CA Fights Against Poor Health and Bulging Waistlines

July 15, 2009

As results of America’s Fattest Cities are being released, California is taking action to fight against climbing to the top spot.  It’s being reported that an alarming 44.4% of children in Mississippi, America’s “fattest state” are obese.  When I read that, I wondered how such a shocking statistic was possible for a single state.  I suppose CA leaders asked themselves the same thing too, because as of July 1, three new diet laws are in effect in California.

Starting July 1, all restaurants will be required disclose nutritional information in either indoor or outdoor menus, or in the form of a brochure that will be offered to customers.  In 2011, restaurants will be required to disclose nutritional information in all three forms.

Starting July 1, the current ban on trans fat has been extended to include food offered in school vending machines and by vendors on school.  Trans fat has already been banned in school cafeterias.

Lastly, while soda has already been banned at elementary and junior high schools, the new legislation also includes a soda ban on high schools.  The new restriction on drinks also restricts schools from selling drinks with added sweeteners, and whole milk.  This will hopefully encourage students to gravitate towards healthier choices and live an overall healthier life.

Whether or not this new legislation will make a true difference is still up for debate.  In some ways, I think those who make poor diet choices may still continue the same lifestyle, and students can still easily access their favorite trans-fat laced snacks and unhealthy drinks outside of school.  However, there are also plenty others who will think twice when the nutritional information is laid out in front of them, and students who have become used to drinking and eating healthier due to restrictions on campus will naturally carry the same healthier habits outside of school.  In any case, it is important to make sure that California stays away from becoming one of America’s “fattest states” and hopefully this legislation helps the cause.


BMI – The New Atkins Diet

June 30, 2009


I’m going to try to watch the ranting on this one, but I have no shortage of vitriol for the now-ubiquitous measurement of health according to BMI. In case you haven’t heard of it (that might be a good thing), BMI stands for Body Mass Index. And there are exactly two components that affect your Body Mass Index score: Height and Weight.

Let me give you a second to think about whether Height and Weight alone can adequately measure your level of health or fitness.

I hope you see where I’m going with this. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s BMI calculations Lebron James, freakish athlete and man-child that he is, is overweight. Using the height and weight listed for him on Lebron is in fact half way to being obese: 27.5, what a lardo! Ahem, clearly that is ridiculous. The new poster child for the NBA is anything but overweight or out of shape. This is why you can’t categorize anyone according to BMI, its numbers mean nothing definitive.

So next time you hear of some study of how healthy or unhealthy people are, or that being a little overweight can help you live longer, remember to check for whether that study used BMI as its judge for determining who is underweight/overweight. And if you’re like me, then you’ll promptly ignore it.

*Note: The reference to the Atkins Diet in the title is because I consider BMI to be equally useless and potentially damaging while its purveyors make bank off of people’s insecurities. Also, I hope it’s a fad like said diet.