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Old 06-19-2012, 11:37 AM   #21
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I don't disagree with your thoughts on weight loss, but that's another topic. Peoples ability to lose weight hasn't changed has it? Other factors are causing the trend...and I think the link in post #1 is (a big) part of the reason.
I do agree with this statement. My post had been not responding to your first post but to someone else addressing the issue of weight loss in general.

Even so, what I was addressing wasn't so much the ability to lose weight. In general, people don't have trouble losing weight. They have trouble not regaining weight.

But, in any event, the reason for why obesity has increased so much is to me clearly not just a matter of lack of responsibility or of genetics since those haven't materially changed over the last 20 or 30 years. I tend to think it is more due to the larger societal reasons having to do with availability of food, types of food being provided, restaurant eating and portions.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:57 PM   #22
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Here is another thought, which fits into the "larger societal reasons" that Katsmeow and others have mentioned: Looking at Midpack's charts, the big spike in obesity took off just about when desktop computers started appearing in every workplace, including mine.

My observations: People are more inclined to sit for hours in front of a screen (rather than getting up, moving around, visiting others, etc. like in the old days). Even more telling is that I see and hear co-workers snacking all day long (usually crunchy stuff out of crackly bags, and big cups of soda) as they stare at their screens, much as their parents used to smoke all day long at their desks. TV snacking always was popular, but computer-snacking has got to be far more caloric, because people spend 8-10 hours a day at their desks.

In a related matter, some have spoken of how hard it is to keep weight off after losing a lot of it. I can't quote science on this, but I can quote an authority whose insight dated from as far back as the 1940's: my Mother, who firmly believed that once a woman gains a lot of weight (she cited women who gain 60+ pounds during pregnancy), it becomes harder, ever after, to keep weight off. So, scientific or not, it is not a new idea.

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Old 06-19-2012, 06:41 PM   #23
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OTOH, cigarettes have not been subsidized and in fact are heavily taxed and harder for children to get than generations ago (maybe not hard enough, but nevertheless harder).
I don't disagree with your overall point - but did want to correct the specific issue of tobacco subsidies.

The government does subsidize tobacco growers. Has since the depression. It's being phased out (in theory) but tax dollars will go to tobacco growers till at least 2014.

http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=toba&topic=landing
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #24
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I don't disagree with your overall point - but did want to correct the specific issue of tobacco subsidies.

The government does subsidize tobacco growers. Has since the depression. It's being phased out (in theory) but tax dollars will go to tobacco growers till at least 2014.
That's %*# preposterous...and evidently true. I'd never have believed it, thanks for clarifying. We subsidize tobacco growers while the Surgson General/HHS fights smoking and the DOJ sues tobacco companies (then their biggest civil case) - makes sense!
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:18 PM   #25
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IMO one of the reasons we have so much obesity is the portions . I think about the portions we had as children growing up in a middle class family of six persons and that is what I try to emulate . Since I have cut my portions I have reached my target weight and easily maintain it . My So & I do enjoy eating out at least once a week but I have had to get creative by just ordering an appetizer or splitting portions because they serve too much food . By the way congratulations Old Woman on your weight loss .
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:10 PM   #26
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That's %*# preposterous...and evidently true. I'd never have believed it, thanks for clarifying. We subsidize tobacco growers while the Surgson General/HHS fights smoking and the DOJ sues tobacco companies (then their biggest civil case) - makes sense!
I inherited a small farm and a tobacco allotment. There were separate allotments for burley, flue cured and fire cured. Burley was my major thing. I never farmed it, but it was worth money anyway. I also was tobacco labor for my grandparents when I was a boy and teen.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:51 PM   #27
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I inherited a small farm and a tobacco allotment. There were separate allotments for burley, flue cured and fire cured. Burley was my major thing. I never farmed it, but it was worth money anyway. I also was tobacco labor for my grandparents when I was a boy and teen.
Ha
I got the privilege of making a few extra bucks in my 20s in a tobacco field. Cutting, spearing, stacking, then climbing up in barn rafters to hang. What a miserable, hard working, and nasty job! Would have tobacco stains all over hands and skin. Wipe the sweat out of your eye and next thing your eyes were burning from tobacco juice. Was a profitable government subsidy at the time for a farmer though.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:18 PM   #28
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I got the privilege of making a few extra bucks in my 20s in a tobacco field. Cutting, spearing, stacking, then climbing up in barn rafters to hang. What a miserable, hard working, and nasty job! Would have tobacco stains all over hands and skin. Wipe the sweat out of your eye and next thing your eyes were burning from tobacco juice. Was a profitable government subsidy at the time for a farmer though.
I still love walking into a barn full of tobacco in late summer. You never forget the rich pungent smell.

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Old 06-20-2012, 01:21 AM   #29
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I just watched an interesting 4 piece series that talks about many of the issues raised in this thread. It is HBO, but can be watched on the HBO website for free.

HBO: The Weight of the Nation

Very, very interesting series and it does pin a lot on the issues related to food production and government policies that encourage food production that is really unhealthy.

Interesting stat: Less than 3% of US farmland is planted with fruits and vegetables.
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:35 AM   #30
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I just watched an interesting 4 piece series that talks about many of the issues raised in this thread. It is HBO, but can be watched on the HBO website for free.

HBO: The Weight of the Nation

Very, very interesting series and it does pin a lot on the issues related to food production and government policies that encourage food production that is really unhealthy.

Interesting stat: Less than 3% of US farmland is planted with fruits and vegetables.
We happened to catch most of it a few days ago by chance, and we thought it was very good with many surprising (to us at least) claims including the one in green above (wouldn't have guessed it).
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:37 PM   #31
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Interesting stat: Less than 3% of US farmland is planted with fruits and vegetables.
Having driven across the country for many years this doesn't surprise me. You mostly see grains/grass, cotton and timber. The orchards and veggie fields are just tiny pockets.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:40 PM   #32
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Just as the tobacco executives soberly told congress that they had no idea that nicotine was addictive, I am confident that the processed food industry is looking out for the best interests of the nation.
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:06 PM   #33
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From the article quoted by the OP:

Quote:
Wall Street "forced food companies to try and sell food in an extremely competitive environment," she says. Food manufacturers "had to look for ways to get people to buy more food. And they were really good at it. I blame Wall Street for insisting that corporations have to grow their profits every 90 days."...
Yes, the problem is definitely caused by the lower price of food, mostly junk food in the US, no doubt about it.

Our recent RV trip took us up to Banff. Though we had been to Canada several times before, this was the trip when we stayed the longest, and had more chances to observe the daily life there.

I saw that the cost of food, both served in restaurants and sold in grocery stores, ran something like 1.5x to 2x the prices in the US. As an example, I saw an avocado sold for $2.99 in Banff. A small 16-oz tub of salsa went for $5.99! I should have taken photos as proof.

And my observation was that the Canadians seemed a bit less heavy than the Americans!

Similarly, visitors to Europe cannot help noticing how the Europeans are thinner than US citizens. Of course food there is also more expensive. It is that simple: expensive food means people eat less. The Europeans also walk more.

In third-world countries, food may seem cheap relative to the cost elsewhere, but in terms of the income of the local people, it is not. People in poor countries spend a higher percentage of their income on food than people in developed countries do.

So, what is the solution? Should the gummint tax the daylight out of junk food, candies, sugared soft drink, high-carb snacks? Could we trust the gummint to keep that money to pay for healthcare? What have they done with the cigarette taxes?

I have read that healthy veggie and fruits are expensive in inner cities, and poor people may not have access to them. Could be true as I do not live there. However, I live in the outskirt of a metropolitan area with a population of 5 million. A grocery store near us has frequent sales of 5 avocados for $1. Yes, they are a bit smaller than the "premium" kind, but taste just as good. So, I have 2 instead of 1. There are plenty of other veggies such as squash, zucchini, cabbage, etc... that one can get for around $1 per pound or much less.

Question: If people do not want to eat healthy, how do we force them to? Is this still a free country where people can choose their food, among other lifestyle choices?
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:41 PM   #34
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I think the article places way to much blame on Wall Street. All companies have to make profit or they go out of business. Most of them seek to maximize that. Food is no different. And yes, the government is subsidizing this crop and not that one.

But no one makes people buy food they don't want. Hostess makes a Twinkie, people eat them, they make more, people eat more, but it all stems from the demand. We eat Twinkies because they taste good, not because some jerk on Wall Street demanded Hostess make a profit.

I'm always skeptical of the idea that personal choices are a public health issue. Sure, we are all in some giant insurance pool and largely isolated from out own health choices, or at least from paying for them. I always smell a rat. Someone is looking to tell other people how to live and posing as some kind of advocate. I call all of this, smoking, obesity, drugs, alcohol and every other supposed public health crisis that has been dreamed up over the years, the price of living in a free society. You might be the thin, healthy dude and think this doesn't affect you, but someday these people will decide whatever it is you do is a public concern and they will come after you.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:10 AM   #35
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I think the article places way to much blame on Wall Street. All companies have to make profit or they go out of business. Most of them seek to maximize that. Food is no different. And yes, the government is subsidizing this crop and not that one.

But no one makes people buy food they don't want. Hostess makes a Twinkie, people eat them, they make more, people eat more, but it all stems from the demand. We eat Twinkies because they taste good, not because some jerk on Wall Street demanded Hostess make a profit.

I'm always skeptical of the idea that personal choices are a public health issue. Sure, we are all in some giant insurance pool and largely isolated from out own health choices, or at least from paying for them. I always smell a rat. Someone is looking to tell other people how to live and posing as some kind of advocate. I call all of this, smoking, obesity, drugs, alcohol and every other supposed public health crisis that has been dreamed up over the years, the price of living in a free society. You might be the thin, healthy dude and think this doesn't affect you, but someday these people will decide whatever it is you do is a public concern and they will come after you.
Im not as strongly committed as you are fly, but I definitely lean your way. Government influences aside, we still can go over to the apple aisle instead of the high fructose corn sugar aisles if we want. I have two line of defenses for my healthy eating. Either keeping the hole under my nose closed, or keeping the wallet in my pocket. Option 2 works best for me. Once purchased I can ravage a big bag of chips in no time!
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:21 AM   #36
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Im not as strongly committed as you are fly, but I definitely lean your way. Government influences aside, we still can go over to the apple aisle instead of the high fructose corn sugar aisles if we want. I have two line of defenses for my healthy eating. Either keeping the hole under my nose closed, or keeping the wallet in my pocket. Option 2 works best for me. Once purchased I can ravage a big bag of chips in no time!
Many people are ignorant about proper food choices and often eat they way their parents taught them. I am afraid that some people need the government to tell them how to eat and how to make the right choices. Let's not forget that we are all products of adaptation, more or less. The food industry understands that very well and effectively markets to the unenlightened.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:23 AM   #37
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Question: If people do not want to eat healthy, how do we force them to? Is this still a free country where people can choose their food, among other lifestyle choices?
Even putting the health implications aside. I agree with you, but how about letting food producers compete without subsidies? Choices would be different, to what extent isn't clear. A lot of people have been voluntary persuaded to quit smoking over the last few generations, so there is an successful example?

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I think the article places way to much blame on Wall Street. All companies have to make profit or they go out of business. Most of them seek to maximize that. Food is no different. And yes, the government is subsidizing this crop and not that one.

But no one makes people buy food they don't want. Hostess makes a Twinkie, people eat them, they make more, people eat more, but it all stems from the demand. We eat Twinkies because they taste good, not because some jerk on Wall Street demanded Hostess make a profit.

I'm always skeptical of the idea that personal choices are a public health issue. Sure, we are all in some giant insurance pool and largely isolated from out own health choices, or at least from paying for them. I always smell a rat. Someone is looking to tell other people how to live and posing as some kind of advocate. I call all of this, smoking, obesity, drugs, alcohol and every other supposed public health crisis that has been dreamed up over the years, the price of living in a free society. You might be the thin, healthy dude and think this doesn't affect you, but someday these people will decide whatever it is you do is a public concern and they will come after you.
I'm all for personal responsibility believe me, and for companies making profits. But when "we" subsidize some foods and it lowers the apparent cost, that does induce people to eat the lower cost foods to some if not a large extent. What's wrong with subsidizing no food producers (or all equally for that matter) and letting market competition sort it all out? If people knew what they were really paying for corn & soy food products, they would eat more whole foods. Like I said above, it would only shift the balance, I am not claiming corn & soy would be wiped out by any means.

Isn't the fallacy that subsidies don't lower prices at all, they just lower what you pay at the store, and put foods that aren't subsidized at some disadvantage? It's amazing how often the public falls for this nonsense, there are countless examples...
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:34 AM   #38
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Just as the tobacco executives soberly told congress that they had no idea that nicotine was addictive, I am confident that the processed food industry is looking out for the best interests of the nation.
I must admit, I'm a little cynical about this "processed" food bogeyman.

What is "processed" food? Is cured deli-meat "processed?" Is pasteurized milk "processed?" Are the little packets of flavoured instant oatmeal "processed?" Is my protein powder "processed?" A pre-marinated grilling steak? Pesticide-treated lettuce? Whole-grain flour tortilla wraps? Apple juice?

I consume all of those things (in moderation), and I'm extremely healthy. Is it possible "processed" foods aren't the bad guy after all, and are in fact necessary in order to ensure safety and a reasonable shelf-life for food?
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:38 AM   #39
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I must admit, I'm a little cynical about this "processed" food bogeyman.

What is "processed" food? Is cured deli-meat "processed?" Is pasteurized milk "processed?" Are the little packets of flavoured instant oatmeal "processed?" Is my protein powder "processed?" A pre-marinated grilling steak? Pesticide-treated lettuce? Whole-grain flour tortilla wraps? Apple juice?

I consume all of those things (in moderation), and I'm extremely healthy. Is it possible "processed" foods aren't the bad guy after all, and are in fact necessary in order to ensure safety and a reasonable shelf-life for food?
That's fine. Then what is your explanation for the trends (refer to post #18 if you like)? Not only has obesity increased dramatically in the US, it seems to be getting worse relative to other industrialized nations (increasing faster in the US).
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:39 AM   #40
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I must admit, I'm a little cynical about this "processed" food bogeyman.

What is "processed" food? Is cured deli-meat "processed?" Is pasteurized milk "processed?" Are the little packets of flavoured instant oatmeal "processed?" Is my protein powder "processed?" A pre-marinated grilling steak? Pesticide-treated lettuce? Whole-grain flour tortilla wraps? Apple juice?

I consume all of those things (in moderation), and I'm extremely healthy. Is it possible "processed" foods aren't the bad guy after all, and are in fact necessary in order to ensure safety and a reasonable shelf-life for food?
That's fine. Then what is your explanation for the trends (refer to post #18 if you like)? Not only has obesity increased dramatically in the US, it seems to be getting worse relative to other industrialized nations (increasing faster in the US).

Processed is a relative term. Presumably you'd agree that a Twinkie is more processed than a banana? And presumably you'd agree there are more processed foods available today than generations past?
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