There's another habit we learn (or don't learn) while growing up that can contribute to obesity too--a strict bedtime, which few adults or children observe anymore. After just six nights of getting only four hours sleep, healthy young volunteers showed signs of prediabetes reports the Chicago Tribune. Other studies show sleep deprived adults are more likely to be fat, regardless of how much they exercise and what they eat . Why? Researchers hypothesize that sleep deprivation changes levels of the hormone ghrelin (that tells the brain to eat), leptin (that tells the brain we're full) and the stress hormone cortisol. There's even another lifestyle contribution to obesity: room temperature. ABC News reported that air conditioning can add weight by sparing the body the need to regulate temperature, which is a mechanism that burns fat.
Is the government really helping people to slim down and avoid foods that pack on pounds and invite risk heart disease? High-saturated-fat foods like cheese? Not according to a New York Times expose in 2010. A USDA group with 162 employees called Dairy Management, mostly funded by farmers, is shamelessly committed to getting people to double and trouble their cheese intake to replace profits from falling milk sales. According to the Times, Dairy Management has supported Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy's and Domino's in "cheesifying" their menu options, putting dairy farmers' profits before consumer health. "If every pizza included one more ounce of cheese, we would sell an additional 250 million pounds of cheese annually," rhapsodized the Dairy Management chief executive in a trade publication. Dairy Management received $5.3 million from the USDA during one year, for an overseas dairy campaign, which almost equals the total $6.5 million budget of USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. That's the group that tells people not to eat high fat milk and cheese! END
An earlier version of this report appeared on Alternet.org
Martha Rosenberg's new book, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency, has been the top health policy book since its April release. She will appear on Book TV's After Words on C-SPAN this month.
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