As a bariatric surgeon, I feel like I am fighting a fire
As a bariatric surgeon, I feel like I am fighting a fire. The fire is the obesity epidemic and the brave patient’s I see are the fire line. Behind them though are literally millions of people who are still wondering how this obesity problem is happening to them. With those people, are their children who are constantly exposed to highly processed, unhealthy, depleted “food”. Sometimes they feel that the problem is hopeless, that they are helpless.
It’s just easier and quicker (though not less expensive) to go to the drive-through. It’s just not true, however. Although the short term convenience is there, I suppose, the long term consequences are highly inconvenient. The problems that arise because of obesity and directly because of eating terrible, processed food, are expensive, life-threatening, time-consuming and life changing—not in a good way.
Some good news on the “Cooking At Home” front: Americans are actually cooking more meals at home than we did a decade ago, according to Bloomberg. In 2000 the average American ate out 216 times a year (over 4 times a week!). In 2018 that number has dropped to 185 times. Why is this good news? Because preparing meals at home is associated with more intake of fruits and veggies and less intake of sugar, fat, calories and fast food.
The article cited above lists several reasons why there may be more cooking at home. One is that eating out is getting more expensive-including at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s. Another is that more people are getting ingredients delivered to them. Another and my favorite reason is that the trend toward healthier eating is growing!
When they ask, I share with my patients that the best, most practical thing they can do for their own health and their family’s health is to learn to cook and eat real food, at home, preferably not in front of the TV, but with their families. I tell them to teach their children how to cook, how to eat. In terms of prevention of obesity, it is the one key skill we can choose to develop. And it also helps treat obesity as well. Eating at home saves money and is better for you.
I hope this trend of eating at home continues to grow and that you are part of the reason why.
Stephen Archer, Bariatric Surgeon