The most common theme I noticed throughout the reading was that of a worldwide push for promoting human health through diet and exercise. I appreciated the articles we read this week because they focused on the health benefits of physical activity and nutrition throughout life (especially Lee at al 2012) and for mothers, instead of the body image benefits that can often mask such health aspects. From the book readings, I found it quite interesting when Lieberman discussed judging portion sizes one cannot see (i.e. eating a happy meal from a box in your car) versus plating food yourself and sitting down to eat (and not in front of the TV). I found it sad to hear that “…34% of Americans indicated that they preferred to “dine out” or have a meal catered in their home even for holiday meals at Thanksgiving or Christmas” (Evolutionary Medicine and Health pg. 92). I wonder, have the dietary benefits of cooking as a family been studied? I have always heard that involving the whole family, especially younger children in the preparation of a meal can positively influence the eating habits of all those involved. The studies examined by Baker, Hurtado, Pearson and Jones stressed the importance of having full-weight babies, as the brain optimization rule has not been proven true.
I believe that more people are becoming aware of our bodies’ responses to living healthy lifestyles, but I also think that some people are approaching their health in the wrong way. For example, people are becoming familiar with the statistics mentioned in the Lee et al article concerning body weight, obesity, and various cancers and chronic illnesses; however, they are taking that information as a reason to use some of the ineffective diet methods discussed in the text, such as exceeding their baseline weight after an unsuccessful diet attempt, or implementing extreme restriction methods.
Regardless, it is clear that many people are taking excellent moves towards general public health. In Mira Flores, a district within Lima, Peru, every Sunday is a health-focused day. Zumba and yoga classes can be held in the streets, spinning classes in the park, and bicycles and roller skates can be rented around the town. This community fitness program supported many of the topics in the “7 Myths About Physical Activity” as well. In Mira Flores, many older people were participating in the classes and activities, and we did not need a gym to fit in our workouts! In this way, not only were the inhabitants of Mira Flores able to spend time with friends and family while laughing and not stressing over work or studies, they were also able to get a workout in, boost their energy, and ultimately live a longer life.