowned NBA champion Stephen Curry have in common? In addition to being famous celebrities, they are all part of Team FNV (Fruits ‘N’ Veggies), a new marketing campaign sponsored by the Partnership for a Healthier America. The campaign is seeking to market fruits and vegetables with the same tactics that companies use to advertise packaged foods. It is recruiting influential actors, athletes, and other celebrities to endorse fruits and vegetables as a product, much like the shoes, makeup, and other goods they normally promote.
by Nicole Witham, B.S.
During the work week, I hastily eat breakfast while sitting at my desk checking my email and talking to co-workers. And when I eat dinner at home, I would love to say I am eating at my kitchen table without distraction – but in reality, I am eating at the coffee table with my laptop open or TV on. Occasionally (okay, more than occasionally), I also have my cell phone in hand or next to my plate. If you are eating a meal or snack while reading this, or have been to a restaurant recently and noticed the glow of a cell phone screen at the neighboring table, you can probably relate to my situation.
As unrealistic as it sounds to be mindful of every bite of food I eat, sometimes I wonder how my distracted eating habits are affecting my overall food consumption and hunger cues. As it turns out, research consistently demonstrates that the more distracted individuals are while they eat, the more calories they are likely to consume at both current and future meal times.
by Wei Perng, PhD
As discussed in an earlier blog post, height can convey a lot about health. Attained stature is a sensitive marker of early life circumstance and is generally positively associated with better health outcomes. This phenomenon has been observed in epidemiological studies and I’ve even heard it referenced by my non-scientist parents. As with many Asian immigrants of their generation, my parents came to the U.S. not only because it is the land of opportunity, but also because it is home to organic food, a clean environment, and better health. Despite their longing for family and Taiwanese culture, they stand firm in their decision to emigrate because in addition to both my brother and I being healthy, educated, and gainfully employed, my brother is 6’4’’ - a whopping ten inches taller than most of our extended family. When my relatives exclaim how tall my brother is, my dad (5’8”) and mom (5’2”) beam and say: “If we had stayed in Taiwan, he would probably be several inches shorter.”