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Obesity again...scary numbers(40 posts)

Obesity again...scary numbersPaulCL
Oct 14, 2003 6:16 AM

A quote from the article:

In 1986, 1 in 200 adults reported height and weight measurements reflecting extreme obesity, or a body-mass index of at least 40. By 2000 that had jumped to 1 in 50, Sturm found.
The prevalence of the most extreme obesity — people with a BMI of at least 50 — grew fivefold from 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 400, Sturm said.
By contrast, ordinary obesity — a BMI of 30 to 35 — doubled, from about 1 in 10 to 1 in 5, based on the same surveys.
Body-mass index is a ratio of height to weight.

Americans tend to understate their weight, and a recent study based on actual measurements found an obesity rate of nearly 1 in 3, or almost 59 million people. Sturm said his findings probably understate the problem for the same reason.
The average man with a BMI of 40 in Sturm's study was 5-foot-10 and 300 pounds, while the average woman was 5-foot-4 and 250 pounds.

An obesity rate of 1 in 3 !! oh my god. No wonder our health insurance rates are going to the moon. Personally, I'm sick of having a 25% increase every year to pay for some lardass's health bills becuase he/she ate their BigMac daily.

I know this is an almost annual thread, but once I read this article, I had to share. Paul
Its easy to be judgemental, isn't itKristin
Oct 14, 2003 6:45 AM
I understand your frustrations, but what is the source of the problem? The people themselves? With numbers like that, I'm going to suggest that the answer is no. When 1 in 3 people have a problem, then someone needs to find a solution. Obviously its not going to change on sheer willpower alone.

Pysical Education in public school is a joke. No one teaches kids how to eat well. This is largely because very few people in this country know how to eat well themselves. Who's going to teach it. My generation that is suffering this. I was born in 1970 and the staples of my childhood diet were:

Hot dogs
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Stove Top Stuffing
And sometimes chicken

That is primarily what we ate every day. My mother, a nurse, has no clue what healthy eating is.

In addition, the food industry is committing outrageous attrocities. They are always cutting corners with filler and 90% of them they completely ignore the health implications to their customers. Most families are so busy that no one has time to prepare a meal from scratch anymore, so we rely on what he food manufacturers give us. What they give us is terribly bad for us. And since so few people know what healthy is anyway, we should be surprised that most people don't stop question what is in that box of Mac&Cheese. If they did, I gaurantee they'd stop buying it.

I'm not sure its even possible to cook a worry free, healthy meal any longer. Each time I purchase meat or fish, I take a risk. The meat industry is a cut-throat, bottom-line industry that does care one ioda about the consequences to me. What needs to change around here is the standards by which food made and sold.

Here's another tidbit for you. This one regards our pets. Do you know what's in your cat/dog food? Have you ever asked that question before? There is a new epidemic in the US: Feline/Kanine Diabetities. I just went through this with my cat, who died 3 weeks ago. He was diabetic and needed shots twice a day. As I began to research this I discovered that most pet food is made from rice or corn filler with some cooked meet broth that was boiled down with butcher room scraps. Beaks and feet and rice. Is that a cat/dogs natural diet? No way. But the pet food companies don't care about whether or not my cat is healthy, or that it cost me $500 to try to treat his diabeties, or that he died. They only care that I bought that last bag of food from them.


Hey Doug, would it be possible for people to sue the pet food companies? Honestly, most of them won't even allow a tour of the facilities. Its THAT bad, what they do. I don't have dreams of getting rich, but I would like to see some things change.
Food industry catch 22TJeanloz
Oct 14, 2003 7:00 AM
The food industy doesn't produce healthy food for a good reason: people won't buy it. If you want to make healthy food taste good, it pretty much needs to be fresh (because the preservatives make it "unhealthy"), and delivering fresh foods is prohibitively expensive.

The fact is that the market wants food to be healthier, but not if it:
a) costs more
b) tastes worse
c) doesn't keep well

And the problem is that healthier food meets none of these criteria.

Same goes for pet food. We have a store in my 'hood that sells organic pet food, which apparently is very good for the pets, but it ain't cheap.
Well, I'd pay more. nmKristin
Oct 14, 2003 7:09 AM
It is the hottest trend, actually,TJeanloz
Oct 14, 2003 7:12 AM
The only grocers showing real growth, except for Wal*Mart, are the Wild Oats and Whole Foods of the world. Organic is very hot in the retail chain right now, but it's still a tiny segment of the market. And Wal*Mart is pulling the market in the opposite direction.

But healthier food is available, you just need to seek it out.
I don't have much confidence in organicKristin
Oct 14, 2003 7:20 AM
Organic isn't a well defined term and it has not standards to follow itself. Typically it means that they didn't use any bug spray. There has already been a couple of debacles regarding the organic meat industry. So...I still say, there are no truly safe options. Not unless I begin to raise my own chickens. But they poop too much and would ruin my deck.
There's a trade-offTJeanloz
Oct 14, 2003 7:25 AM
There is certainly a trade off in life. If you want to be assured of fresh, healthy produce, I think the Amish are taking applications. It's hard to know what you would call "safe". Very little of what you eat is "dangerous" - outside of the occasional e.coli, there isn't much in the way of imminent danger in food.

If you want to go through life worrying about whether you'll live to be 80 or 82, I guess it's something to consider, but I don't see most additives as being explicitly any more dangerous than breathing the air in L.A.
pretty easy to get in BoulderColnagoFE
Oct 14, 2003 7:32 AM
But then again Boulder is not typical of most cities. And you still pay more for it. I always am amazed when I go to visit my father in Iowa. They are just now starting to get some healthier alternatives to certain things in grocery stores--and forget it when you go out to eat. Everything is drenched in cheese and/or fried in oil and salads are iceberg lettuce with half a cup of ranch dressing on them.
yeah, but...mohair_chair
Oct 14, 2003 7:13 AM
I think you are right, but I also think it is a situation that feeds on itself. Stores will charge higher prices for healthier food because they know certain people will pay it. The people who will pay tend to be better off and don't care as much about cost. Healthy food can be profitable (or at least be a loss leader) in the right market, but it's always going to be a small business.

It's the same thing with "green" goods. Have you seen what a roll of recycled paper towels costs? It's ridiculous. Crappy quality at twice the price? No thank you. But people who have the money and believe they are doing "the right thing" will pay. Therefore, it makes sense to keep selling to them. Better to take their money than not.
Do you think there is a solution to the whole mess?Kristin
Oct 14, 2003 7:24 AM
I rack my brains, and I can't see anything changing from its current course, until most of our population dies off. Meanwhile, a change of scenery, such as Spain or Italy, is appealing. Do you ever just consider bailing out on America and letting it finish out its course without your assistance?
Oct 14, 2003 7:58 AM
I also wonder if there will be a self-correction that will save us. In other words, the people with the worst health will die off a lot sooner and save us the burden of caring for them. It's sort of how I feel about suicide bombers--the sooner they blow themselves up, the better.

I was recently in France and lost five pounds in two weeks. Part of that was a lot of hard riding, but it was also because the snack food and junk food I was used to having wasn't around. It was harder to find and harder to get because there weren't as many stores around, and they tended to keep banker's hours. It became obvious to me that part of the problem in America is accessibility. You can buy all kinds of crap just about anywhere at anytime. But you know what? For as much crap as I eat, I'm not obese.

God forbid a kid walk to school today. Our society is becoming more sendentary every day, which is the exact opposite we need to counteract other factors leading to obesity. I don't know what we can do to get people to get exercise. I certainly don't want to mandate anything, because it should be enjoyable, not work.

There are no answers that I can see. Strange people come up with stupid ideas sometimes, such as taxing soft drinks and fast food. I'm sorry if you can't control your urges, but I can, and I don't want to be punished for your excess. Some people here are trying to force restaurants to reveal the nutritional information of their dishes, as if anyone cares. As if obese people read that stuff now!

Ten years ago I was at least 25 pounds heavier than I am today. I had been that way for a while. Thanks to woman problems and a very high stress level at work (almost the same thing!), I was out of control and going insane. I got into running and got myself healthy and sane again. I had a lot of injuries running, but then I started riding and really found my calling. Now I'll never be fat again. If we can figure out how to give everyone a personal epiphany like I had, we can easily solve this thing.
Its easy to be judgemental, isn't itPaulCL
Oct 14, 2003 7:24 AM
I'm not being judgemental. OK, maybe I am.

When 1 in 3 are obese, the old line of a "glandular" problem doesn't work. Its' personal choice. People don't care, then they complain.

I'm no health food 'nut' (those I do eat a lot of nuts) but my wife and I watch what we eat. We eat (as a family of five) large amounts of fresh foods, veggies, fruits, etc. We CHOOSE voluntarily not to buy soft drinks, potato chips, got to McDonalds, etc... becuase we care about our health.

I just don't think people care anymore. You are right - PE in school is a joke. Now its' once per week instead of daily. Heck, in my daughter's middle school, PE is an optional course. The same school has soft drink machines and serves kids french fries everyday. My daughter was thrilled that she could have a double order of fries for lunch everyday. We put a stop to that one quickly.

I guess I get mad when I care what I eat, what my family eats, how I feel, how I look, how healthy I am, how much I exercise, then no-one else seems to feel the same. Then I end up paying extra insurance premiums becuase of other peoples laziness or ignorance.

Like everything else, you have to work at your health but no-one wants to. We (as Americans) want to eat like pigs, look like supermodels and if that doesn't work, sue McDonalds. It isn't McDonalds' put down that BigMac and walk away from the will be OK....
You are correctKristin
Oct 14, 2003 7:31 AM
I just thinks its not entirely the fault of all the people who are overweight. It is partly their fault, but they are also victims of their environment: parenting, industry, culture, etc...

I eventually began asking questions about diet and nutrition and I've learned alot. Its hugely impacted the way I eat. If people could just get educated about it somehow, I think lots would change. Do people really not want to be healthy? Do people want to be obeese? I'm not sure. I'm flirting with a 28% BMI myself--that's the borderline between overweight and obese. Do I want to be overweight? No. But why is it so damn hard to change my habits? I don't know. Truly. I wouldn't call it a "glandular" problem, but still a problem that is not so easy to over come as simple will-power. Something more is needed. I just wish I knew what.
You are correctDuane Gran
Oct 14, 2003 8:43 AM
I just thinks its not entirely the fault of all the people who are overweight. It is partly their fault, but they are also victims of their environment: parenting, industry, culture, etc...

I'm sorry but I don't buy into the victim angle here. The 1/3 of the population can easily look at the other 2/3 and notice that they conduct themselves differently. Aside from a minority of medical exceptions, there is a simple cause and effect relationship between one's lifestyle choices and health. I didn't grow up with good eating habits, but at some point I realized that I wasn't very healthy and chose to branch out and learn how to cook a decent meal. I think anyone can do likewise.
yep, and...Sao
Oct 14, 2003 12:29 PM
I'm pretty sick of lean/thin/skinny people having to hear stupid comments directed at them like "Don't you ever EAT?" Or "You need some meat on your bones."

Why is THAT acceptable? It's certainly not acceptable to look at a fat person and say "Don't you ever STOP eating?"
agree...genetics only goes so farColnagoFE
Oct 14, 2003 7:38 AM
Of course there are those with legitimate thyroid or other issues that can eat like a bird and still gain weight. Then there are others who just eat too much. For them the problem is psychological. Food serves some use to them other than just nutrition. And they eat way too much of the wrong things as a result. My opinion...The vast majority of clinically obese people are there as a result of not pushing away from the table and leading a sedentary lifestyle--or in other their own choice.
There's enough blame to go around: Choice v. Choice Influence128
Oct 14, 2003 7:40 AM
I agree we choose what we eat. But those choices are influenced by commerce and our 'go go corporate lifestyle'. Advertising responds to as well as creates consumer demand. So we need to make wise choices and 'they' need to present wise choices.

What is wise? Maybe whatever results in reasonable insurance premiums as that is the measure presented.

I just try to eat fresh, local foods.

Also, we get so hung up on the food issue we overlook the activity side. Calorie reduction v. calorie burning. Move!
very complexDougSloan
Oct 14, 2003 7:40 AM
Not sure about the pet food suit. I would probably get laughed out of court, unless they lied about the contents on the package. Even then, your $ damages would be minimal. What's a cat's life worth? I would think that you can find appropriate pet food, if you want. There must be some out there, even if it costs 3 times as much.

Of course, the human issues are complex, and TJ pretty much nailed the truism, "they sell it because people buy it."

I think much of the cause is our lifestyle, which is far too complicated, busy, and we just don't have time to do what it takes to eat well. To eat well, someone needs to go to a market darn near every day. Then, it takes time to prepare fresh food. It takes careful planning. It takes the family sitting down together, not grabbing a package of something on the way out the door to eat on the way to something else.

We try to do too many activities. Mom and dad work late, go to meetings, network, commute a hour or more each way, run to soccer, ballet, karate, skating, etc. No time left. Pursuing more money to pay for the two or more $50,000 cars and $500,000 house in the suburbs, plus all the activities, DVD's, video games, etc., is consuming.

I think part of the root cause is two worker families. If one parent stayed home and did the shopping, cooking, etc., eating right would be much easier. With both parents working until or even through dinner time, it just won't work. You throw something in the microwave because junior primarily needs to fill his gut, and nutrition is secondary.

Doug is tough to eat rightColnagoFE
Oct 14, 2003 7:51 AM
It's just too easy when it's 8PM and you are just getting home and have to be in bed by 10 to just call up the Pizza delivery. Now if this happens once in a while then no big deal. Every night you start to have problems.
Don't even get me started onKristin
Oct 14, 2003 7:51 AM
Hey, really great post. Thanks. Don't even get me started on all those activities we do. The next man who shoves his kid in my face and begs me to buy popcorn, I'm going to deck. I promise! Why is it that I am suposed to support everyone elses kids clubs?!?!! I don't have any kids BY CHOICE. Don't ask me to support yours!!
Eating and DoingPdxMark
Oct 14, 2003 10:00 AM
The complexities of living and eating right are only half the problem. The other half is the systemic inactivity that most people live with everyday, including kids.

Bad, over-processed food is certainly a problem, but I think the obesity issue relates much more to eating too much and being too inactive. As one teensy example.... A can of soda pop has 160 calories. One can a day gives you 1120 calories a week, or 4400 calories a month - or one new pound of fat every month. 12 pounds a year. 120 pounds after 10 years. That's just one can of pop a day.

We as a nation we start kids early thinking these empty calories are "food" when it's really just oral entertainment.

But 160 calories a day is no big deal if you burn it, but that's not happening either. Suburban design make walking to school virtually impossible for many kids. PE is cut from schools as Dumocratic waste. That same suburban design makes it impossible for anyone to walk (or ride) to do shopping or run errands. Everyone sits in cars to go absolutely everywhere, everyday. So people spend 30 miuntes round trip drive to gyms to sweat for 30 minutes when they could get an hour of exercise walking or riding as part of their normal day.

The closing on the article I saw was frightening... at current trends, only 5% of the US population will not be obese by 2040.
I have noticed way more overweight teens these daysKristin
Oct 14, 2003 10:41 AM
When I was in high school, there were only a couple kids who were noticably overweight. The other day I was in Marshalls and it seemed like half the girls there (under at 16) had pot bellies or more. These are quite easy to spot too, since everyones wearing next to nothing.
I notice the 20-somethings too...PdxMark
Oct 14, 2003 10:51 AM
which recall as being a pretty rare sight when I was that age.
One good industry directionKristin
Oct 14, 2003 8:13 AM
8oz Coca-cola cans. I don't drink pop very often, but once and a while I like having a little. Now if they would just make it in 4 oz portions, it would be perfect!
or even with 1/2 the sugar nmDougSloan
Oct 14, 2003 8:54 AM
Not hardly.Steve98501
Oct 14, 2003 1:14 PM
Just say no! to soda pop. I buy a soda pop about once every two months. I bought a 6-pack of diet Pepsi for a friend over a year ago, and two cans are still in my fridge. When I joined a gym and later began riding, I started to drink more water in place of everything except beer and wine, so I've still got room to improve my diet.

My mother never brought soda pop or potato chips into our house when I was growing up. We ate meat, potatos, vegetables, and green salad for dinner every day of the year. We NEVER went out for fast food, and she worked full time. She didn't know much about nutrition either, as she over-cooked already cooked canned vegetables and only bought iceberg lettuce.

I don't know a lot about cooking, and probably know more about nutrition. I just wander around the grocery store grabbing fresh meat, veggies, and fruit, and bakery cookies - my weakness, and wine, which is over 50% of my grocery budget, easily. Good food isn't that expensive. It's the prepared foods and junk foods that are most costly per unit. The most over-priced food I buy seems to be granola cereal. I suspect lazyness as the primary reason people don't eat well.

I had a dog and fed her Science Diet, which did cost 3 or more times as much as the popular, but unhealthy pet foods.
It was just ONE can! :-)Kristin
Oct 14, 2003 1:38 PM
I don't drink pop hardly every. I was raised on it instead of water, but these days I have pop like 2-3 time a month. Today was one of those days. Normally, I'd only drink 1/3 of a can and throw the rest away, with the new little ones, I drink...well, actually, I drink the whole thing. Which is cheaper but I'm drinking more pop. I may have to rethink.
Its easy to be judgemental, isn't itDuane Gran
Oct 14, 2003 8:26 AM
I buy my groceries at whole foods (similar to wild oats) in order to avoid many nasty short cuts in modern groceries. It costs a little more, but I know that nothing in the store has hydroginated oils and I get a genuine impression that the company seeks out healthy products. The options for healthy living are out there, people just need to choose them.
Whole food storesPaulCL
Oct 14, 2003 9:56 AM
My wife buys for I take no credit.

She buys organic milk and veggies. My kids snack on fruit mostly but never potato chips, etc. The point is that it takes some effort, some getting used to, and, yes, perhaps, a few more dollars. People just don't choose the healthy option, they choose what tastes best which usually is the unhealthiest.

Someone will surely respond saying that my kids eat chips, etc away from home. Very true. They love'em. I do too. But I control what I can control.
Sometimes vs. alwaysPdxMark
Oct 14, 2003 10:03 AM
We eat like you do. Maybe less on the organic side, but leaning heavily toward the whole real food side. The issue about chips, soda, and all the other junk is that it not be a part of the daily diet. Occaisional junk IS fun and not bad for you, but a daily stream will work its magic in just a few years.
"I'm sick of McDonalds" This from a 7th grader.128
Oct 14, 2003 10:49 AM
we , discussed this briefly, she being a school teacher. Could not believe a kid could be bored w/McD's. How does a 7th grader get bored with McD's?? For us as kids, fast food was a rare treat, we waited until Saturday for cartoons, Disney when it had a special, and The Great Pumpkin once a year.

No more waiting for good stuff.
BINGO you hit on the problem.PaulCL
Oct 14, 2003 10:58 AM
People who eat fast food ALL the time. I can think of three families off the top of my head that eat out 6 days per week. Guess what? Mom, Dad and the kids are all obese. These are my daughters' friends. My daughters know we (Mom and Dad) are doing the right thing becuase they (my girls 9 & 11) have openly stated that their friends are heavy becuase all they eat is junk. When the friends come over for dinner, all they eat is the carbo's and some meat. They never eat the veggie or fruit dish. Sad...really sad.

OK, that's my last post. I'm off my soapbox.
I eat out 7 days a week, three (sometimes four) times a dayTJeanloz
Oct 14, 2003 11:04 AM
That's what, ~21 meals a week eaten out? I have turned on the stove in my apartment, once. Eating out can be done responsibly.
Yes. When you are single, metrosexual with a big paycheck.Kristin
Oct 14, 2003 11:14 AM
Sorry, couldn't resist. Perhaps it has something to do with exercise too. Don't you race? :-)
No, I don't have time to race...TJeanloz
Oct 14, 2003 11:17 AM
I do walk to work. And just about everywhere else. I've stopped riding temporarily because I was losing too much weight (odd, I know, I can't explain it). It's actually a bit of a perplexing problem to have - there's lots of information about how to lose weight, but not so much on how to gain it.
Here's some info about how to put on weight...PdxMark
Oct 14, 2003 2:22 PM
LOL! Kristin you're getting testy these days! (nm)ColnagoFE
Oct 15, 2003 7:35 AM
Must be the steroids. nmKristin
Oct 15, 2003 7:58 AM
We had the same McDs experience...PdxMark
Oct 14, 2003 10:58 AM
and the same for soda pop, chips, etc. They were occaisional treats.

My mom could boil the be-jesus out of any vegetable you could name, and we never ate lettuce that wasn't (nutritionally worthless) iceberg in our salads, so I'm not sure we were getting all we could out of the regular food we ate. But we weren't stuffing 1500 calorie McD meals into ourselves everyday either.

I think we have (are) a generation that grew up with our treats, but then got the ability (through incomes and adult freedom) to give ourselves (& our kids) treats everyday.
re: Obesity again...scary numbersBikeViking
Oct 14, 2003 11:03 AM
I am 6'3", 197lbs with a BMI of 25 (or VERY close to it) so I am a little skeptical of the overweight category.

But 50?!?!?!! D@MN!! That be friggin' HUGE!!!

It's our nations averion to exercise. It really doesn't take much, just walkfor 30 minutes a day, don't eat the WHOLE box of Twinkies, eat some fruit and you'll be fine.