The latest in a string of public health campaigns spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (see anti-soda, and anti-salt foods), now the NYC public figure is exhorting people to take the stairs in an effort to fight obesity. He proposes that any new buildings or buildings undergoing renovations would be required to post signs encouraging people to take the stairs, and leaving stairwells open (unlocked) all the time except in case of emergency. He hopes to start a non-profit to help foster building designs that encourage physical activity – read: creating stairwells that are appealing with are on walls and well lit, not dark sketchy places where predators lurk. Experts quoted by The Scoop recommend starting with 2 flights of stairs and then upping the ante when those start to feel easy. Or, if you want to mix things up, start taking every other step to strengthen glutes, hamstrings, and quads and increase your heart rate.
As someone who works on the 12th floor, I could probably lop off a gym session a week if I went up and down the stairs on foot every day! What do you think of Bloomberg’s latest tack to fight obesity?
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report (that I read about on The Huffington Post) found that between the years of 2005 and 2010, adults in the United States consumed 13% of their total daily calories through added sugars. While this is technically within the recommended 5-15% range recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this span is supposed to include all sugar and all solid fat. If 13%, already near the top margin, is solely sugar than it seems most adults are getting out of the healthy zone and into the danger zone with their diets.
The report breaks it down, and nearly 70% of the sugar came from food sources with only around 30% attributed to beverages, with the majority coming from food consumed within the home rather than from eating out. So, it seems that Mayor Bloomberg may be able to knock it off with his war on soda. This new data may explain NYC’s shift from anti-soda campaign to the subway packaged/processed food ads. Additionally, men tend to consume more sugar calories than women, and there is an association apparent in which people of lower income brackets consume more sugar. It’s important to note how much sugar you are consuming, and if you’re in a higher risk group, because eating too much can lead to diseases like Type 2 diabetes, or increase the risk of obesity. Key an eye out for the sugar content of foods in your pantry, checking labels and watching out for processed or pre-packaged foods.
New York City seems to always be looking out for public health, and while I was anti-soda ban (and found their pouring on the pounds campaign slightly offensive), I appreciate knowing that the city and Mayor Bloomberg are taking pains to promote healthy living. First, NYC celebrated a decade of banning cigarettes indoors last week. The Smoke-Free Air Act was introduced in 2003, and though its opposition at the time thought that it would hurt restaurants, bars, and the tourism industry, these arenas continue to thrive. And what’s more, health officials believe it has prevented 10,000 premature deaths over ten years. New York City residents total number of smokers has dropped to only 15% of the population since 2002 when it was over 20%. However, Bloomberg is not satisfied. He has plans in the works to make shops hide cigarettes from open view, and to restrict access to discounted or illegal cigarettes.
Furthermore, CBS reported yesterday that the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would be introducing a new subway campaign against too much sodium intake. The ads will encourage subway riders to look at nutritional labels for packaged foods, and to pick those with less salt with the hope of lowering rates of heart attack and stroke. The campaign is partially financially backed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and comes in combination with the city’s voluntary guidelines for manufacturers to reduce the salt in their foods. While experts are split on if reducing the amount of salt in your diet can actually decrease health risks in normally healthy people, the new ads are bent towards raising awareness that salt can be hidden in unsuspected places (like bread) and giving people more knowledge to carefully select when choosing processed or pre-packaged foods. Here’s to hoping the ads don’t get as extreme as the Pouring on the Pounds campaign.