One Ton Family, A Look At Obesity In America
photo courtesy of TLC
A new televised program to hit American shores by TLC, and a follow up from My 600-lb Life, is called ‘One Ton Family’, where we meet three siblings, Roshanda, Clarence, and Brandie. Each battling extreme obesity, and trying to lose weight with the help of Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, through gastric bypass surgery.
The opening of the show introduces us to them, and follows along, as they talk about their life growing up, food being locked away, and even then, it was only high sugary and unhealthy choices if the children were able to pull snacks out from inside the cupboard. The Perrio siblings, who are the stars of the ‘one ton family’ televised show, explained that this wasn’t a sudden onset of weight gain, but a lifelong struggle – that resulted in Roshanda and Brandie unable to fully care for themselves, and Clarence being the only one fully responsible for them financially.
Yet, it really should make us examine the food supply in America, especially for children, and highlights the efforts recently of the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM), in their push to provide healthier food for SNAP recipients, more commonly known as ‘food stamps’.
From 1980 to 2008, the prevalence of obesity in children aged 6 to 11 years tripled from 6.5% to 19.6%. The prevalence of obesity in America, especially in teenagers more than tripled from 5% to 18.1% in the same time frame. In less than one generation, the average weight of a child has risen by 5 kg (11lbs) in the United States.
With more than 15 million U.S. children live in “food-insecure” households — having limited access to adequate food and nutrition due to cost, proximity and/or other resources. Low-income individuals are at increased risk for both food insecurity and obesity. Lower-income individuals often have more limited access to affordable, healthier food options — living in neighborhoods with fewer grocery stores with less healthy options — and that have more available less expensive food options, such as processed or fast foods, are of lower nutritional value and are calorie-dense with added sugar and/ or fats.
One Ton Family has given us a glimpse into the lives of adults, who struggled with access to healthy plant-based food, showing that while we don’t want to admit that veganism is a ‘wealthy person choice’, and how any efforts to not only tackle the food supply issues to people living under the poverty line, but that they have access to grocery stores to that food also.
Jasmijn de Boo, The Vegan Society CEO, said: “A well-planned vegan diet is an excellent start to life for children. What better way to tackle the obesity crisis in the UK than by setting healthy eating habits for our children at an early age? With the planet our children will inherit in peril due to the greenhouse gas emissions from farm animals, plant-based diets for children are more crucial than ever. ” which applies to the United States also.
However, there might be light at the end of the tunnel. In recent years, researchers thought they saw the first signs of a turnaround in the nation’s struggle to control obesity and the chronic illnesses often tied to excessive weight gain, such as diabetes and hypertension. In 2011 and 2012, a decline in obesity among preschool boys was reported based on that cycle’s NHANES survey data.
That good news came on the heels of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s launch of the Let’s Move campaign, among other efforts designed to encourage the nation’s youth to eat healthier foods and exercise more.