11 July 2006

America the Fat

Now that obesity has become a major health concern in the United States, some of you may wonder how that happened. Well, we eat too much and we sit on our asses most of the time staring at screens: computers at work, TVs at home. Moreover, what we eat is often unhealthy, high-fat food with limited--if any--nutrients: chips, cookies, soda pop, French fries, ice cream, processed cheese, etc.

Then there's the ballooning portion size of almost everything in our diet. Jane Brody, who writes the weekly "Personal Health" column in the New York Times, weighs in on the subject in the paper's July 11 edition. Her comments make for button-popping reading. Brody reports that an average serving of pasta is now "480 percent greater than the one-cup recommended serving size" and some cookies are 700 percent larger. She goes on: "A New York bagel, now sold nationwide, weighs five or six ounces. That is five or six bread portions, supplying about 500 calories, not counting cream cheese or butter." Soft drinks come in 24-ounce containers or larger, "often with free refills."

What's a country to do? Fad diets have spawned shelves of best-selling books, but they rarely work for the long haul. But there is one tried-and-true method for weight loss: eat less and exercise more. Do both and you will lose weight. Continue to do both and you'll keep the weight off.

So, next time you're tempted by a chocolate chip cookie the size of a salad plate, take a walk instead. Simple as that, piece of cake.

05 July 2006

Just Like That

I found out today that two friends of mine, a young woman and her mother, were involved in a car crash a couple of days ago. Both were hospitalized for injuries, the mother's more serious than her daughter's. The driver of an oncoming vehicle apparently lost control of the wheel, and her car swerved into the opposing traffic's lane, colliding with my friends' car.

There's no moral to this story. It's a reminder that terrible things can happen at any time.

You never know.