Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

This ought to send you through the roof!

Posted by morganwrites on January 21, 2008

Obesity now a ‘lifestyle’ choice for Americans, expert says.

As adult obesity balloons in the United States, being overweight has become less of a health hazard and more of a lifestyle choice, the author of a new book argues.

“Obesity is a natural extension of an advancing economy. As you become a First World economy and you get all these labor-saving devices and low-cost, easily accessible foods, people are going to eat more and exercise less,” health economist Eric Finkelstein told AFP.

In “The Fattening of America”, published this month, Finkelstein says that adult obesity more than doubled in the United States between 1960 and 2004, rising from 13 percent to around 33 percent.

Globally, only Saudi Arabia fares worse than the United States in terms of the percentage of adults with a severe weight problem — 35 percent of people in the oil-rich desert kingdom are classified as obese, the book says, citing data from the World Health Organization and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

With the rising tide of obesity come health problems and an increased burden on the healthcare system and industry.

“But the nasty side-effects of obesity aren’t as nasty as they used to be,” Finkelstein said.

“When you have a first-rate medical system that can cure the diseases that obesity promotes, you no longer need to worry so much about being obese,” he told AFP.

“With our ever-advancing modern medicine there helping to save the day (at least for many people), are government and the media blowing the magnitude of the ‘obesity crisis’ out of proportion?” his book says.

A study in which Finkelstein and colleagues at the RTI International, an independent research institute in North Carolina that works on social and scientific problems, asked overweight, obese and normal weight people to predict their life expectancy came up with a total difference of four years.

Normal weight respondents predicted they would live to 78, the obese to 74, and the overweight 75.5.

Other studies that looked at death data back the conclusion that people who carry excess weight tend to die slightly earlier, the book says, and draws the conclusion that “many individuals are making a conscious decision to engage in a lifestyle that is obesity-promoting.”

“People make choices, and some people will choose a weight that the public health community might be unhappy about. Why should we try to make them thinner?” Finkelstein said.

Linda Gotthelf, a doctor who heads research at Health Management Resources, a private, nationwide firm that specializes in weight loss and management, agreed that Americans now live longer but stressed that quality of life declines with age.

“People are living longer but with more chronic diseases,” Gotthelf told AFP.

“That brings a diminished quality of life, especially for the obese who have more functional limitations as they age and tend to be on multiple medications.”

Obesity is not a choice for Alley English, a 28-year-old mother from Missouri who has struggled with a weight problem all her life.

“If you knew that you could be what society considers normal, why would you not choose to do that?” English told AFP.

“As we get older, life does get more rushed and we do tend to make the easier choices sometimes,” English, who currently weighs 392 pounds (178 kilograms), told AFP.

“But you can’t say if you quit going to the drive-through, exercise more and eat more vegetables, you’ll lose weight. There are so many more factors involved.”

Gotthelf also disagreed that people choose to be obese.

“There are studies in which people have said they would rather lose a limb or be blind than obese. Being obese is not a desire,” she said.

“For many, this is a problem they have struggled with for many years… it gets discouraging after a while,” she said.

“I would not doubt that if you asked obese people if they could push a button and not be obese, close to 100 percent would say they would push the button.”

Finkelstein says he wrote “The Fattening of America” to “encourage discussion of what I understand is probably an uncomfortable position for a lot of people.”

Even if private industry and government take steps to protect society against the costs of obesity, many Americans “will likely continue to choose a diet and exercise regimen that leads to excess weight,” because losing weight requires too many lifestyle sacrifices, his book warns.

Meanwhile, frustrated by years of unsuccessful dieting and weight loss programs, English has opted to join a growing number of Americans who have gastric bypass surgery — hailed in Finkelstein’s book as “the best-known treatment for severe obesity.”

“I have a higher risk of developing diabetes or hypertension if I don’t have the surgery,” English said.

“I don’t care if I end up with a body like whoever-in-the-media thinks I should look like; I just want to be healthy and able to participate in my daughter’s life,” she said.

I am speechless. It’s like 40 is the new 30, or however that tripe is stated. Jesus H. Christ, when are we going to get our $#%# heads out of the sand. Wake up, people! And don’t blame the fast food chains, the fact that you don’t live close to a gym, that you can’t exercise because there are no sidewalks in your neighborhood, etc. And should we really be taking away gym class in schools, not letting children out to run and play at recess. Take away the video games from the kids, they won’t die if they’re forced to go out and play in the yard. There oughta be a law.



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U.S. Schools wage war against obesity

Posted by morganwrites on January 16, 2008

Another story from the net.

Educators and health officials have stepped up their fight against obesity in US schools by trying to replace greasy fast food with healthy meals, and are seeing small but encouraging results.

Nearly 13 million children and adolescents in the United States are overweight, a particularly worrying segment of an overall epidemic in a country where 200 million people, or two thirds of the population, are overweight or obese.

Fast food, television, soft drinks and a sedentary lifestyle are seen as the main culprits of childhood obesity, and schools – in the absence of action on the part of families – are beginning to take a stand.

“I like to believe we are in the early stages of a social movement and there have been exceptional changes in what schools are doing in nutrition,” said William Dietz from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 1,800 researchers and general practitioners are taking part in a conference on obesity and exchanging views on how better to combat obesity at the local and state levels.

A recent CDC study shows that the share of school cafeterias offering their students French fries as the only vegetable item on their menus has dropped from 40 percent in 2000 to 18.8 percent in 2006.

The CDC finances anti-obesity school programs in 23 states, and has seen some positive signs begin to emerge.

In Arkansas, schools have been taking a measurement of their students’ body mass for the past three years and have started sending parents letters that warn if their child is obese.

The combined bans on junk food in cafeterias and soda drinks in vending machines, as well as a greater emphasis on sports, have paid a dividend: obesity among students in Arkansas has stabilized and even went down slightly – from 20.9 percent in 2004 to 20.6 percent in 2007.

A similar program in Texas, close to El Paso, has helped reduce the percentage of children with weight problems from 25.8 percent in 2002 to 23.4 percent in 2005.

Despite resistance on the part of some parents who think that schools should not get involved in determining their children’s menus, Dr. Allen Queen has developed an intervention model for the schools: an hour of sports every day plus nutritional education and a better cafeteria.

After two years, attendance increased 11 percent among students and 20 percent among teachers.

But schools cannot offer all the solutions because American children spend only 19.5 percent of their time in school, if vacations and weekends are factored in.

Some experts say that local initiatives will not be enough to win the war against obesity.

“None of this is coordinated. The federal government has to be involved in a systematic way,” said John Morton, associate professor at Stanford School of Medicine.

“We won the war on hunger in 1964, we need to win the war on obesity.”

Karen Young, medical director for the Pediatric Fitness Clinic in Arkansas Children’s Hospital believes the government should forbid advertising of junk food for children.

“I take care of the worse of the worse, those 400, 500 pound children who can barely breath,” she said.

I’m sure you’ll all have comments to make on this article. Give ‘er a rip.


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More obese US kids ending up in the hospital

Posted by morganwrites on January 15, 2008

The number of children hospitalized in the United States for health problems linked to obesity tripled from 1998 to 2004, according to a study presented here Wednesday.

The most frequent problems were sleep apnea, high blood pressure and gall bladder stones, the conference organized by the Obesity Society was told.

“In 2002 for the first time ever, there have been more admissions for obesity than for malnutrion,” said John Morton, a professor of medicine at Standford University.

In 1998, 40 out of every 10,000 children under 18 were hospitalized for ailments linked to obesity compared to 120 cases per 10,000 children in 2004, he said.

The most biggest (sic) increase was among children affected by sleep apnea. The rate of their hospitalization increased from about 20 cases per 10,000 to 270 per 10,000 in 2004.

High blood pressure was responsible for 100 hospitalizations per 10,000 children, or twice the rate six years earlier, while hospitalization rates for gall bladder problems reached 35 per 10,000 up from 20 in 1998.

Meanwhile, the number of gastric bypass surgeries, which involves stapling part of the stomach in a last-ditch bid to loose weight, shot up from 500 among people under 18 in 1998 to 4,000 in 2004, Morton said.

This is absolutely insane. The people to blame are not fast-food restaurants, school cafeterias, grocery stores nor the government. The blame lies with the parents who have no idea how to raise children. They should be ashamed of themselves.


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