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a corpulent reaper
March 10, 2004 11:24 AM   Subscribe

American fat asses rapidly dying. The aggrandizing of the scourge.
posted by the fire you left me (44 comments total)

 
Until Food Mfr's are given incentive to use healthy ingredients instead of hiding cheap-to-use crap like Trans Fatty Acids, Corn Sugars (cheap thx to huge gov't farm subsidies), and other nasties, the problems will continue. And we will bear the costs in the form of health care costs stemming from this ubiquitous diet.

Meanwhile, the food mfrs are succeeding in getting congress to protect them from what they like to refer as "frivolous" law suits over the long term effects of such wholesome cooking.
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:31 AM on March 10, 2004


Here's an article from yesterday's NY Times about the overabundance of sugar in the American diet.
posted by Tin Man at 11:35 AM on March 10, 2004


Just wrote about this yesterday. I think the fattening of the country is linked to the ever rising size of the SUVs, the better to haul around the big fat families from drive through to drive through.

Its not the fat that's bad, its not the carbs and sugar that's bad. Its the over consumption of them that is making the nation into a bunch of big fat whiners who haven't seen their feet in years.

And I just saw on the news this morning that some Bay Area schools may have to charge students to play sports to keep the programs.
posted by fenriq at 11:38 AM on March 10, 2004


Ya'know it could be because people eat too much.
posted by bshort at 11:38 AM on March 10, 2004


Yeah, I think that's the fire you left me's (over-the-top) point...
posted by soyjoy at 11:40 AM on March 10, 2004


Sorry, I was replying to Fupped Duck.

And it probably should have been "too goddamn much."
posted by bshort at 11:47 AM on March 10, 2004


I blame the American Taliban.

Well.....a little anyway, through guilt by association :

My fundamentalist brother's family has an awful diet - potatoes, no vegetables, tons of fried foods, tons of meat, sugared cereals...

Maybe it's because many evangelicals equate "health food" with the satanic left?
posted by troutfishing at 11:53 AM on March 10, 2004


>American fat asses rapidly dying.
>may have to charge students to play sports to keep the programs.


Saw an article about a gentleman whom had the a similar title "most fit 50 year old man". He participated in triathlons & all kinds of cross training sports. By medical and conditioning tests he proved perfectly fit even if he had been years younger. But his physical measurements said he was obese which flunked him on all his physical examinations. He participated in triathlons/marathons yet had trouble with jobs and health insurance because tests said he looked obese. Yet he had public proof he was fit.

"There is no single cause of all human obesity, so we must explore prevention and treatment approaches that encompass many aspects, such as behavioral, sociocultural, socioeconomic, environmental, physiologic and genetic factors," he said.
Keep you mouth close will stop this, yet you have to eat to survive. After hearing "shocking news" involving food and death can't keep from think this comes piped down from those whom generate revenue from all this. My new diet now: "sealing your mouth closed at eating times", like a tube.

Last night a major news source had a segamant that pointed out: smokers whom were also obese was "the new rising cause of death", which exclaims: dope!

Oh here is why, Pill to curb eating, smoking tested. Gee from the same news source last night. Way to advertise it CNM(sic) or should I say: Pepshit(sic) Blue to you.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:07 PM on March 10, 2004


What did I proof read, sorry: He had trouble with jobs and health insurance because the tests showed he "was" obese, yet there was public proof he was physically fit.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:11 PM on March 10, 2004


Parents fight back. Actually, there's been a slew of news lately in the Mercury about attempts to get rid of snack & pop machines in schools. Do a search for this week's articles containing "soda" and enjoy.
posted by badstone at 12:17 PM on March 10, 2004


This FPP has my vote for the 2004 MeFi "classiest FPP subject" award.
posted by milnak at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2004


Saw an article about a gentleman whom had the a similar title "most fit 50 year old man".

Anecdotes != data

Are there statistical outliers? Sure. Is that fat guy sitting next to me in the departure lounge one of them? No. Those people tossing back beers in the bar? No. For that matter are the 80% of folks walking by that appear to heavy? Not a chance.
posted by shagoth at 12:30 PM on March 10, 2004


a concerned federal government launched an advertising campaign aimed at getting Americans to eat better and exercise more.

You know what I think the problem is? I can tell you mine. I work too damn much. I don't have time to exercise. The 12-16 hour days have meant that I've gained 20 lbs over the last 9 months. I get up, I go to work, I run an occasional errand, and I go home and fall asleep. In my spare time I attempt to do something social occasionally so I don't become souless on top of fat.

I'm going part-time next week and oh-so looking forward to it, despite the financial risk. If the economy/payscale were better, I'd likely quit altogether and freelance. But I remember all too well the problems of having too much free time (and running out of money) during a year of complete unemployment.
posted by weston at 12:30 PM on March 10, 2004


Oh yeah, so my point was, a government that is concerned about American's lifestyle habits could start by encouraging policies that don't lead to low-wage jobs or an economy where the market is so bad for labor that companies can ask employees to work 80 hour weeks and they'll do it out of fear.

My situation is a little bit different -- I have friends who run the company and I work this much partly out of loyalty, but I know it's a problem overall.
posted by weston at 12:33 PM on March 10, 2004


badstone, the want to remove the soda and replace with the same high fructose corn syrup "sports" drinks just without carbonation.

At least, that's what the article I read was talking about. Can't find it now though (of course).
posted by fenriq at 12:36 PM on March 10, 2004


The problem is, there aren't enough mothers (or father's in some cases) in the home with any domestic skills to speak of, to cook real food for their families. Oh, and "health food" may be expensive, but REAL food is cheap.

Women's lib' created the two-income family economy and now everyone is getting fat because of it.

"Are you serious?" Yep.

oddly enough, I'm currently listening to Sugar Free Jazz by Soul Coughing
posted by Witty at 12:36 PM on March 10, 2004


just a few hours ago, I was discussing with a friend the weird fascination in the Italian region of Emilia for a terribly fatty (but delicious) food called la salama da sugo. you can either eat it or mash it up and directly inject it into your ventricles.
but it does taste good, yeah.



I also wanted to reiterate my deep -- completely Platonic of course -- love for thomcatspike. that's all.

posted by matteo at 12:46 PM on March 10, 2004


Maybe food isn't the culprit after all. Maybe it's that the fabled average American watching 29 (twenty-nine!) hours of TV every week.

Maybe if we hadn't been turned into a buncha chicken-littles, and weren't so contentious, we'd quit hiding in the dark and go outside and walk around and hang out and have some fun.

After all, we have Homeland Security to protect us. And BIG SUVs to beat out the errant Honda Civics. And the ever-vigilant guarding our morals. And sunscreen. And the omnipresent severe danger of second-hand smoke is largely gone. Even the threat of Martha Stewart's gone.

Landa the free worry-warts.
posted by Twang at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2004


Pardon me, Witty, could you connect the dots between two-income families and Americans getting fat?

Furthermore, blaming "Women's lib'" is completely spurious. It would be more accurate to blame modern appliances, which mean the modern housekeeper does not need to spend her entire day scrubbing laundry by hand in a tub. Furthermore, the modern cook does not need to pluck her own chickens and churn her own butter.

Women have been supplementing the family income since the Old Testament. Proverbs 31:10-31. You can't blame the "working mom" for all the evils of the world.
posted by ilsa at 1:01 PM on March 10, 2004


Twang beat me to the point about "entertaining ourselves to death," but i'll once again point an accusatory finger at convenience culture.

anyone who uses self-propelled modes of transportation (walking, running, stairs, biking) has a major advantage in staying fit. it's not that hard.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:08 PM on March 10, 2004


Witty, what gives you the idea that the vast majority of families out there could afford for the woman to stay at home, and still have money for food, nutritious or otherwise? Lots of folks in this economy are living hand to mouth, and their harmful food choices may often be attributed to common-sense factors such as lack of education about nutritional values, and lack of easy access to healthy food choices. Add to that mix the obvious fact that plenty of people have the knowledge and access required, but lack the discipline to consistently make good choices, and voila, epidemic-level obesity.

Blaming women's employment and/or women's lib for the current state of affairs doesn't make any sense. But hey, don't let that stop you.
posted by clever sheep at 1:33 PM on March 10, 2004


"Anecdotes != data" Tom said, anecdotally.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:38 PM on March 10, 2004


All I'll say is that the actual reason for deaths is "poor diet and physical inactivity," and the data itself says nothing about fat. It has been up to Tommy Thompson to put the idea that "poor diet + physical activity = fat" out there, and he's doing nothing but perpetuating fat hatred - as evidenced by the first link in this post.
posted by hijinx at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2004


he's doing nothing but perpetuating fat hatred - as evidenced by the first link in this post.

Yeah! Tommy Thompson is just some shallow appearance-obsessed grinch! Being obese is probably actually good for your survival, assuming that Malthus was right!

(And I'll bet that Thompson has never even had to ride a trolley smashed up against 300 pound men in high summer.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:14 PM on March 10, 2004


Eat less, exercise more.

That's the simple magical formula. People don't seem to want to face that, though.

I am also a bit bemused by the idea that some people seem to entertain that there is a One True Diet out there, that somehow we humans are all so and identical that there is some right combination of foods somewhere out there that, when combined in just the right percentages and milligrams, will maximize the health and lifespan of everyone, everywhere.

Sure, some things are better for us than others, and there definitely are better and worse diets. Mostly, though, we're pretty flexibal organisms can eat a wide range of things to provide energy for our bodies. And statistically speaking, our chances of avoiding death are somewhere around 0. It's amazing how much people worry about this.
posted by moonbiter at 2:48 PM on March 10, 2004


Ghod, my grammar sucks.
posted by moonbiter at 2:49 PM on March 10, 2004


All the people I know who died "young" died of smoking-related diseases. Which doesn't mean they might not have had other risk factors. Anecdotally, of course.
posted by tommasz at 3:04 PM on March 10, 2004


I would love to know the secret of some of the skinny folks I know. For example, I used to work with a girl who could slide through a flute and not strike a note. For lunch most days she ate a 2 lb bag of barbecue potato chips, nothing more. Her only exercise was bowling once a week.

My husband's friend could easily win a Mr. Puniverse contest; he's so thin his hipbones protrude through his jeans. He's a vegetarian and a bachelor, and lives on macaroni and cheese, french fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches. By rights he should be shaped like a beach ball.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:37 PM on March 10, 2004


So, now that smokers and fatties are neck and neck for health problems, how will the taxing authorities continue to justify the tobacco taxes? Aren't they ostensibly based on recouping the increased costs to the State of all those horrible smokers draining the health care systems of cash without a care for their neighbors?

I propose a sugar tax, scaled proportional to the amount of processing. Sugar in fruit would be untaxable, but fructose extracted from fruit and injected into some other food product would be taxed. Refined sugar would be taxed at a higher rate. Crap like corn syrup would be taxed at yet a higher rate. Can you imagine this ever getting passed? Me either, thankfully, because I loves me sugary goodness.

Hmm, how about the additional wear and tear those overweight people are putting on our sidewalks? As a thin person, I just don't think I'm getting the same value from my tax dollars as they are.
posted by SpaceBass at 3:38 PM on March 10, 2004


Hmm, how about the additional wear and tear those overweight people are putting on our sidewalks? As a thin person, I just don't think I'm getting the same value from my tax dollars as they are.

Well, we could make them pay for two airline seats. Or Maybe not.
posted by subgenius at 4:13 PM on March 10, 2004


Smoking keeps you thin. That's the long and short of it. So take your pick.
posted by squealy at 4:18 PM on March 10, 2004


Eat less, exercise more.

You only need to pick one, really.
posted by pemulis at 5:00 PM on March 10, 2004


Well at least American high schools aren't losing their athletic programs.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:04 PM on March 10, 2004


Well at least American high schools aren't losing their athletic programs.

This is, I think, a related problem: by the time kids reach high school, only a select few are in any athletic program. (And I don't really think P.E. qualifies.) The system we've built discourages all but the most skilled away from athletics of any kind. Now I can sort of see why: there are only 12 spots on the varsity B-ball team, and even football only has, what, 30-35 players? But the school I went to really got into intramural and informal sports, and you really had to try to avoid getting into playing something. I just think it would be nice if schools wouldn't train most of their students to view sports as spectators.
posted by deadcowdan at 5:23 PM on March 10, 2004


deadcowdan: right on. Involving all kids in some sort of physical program that they enjoy (be it dancing, physical theatre training, yoga, etc.) during their school day could go a long way to fighting obesity.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:44 PM on March 10, 2004


I havent checked any statistics, but I'm pretty sure that the effects of any group of people dying early is going to be offset by other highly reproductive groups from overpopulated areas.
posted by titboy at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2004


ah, you've got to love sugar.

also, the government has been subsidizing sugar for years.

i'm not suggesting that eliminating the subsidy to sugar is a key to solving anything for either side of the table . . . i just seems like an interesting point to note.



In 2000, the US price of sugar fell below the guarantees, and processors threatened to keep their loans and give the sugar to the government. To avoid storing sugar, the US government in 2000 promised to give farmers up to $20,000 each if they destroy part of their 2000 crop. The Government Accounting Office estimates that US government sugar subsidies cost Americans $1.9 billion each year in higher prices, and benefit only a handful of large beet and cane growers.

The Bush administration, which receives millions in funding from the sugar industry, argues there is little robust evidence to show that drinking sugary drinks or eating too much sugar is a direct cause of obesity.

Americans, who comprise only 5% of world population, account for a whopping 33% of total global sugar consumption, over 10 million tons annually.
posted by nyoki at 2:09 AM on March 11, 2004


also, sugar is a large issue in global trade.
posted by nyoki at 2:21 AM on March 11, 2004


ilsa:

> Pardon me, Witty, could you connect the dots between two-income families and
> Americans getting fat?

1. major increase in number of available workers as large number of former homemakers take jobs, creates
2. major increase in competition for available jobs, which leads to
3. wage stagnation, which means that
4. the "extra" income from wife taking a job is no longer optional; now both parents have to work; and therefore
5. nobody's minding the house. Latchkey kids eat Doritos after school, parents come home late and worn out, cook frozen pizza.
6. Butts expand exponentially.

Don't misunderstand me now, ilsa, I'm not saying this like it's a bad thing.
posted by jfuller at 6:11 AM on March 11, 2004


The system we've built discourages all but the most skilled away from athletics of any kind. Now I can sort of see why: there are only 12 spots on the varsity B-ball team, and even football only has, what, 30-35 players?

Very good point. When I was in high school (late 1970s), PE was only required/available in the 9th and 10th grades. After that, if you wanted to participate in athletics, you had to be good enough to get on a team. Then again, it was only in grade school gym class that we regularly did calisthenics. By high school we were playing golf and softball and archery, none of which were very aerobic.

My diet now is a million times healthier than it was in high school, yet I never weighed over 100 lbs until I was in my 20s. Looking back I'm sure it was because I didn't have a car and I either walked or rode my bike anywhere I needed to go. Thing is, in many ways we're discouraged from doing that today. A few years back I was mugged while walking to work, and the cop's reaction was "what's a young girl like you doing walking around in a neighborhood like this? You're asking for trouble."
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:38 AM on March 11, 2004


Women's lib' created the two-income family economy and now everyone is getting fat because of it.

Easy enough argument to "prove" or "disprove." Simply answer this:

Which came first, low wages forcing both parents to work, or both parents working leading to low wages.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 AM on March 11, 2004


jfuller, I don't mean to nitpick if you're simply trying to be tongue-in-cheek...but that's one heck of a hyper-reductionist reply to ilsa. Your six points posit a wholly unsupported chain of causation; not to mention that the first few statements themselves are hardly indisputable, and beg for entire paragraphs of context.

I'm totally at a loss as to how anyone could think that re-prioritizing the woman-at-home model--even the apparently optimal barefoot-pregnant-and-submissive variety--means that anybody would be any slimmer. People in general would remain equally capable of and inclined toward taking in more calories than they expend. Or do you have a study in your back pocket that shows that families with a stay-at-home mother have lower average BMIs? Surely that would be easy to produce, since the mere presence of At-Home Mom (TM) would automatically ensure that kids ate apples and raisins instead of Doritos and Twinkies. Right?

Even if Witty waved a magic wand and turned American women into a nation of Stepford June Cleaver clones, we'd still face rampant obesity. "Other", less wish-fulfillment-oriented factors would persist: urban planning, educational deficiencies, product marketing campaigns, poverty, and more.

/end irritated over-reaction
posted by clever sheep at 10:23 AM on March 11, 2004


> Your six points posit a wholly unsupported chain of causation; not to
> mention that the first few statements themselves are hardly indisputable, and
> beg for entire paragraphs of context.

Well, you can't do a whole lot of contextualization when you've just been asked to "connect the dots."


> I'm totally at a loss as to how anyone could think that re-prioritizing the
> woman-at-home model--even the apparently optimal barefoot-pregnant-
> and-submissive variety-- means that anybody would be any slimmer.

Oh no, I'm sure it doesn't work in reverse. There's no going back.

Bear in mind that I didn't say this was the only cause of flabulousness. Of course a lot of factors feed into the situation. As it were.
posted by jfuller at 10:40 AM on March 11, 2004


Well, you can't do a whole lot of contextualization when you've just been asked to "connect the dots."

Well then, the error was obviously mine, in assuming there was any substance behind your argument. It might help folks like me if, going forward, you used tags to indicate whether you are or aren't willing to stand behind the statements you make.

Bear in mind that I didn't say this was the only cause of flabulousness.

No, you merely proposed a direct-causation series with no backing whatever. That's a completely different variety of crap.
posted by clever sheep at 11:45 AM on March 11, 2004


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