Sunday, March 7, 2010

Think before Snacking...Look at all the research being done...

Between 1977 and 2006, children increased their caloric intake by an average of 113 calories a day, and more of these calories are coming from salty snacks and candy. The childhood obesity rate, meanwhile, has risen to more than 16 percent. More ... Discuss
Source: In the News( on; Accessed 7 Mar 2010.

Sometimes people think America has tons of food so everyone should be healthy. What do you think? Rules governing the food supply differs in different countries. We have a lot of high frucose corn syrup in our food supply that in the 1970's wasn't there. Could there be a cause and effect situation?

I have done laboratories with students both at four-year colleges and community colleges in which students analyzed their own food intakes. The data from these analyses over 20 years shows the same trend as the, "In the News," article shows today. But at the community college, there are many recent immigrants, and their data is different than the average data acquired. Students from Ethiopia, for example, ate very little ate very little when compared to the other students, yet, the nutrients they acquired were at a low level but where there were no deficiencies. Students who had grown up in the Northeastern USA, however, typically showed very high values of some nutrients and below survival levels of others. The high values were typical of things causing diabetes, heart disease, obesity among others. The low levels were in nutrients affecting fertility and mood.

Students valued this experiment. They could compare there, "before" data to their, "after" data, after learning some nutrition. They could compare how they ate now to a diet they wanted to go on. They could compare what swapping junk food for fruit would do. In essence they could be the scientist and design the experiment. This exercise engaged many students in further pursuit of science, rather than stiooing with the one, "terminal" science course required of non-majors in biological sciences. (Such courses are called, "terminal," because many students stop their science education with the required course, It benefits society if students learn to ant to keep up with science, or, at least appreciate spending their tax dollars on research.) Some became science majors, but, many took two more science courses. Others took no more, but, at least now liked science and understood the value of good experimental design. The students were adults and the treatments were still regular foods that they would have eaten anyway.

Science literacy is helped by discussing current events like this with students. It is news that affects them. It can lead to more in-depth science reading if students are deeply interested. Can you get into the journal articles?

Other resources:


Author's aside:

1. There was a typographical error when first posting this article that is funny. I'd like to share it with you:
The title is, "Think before Snacking...Look at all the research being done...," but, with the typographical error it was,

Thin before Snacking...Look at all the research being done...

2. The, "In the News," story was based on, a story about science in Reuters which mentions researchers Piemas and Popkin. I did not yet find a journal article by Piemas and Popkin, the researchers mentioned in the Reuters article. It doesn't mean it's not there, but, I didn't find the research mentioned published yet. I put a link to Popkin. I did not find Piemas. is a post linking to Dr Frieden at the CDC, also mentioned in the Reuters news story.

1 comment:

Mama B. said...

I like that: THIN before snacking!LOL