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America losing the war on obesity

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Its official — Americans are the fattest people in the world.  In a recent study published in the medical journalLancet,theUSAwas named the most obese country in the world, with 87 million of the world's 671 million obese people — 13 percent of the total for a country with 5 percent of the population.

According to one of America's leading stress experts Paul Huljich, a primary cause of rising obesity rates is stress.

A balanced and healthy diet is crucial to good health and overcoming stress.  In his book,Stress Pandemic, 9 Natural Steps to Break the Cycle of Stress & Thrive(published byMwella), Paul Huljich shares a powerful yet simple and holistic approach to nutrition, paying added attention to the effects of what we eat on our neurochemistry.  "Ensuring that we are supporting a healthy neurochemical balance is a vital and proactive step toward managing our stress," Mr. Hulijch asserts.  "When you feel tense, stress eating or emotional-eating is triggered like an automatic response. That's especially so if your body reacts strongly to stress-released hormones."

A 2010 study from theUniversity of Michiganshowed that when levels of the stress hormone cortisol were boosted in healthy, non-stressed adults, they ate more junk food.  When people feel stressed out, most either stop eating altogether or binge on high-fat, high-sodium products such as chocolate, doughnuts, potato chips and other snack foods.  And when combined with America's growing portion sizes, people grow sicker, gain weight and develop bad habits that can endure a lifetime unless they say "NO" and take charge of what and how they eat. 

Mr. Huljich believes that as a society we must revolutionize the ways in which we eat beginning with cutting out all the C-R-A-P (an acronym for caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed food).  He also does not endorse the use of fad diets, counting calories or choosing to eat certain food groups over others.  His approach to a healthy diet, which is outlined in detail in his bookStress Pandemic, is a balanced and practical one, which first identifies and bases his diet on the good foods and eating patterns in your life while eliminating the bad ones. 

Bad eating habits start young so where else to begin teaching kids about good nutrition outside of home but in this nation's schools?  Thankfully, people like First LadyMichelle Obamaare championing this national problem. Crusading to end childhood obesity, the Obama administration recently enacted changes to government-subsidized school meals—which adds more fruits and green vegetables to breakfasts and lunches and reduces the amount of salt and fat—is under fire by House Republicans despite its positive track record thus far in our nation's schools.  In response to such resistance,Michelle Obamarecently struck back at her naysayers and called a recent meeting with school nutrition officials who said the guidelines have been working in their schools.  The event was an unprecedented move for the first lady, who has shied away from policy fights since she lobbied for congressional passage of the child nutrition law in 2010.  "The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health," Mrs. Obama told participants.

A balanced eating plan supports all of the body's functions so that it can absorb and use nutrients efficiently and effectively. Health maintenance promotes physical fitness and disease prevention such as the risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.  "We are a nation trying to find a cure yet not looking closely enough at the symptoms," states Huljich. "By finding the courage to and wisdom to look at the root cause, going back to basics, and teaching good habits to our nation's children, we can learn how to fortify, empower and master our stress, lose weight and live longer and healthier lives."


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