When are we going to take action? The World Health Organisation has, over the last 5 years, repeatedly raised the alarm over the rising incidence of obesity and the associated health risks created by this voluminous (pun intended) problem. The incidence of obesity is doubling every 5 years. Even worse is the estimate that up to 20 percent of school age children are obese-not just over weight.

We blame poor physical activity habits, excess television viewing, too much web surfing, too many videogames and junk food addictions along with other poor nutritional habits. All factors play a role. It is called a lifestyle that supports obesity. To change, lifestyles must change.

Obesity represents the storage of excess calories. Excess calories are stored as fat when the food we eat rapidly changes to sugar (or is already sugar), which increases the insulin production by the pancreas.

Insulin is the storage hormone and while insulin is elevated the body will not and cannot metabolise fat. A recent study published in the Lancet medical journal targets “Liquid Candy” (sugared drinks) as the major culprit in these insulin/obesity wars.

The study, conducted on 548 11-12 years old over a 2 year period in schools across Massachusetts found that each sugared drink (included Hawaiian punch, lemonade, Kool-Aid, sweetened ice tea, soft drinks and flavoured waters) increased the BMI (body mass index) by 0.18. If they increased their daily soft drink intake, each extra soda made them 60 percent increased their intake during the study with a quarter of them drinking 2 or more cans each day.

On a daily basis, the average teenager is getting 15-20 teaspoons (250-300 calories) of added sugar from sugared drinks and this consumptions has doubled over the last decade.

Although “Liquid Candy” is not the only culprit it is a big one but through lifestyle choices/changes it is a factor that is within our control.


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