Junk food contributing to childhood obesity AND damaging mental health?
Studies in Australia and Britain have drawn links between changes in the Western diet in recent decades and increasing levels of mental illness. Compared with 50 years ago people are now eating:
Researchers say these changes could be linked to a range of problems across all ages, including:
Both reports, which have been produced collaboratively, outline the growing scientific evidence linking poor diet to problems of behaviour and mood. Rates of depression have been shown to be higher in countries with low intakes of fish, for example.
A pioneering nutrition & mental health program in South Yorkshire
According to this program’s research nutritionist, Caroline Stokes, the mental health patients she saw generally had the poorest diets she had ever come across. “They are eating lots of convenience foods, snacks, takeaways, chocolate bars, crisps. It’s very common for clients to be drinking a litre or two of cola a day. They get lots of sugar but a lot of them are eating only one portion of fruit or vegetable a day, if that.”
Omega-3 fatty acids and multivitamins are recommended and people are advised to cut out junk food and replacing it with oily fish, leafy vegetables for folic acid, Brazil nuts for selenium, and food providing tryptophan.
Some patients who resist treatment with drugs accept nutritional therapy and most have reported an improvement in mood and energy. Caroline says, “Within the first month there’s been a significant reduction in depression. We’ve had letters from [the patients’] psychiatrists saying they can see a huge difference.”
Meanwhile Victorians are pigging out…
A 5 year survey shows many Victorians are eating more than their daily energy requirement every time they eat in a restaurant or cafe.
A study involving around 400 people – to see what people ate when they dined out, whether in restaurants, cafes or food courts – indicated to Melbourne nutritionist Shane Bilsborough of health management company B Personal, that:
To stay in a healthy weight range, men should eat 9-10,000kJ a day and women should eat 6-7000kJ a day. ”It’s one of the scariest surveys I have ever done,” says Shane. ”It’s frightening to really look at how much people are eating.”
A bit about B Personal
Shane and Johann Bilsborough have written three well regarded books covering all aspects of health, diet and disease. They look at how the body processes and uses food and how to exercise to metabolise fat. They support the idea of increasing the amount of incidental activity that individuals perform in a day in an effort to combat the rising obesity levels throughout the world.
The Global Corporate Challenge
B Personal has recently joined forces with Australian Olympic legend Herb Elliott AC.MBE to form an interesting corporate health initiative.
By simply recording the steps a participant takes during their everyday activity over six months, they are taken on a virtual tour of the globe.The Global Corporate Challenge course, covering over 20,000km, goes through some of the world’s most exciting and beautiful destinations.
There have already been many who have made this ‘journey’ in 2004 and 2005. Check it out here.
When medical science is helping to keep us alive longer, we really owe it to our families and the community to look after our bodies AND our brains. I guess my gym membership is secure and I really MUST get the old ‘treadly’ out again!