fatty liver

This morning’s NY Times contains a very disturbing article: Threat Grows From Liver Illness Tied to Obesity.

Medical professionals have been predicting this problem as they watched our collective waistlines balloon. The problem we speak of is “fatty liver”:

  • Doctors say that the disease, which causes the liver to swell with fat, is particularly striking because it is nearly identical to the liver damage that is seen in heavy drinkers. But in this case the damage is done not by alcohol, but by poor diet and excess weight.

The article contains quotes from several afflicted people:

  • With no drugs to offer him, Gavin’s doctor warned that the only way to reverse his fatty liver was to exercise and change his diet. “They told me to stay away from sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables,” Gavin (13 years-old) said. “But it’s hard.”

Now, one can be unsympathetic to “it’s hard,” but for a 13-year old boy who probably isn’t in control of what is put on the table, you can see the dilemma. He eats what is put in front of him whether it be at home or at school.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that Congress is still mired in a vote on the healthy school lunches standard.

  • “I’m on a roller coaster,” Yubelkis Matias said. “I eat healthy, then not healthy — pizza, McDonalds, the usual. My doctor told me I have to quit all of that. But it’s cheap, and it’s always there.”

I don’t know what Ms Matias’s neighborhood is like, but her comment that “it’s cheap, and it’s always there” rings true after viewing a wonderful TED talk this morning:

It brings me hope that Ron Finley is out there bringing about change. We need a great deal more like him, however, if we are going to change how people look at food and feed themselves and their children.

  • “A lot of times when I see a patient with fatty liver,” he said, “the first thing out of their mouth is, ‘Well, is there a pill for this?’ And there’s not. There just isn’t. You have to make lifestyle changes, and that’s a much more difficult pill for people to swallow.”

Otherwise, the mentality evidenced in the above quote will prevail. Whatever the disease or health problem, there must be a pill supplied by Big Pharma to fix it. Why should I change what I put in my mouth and fuel my body with? Does it matter?

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