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Thread: Obesity fight must shift from personal blame

  1. #1
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    Obesity fight must shift from personal blame

    Could there be anymore contradictions in this article? I like the fact that it says the problem is that people don't have enough choices so the solution is to limit those choices further.

    It says when given healthy options 50% of people choose them...so now we have to legislate it. Is someone forcing people to go to McDonald's?

    I also like the logic about people walking in the 70s vs now. The problem isn't unsafe conditions when walking. I can't imagine that there were more sidewalks in the 70s. The difference between now and then is Malls and suburbs vs towns. When I was a kid in the 70s I walked or rode my bike everywhere because my friends were close by and my parents wouldn't drive me anywhere. Now everything is not near by so parents have to drive their kids around more.

    This is why I like living in a town. There are 3 parks within 5 blocks of my house that the kids can go to safely. There are stores and pizza places that the kids walk to or ride their bikes to with their friends to hang out. These are the choices that people make.



    [QUOTE][B]Obesity fight must shift from personal blame-U.S. panel[/B]

    By Sharon Begley | Reuters – 48 mins ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - America's obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures -[B] from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax[/B] - to fix it, the influential Institute of Medicine said on Tuesday.

    In an ambitious 478-page report, the IOM refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals. Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less "obesogenic."

    The IOM, part of the Washington-based National Academies, offers advice to the government and others on health issues. Its report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cable channel HBO will air a documentary of the same name next week.

    "People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese," IOM committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. "That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment."

    Shortly after the report was released, the Center for Consumer Freedom, which is funded by restaurant, food and other industries, condemned the IOM as joining forces with the nation's "food nannies." The Center said the IOM[B] recommendations would "actively reduce the number of choices Americans have when they sit down to eat" and emphasized that "personal responsibility" alone was to blame for the obesity epidemic.[/B]

    A study funded by the CDC and released on Monday projected that by 2030, 42 percent of American adults will be obese, compared to 34 percent now, and 11 percent will be severely obese, compared to the current 6 percent.

    Another one-third of American adults are overweight, and one-third of children aged 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index - a measure of height to weight - of 30 or greater. Overweight means a BMI of 25 to 29.9.

    Officials at the IOM and CDC are trying to address the societal factors that led the percentage of obese adults to more than double since 1980, when 15 percent were in that category. Among children, it has soared to 17 percent from 5 percent in the past 30 years. One reason: in 1977, children 2 to 18 consumed an average of 1,842 calories per day. By 2006, that had climbed to 2,022.

    Obesity is responsible for an additional $190 billion a year in healthcare costs, or one-fifth of all healthcare spending, Reuters reported last month, plus billions more in higher health insurance premiums, lost productivity and absenteeism.

    NO MAGIC BULLET
    The IOM panel included members from academia, government, and the private sector. It scrutinized some 800 programs and interventions to identify those that can significantly reduce the incidence of obesity within 10 years.

    "There has been a tendency to look for a single solution, like putting a big tax on soda or banning marketing (of unhealthy food) to children," panel chairman Dan Glickman, a senior fellow of the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former secretary of the Department of Agriculture, told Reuters. "What this report says is this is not a one-solution problem."

    The panel identifies taxing sugar-sweetened beverages as a "potential action," noting that "their link to obesity is stronger than that observed for any other food or beverage."

    A 2011 study estimated that a penny-per-ounce tax could reduce per capita consumption by 24 percent. As a Reuters report described last month, vigorous lobbying by the soda industry crushed recent efforts to impose such a tax in several states, including New York.

    "I do not think in any way, shape or form that such punitive measures will change behaviors," said Rhona Applebaum, Coca-Cola Co.'s chief scientific and regulatory officer, in advance of the report. Anyone deterred by the tax from buying sweetened soda, she said, will replace those calories with something else.

    [B]The IOM committee also grappled with one of the third rails of American politics: farm policy. Price-support programs for wheat, cotton and other commodity crops prohibit participating farmers from planting fruits and vegetables on land enrolled in those programs. Partly as a result, U.S. farms do not produce enough fresh produce for all Americans to eat the recommended amounts, and the IOM panel calls for removing that ban.[/B]

    The committee did not endorse the call by food activist Michael Pollan and others to eliminate farm subsidies that make high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and other obesity-promoting foods very cheap. "There is no evidence subsidies contribute to obesity," said Glickman.

    THE TRUE LACK OF CHOICE
    The traditional view that blames obesity on a failure of personal responsibility and individual willpower "has been used as the basis for resisting government efforts - legislative and regulatory - to address the problem," says the report. But[B] the IOM panel argues that people cannot truly exercise "personal choice" because their options are severely limited, and "biased toward the unhealthy end of the continuum."[/B]

    For instance, a lack of sidewalks makes it impossible to safely walk to work, school or even neighbors' homes in many communities. [B]So while 20 percent of trips between school and home among kids 5 to 15 were on foot in 1977, that figure had dropped to 12.5 percent by 2001.[/B]

    The panel recommended tax incentives for developers to build sidewalks and trails in new housing developments, zoning changes to require pedestrian access and policies to promote bicycle commuting. Flexible financing, and streamlined permitting or tax credits could be used as encouragement.

    The IOM report also calls for making schools the focus of anti-obesity efforts, since preventing obesity at a young age is easier than reversing it. According to the most recent data, only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools and 2 percent of high schools provided daily physical education for all students.

    The IOM report recommends requiring primary and secondary schools to have at least 60 minutes of physical education and activity each day. It calls for banning sugar-sweetened drinks in schools and making drinking water freely available.

    The report also urges that healthy food and drinks be easily available everywhere Americans eat, from shopping centers to sports facilities and chain restaurants. The idea is that more people will eat healthier if little active choice is needed.

    "We've taken fat and sugar, put it in everything everywhere, and made it socially acceptable to eat all the time," David Kessler, former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told Reuters. He was not part of the IOM panel.

    "We're living in a food carnival, constantly bombarded by food cues, almost all of them unhealthy," Kessler said.

    [B]Experience has shown that when businesses offer consumers a full range of choices - and especially when the healthy option is the default - many customers will opt for salads over deep-fried everything.[/B]

    Walt Disney Co., for instance, found more than 50 percent of customers accepted a healthier choice of foods introduced at its theme parks. And last summer, fast-food giant McDonald's Corp said it would include apples, fewer fries, and 20 percent fewer calories in the most popular Happy Meals for kids.

    The IOM report urges employers and insurers to do more to combat obesity. UnitedHealth Group offers a health insurance plan in which a $5,000 yearly deductible can be reduced to $1,000 if a person is not obese and does not smoke. Some employers provide discounts on premiums for completing weight-loss programs.

    Such inducements are far from universal, however. The government-run Medicaid healthcare program for the poor and disabled does not cover weight-loss programs in many states. And as of 2008, only 28 percent of full-time workers in the private sector and 54 percent in government had access to wellness programs.

    (Editing by Michele Gershberg, Christopher Wilson and Paul Simao)





    [/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    I'm Obese.

    It's my fault.

    No one elses.

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4462685]I'm Obese.

    It's my fault.

    No one elses.[/QUOTE]

    I applaud your sense of personal responsibility but do you think any of the recommendations by the IOM would force or encourage you to lose weight?

  4. #4
    I'm going to focus in on one line to highlight the problems with big government:

    [B]So while 20 percent of trips between school and home among kids 5 to 15 were on foot in 1977, that figure had dropped to 12.5 percent by 2001.[/B]

    Ok, a government group identifies a percieved policy. Their conclusion:


    [B]a lack of sidewalks makes it impossible to safely walk to school[/B]

    Here we have it. Kids aren't working to school because of a lack of sidewalks.

    Solution:

    Spend money to build more sidewalks. The Federal government then issues grants to the states to go towards building more sidewalks. They hope that having more of the will encourage more people to walk to school and work therefore reducing obesity. Since obesity is a health issue maybe the money for the sidewalks can come from medical insurance or Obamacare.

    Reality:

    Parents don't let their small children walk to school because predators take them, sexually abuse and kill them. The first major "kid taken walking to school taken" case that was a national story was the case of Etan Patz in NYC back in the late 70's. The kidnappings had taken place before but they were not national OJ Simpson type media hyped stories until Etan.



    My Point: This is a perfect illustration of government gone wrong. They often have good intentions but many if not most government programs are useless. They don't solve the problem they intend to solve and they often create new even worse problems.

  5. #5
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    The contradictions in this article are absurd. I don't understand how this person wrote it, read it, sent it to an editor and then published it.

    For the record, I have no idea how to combat American obesity. I certainly think its a problem.

    Maybe lengthen the school day and mandate an exercise regimen at the end of each day? Oh no I'm a fascist! ;)

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4462811]The contradictions in this article are absurd. I don't understand how this person wrote it, read it, sent it to an editor and then published it.

    For the record, I have no idea how to combat American obesity. I certainly think its a problem.

    Maybe lengthen the school day and mandate an exercise regimen at the end of each day? Oh no I'm a fascist! ;)[/QUOTE]

    How does your plan help the fat ass adults not currently in school? This is a healthcare issue. Maybe we should mandate that everyone exercise for at least an hour a day 4 days a week. Those that don't comply get fined. We could set up an enforcement mechanism, a Gestapo of sorts with the authority to check and make sure people are doing their exerciser. Once hired we could use these special police to work on other issues of the common good. They could make sure people aren't smoking or drinking. Anyone overweight could be banned from purchasing unhealthy foods. We could base it on a persons mass. Any restaurant caught selling unhealthy foods (as determened by the gestap...er special police) would be fined. That could work right?

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=chiefst2000;4462829]How does your plan help the fat ass adults not currently in school? This is a healthcare issue. Maybe we should mandate that everyone exercise for at least an hour a day 4 days a week. Those that don't comply get fined. We could set up an enforcement mechanism, a Gestapo of sorts with the authority to check and make sure people are doing their exerciser. Once hired we could use these special police to work on other issues of the common good. They could make sure people aren't smoking or drinking. Anyone overweight could be banned from purchasing unhealthy foods. We could base it on a persons mass. Any restaurant caught selling unhealthy foods (as determened by the gestap...er special police) would be fined. That could work right?[/QUOTE]

    Well I was being facetious...

    I do think that adult obese are beyond help though, they must help themselves. Where we should look to combat this problem is children. We should look to make the next generation less obese than this one. I don't know how to do it.

    For the record, I smoke, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous the taxes I pay for a pack. I just moved back to NY from CO, as I start Law School at Hofstra in August, and it's twice as much for a pack here.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4462811]Maybe lengthen the school day and mandate an exercise regimen at the end of each day? Oh no I'm a fascist! ;)[/QUOTE]

    No, but that is a "more Govt. is the solution to every problem" kind of answer.

    The answer, as I see it, is freedom. You or I have the freedom to be obese if we wish, but we suffer the consequences of that choice with more expensive health and life insurance rates, no freebies or handouts because of our self-caused "disabillity", and allowing the market to charge more if special accomodations are required to suit our fat assed backsides into their services.

    And if we continue to choose to be obsese, well.....us fatties tend to get sick and die early. If the State pays for it, thats one thing. if the individual is responsible, thats real motivation...and if they fail to heed that motivation, they suffer the consequences, as they should.

    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4462845]For the record, I smoke.[/QUOTE]

    Seems we're both on the Suicide Layaway plan then, eh? I bet my food tastes better than your smokes do. :P

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4462858]No, but that is a "more Govt. is the solution to every problem" kind of answer.

    The answer, as I see it, is freedom. You or I have the freedom to be obese if we wish, but we suffer the consequences of that choice with more expensive health and life insurance rates, no freebies or handouts because of our self-caused "disabillity", and allowing the market to charge more if special accomodations are required to suit our fat assed backsides into their services.

    And if we continue to choose to be obsese, well.....us fatties tend to get sick and die early. If the State pays for it, thats one thing. if the individual is responsible, thats real motivation...and if they fail to heed that motivation, they suffer the consequences, as they should.



    Seems we're both on the Suicide Layaway plan then, eh? I bet my food tastes better than your smokes do. :P[/QUOTE]

    Ahh yes, but for an [I]American Socialist [/I]like myself (happy?), I'd like a single payer system or at least a public option, and if that were law - your obesity and my black lungs should rightfully see us pay more in taxes (single payer) or for the public option, to fund that healthcare system.

    But alas, that is not the case. Therefore, I say the solution is not in regulating adults, but in some form of promoting health in our public schools from an early age.

    I do not know the answer.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4462885]Ahh yes, but for an [I]American Socialist [/I]like myself (happy?), I'd like a single payer system or at least a public option, and if that were law - your obesity and my black lungs should rightfully see us pay more in taxes (single payer) or for the public option, to fund that healthcare system.[/quote]

    Really?

    Since when was paying more taxes based upon condition a part of the single-payer system? Do you have a link of any kind to support that, as I've never heard that before. I'm intrigued, as I've never heard of that in any of the existing single-payer systems I'm aware of.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4462893]Really?

    Since when was paying more taxes based upon condition a part of the single-payer system? Do you have a link of any kind to support that, as I've never heard that before. I'm intrigued, as I've never heard of that in any of the existing single-payer systems I'm aware of.[/QUOTE]

    Neither have I, I just think it's fair.

  12. #12
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    Some fun science for you all:

    [url]http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810122139.htm[/url]

    [I]Food Stamp Use Linked To Weight Gain, Study Finds
    ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2009) — The U.S. Food Stamp Program may help contribute to obesity among its users, according to a new nationwide study that followed participants for 14 years.

    Researchers found that the average user of food stamps had a Body Mass Index (BMI) 1.15 points higher than non-users. The link between food stamps and higher weight was almost entirely based on women users, who averaged 1.24 points higher BMI than those not in the program, the study found. For an average American woman, this would mean an increase in weight of 5.8 pounds.

    The study also found that people’s BMI increased faster when they were on food stamps than when they were not, and increased more the longer they were in the program.

    “We can’t prove that the Food Stamp Program causes weight gain, but this study suggests a strong linkage,” said Jay Zagorsky, co-author of the study and a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research.

    “While food stamps may help fight hunger, they may have the unintended consequence of encouraging weight gain among women.”

    Based on these findings, the Food Stamp Program may have a significant impact on America’s obesity rate. In 2008 about 28 million people, or almost 1 in 11 residents, received benefits from the program in a given month.

    Zagorsky conducted the study with Patricia Smith of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Their study appears in the current issue of the journal Economics and Human Biology.

    The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has questioned the same group of randomly selected Americans since 1979. The NLSY is conducted by Ohio State’s Center for Human Resource Research.

    In this study, Zagorsky and Smith compared nearly 4,000 survey participants who used food stamps with almost 6,000 survey participants who did not. They looked at BMI and food stamp use among the participants from 1989 to 2002.

    BMI is one of the most widely used measurements for obesity. The BMI approximates body mass using a mathematical ratio of weight and height.

    Obesity has been linked to poverty, so the researchers took into account income and a variety of other factors – including race and education -- that may have also affected the weight of survey participants, outside of the use of food stamps.

    In addition, the study compared people who lived in the same counties, to take into account that there may be local factors that affect obesity rates.

    Even after the various controls, the link between food stamp use and higher weight remained clear, especially for women.

    While female food stamp users in general had an average BMI that was 1.24 points higher than those not in the program, white women’s BMI was 1.96 points higher, while black women’s BMI was 1.1 points higher.

    Male food stamp users, both white and black, did not have significantly higher BMIs than those not in the program.

    Additional evidence of food stamps’ role in weight gain came when the researchers looked at how people’s BMI changed before, during and after they were on food stamps.

    Results showed BMI increased over all three periods, but increased the most when participants were on food stamps.

    The average food stamp users saw their BMI go up 0.4 points per year when they were in the program, compared to 0.07 points per year before and 0.2 points per year after they no longer received the benefits.

    In addition, the study found the longer participants received food stamps, the higher their BMI.

    “Every way we looked at the data, it was clear that the use of food stamps was associated with weight gain,” Zagorsky said.

    From the data they have, the researchers can’t tell for sure why food stamps seem to lead to unhealthy eating practices, Zagorsky said. But there are clues.

    Government statistics showed that the average recipient received $81 in food stamps per month in 2002, the last year examined in this study.

    “That figure was shocking to me.” Zagorsky said. “I think it would be very difficult for a shopper to regularly buy healthy, nutritious food on that budget.”

    That’s because calorie-dense, high-fat, processed foods tend to be less expensive than more healthy choices.

    Zagorsky said policymakers should aim at changing the types of food that program participants purchase.

    Those on food stamps could be required to take a course on nutrition. In addition, recipients who purchase fresh fruit and vegetables and other low-fat products could be given more benefits or receive discounts on these products, he said.

    “Modifying the Food Stamp Program to include economic incentives to eat healthier might be an important tool for fighting obesity,” Zagorsky said[/I]

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4462845]Well I was being facetious...

    I do think that adult obese are beyond help though, they must help themselves. Where we should look to combat this problem is children. We should look to make the next generation less obese than this one. I don't know how to do it.

    For the record, I smoke, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous the taxes I pay for a pack. I just moved back to NY from CO, as I start Law School at Hofstra in August, and it's twice as much for a pack here.[/QUOTE]

    The cigarette tax is one that I am very much for. They should make it even higher IMO.(I quit real cigs a few years back and switched to electronic ones)

    I wish they had exorbitantly high cigarette prices when I was a teen. Its Likely I wouldn't have started smoking. Cigarettes are cancer sticks. The addiction is very tough to break. I couldn't so did the next best thing and swithed to a healthier (i hope) alternative.

  14. #14
    Government often makes things worse. Its a theme today. People are fat because they eat processed garbage. The government that promoted Pink Slime in school cafeterias meatballs and hamburgers should not be in charge of individuals health. People are fat because the American diet does not have enough unprocessed foods. Japanese people eat Rice and fish. Mediteranian people eat Fish, Olives, Salads and fresh yogurt. Americans eat MCDonalds/Frozen Meals. We eat at fast food 4-5 times a week.

    The diets we eat are devoit of fresh foods and essential nutrients. Warfish.. If you stopped eating crap all the time and replaced it with unprocessed foods you would drop weight without trying.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=chiefst2000;4462924]Government often makes things worse.[/QUOTE]

    That's awesome.

    Let's trust them with nuclear weapons and a standing army. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=chiefst2000;4462924]Government often makes things worse. Its a theme today. People are fat because they eat processed garbage. The government that promoted Pink Slime in school cafeterias meatballs and hamburgers should not be in charge of individuals health. People are fat because the American diet does not have enough unprocessed foods. Japanese people eat Rice and fish. Mediteranian people eat Fish, Olives, Salads and fresh yogurt. Americans eat MCDonalds/Frozen Meals. We eat at fast food 4-5 times a week.

    The diets we eat are devoit of fresh foods and essential nutrients. Warfish.. If you stopped eating crap all the time and replaced it with unprocessed foods you would drop weight without trying.[/QUOTE]

    One of the reasons we eat so much processed food is it's both cheap and highly addictive. Unproceessed foods, organic milk, meat and poultry is very expensive. Check the price of wild cought fish with a side of fresh veggies vs. mac and cheese.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs;4463141]One of the reasons we eat so much processed food is it's both cheap and highly addictive.[/QUOTE]

    Agreed, but I would add easily accessible as well.

    From fast food restaurants to school cafeterias to supermarkets, the vast majority of inventory is processed foods. In the end it comes down to personal choices and responsibility, but if the roles were reversed, the obesity crisis in this country would be much lower in my opinion.

  18. #18
    Why does McDonald's keep trying to win over health-conscious people? These people wouldn't even think of going there in the first place.

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=SizzleBear287;4463244]Why does McDonald's keep trying to win over health-conscious people? These people wouldn't even think of going there in the first place.[/QUOTE]

    Because they have kids

  20. #20
    No offense to the people in this thread, but I'm not reading through all of this.

    If the thread's title is an accurate representation of what the article is about, that's all I need to know.

    I come from family where all of the men on both sides are overweight, and on my dad's side, they all have diabetes and a heart condition to boot. My father is overweight.

    I too am almost 20llbs overweight. However, that's down from almost 35llbs just 6 months ago, because I became very cognizant about my health and diet, and started exercising daily.

    The only person who should be held accountable for your health is you. That's all there is to it.

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