Expert Commentary: Dr. Elliot Goodman M.D. - June 9, 2009

This latest study in Circulation Research reveals some striking new data. You don’t necessarily have to be overweight to develop atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The study suggests that danger is the chronic inflammation of the arteries caused by eating fatty foods and is independent of high cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Studies will have to be extended to human studies to verify the initial results. However, personally I don’t need any more data to confirm the danger of high-fat diets. The impact of what we eat is critical importance to our health.

What I am struck by is how our culture has shifted on how it portrays smoking. You cannot watch a movie or a DVD today without a strong anti-smoking message. Kids and the rest of us are being deluged with the horrible imagery of how smoking ravages the body.

And in general we have succeeded. People may still smoke, young people included, but there is no delusion about whether it’s cool or how dangerous it is.

Likewise we need to see an educational campaign that equally informs and persuades people from childhood as to the importance of what we eat. Good food is critical to our health.  It’s odd that you can go to a movie and watch an anti-smoking ad followed by a commercial promoting the junk at the candy counter. One image tells our children that smoking is cool and the next image portrays fast-food burger joints as fun - the hip place to hang out with friends and play with your local clown.

Frankly one of the most cost-effective solutions to financial woes of the healthcare system is media campaigns educating our children to the dangers of high-fat foods – so they never become ill in the first place. The message is simple - poor quality food will lead to a lifetime of debilitating health problems.


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