I enjoy watching TV in the evenings....well, more like watching recordings on my DVR.
I just don't have time to watch 2 hours of the Apprentice or American Idol so I record the shows I want to watch, wait 'til I have a little free time (typically I am multi-tasking while watching TV) and fast forward through the commercials.
I think we'd all agree that a big growing problem with the American culture is the daily number of hours that people are sedentary. More so, with 7-8 hr work days behind a desk or computer, many people are so exhausted from working that exercise is the last thing on the mind when there is a nice comfy couch at home and lots of entertaining shows on the television.
I would be a hypocrite if I told people to not watch TV but I believe that watching TV, in place of staying active or cooking, is a major contributor to an unhealthy lifestyle. Certainly there are many people who are not at a healthy weight and don't make the time to exercise due to work and life commitments and not because they are watching to much TV.
As you know we have a growing number of obese and overweight children and adults in the US and this statistic is not exclusive to low-income families or specific cultures. From recreational athletes and CEO's to musicians and straight-A students, maintaining a healthy body weight is a great struggle in our society.
To no surprise there are many environmental factors that are likely to contribute to obesity:
1)Accessibility and affordability of Fast food
2)Too much sugar (simple carbohydrates)
3) Not enough milk consumption and too much soda and fruit juice (not the 100% fruit, no sugar added kind) consumption
4) Large portion sizes
5) Not enough proper education/too many diets and misleading info
6) Not enough emphasis on childhood exercise/nutrition (ex. lack of PE and nutrition classes)
7) Lack of exercise
8) Sedentary lifestyles
9) Not enough whole foods, fruits and vegetables.
10) THE MEDIA!!
To no surprise, over $10 billion a year is spend on food advertising...specifically geared towards children. So, even if children (or adults) are only watching 30-60 min. of TV a day, much of what is seen on TV (in the form of commercials) is likely FOOD RELATED.
Have you seen this commercial?
Let's compare the nutrition facts of Cinnamon toast crunch (WITH CALCIUM) to Skim milk...
In order to get the 30% DV (Daily value based on a 2000 calorie diet) of Calcium in the skim milk you would need to eat 3 servings of cinnamon toast crunch (without milk). Certainly, you would have no trouble enjoying 3 x 3/4 cup of cinnamon toast crunch in the morning or after an evening workout but at 130 calories per serving and 10g of added sugar per serving (not to mention 220 mg of sodium per serving) you would need to consume 390 calories, 30g of added sugar (remember, women should consume no more than 25g/d of added sugar and men no more than 35g/d) and 660mg of sodium! Not sure about you, but I'd rather have an 8oz glass of cold skim milk (in addition to a wholesome and balanced meal) at 80 calories, with 8g of protein.
Are you confused/concerned about the 11g of sugar on the food label in the milk? The sugar is not added sugar but rather it is from lactose which is a type of sugar. Anything that ends in -ose is a sugar...glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, sucrose, etc. If you are an athlete, check out your "energy" drinks and gels to see how much added sugar you are consuming during workouts? Sure your body depletes sugars (when you are working out at a high HR, >80-85% max HR) as a quick and effective fuel source but maltodextrin-based gels and drinks that are low in added sugar still provide the body with a usable and efficient form of energy (often without GI distress due to the body being able to properly digest and absorb those sugars).
After doing a little browsing on YOUTUBE.com here is what I'd like to see on TV...
Perhaps we need to combat obesity like we did (are) with smoking??? I am not the person who encourages "scare" tactics because I believe in education. But in order to prevent people from dying in their 40's and to allow people to live a quality-filled life...something has got to change.
What do you think about this video (watch the whole video)??
How about this one?