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Organic food important in fight against obesity and diabetes

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A United States based centre for the promotion of organic food and farming has released a report on obesity in the United States and proposes ways in which organic food can help reverse the obesity spiral.

The Organic Centre report presents "up-to-date statistics' on the magnitude of the challenge faced by the US. The report found about one-third of adults 20 to 74 years of age in the United States are obese (Body Mass Index ? 30) and another third are overweight (BMI 25.0 to 29.9).

Obesity and weight problems rising rapidly among children
"One of the most worrisome recent developments is that overweight and obesity (levels are) rising rapidly among children, setting the stage for far more cases of Type 2 diabetes, and cases that strike earlier in life, leaving more time for the insidious complications of diabetes to erode well being and drive up health care costs," says the centre which aims to generate credible, peer reviewed scientific information and to communicate the verifiable benefits of organic farming and products to society.

If current obesity trends continue, by the year 2030, government scientists expect that over 85% of adults will be overweight or obese, and over one-half will be obese, the report found.

Diabetes cases doubled over decade
"The CDC projects that the rate of new diabetes cases nearly doubled over the last decade, reaching 9.1 new cases per 1,000 persons between 2005 and 2007."

The report highlights six mechanisms or ways that organic food and farming can help reverse the damaging upward spiral in overweight, obesity, and diabetes.

*Organic food promotes healthy patterns of cell division and differentiation, and lays the groundwork for normal endocrine system regulation of blood sugars, lipids, energy intake, and immune system functions.

* Organic food establishes and helps sustain taste-based preferences in the child for familiar nutrient-dense, flavorful foods.

* It largely eliminates dietary exposures to approximately 180 pesticides known to disrupt the development or functioning of the endocrine system.

*  Possibly helps trigger or reinforce a sense of satiety, or fullness, thereby reducing excessive caloric intake at the end of satisfying meals.

*  Lessens or limits the cellular and genetic damage done by reactive oxygen species (so-called free radicals), and in this way reduce the risk of diabetes and other diseases rooted in inflammation (arthritis, cardiovascular disease) and rapid cell growth (cancer).

*  Slow, and perhaps even reverse certain neurological aspects of the aging process, leading to better memory and retention of cognitive skills.

The centre drew upon over one-hundred fifty scientific studies for its report, and to formulate the six mechanisms through which it sees organic food and farming undermining the factors leading to increasing obesity and diabetes.

However, the report acknowledges there is essentially no science exploring or documenting what may be the most important mechanism of all in the contribution of organics to changing eating patterns - that purchasing organic food is often the lead in to a change in attitude to food and health.

"Reams of consumer research shows that the conscious decision by an individual to first seek out and purchase organic food is motivated by a personal desire to improve one's own health and/or the health of family members.

"The decision to buy organic food requires a personal commitment, a conscious act, to try and re-orient a person's relationship with food in ways that will lead to improved well being."

The report said forging a new relationship with food is the critical first step that every dietitian, doctor, educator, and concerned friend is searching for as they interact with a person headed toward or already contending with overweight and diabetes.

"We see anecdotal evidence in the literature and consumer surveys that the decision to start purchasing organic food is often the first of an incremental series of steps that change in progressively deeper ways a person's attitudes and behaviors toward food, diet, and health."

Even if it reaches only a segment of society, this is a trajectory of change worth supporting in every way possible, since the exact nature and the order of steps taken by people who choose to establish new, healthier relationships with food matters less than steady, and for some, even urgent and sustained progress along the path, the report concludes.

The following advertisements are not placed by Organic Pathways and are not necessarily organic