Now weight a minute


I was editing the September category development on bariatrics today. Despite constant messages in the media and elsewhere, we are, as a country, getting bigger. Much bigger. In fact, the CDC estimates that by 2020 (that's not that far away, folks) 70% of the population will be overweight.

Obesity must be the word of the week for me. I also received my Nutrition Action newsletter. If you never checked out this publication put out by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, I highly recommend it. This month, they highlighted Xtreme Eating 2011. The list of entrees and desserts with extreme calories, fat and sodium counts never fails to amaze and appall me.

A few highlights:
Cheesecake Factory's Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake, which weighs in at a whopping 1,540 calories and 59 grams of sat fat. And that's on top of whatever you ate for your meal.

Applebee's Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettucine, which will stuff you with 1,520 calories, 43 grams of sat fat and 3,7000 milligrams of sodium. It's a heart attack on a plate.

Cold Stone Creamery's PB&C Shake, which has 2,010 liquid calories and 68 grams of fat.

Needless to say, this only reinforces my belief that restaurants should indeed, include nutrition information on menus.

Some good news on the fat front (sorry, I know that's insensitive, but let's just call it straight): Eight schools right here in Portland, Maine were recognized by the USDA with HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Award. The award is given to those schools which emphasize fresh, healthy diets. Alas, less than 2% of schools nationwide receive this award. And that's a shame because it seems that inculcating healthy eating habits at a young age is a good place to start.

Theresa Flaherty