PS285 Chapter Notes -Childhood Obesity, Caffeine, Preterm Birth

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29 Jan 2013
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Chapter 7: Food, Eating and the Environment
Eating and Obesity:
- Eating and drinking are social activities that are rich in symbolic, moral and
cultural meanings
- Balance between energy input and expenditure have critical importance
- Habits are influenced by an interaction of processes that include
conditioning, customs, culture and environment (climate change)
- Health action at the level of policy and regulation is very important
- The World Health Organization predicts there will be 2.3 billion overweight
adults in the world by 2015 and more than 700 million of them will be obese
- Voluntary agreements with industry have proved completely ineffective
- Obesity has multiple causes: genetic predisposition, culture, diet and
inactivity
- Obesogenic diets are becoming very common in poor countries
- Obesification is also occurring at lower income levels
- Dumanovsky et al. (2009) concluded that menu calorie posting may help
awareness, but reducing portion sizes and changing popular combination
meals would be best
- Food industry uses strategies to maintain their profits:
Persaude people to consume more food
Increase serving size and adding price inducements to order larger
sizes
Opening up markets in developing countries
Substituting agricultural products with efficient artificial foods
Adding sugar, salt, fats and oils to enhance flavour and look
- Income is strongly associated with dietary quality
- Higher stress associated with more fatty food intake, less fruit and vegetable
intake, more snacking and a reduced likelihood of eating breakfast
- Demand for milk and meat will almost double between 2000 and 2050
- Biological influences on body fat levels include age, sex, hormonal factors and
genetics
- Fat gene: MC4R alleged to play a role in regulating food intake and energy
balanceassociated with higher intake of total energy, dietary fat, greater
long-term weight change and increased risk of diabetes
Evolutionary Perspective:
- Genetic make-up of contemporary humans remains adapted to a nomadic
existence of gathering and hunting
- Because phylogenetic evolution is slow, the genetic make-up of
contemporary humans remains adapted to a nomadic existence of gathering
and hunting
- Contemporary humans are not fitted to the lifestyle and forms of social
organization that exist in today’s post-agricultural, post-industrial societies
- The vast majority of humans live in cities, towns and villages
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- The toxic ecology of urban lifestyles are generating ill-health and disease on a
massive scale.
- Early humans were huntergatherers
Spent less time working, building shelters and obtaining food than
most humans after the agricultural revolution
Evidence suggests protein, mineral and vitamin intake among hunter-
gatherers would have been generally about ‘recommended levels’
Leptin is a hormone produced by adipose cells, that inhibits food
intake and increases energy expenditure in rodents
Ravussin et al. (1997) investigated whether individuals prone to
weight gain are hypoleptinemic (i.e., they produce too little leptin)
Concluded low plasma leptin concentrations may play a role in the
development of obesity in Pima Indians
Hunters- GatherersPast and Present:
- The huntergatherer hypothesis can be evaluated in the light of studies of
contemporary huntergatherers
- Four groups have been studied:
Australian aboriginals
the San (or ‘Bushmen’) of the Kalahari Desert, especially of the !Kung
language group
pygmies in the Congo Basin
the Hadza of East Africa
- Powles (1992) suggested that the average daily energy expenditure for a
male in post-industrial society is more than 25% less than that among
huntergatherers
The Agricultural Revolution
- About 10,000 years BP
- Humans in the Middle East started living in densely populated villages and
towns, cultivating wheat, barley and other cereals
- Sheep and goats were kept in captivity and slaughtered for meat
- The stabilizing influence of settlement also had adverse consequences:
Diet became less varied;
Levels of energy expenditure decreased;
Malnutrition, disease and infections became more prevalent;
Birth rate increased.
The Industrial Revolution
- 200 years ago
- Modern digital inventions and labour-saving products have allowed for
reductions in energy expenditure in tasks of daily living
- The availability of Ready Meals, instant desserts and snacks means that food
preparation is being moved from the domestic kitchen to the food-processing
industry
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