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Old 03-10-2004, 10:05 AM   #1  
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Default From this morning's Chronicle...

This was on the front page this morning!

Quote:
Poor diet killing more in U.S.
Lack of exercise helping overtake tobacco's top spot

Carl T. Hall, Chronicle Science Writer
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
2004 San Francisco Chronicle


URL: sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/03/10/MNGCR5HRJ71.DTL


Poor diet and physical inactivity are overtaking smoking as the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths in the United States, federal officials reported Tuesday.

The study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 400,000 deaths in the United States in 2000 could be attributed to poor eating and exercise habits, coming close to tying tobacco as the leading cause of avoidable deaths.

Smoking deaths have essentially leveled out, and deaths tied to such culprits as alcohol, illicit drug use, sexual behavior and firearms have declined over the past decade. But against that backdrop, the obesity problem is strikingly different.

"This is tragic," Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC's director and an author of the study, told reporters. "Our worst fears were confirmed." She was joined by Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services, at a Washington, D.C., news briefing to call attention to the new cause-of-death study.

In response to the findings, Thompson revealed a new public-health ad campaign to heighten awareness of the health benefits of walking, while the National Institutes of Health proposed a new research agenda to tackle the obesity problem.

Many experts, however, said tougher measures might be needed to turn the grim numbers around.

About half of all deaths in 2000 were tied to "largely preventable behaviors and exposures," the CDC analysis concluded. Technically, smoking remained the No. 1 preventable killer in 2000, the "actual cause" of about 435, 000 deaths, up from 400,000 in 1990.

The toll from poor diet and physical inactivity increased by about a third -- to 400,000 deaths in 2000 from 300,000 deaths in 1990. But the figure might be even worse than the study suggests.

Although the statisticians said they chose a more conservative approach for their published findings, they said diet deficiencies and sedentary lifestyles could be causing as many as 500,000 deaths each year, or about the same as the annual cancer toll.

The new study appears in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association. A commentary in the medical journal demands a stronger "social commitment" to put the nation on a slimmer path.

"Sometime within the last 10 or 15 years the obesity epidemic has really started to take full flight," said Dr. J. Michael McGinnis of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, co-author of the commentary as well as the original 1990 analysis upon which the latest study was modeled.

"Our policies haven't caught up," he said. "It isn't enough anymore just to say, 'This is the problem. People need to eat better and exercise better.' We need to address the environmental influences and everything that goes into social behavior."

Smoking rates have peaked and even begun declining in some population groups. Experts attribute the trend to such factors as higher cigarette taxes, indoor smoking bans -- soon to extend to the area outside the CDC's own headquarters in Atlanta -- and relentless anti-smoking ad campaigns.

While obesity has been getting more attention lately as a public health issue, perceptions may lag the body counts. Some analysts, including McGinnis, have called for more potent measures to tackle the problem, such as tough nutrition labeling rules and insurance premiums with incentives to lose weight.

The Bush administration has resisted some of the more sweeping proposals, and Tuesday's announcements did little to change the perception that nothing far-reaching was in the works.

Even though more is being done to get the obesity health message across, it's proving to be a tough sell. Some specialists in analyzing risk-taking behavior say this is only to be expected given the different ways people perceive dangers.

"Chronic deaths don't scare us as much as deaths that happen catastrophically, all at once, like in a plane crash," said David Ropeik, a spokesman for the Center for Risk Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health.

People are also skilled at tuning out what they don't want to hear about behaviors from which they derive immediate gratification, even if it means being at greater risk for disease in years ahead.

"We get a benefit from being obese," Ropeik noted. "All those fries we get to have, taking a nap and watching a ballgame on the weekend instead of working outside in the garden, the extra dessert, the burgers, the beer -- we are certainly getting a benefit, and so we play down the risk in our mind if we get a benefit."

Local health officials said they were well aware of the scale of the problem.

"The statistics here don't surprise me at all," said Dr. Mitch Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. "We've known for some time that physical inactivity has a tremendous burden of disease in this country. Our society has evolved to the point that you don't even have to get up anymore to switch TV channels."

The big challenge raised by the new findings is "getting people to be responsible for their own health," Katz said. The interventions may be as simple as walking instead of taking the elevator at work -- as signs exhort people to do in the San Francisco Health Department lobby.

Katz said policies need to change to encourage a leaner society, including tax and other incentives for walking or bicycling. "Right now," Katz noted, "we subsidize driving."
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:10 AM   #2  
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I heard this on the news last night, and agree 100% with the statement:

>>"The big challenge raised by the new findings is "getting people to be responsible for their own health," Katz said."<<

I saw a post yesterday somewhere, complaining about "the food police" creating prejudice against obese people. What it comes down to, IMHO, is the people who want to blame the so-called "food police," the food industry and advertising for their obesity and subsequent poor health are in denial. Same applies for people who smoke all their lives and the surviving families sue the tabacco company of choice. If a person's obesity is a result of a medical condition such as a non-functioning thyroid, that's one thing. But each individual is responsible for themselves, even with a known medical condition. And it's not just food, tobacco or alcohol - I have to wonder, when as a society did America throw fate to the wind? Why are we as a society a group of emotional cripples that we have to use substitutes for our unmet needs? Why and when did instant gratification and the need to have everything *now* become the norm?

Sorry for being such a venter. Like my DH says, there's nothing worse than a reformed alcoholic, smoker, whore mongerer, and in my case, fat lady. I continued to overeat and smoke in spite of a health condition knowing full well I was only aggravating it. If I could, I'd kick my own *** for being such an idiot. But I am now empowered knowing I am finally in control, and I take full responsibility for my own ignorance.

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Old 03-10-2004, 11:16 AM   #3  
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Nicely said, Dip!!!
And it all goes back to people not wanting to take responsibility for the outcome of their lives. It's always easier to point to someone else and play the perpetual "victim." Would you believe that for a long time, I pinned my problems with my weight on my relationship with my mom?? Huh? Excuse me? How does that work? I've now, thankfully, come to realize that only *I* am responsible for my outcomes, because no matter what is thrown at me, I have the power to decide what I am going to *do* about it.
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:33 AM   #4  
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hmmm. you may consider this a dissenting opinion, but i take serious issue with the concept that prejudice against obese people is acceptable. yes, it's a personal responsibility thing, but the prejudice takes the form that obese people are stupid, lazy, out of control.

and that's not true. we all say again and again and again that we have tried many many things over and over, but it was not until <fill in the blank> that the key to successful weight loss was working for us.

so, even though many of us have been successful at winning our latest battle of the bulge, let us be wary of falling into the prejudice trap.
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Old 03-10-2004, 12:12 PM   #5  
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Very true Jiffy. Now I don't think that the food industry / advertising industry is totally at fault for America's obesity, but I do think that they play a role in the problem. Ever look at Nickelodean, Cartoon Network or any other children's television programming? Try it and see how many healthy food ads you see. Probably none. I sat there last saturday with DD and at the end of a commercial break, I asked her how much of what we saw advertised was healthy. Answer was zip. Then I asked her how much of it looked like something she really wanted to try and the answer was all of it. One that I just refuse to buy is that quick mac and cheese stuff. The ad has a cool looking guy, portable CD player on, dancing around the kitchen while he nukes a quick bowl of this crap - the message is that it is cool/even "grown-up" to prepare and eat such an unhealthy meal.

Remember Sugar Smacks, Sugar Corn Pops etc. from the 70s? When it became "uncool" to have a bunch of sugar in your kids cereal, they changed the name to Dig' Em Smakcs and Corn Pops but the content stayed exactly the same and so did the advertising.

As we all say, eating correctly is something we have to teach ourselves to do, but for kids, right off the bat, advertisers and food companies say its okay not to eat right, its even cool.

Don't get me wrong, parents need to step up to the plate also and teach their kids about making right food choices, how to prepare meals properly, and just what it takes to be healthy for life. However, there is some blame to be laid with food companies / advertisers because they are helping to set an overeating, non-healthy cycle in children that is hard to break as adults.

MTC Tiki.
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Old 03-10-2004, 01:52 PM   #6  
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Hi Jif I don't disagree that our society does bear some of the responsibility. I guess I'm reacting more to those who don't feel they are at all to blame for their situation. But regardless, I would never treat someone differently for their weight. I think all of us here can honestly say that, having been there ourselves and knowing the pain involved in that. And anytime I catch myself thinking, "Gee, why would (fill in the blank) let themselves get to that point," all I have to do is ask myself how *I* let myself get to the point I was at. I was considerably overweight for the majority of my childhood/early adulthood. But I think that I am rambling, and have completely lost sight of the point I was originally trying to make, so I digress
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Old 03-10-2004, 02:14 PM   #7  
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I am pretty much in agreement with the comments here...I was just going into a meeting when I copied and pasted the article so didn't have time to post my thoughts per se.

The first thing that came to my mind - since it was in the local news here last year - was that Segway 'people mover'. The Segway company was very proactive last year in trying to persuade local governments to purchase these for their employees who would usually walk in their duties.

I've fished out a story from SFGate.com's archives:

Quote:
Segway transporter slow to catch on
Eric A. Taub, New York Times News
Monday, August 11, 2003
2004 San Francisco Chronicle

URL: sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/08/11/BU295055.DTL


Robb Woldman was driving his new electric vehicle on a Los Angeles sidewalk when a police officer tried to ticket him. But Woldman was acting in compliance with California law, and the law in 44 other states, which allows his vehicle, the Segway Human Transporter, to be driven on the sidewalk.

"The officer had to make four phone calls before he found out that I wasn't doing anything wrong," Woldman said. "He had never seen a Segway before."

That's not surprising given how few Segways have been sold since it became available to consumers in November.

When it was developed and financed during the heady technology boom, the Segway seemed like a sure thing with its ingenious technology. Since then many dot-com era ventures have failed. And Segway, though it survives, has to prove that it can last as a real business, and not just as a cool idea.

With five gyroscopes, two tilt sensors, dual redundant motors and 10 microprocessors, the transporter, which can travel at up to 12.5 mph, is a diminutive object of envy in an age of Hummers and Lincoln Navigators. Ride one, and neighbors gather to try it and drivers pull over to watch when people like Woldman take to the sidewalk.

But despite its appeal, industry observers and Dean Kamen, Segway's inventor, agree that Segway LLC, which is privately held and does not release sales figures, is not anywhere near selling the 40,000 units that the company's factory in Bedford, N.H., is capable of producing each month.

The company began commercial production of the vehicle in April 2002 and started taking public orders late last year. By then, the economy was shrinking, unemployment was up and technology spending of all sorts was down.

In the past year, the company has sharply lowered its sales expectations, hoping the market will grow eventually.

The $5,000 price tag is a factor in modest demand. A somewhat cheaper, scaled-down model is due out shortly, but its currently undisclosed price is expected to remain high for most consumers.

And it's not just price that is keeping sales low, critics argue. Rather, they say, while the machine is elegant and fun, it does not provide a real nonpolluting transportation alternative for the masses.

"I think of the Segway like a 'Jeopardy' question. What is the question to which Segway is the answer?" asked Herman B. Leonard, a professor of public management at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School. For the Segway to be a success, he said, riders need room to maneuver and confidence that the battery will not die on the return trip. "Unless you are elderly or have limited mobility, why wouldn't you use a bike?" he asked.

Yet the fact that bicycles have not flooded U.S. cities is a good indication that a new technology is needed, argued Kamen. "People now use cars because they don't have viable options," he said. "The Segway gives people an alternative to contributing to a polluted environment cluttered with automobiles."

Early on, investors whose expectations were driven by boom-era optimism believed the transporter would become a huge seller almost instantly. John Doerr, a venture capitalist, said in 2000 the Segway was "as big as the Internet, as far as making a difference," recounted Steve Kemper in his book "Code Name Ginger." Doerr predicted that the company could earn $500 billion in profits three to five years after sales began, Kemper was told.

Segway received $88 million in private investment, with Doerr's company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Credit Suisse First Boston Equity Partners each investing $38 million and other private investors putting in $12 million, according to Kemper.

But the company incorrectly positioned the product, said Karl Ulrich, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and author of a textbook on product design.

"By putting Segways on sidewalks, the company is saying their transporter is just like walking, but better. That implies the device is for 1- to 2-mile trips. That is not a great market niche," said Ulrich, who founded a now- defunct electric bicycle and scooter company.

"To feel safe, people will travel half the stated range of a device, and users won't stand more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time," Ulrich said. "There could be a good market for the product if it cost $1,000, but there is so much technology in the device that that could be impossible."

Using redundant computing and sensing systems to independently drive and balance each wheel means that Segway's parts alone cost the company at least $1,500, Ulrich believes. "I don't see how they can charge customers less than $3,000 for this design," he said, noting that simpler alternatives like electric scooters could cost a third that price.

While not confirming his costs, Kamen agrees that a substantial price drop is not imminent. The public should think of the cost of Segway technology akin to that of a car, rather than, say, that of personal computers. "Electronic prices drop, but cars do not get cheaper," he said. "Could we design and engineer a lower price point? Sure, but this could take years."

Ulrich believes that considerable time will be needed for success. "With the exception of Viagra, there are zero instances of new technologies taking off in just three or four years," he said.

Even with the company's modest sales, it can continue to develop a less- expensive model for a worldwide market, said Michael Schmertzler, a Segway director and chairman of the Credit Suisse investment committee. "No one sees this generation of product as a solution for emerging markets," he said. "Can we wait for several years for Segway to be a financial success? Within reason, we can wait."

For now, early reports indicate that the Segway is well received in a number of government agencies. Seattle water meter readers have been testing 10 Segways since September. Based on fuel prices and other factors, the cost- benefit ratio of using a Segway compared with a standard gasoline-powered vehicle is greater than 2 to 1, according to Matt Rathke, an engineer at the city's Fleets and Facilities Department. "We do see benefits to using a Segway,

and we will buy five more," Rathke said. "But we won't just throw money to the wind by buying a fleet of them."

Since mid-July, the New York City Police Department has had 30 foot patrol officers using Segways to cover their regular beats in Coney Island, Central Park, Times Square and other locations. "When it's not raining, it's ideal for the park. The officers have been very positive about using them," said Inspector Michael Coan, a police department spokesperson.

In Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police has found the Segway useful. "It's good for officers. Standing on the Segway makes them look 8 inches taller, and they can cover two to three times the area they could otherwise," noted Robin Blair, a transportation planner with the transit authority. "This is the first generation Segway; like the first PC, it's a nice toy and it can solve some problems."

Later this year, the California Department of Transportation will sponsor a rental test in the East Bay city of Pleasant Hill. Commuters will be able to rent a Segway to ride to the BART train station in the morning and leave it at the station for a commuter getting off the train to use, with the process reversing at night.

Kamen continues to believe that his device will eventually become a major part of the answer to transportation problems, even if it takes longer than he and others thought.[/b]
I mean...HELLO...$5000 a pop for a whaddyacallit that you stand on and go up to 12.5 miles per hour - the equivilant of a quick walk? Maybe it's okay for folks with disabilities, but COME ON - I expect police officers 'patrolling a beat' to be in tip-top physical shape. (Fortunately our local police force turned thumbs down on the Segway and stuck to their bikes to patrol the local parks and downtown area).

It just doesn't make sense to me...aarrggh.
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Old 03-10-2004, 03:00 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiffypop
hmmm. you may consider this a dissenting opinion, but i take serious issue with the concept that prejudice against obese people is acceptable. yes, it's a personal responsibility thing, but the prejudice takes the form that obese people are stupid, lazy, out of control.

and that's not true. we all say again and again and again that we have tried many many things over and over, but it was not until <fill in the blank> that the key to successful weight loss was working for us.

so, even though many of us have been successful at winning our latest battle of the bulge, let us be wary of falling into the prejudice trap.
I re-read the article again...and I didn't see any reference to prejudice in there?? Did I miss something??

IMO what this comes down to is finding the difference between prejudice and social acceptability/unacceptability for obesity and (more importantly) for the lifestyle and environment that promotes and encourages the occurrence of obesity in society.

Again IMO - the key to successful weight loss is pretty simple for the VAST majority of folks - physically it comes down to calories in/calories out. Mentally it comes down to changing habits and lifestyles. Each one of us has to find the path towards those goals that works for them, but there is no secret, no magic pill...
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Old 03-10-2004, 04:24 PM   #9  
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Not really related, but I have had the opportunity to ride on a Segway a couple of times - my company makes most of the plastic that is used to make them, and each of our plant sites have 4 or 5 of them. The maintenance guys mostly use them to get from one end of the plant to the other.

Anyway, it really is a cool experience if you ever get to try one - quite a tricky balance thing to get used to at first. And, when you get off of it, you feel like a bit wobbly, like you just got off a boat.
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Old 03-10-2004, 06:11 PM   #10  
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gotta say this before i forget. a number of years ago, i was at an international conference, on nutritional risk factors for cancer. only about 150 invited participants [i was a corporate spy at the time].

one of the heavy hitters from IARC in France got up and said that US cities and towns ARE NOT designed for walking. but rather, if one didn't have a car, one couldn't actually GET anywhere. he also said that in most european areas, one could get along quite well without a car. one walked everywhere, or used public transportation. the lifestyle encouraged daily shopping for one's meals, so that there was no need to 'stock up' for the week.

so, we've covered a HUGE amount of territory in this really fascinating discussion today: the food industry, personal responsibility, the media, city planning, sociological attitudes.

as with all things, there are public health issues, and there are private health issues. the next question is: where do they meet and where do they separate? or, another way of saying it is: can i have an occasional piece of chocolate without it becoming a public health issue?
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Old 03-10-2004, 07:22 PM   #11  
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can i have an occasional piece of chocolate without it becoming a public health issue?

I know this was said as an example, sort of in jest, but I think the answer is where the personal responsibility part comes in. For me, the answer is a resounding NO! I know that there is no such thing as a piece of chocolate or a cookie for me. It would mean all the chocolate, all the cookies, and then anything else I could get my hands on. Back to the headwork issue. I know what my triggers are and unless I want to find myself on an all out food bender, I stay away from them.

Lots of issues raised here, and I find I agree with all the points of view, even the opposing ones. Anyone who has tried to raise kids to eat healthy foods in the face of advertising barrages from cereal, candy, pizza and in general, progcessed food companies knows how hard it is to convince them that eating broccoli and chicken really is better than a slice of Domino's. And anyone who is or has been overweight knows the silent or not so silent prejudice against the obese. On the other hand, it's hard to feel much empathy for someone who consistently makes poor choices then bemoans her inability to lose weight.

I rambling here too- I just know that I walk a knife-edge everyday, that I have to continue to stay vigilant and choose to eat healthily and exercise. It doesn't come naturally, and it's not easy. But it's a choice.

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Old 03-11-2004, 06:20 AM   #12  
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The one thing I dislike about messageboards, although I love them, especially 3FC, is that it's difficult sometimes to make a point by the written word because the emotion isn't clear.

My opinion pretty much paralell's Mel's statement -

>>"And anyone who is or has been overweight knows the silent or not so silent prejudice against the obese. On the other hand, it's hard to feel much empathy for someone who consistently makes poor choices then bemoans her inability to lose weight.

I rambling here too- I just know that I walk a knife-edge everyday, that I have to continue to stay vigilant and choose to eat healthily and exercise. It doesn't come naturally, and it's not easy. But it's a choice."<<

I have chosen a new career path because I want to help other people who have made the choice to do something about their obesity. Why? Because I know it can be done by choice. I want to spread the joy. I want other people to be healthy for their own sake, and that of their families. I believe in the Golden Rule, and "paying it forward." I walk the slippery slope every day too, but it is my hand that lifts the bag of Oreos from the store shelf. Just because it's there doesn't mean I am being forced to buy it or eat it, and I'm not blaming Nabisco for manufacturing it.

I don't like the idea that government has to be debating something like 'the Chesseburger Bill' when so many other things are more important. However, frivolous lawsuits of all kinds have gotten out of hand. But poor choices have also, that lead to frivolous lawsuits. Lawsuits should be reserved for real victims (like wrongful death). The last thing I want to see in this country is a real food, tobacco, alcohol "police" like the EPA.

One of the things that motivated me to try to change was the perception of Americans as fat, lazy and over-indulged by the people in other countries. Now that's a prejudice that deeply bothered me, especially when we were attacked by foreigners on our own soil. I was too old (and too obese) to join the military to show them just what this American was about. My wake up call came when I saw a photo of myself, sitting down and wearing a tee-shirt that said, "Property of the United States of America." That photo is in my album on the LWL page. And that's what it took to wage my battle of the bulge with determination and persistence, starting with silent education and research, and choosing to move forward.

http://groups.msn.com/3FCLadiesWhoLi...to&PhotoID=107


dip

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Old 03-11-2004, 12:56 PM   #13  
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such eloquence!!! i love it!!!! and about my sort of but not quite jesting comment about chocolate. i purposely chose that because, much as i love it, i'm quite happy with maybe 2 pieces. it doesn't send me into a binge...

now PRETZELS are another matter.

but that's actually part of the point... and leads to dip's comments on the government getting involved in this issue. what works for one person doesn't work for another. i can have a little chocolate without going into a downward spiral, but mel can't.

what the government CAN do is to help institute structural changes, like walker-friendly towns and cities, and controlling sprawl so that we don't have to rely on our cars for the simplest little errands.

the food industry can help by controlling portion sizes [really, if anyone feels they need more, they can order it and PAY for it!!!!] and making it easier for folks to eat whole foods, even at fast food joints.

and then we have our own choices. the chocolate or the pretzels. the cookies or the fruit. FF/SF yoghurt or a milkshake. a 30 minute walk or a nap.

gotta go.... more later.
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Old 03-11-2004, 01:40 PM   #14  
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Hey, Jiff - you haven't read Michael Fumento's book Fat Of the Land have ya?

He discusses many of the issues that you pointed out in your last post - if you haven't read it, you *should* check it out. (You might have noticed it's at the top of my "recommended reading" list!)

Mr. Fumento also has a website at www.fumento.com that has some terrific articles - not just about obesity but other (some more controversial than others) topics. (and I highly recommend the Hate Mail - very interesting reading to say the least!)

Here's an article from his website for example...
Quote:
One Nation, Overweight When Will We Take Action?
By Michael Fumento
June 23, 1998
Copyright 1998 Michael Fumento

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just what will it take before our nation finally wakes up to the terrible and growing problem of obesity? Will it be that the prestigious Science magazine has devoted an issue to the subject, with one article warning, "Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States" and "if this trend persists, the entire U.S. adult population could be overweight within a few generations"?

Alas, Science's Klaxon call is far from the first. Before we finally decide to take action, more of us will get fat, the fat will grow fatter, and the inevitable heart attacks, cancers, diabetes, stroke, and early death will follow in the wake. According to top researchers in the field, obesity strikes down over 300,000 Americans prematurely each year. The government has just adjusted its height-weight index based on recent epidemiological studies indicating that over half of us are unhealthily overweight.

When we do decide to start doing something, these steps should be among them:

Stop pretending that obesity is just an inevitable result of affluence. No affluent country in the world has obesity levels even approaching ours. Walk around a major city in Europe or Japan for days and you'll see fewer grossly overweight people than walking from one end of a WalMart to the other.

The medical community must present a united front. There's certainly room for debate on specific issues. But there is no question that excess body fat kills and cripples Americans in massive numbers, and that those numbers are increasing. Thus, the New England Journal of Medicine did a terrible disservice earlier this year by running an editorial by non-obesity experts downplaying obesity's risks. This contradicted years of studies in that same journal including one in that very issue.

The media must stop glorifying obese persons, as did one cover of People magazine portraying various famous overweight women and proclaiming, "Who Says Size Counts! So What If They Aren't Size Six? Healthy, Wealthy, and Unabashed, They're Proudly Proving Big Is Beautiful Too." Yes, you can be fat and yet happy and successful. There are also happy, successful cocaine addicts and chain smokers, but we don't devote magazine covers to them.

The medical industry needs to speak out against the myriad best-selling fad diet books that flood bookstores each year, each presenting a miracle formula for weight loss. (The current competing formulas are "eat all the fat you want, but cut out the carbohydrates" and "eat all the carbohydrates you want but cut out the fat.")

Book publishers also bear responsibility. They can reject books saying blacks are inferior or Jews are greedy and they can turn away diet books that will make hundreds of thousands of Americans 25 dollars poorer and 25 pounds heavier.

... We must stop blaming genes and start blaming ourselves. Noted the Science authors, "Our genes have not changed substantially in the last two decades." What's changed is our eating and our exertion a lot less of the first, a lot more of the second. Is this "judging other people"? No, it's stating a fact. It helps no one to allow political correctness or overheightened sensitivity to keep us from telling the truth about chosen lifestyles and obesity. Sorry, but just as nobody ordered you to smoke, nobody ordered you to plop in front of the TV set all weekend, downing beer by the gallon and chips by the pound.

Realize that obesity is socially contagious, in the same way that manners are. Nowhere is this more obvious than within families. It's not genes that explain why so often obese parents have obese kids; it's child see, child do.

We need a sense of perspective. Why did a government report saying as many as 3,000 Americans die each year from passive smoke prompt sweeping federal and state legislation, while warnings of 300,000 obesity-related deaths prompt mere yawns? We don't know that pesticide residues (measured in parts per million) have ever killed a single child, but Congress, myriad activist groups, and large portions of both the EPA and the Agriculture Department devote countless man hours and hundreds of millions of dollars to this issue. Where's the fuss over children so fat they become breathless reaching for the TV remote control and the cookie bag?

We must give no credence to the pseudo-science of the fat acceptance movement, the obesity equivalent of the Tobacco Institute. Last year's excuse was genes. This year it's, "I may be fat, but I'm fit." That may be true of persons slightly overweight, but hardly of some of the 300-pound folks uttering it. Further, don't be distracted by those who bizarrely equate weight loss with eating disorders. Noting that obesity is unhealthy no more induces eating disorders than saying dirty hands are unhealthy induces obsessive-compulsive hand-washing.

Hard problems don't usually have easy solutions. The obesity epidemic is no exception. But the sooner we get started, the easier it will be and the more lives that will be saved. And there will be **** to pay for us, and especially our children, if we don't start at all.
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:45 PM   #15  
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no karen, i haven't read his books, and frankly, with the articles you've posted from him, i doubt that i will. if he had met me when i weighed 500 pounds, he would never have seen me as a person deserving of respect and courtesy.

from a public health viewpoint, he makes some excellent points, but as with all aspects of public health, and epidemiology, it's not reasonable to apply population data to an individual, and it's not reasonable to apply data from an individual to a population.

furthermore, many overweight people DO INDEED have eating disorders. there are quite a few overweight bulemics, for example. i knew one who weighed nearly 300 pounds! are they the exception or the rule? i have no idea. and neither does fumento.

so, we'll probably have to agree to disagree on some of these issues, but i don't think we're all that far apart...
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