Just announced this week: A major study of issues and strategies for reducing calories eaten away from home in an effort to reduce weight gain and obesity.
It was a major effort, and the results make interesting reading. I was especially surprised by the types of studies and data collection efforts that the federal government is undertaking. For one example, there’s an effort to gather information from parents on the amount and types of activity they performed with their children. Items like ‘how many times did you go to the park,’ and ‘how often did you take a walk as a family.’
On one hand, it’s important information. On the other hand, it struck me just how much the family has changed over the decades. When we were children, there were no fences in the neighborhood, so baseball games, red rover, whatever, spanned at least two backyards. There was so little traffic that there was ALWAYS a stickball game in the middle of the road. The rare times there wasn’t stickball, it was kickball.
Would my parents have filled out a questionnaire like this? On a regular basis? I doubt it.
Just the fact that this study was performed – and IMO, is necessary – shows how much we’ve changed as a society. We eat differently, processed foods are so much more available and have become ‘necessary.’ As a society, we don’t cook much, we eat out more often [hence, the study!], and we’re not as involved in our communities as we once were.
When I started this little essay, I was going to discuss other aspects of this study, but I seem to have gone on a bit of a rant. Bottom line, while on some levels this study might hint of social engineering, it is actually the first federally funded, detailed look at making some serious changes in our society. It’s very hard to get people to change their habits in a vacuum, but, as we’ve discussed in the past, there’s gotta be some help from society and industry.
Well, here it is!