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Sober Thread: Our Ever-Declining Health

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Crown Royal, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
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    Just call me Topher

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    The Weight Of The Nation trailer:

    I don't know if any of you have seen this documentary/mini-series, but if you haven't you really should. Every citizen owes it to themselves to watch it. It (finally) brings to light the disease of obesity and how out-of-control is has become in America. If you missed it, 69% of American adults are overweight. That measures somewhere on the scale at "Completely Fucked Up." If you don't believe me, watch that Honey-Boo-Boo-Bullshit and witness these grotesque, mutant fat-asses feed their kids Miracle Whip and Mountain Dew and tell me you aren't disgusted.

    Now before I go off myself on what I think the problems are nowadays of the Western world's ever-deteriorating health, I'd like everybody on here's opinion on this. THIS IS A SERIOUS ISSUE, and it need to be addressed yesterday. People now, more than ever have a false sense of invincibility when in fact that now, more than ever are dying long before they should have because of what seems to be a mass aversion to eating right and exercising.

    Focus: People are more unhealthy and/or overweight than ever, and there is simply do way to deny it anymore. Main causes? Solutions? What sort of sledgehammer blow does society need to wake up to this, or is it "just a theory" and eating fast food five times a week is perfectly fine?
     
    #1 Crown Royal, Aug 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  2. Dcc001

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    Bump.
     
  3. D26

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    Of course we're overweight, that is how society, as a whole, is moving.

    Two hundred years ago, beasts of burden helped plow fields, but for the most part, people did nothing but manual labor just to live. Farming, Mining, and jobs like that.

    A little over one hundred years ago, a guy invented the assembly line, reducing the amount of work one man has to do, while simultaneously improving how fast his items (cars) were created, and thus it began; the race is to be as efficient as possible while still reducing the amount of work and labor an individual human being has to do, because human beings are generally inefficient when it comes to labor. Those jobs still exist, but they are the vast, vast minority of the jobs.

    I am guessing that within twenty to thirty years, it will be completely conceivable that a person can live at home, work from home via telecommuting, shop online and have food and everything else delivered to their home, and literally never, ever leave their home. We're almost there, now, but in twenty to thirty years, I am thinking that it will be possible for the majority of the population to work from home. All those office jobs? Is there a reason people can't telecommute? If there is, the technology will be created to make it possible. This would also partially be a solution to the energy crisis; less driving = less dependance on foreign oil, but that's another story for another thread. Not to mention it would reduce costs for employers who no longer would have to rent or build huge office buildings when their employees work from home. The financial incentive is there to make this technology happen, so I suspect it will happen sooner than later.

    What is my point? Society, as a whole, is moving towards making it so that we, as human beings, have less and less to do physically. Combine this move towards being more and more sedentary with quick, easy, and cheap food (i.e. McDonalds), and of COURSE there will be an obesity epidemic.

    The thing of it is, there is no solution to this problem. You can't outlaw fast food; you can't outlaw junk food; you can't force people to work out, and you can't dictate diet to people. The most you can do is create incentives to eat better (and by incentives, I mean money, because we, as Americans, care enough about every little else for it to be an effective incentive). Increase taxes on junk food and fast food, and find a way to decrease the cost of healthy foods. The majority doesn't give a shit about education or about how fast food is bad, but if that cheap burger is suddenly not so cheap, maybe they'll eat at home some more, or they'll eat healthier because it is cheaper.

    Of course, that will also NEVER happen. Fast Food and Junk food are gigantic, billion dollar industries that will lobby exceptionally hard to keep that from happening, so it won't. So what I'm saying is simple: this problem will not go away. It will get worse, but there is literally nothing that could effectively be done about it.

    Here is another thing: think about all those people who rail against the modeling and beauty industries for creating "unrealistic" definitions of beauty. It is so contradictory: "We have an obesity epidemic, but everyone of all shapes and sizes is beautiful, and if you're overweight, you're still beautiful, don't worry!"
     
  4. amjoyce

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    I've heard all kinds of excuses from people about why they are overweight and to me, with a few exceptions, it all boils down to straight bullshit. I completely agree with D that the transition from manual labor to office style jobs has led to an increase in obesity, but as a person that just moved from a manual labor job to a desk job, I know that it is my responsibility to make the necessary dietary changes to keep from becoming a lard ass. Hell, I've already dropped my calorie intake roughly 1000 calories and I might have to drop it more...

    I don't think that this will fix the problem, but I really do think that the school system needs to step it up a bit and make the kids actually get their fat asses in gear. I remember doing nothing but walking the track and playing horse in the gym. If they made kids truly compete and train hopefully it would become habit for some of them (I realize that some people are a lost cause). And the bullshit they sell in school cafeterias needs to be revamped. Dump the straight carbohydrate meals for something slightly higher in protein. And while I know that higher protein diets are more expensive, they could at least be an option in the cafeteria. Pizza and hotdogs should not be the only options.
     
  5. Crown Royal

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    Policy can do things about it. Making logical policy that makes sense. Take Los Angeles for example. Back when a lot of you will still swimming is daddy's nutsack, L.A. had a gorgeous yellow-pea soup sky and the air quality of a friday night bingo hall because everything that manufactured something in that gigantic city was polluting at a catastrophic scale. When the city started collectively complaining that living there was like having Cystic Fibrosis, they made policy that said factories and the like couldn't spew god-forsaken shit into the ozone as much as they wanted.

    Not long later, people in L.A. noticed a few things. One: they could breathe again, and two: there were mountains around the city. Doing the right thing made life better for everybody there, and now they could see who they were opening fire at and Helicopters could chase O.J. with perfect vision.

    Nowadays, passing sensible policy is more difficult than ever because so many people have it in their heads that changing ANYTHING attacks their freedom. These people are officially in the way of common sense. You can't pass policy to make people eat right or exercise, you are absolutely right. But maybe we can pass stuff that stops food companies from pumping everything full of corn syrup, pink slime and vegetable oil. Maybe stop the Pharmacutical lobby from keeping so many people sick on medication that they didn't need in the first place. In Australia, cigarette companies can't even put their logos on their packs now. It comes with a plain death warning on it and that's it. Floor's open on this one.
     
  6. Frank

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    My views are definitely different than the typical "if you just work hard" or "you just need discipline" mantras that we as a society have accepted. I feel awful for obese people, they've been fattened up on toxic foods that make them insulin resistant and send signals to their brain that they're starving to death and been told by society to just control their urges, it's like telling a drug addict to hang out at a crack den but just moderate their drug use, it just doesn't work.

    The problem is we've been prescribed a fucking horribly unhealthy grain based diet, I was just listening to Robb Wolf on Joe Rogan's podcast and he was saying that the food pyramid has an almost identical look as the text book diet that's prescribed to farmers to fatten their animals... that's what's suppose to save us. Like it or not but the government is more concerned with appeasing the USDA than actually making us healthy.

    I hate to recommend this movie since it's kind of annoying, but I think Fat Head does a good job of explaining the what and why of obesity. Basically the guy thought Supersize Me was bullshit and lost a good chunk of weight and improved lipid levels by eating nothing but a lower carbohydrate diet of only fast food. I'm a food quality guy, so I don't love it, but it does a good job of exposing why our calorie counting, everything in moderation approach is failing us. It's free on Netflix, watch it if you're even remotely interested in the issue.

    Also, I think the laziness thing in terms of exercise is kind of bullshit, I mean how much exercise did a house mom in the 50's do? I know she did more homemade stuff and whatever, but we have house-moms now that will spend hours on an elliptical machine a week and are still fat, June Cleaver didn't do shit.
     
  7. lust4life

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    Main causes? Highly processed foods and the pervasive marketing behind them, many targeting kids. How many families today actually sit down to a family dinner more than twice a week, let alone actually cook those meals (zapping a Stouffer's lasagne doesn't count as cooking). Drive past a McDonald's between 5-6 pm and look at the line up of minivans and SUVs buying "fat, dumb and Happy Meals" by the score. These are the easy, convenient and lazy choices. Those foods high in fat and sugar become habitual and lead to craving more of it, setting off a cycle of near addiction.

    As the numbers for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and their contributions to the heightened risk for heart disease and strokes continues to escalate, the same case can made for imposing a sin tax on such foods as was made for cigarettes and alcohol. I think it will eventually happen, but I think we're a long way off.

    And like any other health problem, America wants another easy, convenient and lazy choice: a magic pill to fix it.

    I gotta go. My Cherry Garcia is turning to soup.
     
  8. Frank

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    I don't want to start a political pissing match, but just to bolster my original post, the reason our food is so full of this shit is because of governmental policy.
     
  9. ASL

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    Wrote out a lot, but don't want to repeat things too many times.

    The whole system for getting, preparing and consuming food needs to change. The way things are developed now have focus on profit and not quality.
    We as a species aren't currently designed to have the average amount of Calories shoveled into our faces. Maybe in another hundred thousand years we'll have the genetic alterations required to 'make it,' but I doubt we'd last that long.
     
  10. mav_ian

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    I'd go further than that, and say in my uneducated opinion, that evolution has barely caught up with civilisation, let alone industrial society. We've been omnivorous for a decent spread of time now, and our bodies, so weak when compared to other mammals relative to our size, are incredibly efficient at processing food. 3 million years of genetic programming is not going to make a sudden u-turn in 10,000 years.
    Our bodies adapt, and variations mean we're not going to suddenly die out any time soon, but our instincts and compulsions are buried deep. It would be interesting to see if people with lessened versions of our surival traits become more dominant in the gene pool, and how this conflict between more superficial traits and deeper programming manifest themselves.


    Edit: By the time I wrote my post, there's been a bunch more done; on the subject of are fat people to blame for themselves, I'm mixed on that. I buy the argument in this cracked article, but I believe weight can be managed. I'm overweight (there's a big surprise) but not hugely so, and I could always do more to get thinner, but short of living in discomfort, I'll never be thin. I excercise regularly, and don't go overboard on shitty food, but at the same time I live the way I want. Being asthmatic doesn't help, I had it bad since I was a kid.
    It's unfortunate when someone is bigger, but I don't pity anyone that lets themselves get morbidly obese. There's a point where you can put the brakes on that shit, and with all the self awareness I lack, I could still catch it before it got bad.

    Edit 2: Electric Boogaloo
    As Frank pointed out to me, Paleo diet could be an answer, I have to check it out. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have doubts, but the logic to it makes sense to me.
     
  11. Crown Royal

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    I think they need to wake people on on excercise, but there's no money in it except for people in the gym or athletic retail business. And this issue has a new modern enemy in your country: the pharmacy mafia. How many times I've seen an American pharmacutical commercial once again offering society some miracle pill for "When Diet and Excercise Fail".

    ...I hope one day somebody can somebody go on TV and say "Except diet and excercise DON'T fail, and they're lying to you." I say this because two years ago a long-term study done at Duke university revealed that diet and excercise provided overwhelmingly better short AND long-term results than anti-depressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, or any other "cure" that has the letter Q, X or Z somewhere in its name.
     
  12. lust4life

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    The big money is in treatment, not a cure.
     
  13. ASL

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    People need more immediate consequence for being that unhealthy.

    It's easy to say it would be too expensive to make immediate change now, but how much will these health problems cost us in the future? When do we start spending, if that's even going to help?

    It really seems that the right mindset needs to start young, and be enforced from childhood on. How can we make those changes when so many of the health teachers in schools don't even look healthy?
     
  14. Frank

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    Out of curiosity for the non-Americans, just to get a feel for what we've been told is healthy. If I were to load up my plate with a boneless, skinless chicken breast sandwich with mashed potatoes on the side and corn as my vegetable, most people wouldn't call that a fattening meal, does that jive with you?

    Just to be clear, I'm not anti-exercise, I love exercise and think it's vital for health and longevity. I just don't think the lack of daily motion explains the INSANE weight deviation from then and now. Not saying you were suggesting that, just wanted to throw that out there.
     
  15. Crown Royal

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    EXACTLY. There's no money in the healthy citizens, and no money in dead ones either. Keep them in limbo and tell them they have things like "Social Anxiety Disorder" to keep them buying those pills.

    Of course, you could legalize pot, but that's an evil drug. Anything handed to you by a guy in a lab coat is medication, no matter how much you whore yourself out to support your Oxy addiction.
     
  16. Dcc001

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    I would argue the reverse: I think our government policy is a result of lobbyists, major corporations and factory farms.
     
  17. Frank

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    Not to go too far down the rabbit hole, but I agree, it is corporate influence. I would argue the issue is giving government the power to make these decisions in the first place since I'm a libertarian weirdo, but I definitely see what you're saying, and I don't think it's a weird conspiracy, just a result of the natural progression of centralized authoritarian control.
     
  18. Dcc001

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    I also agree that exercise, sad as it sounds, doesn't have much to do with weight loss. A girl my size and height training for Olympic-level cross-country skiing could expect to burn about 1,200cal during her intense, distance workouts. I'm talking HOURS of strenuous cardio. That equals, what? One average size McDonald's meal? Our bodies are too efficient at calorie use and storage to compensate for the surplus with additional exercise.

    However, I think physical fitness is extremely important for your overall health. Where I get hung up is this: I was the kid who hated gym. HATED it. I excelled in every other class, be it art, math or English. Despised anything gym related. You're forced to participate in elementary school. You have a minimum number of credit hours you must fulfill in high school*. Given how important being active is to your long-term health, how do you reach the kids that feel alienated and uncomfortable at the mere suggestion of setting foot in the gym? The kids who have no base athletic knowledge or confidence, because sports aren't practiced or encouraged at home?

    That's the conundrum I fiddle around with in my mind. Whenever anyone preaches that "We need more gym time for kids! They LOVE it!!!" I think, "Yeah, right." SOME of those kids may love it, but I guarantee the ones who have no athletic background of any kind will be at very best reluctant to join. How to instill an enjoyment for sport and not accidentally drive them away from it forever?





    *An aside: I did the bare minimum in my first year of high school, Grade 10. I then moved to Australia where gym was compulsory every other day. It's like fate was mocking me, forcing me to go to that fucking class.
     
  19. D26

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    Gotta stop you there. That shit is real. Those psychological disorders are real. The problem isn't the disorders themselves; it is that they are over diagnosed. A person is supposed to meet a very specific and very hard-to-meet criteria to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder, and usually only a trained psychologist or psychiatrist can make those calls. This usually involves showing 3 to 4 symptoms that are "disruptive to everyday functioning." Not "I feel like shit," but "I feel like shit so I call off work three days a week." Or not "I feel depressed," but "I feel depressed so I haven't eaten or gotten out of bed in two days." Now-a-days, though, every teacher with a problem student or every parent that can't handle their kid send them to a pediatrician and say "my kid is an asshole, gimmie drugs," and the kid gets diagnosed with ADHD or some other psychological disorder. Then the parents see how easy it is, so they themselves say "I hate my life, gimmie drugs," and they get diagnosed with something they don't have.

    Again, those diseases are real. I've seen them. I worked as a social worker with kids who had genuine problems and genuine diagnoses. I also worked with a few kids that really didn't have anything wrong besides being a teenager who belonged to over-protective parents who didn't want to admit they couldn't handle their kid. There was a clear difference.

    Sorry this is off topic, but it is a comment that tends to irk me, and it is a blanket generalization that is made a lot. These diseases are not fake. They exist. Over diagnosed? Yes. Fake? Fuck no.
     
  20. TX.

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    I agree with this. One of the things that concerns me the most with the "obesity epidemic" is that an overwhelming amount of kids are obese and already dealing with Diabetes and other co-morbidities. Diabetes doesn't seem that scary since it's so widespread, but after seeing so many non-traumatic amputations that resulted from DM, it scares the shit out of me (BTW, that's controlled and UNcontrolled DM. Doesn't matter...it still damages and destroys peripheral nerves and arteries. And, a large percentage of amputees end up with additional amputations on the same limb and/or amputating the other limb within a few years). After having experiences with that this summer, I didn't want to eat another gram of sugar. These kids aren't going to be 70 or 80 when that happens. They're going to be 40 or 50 years old and getting limbs amputated.

    I don't want to start down the "When I Was A Kid" path, BUT when I was a kid we had P.E. every day, and I never saw a Coke or vending machine. We also played outside every day after school. I'm sure y'all grew up similarly. I don't think kids do P.E. or maybe even recess. Schools and parents are reinforcing really unhealthy habits that have really serious consequences down the road. I don't believe they think past, "I'm tired, I just got home from work, and this is the only thing my kid will eat," and consider the long-term damage they're doing to their kids' health.

    I know many diseases have genetic components and have non-modifiable risk factors, but there are a HELL of a lot that do have modifiable risk factors. If we pumped a little money into health promotion and wellness, we would (obviously) save billions in healthcare costs. Those are two of the major issues dividing our country: healthcare and our massive debt. I don't know if we'll ever get it together and focus on promoting healthy lifestyles. I don't think there are many health promotion/prevention lobbyists, and if there are the pockets are pretty shallow. Also, with all of the research people do, nobody can agree on an effective dosage or type of exercise. Nobody knows for sure what works or what's "enough to be healthy". One thing Medicare (and all other insurance cos follow their lead) care about is evidence. If there's no evidence, they aren't going to reimburse.

    I don't know what the answer is, and I'm kind of all over the place with my thoughts, but I care a great deal about this. Just throwing my ideas out and procrastinating a bit with studies.