Dr. Magryta: Two things to think about
We need new ways of dealing with the obesity epidemic, says David Katz, professor of preventative medicine at Yale University. In an editorial article in the June 2018 Infectious Diseases in Children, he lays out the problem at hand.
“In preventative medicine, we have long expressed to one another in words and at times images, too, how little sense it makes to mop a flooded floor and not turn off the running faucet.
“No crisis of modern public health better typifies such systemic dysfunction than epidemic, and indeed hyperendemic, obesity in children and adults alike.”
When you read his editorial and the accompanying two articles, you become eerily aware of what most of us suspected. Global business entities have tried successfully to hijack our primitive desires to obtain calories for survival. They have employed neuroscience researchers to probe the inner workings of our brains in response to certain smells, tastes and feelings to find the go point at which we become interested repeatedly in a product.
This is essentially what the social media and gaming companies are doing now to hook us on our mobile devices.
You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that we are in trouble, when companies are spending billions to learn how to addict us to things that we should not eat, watch or do.
I rarely feel like there is a doomsday scenario playing out in the world, however, reading these papers, I feel somewhat frustrated that the game is so stacked against us for sanity, health and vitality.
The fight goes on. Take a moment today to parent up by removing screens from your child, giving them real whole food and hugging them tightly while keeping their freedoms intact.
Chicago Tribune Article
New York Times Magazine Article
How do we reduce our risk when it comes to disease burdens like asthma or sickle cell disease? I recently had an excellent discussion with close friend and hematologist, Dr. Carla West Roberts, that gave me this idea:
Historically, when we think of diseases like asthma and sickle cell disease, we have been taught to think in terms of a fixed problem that pharmacological-based medicine will control. Both diseases are based on genetic predispositions that are worsened by stress, chemical exposures and other known risks, however, medical societies have spent little time promoting lifestyle modifications to reduce the disease burden.
When we think of disease from this day forward we need to think in terms of a hypothetical glass of water that acts as a disease trigger reservoir.
If the water level reaches the top, then we start to wheeze or have pain crisis with the respective diseases. By definition then, if the water is below the rim, we are asymptomatic. Therefore, it would make sense that we would want to do everything that we can to lower the water to a level that makes disease flares rare.
In the case of asthma, this includes avoiding inhalational chemicals, mental stress, pro-inflammatory foods, allergenic triggers like mold, infectious disease and so on. For sickle cell, we want to avoid mental stress, dehydration, pro-inflammatory diets, excessive heat or excessive cold, smoking and much more.
Think about any disease in terms of this glass of water. What are you doing today to mitigate your risk of disease flares or its development? From a cost perspective, diseases are cheaper when we prevent flares and daily morbidity.
As always, nutrition and sleep are the first places to start. Are you eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily? Are you saying NO to the doughnut or MochaLatteChinoTriplePump nightmare?
Think about your choices and look for holes in your game.
Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at email@example.com