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Seeking Healthy Food Cultures

Seeking Healthy Food Cultures

Michael Moore’s movie, Where to Invade Next, shows the filmmaker “invading” other countries to seize their solutions to social problems for use here at home. When he looked at school lunches in rural France (they were serving a four-course meal with scallops as an appetizer), it was clear that the French promote nutritious food (with reportedly a lower calorie count than standard American school lunches) as an important treasure to be savored. That lesson is one that Moore and millions of his fellow citizens should act on, 'cause the standard American diet makes it tough to dodge obesity.

As proof let’s take a look at the effect of the American diet on folks who come to this country from around the globe. One study found that only 8 percent of immigrants living here for less than a year were obese; but after 15 years the rate hits 19 percent—and that’s not counting folks who are overweight. Take the Pima Indians of Mexico and Arizona—38 percent of those in the US have type 2 diabetes and 70 percent are obese. Their Mexican relatives are thinner and have a type 2 at a rate below 7 percent. And a new study found young Filipinos who immigrate to the New York area pack on pounds. Similar weight gain has been observed in many other groups.

Our nomination for an idea Michael could have brought back here: Eat like traditional cultures. Meat should be an incidental; whole grains and veggies the mainstay; and sweets a rarity.

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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