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Don't Play the Number Games

Essay by   •  December 19, 2010  •  Essay  •  547 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,061 Views

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Three cheers for the AHA! Dietary guidelines recently announced by the American Heart Association emphasize good eating habits over numerical criteria as a means of promoting health. While the recommendations are designed to alleviate and prevent cardiovascular disease, anorexics would do well to study them.The Dietary Guidelines were approved by the AHA's Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee in June 2000. They state: "The present formulation of the AHA Dietary Guidelines acknowledges the difficulty in most cases of supporting specific target intakes with unequivocal scientific evidence. Moreover, many individuals find it difficult to make dietary choices based on such numerical criteria. Therefore, the approach taken here is to focus the major population guidelines on the general principles..."

AHA's advice includes the following:

eat fatty fish, such as salmon, at least twice weekly;

consume fruits, vegetables (especially those that are dark green, deep orange, and yellow), and whole grains; and

limit salt and alcohol intake. No more than one drink a day for women.

A previous article on this topic page has discussed the obsession anorexics have with numbers. Behaviors such as calorie counting, pound counting, and dress-size comparisons help maintain the illness. That a respected scientific body has chosen to promote general principles of good nutrition over figures bodes well for anorexics and sufferers of other eating disorders trying to overcome their illnesses.

In a recent article reviewing the Guidelines, Time Magazine's Christine Gorman, writes: "If you follow the advice, your dietary percentages will fall into line naturally...Now you won't need a calculator to figure out what's best for you."1. This is an effective counterweight to media images of reedy models gushing about their measurements.

Another is a program that was sponsored by the

Baltimore Museum of Art and profiled in a July 18, 2000 New York Times article2. According to the article, several Girl Scout Troops and over 50 other girls and women attended a program at the museum entitled "Feast, Famine, and the Female Form: Exploring Body Image Through Art." The program, according to The Times, is

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