100 lb. Club - British newspaper suggests possible downturn in obesity levels in US

09-13-2007, 12:19 PM
The Independent a British paper ran an article today suggesting a possible town turn in obesity in the states. the article revolves around your guys love for your cars and the rising oil prices. it showed a chart plotting Fuel/oil prices from 1980 to the present and the level of obesity from 1980 to present. and apart from few glitches here and there as fuel came down in price the pounds have piled on. will higher Fuel prices force you to walk shorter distances or just buy a more efficient car?

09-13-2007, 12:36 PM
Several factors I think contribute to this. I do think oil prices are a *small contributing factor because our appetite for oil is so insatiable it would take a massive increase (7$+) to truly cause us to re-evaluate how much we drive on a noticeable level. I think that at this time it just results in people choosing to stay home, rather than take that weekend drive, you know?

As folks moved so far out into the suburbs, driving everwhere was just what you did/do. We are in a time of parents driving their children to the bustops for fear of kidnappers (and just plain laziness). Everything is far away and requires a vehicle. But it's looking up.

I know in my city, Denver, public transportation expands year after year, making it easier for people to use it- and people are using it. Housing prices in the suburbs have dropped to an embarassing low, while small communities and neighborhoods close to the city remain in high demand.

But... I think that as we desire to loosen the noose that the oil industry holds around our necks, we will eventually gravitate towards a "smaller existence". Our desires to drive less and our growing awareness of the impact of the oil industry will cause us to use things like CSA's and make neighborhoods more "walkable" and limit our sprawling tendencies, which I find a very good thing. And that's where you might see the turn with obesity.

09-13-2007, 12:38 PM
None of the above. I like my big ole car and the corner store is a mile each way, up hill both ways.

I'm afraid my weight's going to have to drop because of better food and exercise.

09-13-2007, 02:06 PM
I don't know if this really helps me, I live near a bus line, but it only runs Monday-Saturday from 6 in the morning until 5 at night, every hour. If I was to use it, it would take me a few hours to get anywhere. Plus it doesn't go to the stores I need to shop, plus having a family of 4 plus 2 cats , I need a car to pick up groceries, and cat litter( have you ever tried carrying 40lbs of cat litter?:workout:. I would love to buy a Hybrid,but they are very expensive, but you never know. We have a dealer near me that sells the little electric cars, but they still wouldn't take me where I needed to go, so I am one of those who need a car. My weight loss, is happening because of me, nothing else.

09-13-2007, 02:28 PM
As with any aggregate trend, it'd be hard to pinpoint one "smoking gun" that would account for declining obesity levels in the US (if they are in fact declining significantly.) Higher oil prices strikes me as one of the least plausible, because Americans are incredibly resistant to any change that might make their lives even infinitesimally less convenient. Also, my understanding of the data is that Americans haven't (on average) changed their driving habits in response to higher oil prices. They complain about gas prices a lot, and there's been a decline in sales of large SUVs, but neither translates directly into fewer miles driven and more miles walked.

But, here are some other factors that could be affecting obesity rates:
- increasing awareness of the "obesity epidemic" and its consequences
- rising education levels (less educated people are, on average, fatter)
- more pressure on families and schools to serve healthier food to kids
- increasing urbanization (rural residents are, on average, fatter)
- increasing immigration (new immigrants are less likely to obese than native-born Americans, although as they assimilate they also get fatter).
- the aging of the population and the increase in obesity-related diseases among the middle-aged and elderly, which has served as a wake-up call for at least some overweight people

Obviously, some of these factors are likely to have a bigger and more immediate effect on obesity rates than others. But it wouldn't surprise me if we're at the peak of the "obesity epidemic."


09-13-2007, 05:34 PM
cheryl yes i have tried to carry 40lbs of cat litter one bag on each shoulder 2 miles home. did it a few times and then decided to get it delivered :D