Thursday, May 20, 2010

The World is Fat

At the 2 day workshop on
Food and Farm Policy and Obesity at UCDavis in California starting tomorrow, Dr. Barry Popkin is presenting a public lecture titled The World is Fat: Global Dynamics, Causes, Policy Options.

Text from the announcement:
Fifty years ago, there were 100 million overweight people in the world and several billion people who suffered from malnutrition. Today, over 1.6 billion people are overweight and 670-800 million suffer from malnutrition. Popkin argues that the explosion of obesity across the world cannot simply be blamed on too many cheeseburgers. And it cannot be solved by 1.6 billion treadmills.

Popkin shows that widespread obesity is less an effect of poor individual choices than the consequence of a high-tech, interconnected world in which governments and multinational corporations have extraordinary power to shape our lives. (Sound familiar?)

Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., is the Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Global Nutrition, at UNC-CH where he directs the UNC-CH’s Interdisciplinary Center for Obesity. He has published 310 refereed journal articles and is the author of a new book entitled the WORLD IS FAT (2009, Penguin Publishers).

The purpose of the
workshop is to report findings regarding the effects of agricultural and food policies on obesity. In this context agricultural and food policies are taken to include farm commodity program policies and related policies, agricultural research policies, and food and nutrition programs as covered by the U.S. Farm Bill and related legislation in the United States.


I think the workshop is a great idea. Do I believe policy-makers will make any changes as a consequence? Nah. Any changes have to come from within us.


  1. I often have people ask, "why your cooking, why aren't you the size of Rhode Island". I'm not skinny, will never be, but I keep healthy.

    I use fresh food, game, lean meats, produce from the farmer's market and the occasional frozen things out of season. I rarely eat anything out of a can, and junk food is a once a week treat, not a daily meal.

    And when I do make the giant meal for friends, I have one small plate, a small glass of wine and no dessert, or dessert and no wine. It's about sensible choices not living on freeze dried twigs and canned diet shakes.

    I like your healthy attitude, and your willingness to try new things (any meatloaf involving bacon and venison is worth a try).

  2. LOL on the bacon, Thanks Brigid!

  3. I gotta put my 2 cents in here. What causes fat? Simple, consuming more calories than we burn. If we have 3000 cal intake and lay on the couch and only burn 1500, guess what... the rest is converted to fat for later use and if it is not used later it builds up resulting in the fat slobs we are. Wanna lose weight... don't eat so much, or get a better balance on what you need. This simplistic view, of course, assumes that what we consume furnishes all the nutrition that we need to be healthy without exceeding the calories we need. There are also complications, like salt, that aren't covered in my caloric balance formula.

    When I feel I need to lose weight, usually in the spring, I go on my half ration plan, simply cutting everything in half. When I get to the weight I want I start increasing intake gradually. I don't understand why people feel compelled to use all kinds of expensive plans to do such a simple thing. And the notion of having surgery so I won't eat so much... well?...

  4. Good points, although I believe there is some merit to looking at the kinds of calories too, especially those that lead to dis-function of bodily processes.


I'd love to hear what you think about my posts! We all learn together.