What’s the Latest Development?
When veterinarians began changing the diets of two overweight grizzly bears at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, some observers noted how the process might equally benefit human health. Since it’s impossible to counsel bears on making responsible decisions—the primary approach doctors take in discussing obesity with human patients—vets began to change the context in which the bears received their food. “In the case of the grizzlies, the Brookfield Zoo vets understood that the bears’ physiologies and innate behaviors were out of sync with their environment—thus, their obesity. So they designed…’nature’s weight management plan.'”
What’s the Big Idea?
Humans can begin changing the context in which they receive food by altering shopping and cooking habits, says UCLA cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, who has collected tales of animal-to-human health tips in her book “Zoobiquity”. “Buying heirloom and traditional foods usually means shopping at farmers markets, smaller groceries or food co-ops, which has the effect of altering the food environment in much the same way as the Brookside zookeepers did for the grizzlies. … For an even more ambitious reworking of one’s food environment, consider growing much of one’s own food.”
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