Can "Eating Like a Greek" Lead to Healthier Workplaces and Schools?

September 11, 2014 3:56 PM

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Two and one-half millennia ago, the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, taught his students that diet and lifestyle directly impact health and the risk of disease. Through modern medical research, today we know more about obesity and diabetes and have more diet and treatment options than ever before in the history of man. Paradoxically, however, despite all of our knowledge and means, Americans are much heavier than ever. Adults are not the only ones affected- many chronic diseases of middle-age (type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol and sleep apnea) are now also the concerns of pediatricians and parents with obese children. Weight management has become a key focus of doctors, nurses and dieticians, and the effects of excess weight are a key challenge to our schools, employers and insurers. Consequently, weight loss is a major industry that constantly pitches its products and programs on television and elsewhere.

Could one of the solutions be going "back to the future" to eat more like Mediterranean villagers of 50-60 years ago? In the 1950's, a pioneering American scientist, Ancel Keys, discovered a remarkable paradox. The poor inhabitants of small Southern Italian villages were healthier than wealthy resid...

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