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Leading health expert says that moms' habits in the 1950s launched the obesity epidemic of today. Curse you June Cleaver

Posted by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM
  • 14 Replies
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That's what Melinda Sothern is banking on. At 55, Sothern is a leading fitness and nutrition expert at Louisiana State University. And according to her theory, today's obesity rate is less about the choices that Americans are making today and more about the choices that young mothers made, or didn't make, in the post-war 1950s. If she's right, it may very well make reproductive-age women the central focus of America's efforts to lose weight.
Sothern doesn't deny that a sedentary lifestyle and fast-food addiction will cause a person to gain weight. But according to her research, America's obesity problem began in the 1980s, after a generation of children were raised by mothers who smoked, turned their noses up at breastfeeding and restricted their weight during many, closely spaced pregnancies.
"It was the evil '50s. A perfect recipe for obesity," she said in a recent interview with the Star Tribune.
If she's right, then Sothern suggests that the key to reducing obesity has less to do with teaching folks about diet and exercise than it does about making sure that pregnant mothers are in optimal health while their babies are growing and developing in the womb and that those mothers choose to breastfeed after their babies are born. One of her suggestions: women who are significantly overweight should be discouraged from having babies until they shed pounds.
It's an interesting theory to say the least, but I worry that it will put even more pressure on moms to be "perfect" while pregnant. What do you think?
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by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM
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by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 2:28 PM

And how does she account for the obese ones who were breastfed?  Hmmmmm

I think it had more to do with all those milk and cookies as an afer school snack, and the emotional eating we were hooked into?  Depressed?  Down in the dumps?  Have some macaroni and cheese?  On cloud nine?  This is the happiest day of your life?  Have some fried chicken.  On your period?  Here's a box of chocolates.  Tired?  Well here have a sandwich then go to bed.  

by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Nope. We have 8 kids in my family. (I was born in 1958) Nobody is obese. And of the 28 offspring from us, maybe 4 overweight.

by on Jan. 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I think this is just silly. It definitely does not fit my family at all.

by on Jan. 19, 2012 at 9:46 AM

oh please; that's such horseshit.

people are overweight because they don't eat properly and sit around on the couch eating!  adults CHOOSE what they put in their mouths and CHOOSE to sit/lie on the couch and not exercise.  while we are products of our environment and incorporate learned behaviours into our daily lives, that doesn't mean that we are victim to that kind of lifestyle.  we have the power to choose something different; to break those unhealthy eating habits/lifestyle choices and do something better.

by on Jan. 21, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I dont know how much of that i agree with but i do have one thing to say about the 50's.. It definitely was the begining of eating fatty foods. My grandmother (born 1936) gave me a couple of her old cookbooks when i had my babies, and I have a legit 1957Betty Crocker cookbook and the recipes are horrible ! (healthwise but they are tasty) plus that's when food was really starting to be canned and frozen or boxed or the dry mixes that say just add soso to it.

by on Jan. 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM
by on Jan. 23, 2012 at 4:56 PM

I don't completely disagree with the author, I just think it is much more complex then this. Some part of obesity is inherited. I can see it in the family I married into and some of my friends families. Certainly food choices have something to do with it, but I have observed that some are just naturally rounder then others and they are also usually the ones who struggler harder with issues related to weight. On the other hand, they also seem to be people who confort themselves with food. So how much is inherited and how much was the family culture they grew up is hard to say. But thinking of the commenter with the '50s Betty Crocker cookbook, I have to agree about that. In the '50s and '60s it became very popular for food product manufacters to work with cookbook authors (and later actually publish their own cookbooks) to come up with recipes that used their (especially new) products. Most of these products were boxed or packaged dry foods that included salt, dairy derivatives and new artificial food ingredients that were just being developed. They were usually advertised as providing short cuts for busy housewives to make cooking dinner a much easier and less time-consuming process. The TV dinner (the height of convenience) was developed during this time. In the '70's there was a healthy food backlash but it did not last long. In the '80's and '90s this was followed up by the development of new frozen food options that were purported to be healthier. Anyway, this food and cooking revolution is at least partially responsible for the way people view food (which has a lot to do with how they eat and thus their weight).

by on Jan. 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

yeah the millions of dollars spent marketing chemical oops i mean FOOD to the average american every year has nothing to do with obesity rates....

by on Jan. 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM
I think, a good portion of obesity in this country and the rise of food allegeries are linked to formula feeding. You CANNOT get a baby who is not hungry to latch. You just can't. A formula fed baby can be coaxed to take more from a bottle, even if they are not hungry. Also, many times, formula fed babies are overfed, because parents are looking to the wrong information when trying to tell if baby is full. Allergies and intolerances to milk, soy, wheat and corn are on the rise. These are some of the most common ingredients in formulas. I think the article oversimplies the issue. I think, there are other factors, too.
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by on Jan. 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Many women in the 50's restricted their diet through the use of Methamphetamines as they were given in prescription form to reduce weight and combat narcolepsy.  For children, the more accessibility to fast food, preservatives, and a sedentary lifestyle raised the obesity rates.  Kids didn't eat at McDonalds, BK, and other places like they do today.  Kids didn't sit around at the computer nor play video games during that time either because as well all know, it wasn't around until the 70's with the introduction of Atari, which only accounted for a few games until other gaming systems came into play later in the 80's.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9
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