Why kicking the meat habit can save lives of Pinoy kids
During the International Conference on Nutrition and Medicine on July 29 and 30 in Washington, DC, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) founder Neal Barnard, MD, and 100 doctors marched to the White House to deliver a message to Americans: Break the meat habit. Ditch the meat to improve your health.
PCRM members stressed during the rally that “Eating meat can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and kidney failure. Preventable, diet-related diseases now account for seven in 10 US deaths and 86 percent of the country’s healthcare costs.”
Half a world away, in the Philippines, the US dietary preference and its resultant lifestyle diseases still reflect on an entire society of more than 100 million. According to Filipino scientist Custer Deocaris, what we put on our plates has to change drastically.
He revealed that an average Filipino eats only 40 kg of vegetables and fruits per year, when the healthy amounts should be 69 kilos. In China, an average person eats 250 kg of vegetables per year.
“We have to change this meat-first culture if we intend to pass on to the next generation of Filipinos a healthy, environmentally sustainable society,” Deocaris urged.
The unfolding revelation is that the gross imbalance in our diets has contributed to the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in the general population. CVDs have remained the leading killer diseases in the country. Our prevailing diet has also been directly linked to obesity, metabolic diseases, cancer and malnutrition.
The World Health Organization had observed that food insecurity and undernutrition persist in the same countries where chronic diseases are emerging as a major epidemic. If Filipinos, especially children, would significantly increase their vegetable consumption and forego the Western-style diet, hunger and malnutrition would be drastically reduced.
The seventh national survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed the Philippines with a double-disease burden: 26 percent of children are malnourished, and 27 in every 100 adults aged 20 and above are either obese or overweight.
The Cornell University’s T. Colin Campbell Nutrition Studies stressed how a 100-percent whole food plant based (WFPB) diet can help enrich the lives of Filipinos. It was Professor Campbell, whom this author interviewed for an Inquirer Science and Health article, who said: “If Filipinos decided to eat plant-based diets and seriously rejected fast-food chains, they would gain much stature, more health, and be much richer and independent in the future.”
The book “The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health” which he coauthored with physician Thomas M. Campbell II, cited the role of diet in preventing lifestyle diseases. T. Colin Campbell is a Jacob Gould Schurman professor emeritus of nutrition biochemistry of Cornell University.
The Department of Health, during last year’s Obesity Prevention and Awareness Week, stressed how obesity has been a growing global concern, and has become a major cause of death, with links to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other lifestyle-related illnesses. One of the major lifestyle habits that play a major factor in obesity has been determined to be fast-food chains.
According to PCRM, “for more than 30 years, McDonald’s has included toys alongside children’s Happy Meals. And for more than 30 years, the rates of diabetes and obesity in children have steadily increased. A Happy Meal cheeseburger has 520 calories, 20 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 50 mg of cholesterol and a whopping 880 mg of sodium. Happy Meals are marketed as explicitly for children, and then children are rewarded with toys for consuming the high amounts of fat and sodium.”
That goes for all fast-food fare as well.
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