Archive for April, 2011

Times have indeed changed

April 12, 2011

When I was a kid (yes, a long, long time ago), I can remember always being outside playing, either by myself or with some neighborhood friends or my cousins who lived nearby.

Whether it was playing cowboys and Indians in the woods, or playing baseball or kickball, we were always doing something outside.

And, the highlight of school back then was recess when we went outside to play.

I am beginning to wonder if kids “play” anymore, at least in the way my generation defined “play.”

“Playing” today seems to occur inside the home or other controlled environments. Sad to say, but culture has necessitated that. Gone are the days when kids could roam their neighborhoods freely without fear.

But it appears that kids going outside to play is the exception rather than the rule. “Play” for kids today appears to refer more to video and computer games inside the house. That thought hit home with me today as I was driving to work. I heard a public service announcement about the problem of childhood obesity. One of the solutions given, in addition to eating healthier (more fruits and vegetables), was for kids “to go outside and play for an hour.”

In my day, it was the opposite. Parents had to get their kids to come inside for an hour.

Times have indeed changed. Sometimes I wonder if they have changed for the better.

As good a reason as any

April 8, 2011

For many years I have tried to lose weight. Actually I have lost probably a 100 pounds over the past 10 years or so, but it was the same five pounds over and over.

As most people tend to do, I try to find reasons as to why I can’t lose weight. No matter what I come up with, it all boils down to one thing. I love to eat.

Anyway, the following article comes from a Baptist Press release last week. I thought it was interesting that now we can “blame” church for being overweight. It’s a good read, but don’t be fooled. The reason most of us don’t lose weight or we gain too much weight can be found in the mirror.

Enjoy the Baptist Press article.

A study presented at a recent meeting of the American Heart Association found that young adults who frequently attended religious activities were more likely to become obese than those who didn’t, even when adjusted for variables such as age, race, gender, education, etc.

“We didn’t look specifically at the potluck factor, but anecdotally, we know that oftentimes at these religious gatherings people will eat traditional comfort foods which are often high in fat and calories and salt,” Matthew Feinstein, the study’s author and a student at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said.

Jessica Ward, a 30-year-old Lutheran, told msnbc.com, “You don’t see a lot of fresh stuff at most church potlucks. You’ll see spaghetti and Swedish meatballs and three or four varieties of potato casserole or green bean casserole or Jell-O salads. Plus heaps and piles of desserts—lots of pies and cakes and cookies.”

By tracking 2,400 men and women for 18 years, researchers found that normal-weight adults ages 20 to 32 years with a high frequency of religious participation were 50 percent more likely to be obese by middle age. In the study, high frequency of religious participation was defined as attending a religious function at least once a week.

The research did not reveal a reason for the link between religion and obesity, but commentators speculated that a culture of eating could be to blame.

“There’s certainly a church culture around eating,” Erik Christensen, a Lutheran pastor in Chicago, told msnbc.com. “What I see among congregants in their 20s and 30s is they are very fit, and what I see among congregants in their 50s and 60s is disproportionate obesity.”

Christensen noted that people who spend time at church activities may have to forgo involvement in athletic or recreational activities, which over time could lead to weight gain.

Feinstein cautioned that his findings don’t indicate churchgoers have worse overall health than non-religious people.
Previous studies have shown that religious people tend to live longer than those who aren’t, partly because of lower smoking rates.

“Here’s an opportunity for religious organizations to initiate programs to help their congregations live even longer,” Feinstein said. “The organizations already have groups of people getting together and infrastructures in place that could be leveraged to initiate programs that prevent people from becoming obese and treat existing obesity. Church-based interventions have shown promising results.”