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DocLightning
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Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:13 am

I've heard a lot of people from the right recently railing against Michelle Obama and her efforts to bring healthier food to America's children. I've heard arguments from "she's a fatso herself!" (she's not) to "what right does the government have..?"

In San Francisco, fast food meals that offer children's toys are banned unless they meet certain nutritional standards. New York City banned trans fats. Etc.

Well, I recently heard two arguments. The first was the same, tired "costs to society" argument I hear about drugs, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, sex industry, soda, fast food, blah blah blah. I don't like that argument because it could be used to justify just about any repressive government behavior. How long until you're not allowed to play basketball because you might fall and hurt yourself and "the costs to society...."?

But another argument was this: This is an issue of national security. In an age where 1/3 of adults are obese and 1/3 of kids are overweight, we do not have enough people to run a military if a real, honest-to-goodness war were to break out! Americans are too fat to fight!

Now, one of the Constitutionally guaranteed powers of the Federal government is to "provide for the common defense." Admittedly, this probably isn't the sort of problem John Adams and Ben Franklin had in mind, but surely it's real?

Could the federal government actually be constitutionally justified in tackling the problem?
-Doc Lightning-

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Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:24 am

The US government should be focused on paying off it's debts, bring back jobs / job creation and national security.
The government should not be concerned with 'people watching' and being 'fashion cops'.

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
In San Francisco, fast food meals that offer children's toys are banned unless they meet certain nutritional standards.


Yet the San Francisco public schools has cut physical education in lieu of poetry.  
The only fast-food option in downtown San Francisco is McDonald's. Everything else is expensive bistros with $10 salads that working class folks normally can't afford.

[Edited 2011-01-31 01:01:05]
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JJJ
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:28 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 1):
The only fast-food option in downtown San Francisco is McDonald's. Everything else is expensive bistros with $10 salads that working class folks normally can't afford.

So what happened to people making their own food? Bringing their own sandwich/salad/etc. to the workplace.

You can't get cheaper than made at home.
 
Mir
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:28 am

I don't think the military argument would hold up all that well.

One thing the government could do is mandate that schools start serving healthy meals to their students. Limit the fried foods, pizza, etc. That way, even if the kids are not getting fed well at home, at least they can have one good meal per day.

-Mir
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Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:42 am

Quoting JJJ (Reply 2):
So what happened to people making their own food? Bringing their own sandwich/salad/etc. to the workplace.

You can't get cheaper than made at home.


No argument there. I did it from time to time but me personally, I hate carrying things.
Why can't lower-end food chains be an option?
Within the last 15 years, Wendy's, Carl's Jr, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Burger King have been forced out of downtown San Francisco in favor of cute little expensive bistros. All of the above chains I listed were doing very well.
I'm sure many of those cute little bistos have lots of calories as well.

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
I don't think the military argument would hold up all that well.


A good lawyer can make a case.

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
One thing the government could do is mandate that schools start serving healthy meals to their students.


Or just simply bring back P.E.

[Edited 2011-01-31 01:02:27]
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simonriat
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:03 am

Hi All

Is P.E not mandatory in Juniour and High School over there?

Thanks
Simon
 
Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:15 am

Quoting simonriat (Reply 5):
Hi All

Is P.E not mandatory in Juniour and High School over there?


Used to be back when I was in school.
Not now.
Many have faced cutbacks and many gym facilities are no longer maintained.
Student's often get doctor's excuses as well to get out of P.E.
In fact, here is a school that doesn't even have physical education.

http://www.urbanhabitat.org/node/1352

[Edited 2011-01-31 01:20:23]
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simonriat
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:26 am

Wow.

Thanks superfly.

I'm not that long out of school, but we had both P.E and swimming lessons.

And I thought the reason behind the US winning a lot at sporting events i.e Olympics etc, was because of the way the sports system was set up in schools over there.

Back to the OP.

As far as I'm aware. PE is still part of the mandatory curriculum, I.e the government says it has to be part of the time table, and the UK is still facing and ever increasing problem with obesity.

I don't think the problem lays at school, (although they could do more to teach about a healthy lifestyle.) I think the issues lay at home. Too easy to press a button on the Playstation or Nintendo without supervision, rather go outside with friends.
 
Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:35 am

Quoting simonriat (Reply 7):
I don't think the problem lays at school, (although they could do more to teach about a healthy lifestyle.) I think the issues lay at home. Too easy to press a button on the Playstation or Nintendo without supervision, rather go outside with friends.


That is another thing I want to bring up.
I NEVER hear of any off these nutrition 'experts' and their lawyers ever mention taking on the 'creative' people in the video game industry.
Video games is a direct replacement for the real sport it imitates.
Up until the the 1980s, kids played football, soccer, basketball, baseball and other sports outside with their friends.
Today they play them on video games.

Quoting simonriat (Reply 7):
I thought the reason behind the US winning a lot at sporting events i.e Olympics etc, was because of the way the sports system was set up in schools over there.


That's due to proper coaching and not all Americans are lazy that sit around playing video games & eating fast food (even though a few forum members here would say otherwise)
There are still good parents out there that make sure that their kids are involved and challenged physically and academically.
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:58 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 8):
That is another thing I want to bring up.
I NEVER hear of any off these nutrition 'experts' and their lawyers ever mention taking on the 'creative' people in the video game industry.
Video games is a direct replacement for the real sport it imitates.
Up until the the 1980s, kids played football, soccer, basketball, baseball and other sports outside with their friends.
Today they play them on video games.

I suspect that they have not gone after the video game industry, because it is not that industries fault that children are addicted to video games. Rather, the fault lies squarely with parents who have allowed their children to substitute video games for physical activity.
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jessbp
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:19 am

I don't think many people would by that argument Doc. For the greater good of the country sounds great, very patriotic. but in practice, many will still see it as the government sticking it's nose in where it's not wanted. In the UK we're starting to have the same problems with obesity as you guys. (iirc we're the fattest european country) The trouble is that every one wants a quick fix and a good fall guy. I personally think that are many links in a chain that's leading to the current obesity problem. You can't really blame fast food. Personal responsibility must come into force here. I've seen families in my local McDonald's feeding infants a beef burger. The problem really is one of education and cost here. I can go tonight and by a 12 inch pizza for a £1 (about a buck 50.) You just pop it in the oven and bingo, 15 mins later you have a pizza. If I want to cook something healthier though, say a vegetable stir fry, it'll cost upwards of 5 maybe £6 to get the ingredients, plus I have to do all the prep work then cook it. No I would and do do that, But for many parents, a cheap pizza is all they need to shut the kids up. So if we could price the bad stuff more appropriately, whist making it cheaper to get the raw ingredients for meals, that would be one link in the chain broken.

The pizza is also popular because here don't know how to cook! My generation was taught how to cook in school, so were the boys. But after I left school, cookery lessons started to disappear. These days, People can't cook a simple roast dinner, because they don't know how. Teach people to cook and another link gets severed.

the final problem here is a lack of exercise. Now some of it, as superfly suggests is due to the Xbox's and PS3's of the world. But Parents need to parent on this issue. But as for the rest of the exercise problem, I simply don't have an answer to that.

I know obesity is a big problem, But it's gonna take a big society wide shift to get change, and sadly, the more governments meddle with it, the more people seem to rail against it. Things will change, But we're not quite there yet.
 
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:22 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 1):
The US government should be focused on paying off it's debts, bring back jobs / job creation and national security.
The government should not be concerned with 'people watching' and being 'fashion cops'.

Yes Yes Yes.... The government should play no part in the personal responsibilities of their citizens and should only focus on the bigger picture. It seems like micro managing is the way of people these days and its pathetic...
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
JJJ
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:28 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 8):
Up until the the 1980s, kids played football, soccer, basketball, baseball and other sports outside with their friends.
Today they play them on video games.

I lay that blame in the parents. Obsessive parenting especially.

When I was young we played in the streets all the time. Football, basketball, rode bikes, beach and pool in summer, whatever.

Nobody looked after us and never anyone got (seriously) hurt.

Now parents don't let their children go to the park because there's strange people, don't let them ride bikes because there's too much traffic, don't let them go to the beach or swimming pool because they can drown.

What can they do? They sit at home and play playstation.
 
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:30 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 9):
I suspect that they have not gone after the video game industry, because it is not that industries fault that children are addicted to video games. Rather, the fault lies squarely with parents who have allowed their children to substitute video games for physical activity.

Ok so can we use that same argument for fast-food?
So far, the focus has only been on the food industry. Seems like this would open the door to a lot of frivolous lawsuits and be a financial windfall for lawyers throughout the country.

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
The trouble is that every one wants a quick fix and a good fall guy. I

Spot on!
Sad but true.

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
You can't really blame fast food. Personal responsibility must come into force here. I've seen families in my local McDonald's feeding infants a beef burger. The problem really is one of education and cost here. I can go tonight and by a 12 inch pizza for a £1 (about a buck 50.) You just pop it in the oven and bingo, 15 mins later you have a pizza.

  

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
The pizza is also popular because here don't know how to cook!

LOL!
Hundreds of years ago, British explorers risked their lives sailing the open seas in search of better food.


Worth noting, McDonald's menu is the healthiest it has ever been. 30 years ago, that wasn't the case. McDonald's was the first fast food chain to ad salads to it's menu and the first to do away with Styrofoam containers.
But of course it just sounds easy to go after McDonald's because they are a very profitable corporation.
Lawyers see the most dollar $ign$ if they go after them.

[Edited 2011-01-31 02:35:30]
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:51 am

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
My generation was taught how to cook in school, so were the boys. But after I left school, cookery lessons started to disappear. These days, People can't cook a simple roast dinner, because they don't know how. Teach people to cook and another link gets severed.

Frankly, teaching kids how to cook in school seems to me like a total waste of precious time (have been through that as well in the 1980s). How much did you actually learn in those classes that has any relevance to real life?
Unless people see the benefit or added value in cooking proper food themselves no government babysitting or as someone called it "foodporn" (those countless TV cooking shows) will prevent them going for the fast food and/or buying a fixed meals in supermarket.


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Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:09 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 14):
Frankly, teaching kids how to cook in school seems to me like a total waste of precious time (have been through that as well in the 1980s). How much did you actually learn in those classes that has any relevance to real life?

I had the option of taking the cooking class in 7th. grade (1985-86) but chose drafting class instead. I did manage to become a really good cook. That is something I wanted to do anyway but I learned how to cook by dating chubby girls. 
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jessbp
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:26 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
Worth noting, McDonald's menu is the healthiest it has ever been. 30 years ago, that wasn't the case. McDonald's was the first fast food chain to ad salads to it's menu and the first to do away with Styrofoam containers.
But of course it just sounds easy to go after McDonald's because they are a very profitable corporation.
Lawyers see the most dollar $ign$ if they go after them.

Not going after McDonalds specifically, just happened to remember that incident first. Trust me I've seen it happen in most of the fast food outlets here.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 14):

Frankly, teaching kids how to cook in school seems to me like a total waste of precious time (have been through that as well in the 1980s). How much did you actually learn in those classes that has any relevance to real life?

that's a fair comment really. Most of my cooking skills I Learned at home. But while I learned at home, many didn't. And that's the problem. If parents aren't passing on the skills then schools the only place they'll learn.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:37 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):

Could the federal government actually be constitutionally justified in tackling the problem?

You answered your own question. We've never had a problem fielding an army of sufficient size for what was needed for it, so you can't invoke "national defence". Without a constitutional amendment, it's a state issue, if anything.
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sccutler
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:49 pm

It is absolutely not a proper use of the federal powers. The ludicrous expansion of the interference by the federal government is foul enough as it is.

Now, if the first lady believe she can promote a healthier lifestyle for Americans, then by all means, I think she's right to do so... provided nothing like the force of law is used to do it!
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Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:55 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 18):
It is absolutely not a proper use of the federal powers.

  
Yet federal powers seem disinterested in controlling the debt.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 18):
Now, if the first lady believe she can promote a healthier lifestyle for Americans, then by all means, I think she's right to do so... provided nothing like the force of law is used to do it!

Agreed but I think she's a bit too large to be a proper spokesperson on this issue. (although I'd still hit it)
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Yellowstone
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:04 pm

I don't think it's the government's place to get involved - rather, it's the health insurance companies'. If the government requires everyone to carry health insurance, and the insurance companies charge obese people higher premiums to cover their higher risk, then people will have a disincentive to be obese.
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exFATboy
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:11 pm

Not too worried about defence...as long as draftees in a war weren't reporting to boot camp on Rascals, the drill instructors would have them whipped into shape fast enough.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
LOL!
Hundreds of years ago, British explorers risked their lives sailing the open seas in search of better food.

Heh....my Imperial history professor in college had a personal theory that the main motivating force behind the British Empire was to get some decent restaurants in London.  
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:35 pm

It would be unconstitutional to tell a person what they should eat, so in that case, I would oppose that. However, I DO think the government would be wise to revise the curriculum and place PE in ALL schools in all grade levels and ban sweets and unhealthy snacks from school. That way, no one can say they aren't trying. Homes too need to build a better atmosphere for healthy living. Why are kids as young as three already glued to TVs, handhelds, and PCs? Why aren't parents willing to cook dinner and sit with their kids? Why aren't they willing to spend a day just walking or running or playing a sport? I think many children channels should imitate what Nickelodeon does but on a more frequent basis: block out the channel and encourage kids to go out and play a sport.
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Okie
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:57 pm

Next thing you know the government will control health care to control the supply "Soylent Green" which of course is the only food the government will supply. That will take care of obesity and health care costs.

Okie
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:43 pm

I don't think it's government's role and frankly I don't think there is much government could do. Many people are content to eat poorly and not exercise. The downside is the increased health care costs we all pay, though I guess the upside is that the obesity epidemic might start to shorten life expectancies which could lower health care costs for the elderly (since they'll be dead) and help Social Security. I try to find a silver lining in most things.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
McDonald's was the first fast food chain to ad salads to it's menu and the first to do away with Styrofoam containers.

Most of the food that McDonald's (or any other fast food chain) tries to pass off as healthy really isn't. Many of the salads have as many calories/fat as the burgers/cheeseburgers.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
Used to be back when I was in school.
Not now.
Many have faced cutbacks and many gym facilities are no longer maintained.

I had mandatory PE, but never found it very effective. We got very little real exercise. I remember trying to play basketball with 30 kids on the court and one ball....let's just say you didn't move much. I think most of my exercise came from after-school activities until I reached high-school and ran cross-country/track. Of course, my mother also made sure I ate healthy...fast food was a rarity in our house.
 
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:44 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
I've heard a lot of people from the right recently railing against Michelle Obama and her efforts to bring healthier food to America's children. I've heard arguments from "she's a fatso herself!" (she's not) to "what right does the government have..?"

In San Francisco, fast food meals that offer children's toys are banned unless they meet certain nutritional standards. New York City banned trans fats. Etc.

No, the government should butt out and let people make their own decisions whether healthy or not. To do otherwise is to be a nanny state. I hate people telling me what to eat! Or telling me I have to wear my seat belt, and if I don't it's against the law and I can be ticketed. Or taxing to hell out of my cigarettes to try to get me to quit. It's like just piss off! What ever happened to personal responsibility and paying the consequences for poor choices?


If people want to be fat, than let them! If they don't, than they can move their bodies and be active instead of sedentary couch potatoes. For years people ate what they wanted. Deep fried food in lard, red meat, etc. There wasn't any diet food, or low fat, or low carbs. And it didn't matter because people were more active and the weight stayed off. These days kids don't even go outside and play anymore! Gym classes are on the way out. And kids can't even be kids and play things like dodgeball or on the jungle gym at recess because poor little Johnny might fall down and get a boo boo, or break and arm and sue! Or maybe even get their feelings hurt for being singled out too much in that dodgeball and
beaned too many times!

No surprise somewhere like the People's Republic of San Fransisco would do that, or other things like banning plastic bags. That whole city is crazy! New York is only slightly better.

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
I've heard arguments from "she's a fatso herself!" (she's not) to "what right does the government have..?"

Well, her rear end is getting a bit plump. And her husband and herself have both admitted they've acquired a weakness for the White House Chef's pie's and they eat them regularly. But why should she care about America? According to herself she'd never been proud of her country, anyway.

The first two photo's are her butt before the pounds went on. The last two are photo's showing it after the pounds were added.



[Edited 2011-01-31 09:54:43]

[Edited 2011-01-31 10:18:15]
 
Mir
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:55 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 19):
Agreed but I think she's a bit too large to be a proper spokesperson on this issue.

She's tall, sure, but in what alternate reality is Michelle Obama overweight?

-Mir
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Aaron747
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:06 pm

Quoting JJJ (Reply 2):
So what happened to people making their own food? Bringing their own sandwich/salad/etc. to the workplace.

I for one cannot believe how many people eat out for lunch. I mean I do occasionally if I have some kind of occasion, like meeting a friend, but other than that, no. Perhaps if you can afford it, that's great, but there's absolutely no excuse for not having 15 minutes to throw together a decent lunch for oneself - saves thousands of dollars a year easy.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 8):
Up until the the 1980s, kids played football, soccer, basketball, baseball and other sports outside with their friends. Today they play them on video games.

Those of us who grew up in the early 90s when the sports games still looked pathetic did both! We'd be outside for 2 hours, then come in when it got dark and play Joe Montana Sports Talk Football. LOL

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
The pizza is also popular because here don't know how to cook! My generation was taught how to cook in school, so were the boys. But after I left school, cookery lessons started to disappear. These days, People can't cook a simple roast dinner, because they don't know how. Teach people to cook and another link gets severed.

More people definitely need to know how to cook. And no, opening a box, throwing contents on a hot pan and adding water does not constitute "cooking".

Quoting JJJ (Reply 12):

Now parents don't let their children go to the park because there's strange people, don't let them ride bikes because there's too much traffic, don't let them go to the beach or swimming pool because they can drown.

Such parents are idiots. I will encourage my kids to play outside. Dangers to children have always existed, and always will.

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 20):
the insurance companies charge obese people higher premiums to cover their higher risk, then people will have a disincentive to be obese.

A swell idea, but the obese crowd would likely scream "discrimination!" just like they do with paying for 2 airline seats.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 25):
No surprise somewhere like the People's Republic of San Fransisco would do that, or other things like banning plastic bags. That whole city is crazy!

Crazy, but beautiful. Not to mention it's ironic to single them out in the whole discussion since the dining out in the city is just fantastic - everything from the best steaks around to incredible sushi to $6 all-you-can eat lunchtime Indian. Yum.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:08 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 24):
Most of the food that McDonald's (or any other fast food chain) tries to pass off as healthy really isn't. Many of the salads have as many calories/fat as the burgers/cheeseburgers.

Same for all the over-priced bistros that went in their place.
So what is the gripe? The price?

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 25):
No surprise somewhere like the People's Republic of San Fransisco would do that, or other things like banning plastic bags.

San Francisco became too loony for ME!
Now you know that is a problem!   

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 25):
According to herself she'd never been proud of her country, anyway.

LOL!   

Quoting Mir (Reply 26):
She's tall, sure, but in what alternate reality is Michelle Obama overweight?

Read reply #19
/
/
/
/

Quoting Superfly (Reply 19):
(although I'd still hit it)

Any women I'd consider sleeping with has no right lecturing on people's weight.
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Aaron747
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:20 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 28):
Any women I'd consider sleeping with has no right lecturing on people's weight.

Oh dude, the thread just ended right there. No comebacks for that!!

  
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:24 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 17):
We've never had a problem fielding an army of sufficient size for what was needed for it, so you can't invoke "national defence".

Really? Is that why all those people during Gulf War II were retained in the military long after they were supposed to be out?

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 27):

Crazy, but beautiful. Not to mention it's ironic to single them out in the whole discussion since the dining out in the city is just fantastic - everything from the best steaks around to incredible sushi to $6 all-you-can eat lunchtime Indian. Yum.

We also happen to be the skinniest American city. Although I think that's probably due to our huge Asian population.
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pwm2txlhopper
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:25 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 27):

Those of us who grew up in the early 90s when the sports games still looked pathetic did both! We'd be outside for 2 hours, then come in when it got dark and play Joe Montana Sports Talk Football. LOL

Exactly! I'm only 30, but when I was a kid and school wasn't in session, we'd play outside all day. Depending on the parents, sometimes they wouldn't even let you come in the house to play as long as the weather was o.k.

We played baseball, rode our bikes, (Heck, sometimes even played chicken and rode straight towards each other to see who would swerve to avoid collision first!) went swimming in the brook, explored in the woods, went out and popped off squirrels and birds with our BB guns, played games along the lines of cops and robbers. At night in the summer, the whole neighborhood played flashlight tag or caused mischief doorbell dashing, or setting off firecrackers on people's doorstep late at night. These days when I go back to my old neighborhood, I don't see that many kids outside playing! And the brook we use to swim in has filled in with sediment and moss. The little sandy beach is overgrown with weeds because nobody hangs out there, and the rope swing has long fallen down. When I go over to my parents housing development with 50 houses, I don't really see kids out playing that much. Even in summer.

Oh, and we rode out bikes 2 miles to school or walked an entire 200 yards to the designated bus stop. These days the bus does door to door drop off. Every 30 feet it stops! The irony is this towns schools have signs out in the parking lot indicating it's a "clean air zone" and to turn off your engine and not idle!

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 27):
don't let them ride bikes because there's too much traffic,

Don't forget the helmet! Can't ride the bike without a helmet these days, even if you're just in the driveway. When I was a kid, nobody wore a helmet. If they did, they would have been teased to death.











[Edited 2011-01-31 10:46:05]
 
Ken777
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:30 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 14):
Frankly, teaching kids how to cook in school seems to me like a total waste of precious time (have been through that as well in the 1980s).

I think that the school day is filled with a lot of crap that kids find boring. I'd be happy with some core "life" classes, including cooking. Then toss in "Personal Finance" to give young people a bit of a clue on reality? In today's computer age it also makes sense to add in Typing for everyone- probably in the earlier grades.

As for PE - we need to bring some reality to that also. Take a kid on a baseball team - standing out in right field with his thumb in his ear (or other orifice) and then sitting on the bench with his thumb in his ear (o o o) waiting to bat. Guy or gal, they are going to be pretty bored and PE is basically a waste of time for them. Something like aerobics or even riding bikes will bring a bit of exercise and keep them awake. As for the kids with the Doc Note, tell their parents that they will be in a "Special Ed" Exercise class and see how many of those Doc Notes get lost.

I believe that we need limits on how far the government goes in "blocking" foods, hut I have no issue with taxes on foods that are fattening. Sort of like the taxes on gas to keep roads in repair - put that fat tax into patient treatment and intelligent PE in the schools.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
by dating chubby girls.

Is that where you started?  
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:32 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
That is something I wanted to do anyway but I learned how to cook by dating chubby girls.

Well, that was my point. Unless you don't find an added value in cooking for yourself, no government's poking its nose into your kitchen will change anything.

Quoting jessbp (Reply 16):
If parents aren't passing on the skills then schools the only place they'll learn.

I think we are back to square 1. Poor parenting. I have no doubt McD on every corner, computer games, etc. are important contributing factors, but the burden is on the parent.

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
One thing the government could do is mandate that schools start serving healthy meals to their students.

AFAIK, this has been in place over here since the days of communism. School canteens have quite strict (probably too strict) standards on nutritional value of the meals, overall balance of the diet, caloric value, use of salt and spices, etc. etc. And they have to be affordable at the same time. Quite a task to comply with all those, often conflicting, standards. No need to say that the resulting product is maybe a healthy, balanced food but no culinary miracle and no competition for the marketing of fast food chains.
How "successful" this has been in combating obesity (which has exploded in the past 20 years), see the chart in my earlier post.
 
Superfly
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:39 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 30):
We also happen to be the skinniest American city. Although I think that's probably due to our huge Asian population.

Actually the very red Republican city of Roseville is the skinniest city in the USA.
That is were all of those SUV driving, fast-food eating, suburbanites of Sacramento live.
http://www.aneki.com/skinniest_cities.html

All my Chinese ladies back in SFO are over 175 pounds and under 5', 4".

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 31):
When I was a kid, nobody wore a helmet. If they did, they would have been teased to death.

It wasn't until 2001 when I decided to wear a bicycle helmet.
I had always associated it with the retarded kids that rode the short yellow bus to school.
The cellular phone combined with the automobile was the reason why I chose to ride my bicycle with a helmet.
Bring back the Concorde
 
Flighty
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:46 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
But another argument was this: This is an issue of national security.

Oh brother... That is also a much over-used threat.

The govt already does tons of things to PROMOTE obesity. Subsidized corn and soy crops... subsidized wheat... all food/calories that we don't need. Our poor are among the world's most obese people. Partly, this is because of agricultural subsidies that don't favor a balanced diet. Uninformed people go to convenience stores and purchase what is cheap. Coca-cola, potato chips and candy, all made artificially, full of chemicals and empty calories.

We also have corporate food industry structures that push snack food, preservatives, unhealthy things that KILL just like cigarettes do.

I agree, we should have freedoms. But food safety priorities (and public health) mean we should try to shape the market to be reasonably healthy. Public obesity has a near infinite price tag. It also decreases quality of life. Just as the government controls automobile safety standards, food safety standards should also be managed.

Medically also, it has to be a large priority.
 
AGM100
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:10 pm

In High School athletics we had a simple chart ... a height weight proportion chart . In order to letter or achieve the credit for the elective you had to comply. The football and baseball players were weighed regularly. In football we had the dreaded fat boys club , the staff would weigh you in and if you were overweight you had to go and work it off.

The government should do the same thing ... if you are 5' 11'' you should weigh not more that say 185 lbs. If you are over weight by a certain amount you pay more into the health system so that its fair to others. If you fail to comply you could be sent to the state run local health club or citizens "fat boy club" and they would see too it. If we are too have communal health care I want this .
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:11 pm

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 31):
When I was a kid, nobody wore a helmet. If they did, they would have been teased to death.

Well that's kids being kids... meaning being stupid. But I though the discussion was about how to get kids out of their bedrooms to have some physical activity, not how to compromise their safety for the sake of being a stubborn parent.
Where's the responsibility of parents conservatives like to talk about all the time? Would you also advocate getting rid of airbags or anti-lock brakes in cars, TCAS or ejection seats in airplanes, no safety ski bindings, etc. because they were not available "back then" and no one seemed to care.
 
pwm2txlhopper
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:15 pm

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 36):
In High School athletics we had a simple chart ... a height weight proportion chart . In order to letter or achieve the credit for the elective you had to comply. The football and baseball players were weighed regularly. In football we had the dreaded fat boys club , the staff would weigh you in and if you were overweight you had to go and work it off.

In this day and age when we teach kids that everybody is a winner, and you can't do anything that might hurt a kid's self-esteem, I can only imagine the outrage if we still did that! Good idea, though!
 
Kiwirob
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:33 pm

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
No I would and do do that, But for many parents, a cheap pizza is all they need to shut the kids up.

My kids won't eat pizza, makes it frustrating when you take the oldest to a birthday party when Norwegians only serve hotdogs and pizza. When it's my kids birthday pizza and hotdogs don't make on my menu.

Quoting jessbp (Reply 10):
These days, People can't cook a simple roast dinner, because they don't know how. Teach people to cook and another link gets severed.

The Jamie Oliver program, was a real eye opener, I was amazed that so many people can't cook, cooking is pretty simple.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 24):
I had mandatory PE, but never found it very effective. We got very little real exercise. I remember trying to play basketball with 30 kids on the court and one ball....let's just say you didn't move much.

At my secondary school we worked on a 6 day cycle, we had PE 4 or 5 days per week. It always started with a 2km run and ended with whatever nasty exercise the teacher could come up with, to get out of PE you had to have broken something or be in a wheelchair.

Quoting Mir (Reply 26):
She's tall, sure, but in what alternate reality is Michelle Obama overweight?

See photo below, she's a pretty hefty woman, not my cup o tea.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 34):
All my Chinese ladies back in SFO are over 175 pounds and under 5', 4".

You really do like them fat, 5,4 and 175 pounds plus they would look like a beer keg.
 
jessbp
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 39):
My kids won't eat pizza, makes it frustrating when you take the oldest to a birthday party when Norwegians only serve hotdogs and pizza. When it's my kids birthday pizza and hotdogs don't make on my menu.

Lol. I know what you mean. I can't stand cheese, so I make a cheeseless pizza. Lovely.

We do have a problem here though with kids not knowing where food comes from. When asked, some kids thought milk, bacon and such came from the supermarket! If they don't know where food comes from then how can they understand how to eat it healthly.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:19 pm

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 38):

In this day and age when we teach kids that everybody is a winner, and you can't do anything that might hurt a kid's self-esteem, I can only imagine the outrage if we still did that! Good idea, though!

The hell you can't. Schools all over the country are sending letters home to parents about their kids' weight.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
pwm2txlhopper
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:40 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 41):

The hell you can't. Schools all over the country are sending letters home to parents about their kids' weight.

Like individual letters aimed at select students? Or the increasingly chubby student body as a whole? If they're aimed at select individuals, I wouldn't want to be the principle at that school taking calls from angry parents outraged that their kid's self esteem is being decimated.
 
blrsea
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:58 pm

I have observed that in my work place, the asian folks tend to bring home cooked food for their lunch. The americans mostly eat at the cafetaria. Very few americans pack their lunch from home. And some who do bring it bring the ones which are store bought frozen food. It makes me wonder whether americans have given up preparing fresh food at home  

Another interesting observation is that most americans prefer to drink soft drinks with their food instead of water. Very few prefer to drink plain water. This got further reinforced when I visit american restaurants. They ask you what you want to drink. In Asian (includes Indians BTW) restaurants, they first bring you a glass of water and then ask you what you want to drink.

Is all that packaged food and soft drinks really good for one's health?

Regarding the main question of this thread, the government shouldn't do something about obesity. Eating is one of the few pleasures that people have, and government shouldn't monitor that.

However, obesity does lead to raising health costs for everyone. The health insurance industry should charge different premiums based on your weight, BMI, smoking/drinking habits etc.
 
AGM100
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:04 pm

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 42):
Or the increasingly chubby student body as a whole?



Just curious do you spend anytime around the student body of your local high-school / Jr High ? I keep hearing the quote over an over about how we have so many fat kids ... sorry I just don't see it. I coach and volunteer at high-school and Jr high. The High School has 3100 students ...it is huge and we have allot of different races and types of kids . We have some over weight kids ... but it is not even close to a majority . If I had to guess a number of kids who could be called obese for instance ... It would have to be less than 1%. Kids who are noticeably over weight ... maybe 5% .. The vast majority of kids are pretty average . We had 100 girls come out for softball tryouts last season .... 1 ... 1 girl out of 100 was overweight.

This is another stupid effort of control ..create a problem then have the almighty government bolt on a solution.

I have idea ..lets stop paying everyone else's health care ... then we don't have to worry about it. If the parent has to pay the kids healthcare maybe then they would knock off the pizza and Twinkies.
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
 
PPVRA
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:07 pm

Quoting blrsea (Reply 43):
I have observed that in my work place, the asian folks tend to bring home cooked food for their lunch.

Yeah, but it's easier for them because they don't really like western food anyways, so they don't have much of a choice. I haven't spent much time in Asia myself but I bet they eat out a lot more often there, with all the easily accessible street vendors (those chewy Korean rice cakes sold in every corner cannot possibly be good for you).

Quoting blrsea (Reply 43):
Another interesting observation is that most americans prefer to drink soft drinks with their food instead of water. Very few prefer to drink plain water. This got further reinforced when I visit american restaurants. They ask you what you want to drink. In Asian (includes Indians BTW) restaurants, they first bring you a glass of water and then ask you what you want to drink.

I've learned that the hard way myself. This isn't uncommon in Brazil either, some people just drink loads of it. I drink mostly water nowadays, thankfully, and it wasn't particularly hard to drop the soft drink habit to my surprise.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
pwm2txlhopper
Posts: 1141
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:25 pm

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 44):

Just curious do you spend anytime around the student body of your local high-school / Jr High ? I keep hearing the quote over an over about how we have so many fat kids ... sorry I just don't see it. I coach and volunteer at high-school and Jr high. The High School has 3100 students ...it is huge and we have allot of different races and types of kids . We have some over weight kids ... but it is not even close to a majority .

Can't say that I do, but 15 years ago when I was in the same school, I remember a lot of chunky and obese kids. In my state 63% of people are either overweight or obese. I was one of them until a couple years ago. And in my experience, fat parents usually have fat kids.

[Edited 2011-01-31 13:27:27]
 
Mir
Posts: 19092
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:54 pm

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 36):
The government should do the same thing ... if you are 5' 11'' you should weigh not more that say 185 lbs. If you are over weight by a certain amount you pay more into the health system so that its fair to others. If you fail to comply you could be sent to the state run local health club or citizens "fat boy club" and they would see too it.

That would be tough to carry out in practice - the methodology for those things tends to be flawed. A very fit person can weigh "too much" for their height, just because they've got a high amount of muscle.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 42):
If they're aimed at select individuals, I wouldn't want to be the principle at that school taking calls from angry parents outraged that their kid's self esteem is being decimated.

The kids don't have to know. Address it to the parents, and they don't have to share it with their kids if they don't want to. And if they're pissed about it, too damn bad. Sometimes the anvil must be dropped.

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 44):
If the parent has to pay the kids healthcare maybe then they would knock off the pizza and Twinkies.

Except that that logic would require the parents to pay the kids healthcare through adulthood, since even a very overweight kid isn't really going to have health problems until later in life.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Flighty
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:15 pm

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 46):
And in my experience, fat parents usually have fat kids.

Yes definitely. A funny thing is, kids are controllable. You can control what a kid eats, to some extent. I am 99% sure when I have kids, the diet provided for them will not make them very fat. It depends on what goes in their mouths. That depends on what is bought (or not) at the store.
 
BMI727
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RE: Should The Government Do Something About Obesity?

Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:17 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
Americans are too fat to fight!

Of course at the beginning of WWII, many Americans were too blind or illiterate to fight and the government fixed that.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 1):
Yet the San Francisco public schools has cut physical education in lieu of poetry.

Well, they probably would spend their time holding hands and talking about feelings and maybe there are more interesting feelings to talk about if they are fat.

Quoting JJJ (Reply 12):
I lay that blame in the parents.

That's exactly what it is. It is personal responsibility, pure and simple. Sure the government should encourage people to be healthy, just like they encourage people to not smoke. Legislation, however, would be crossing a line.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 31):
Can't ride the bike without a helmet these days, even if you're just in the driveway.

That's what my mom said, but I knew better. The best way to avoid injuries is to not crash.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 34):
All my Chinese ladies back in SFO are over 175 pounds and under 5', 4"

LA face with an Oakland booty?

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 44):
We had 100 girls come out for softball tryouts last season .... 1 ... 1 girl out of 100 was overweight.

Guess you found your first baseman.

Quoting Mir (Reply 47):
A very fit person can weigh "too much" for their height, just because they've got a high amount of muscle.

A lot of those recommended weights are crap. If I was at my recommended weight, I'd look like I'd been stranded on an island for a month.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?

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