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Thread: Obesity myth

  1. #101
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Decline View Post
    Okay, I can understand that these obese people have an urge to eat and that forcing them into a diet that restricts them to a narrow caloric intake diet will cause them mental and seemingly physiological distress, but then why are Americans at large more obese than other populations? I'm thinking that low-energy diets are consumed more often in other countries by their obese people, and that they fulfill their needs to eat in an equal way, just with other diets. The other option is that America simply breeds fatties, which would have to do with societal factors.

    This is intriguing. It's hard to conceptualize that obese people require a BMI level to maintain; instead I think their bodies are just used to (from genetics or what have you) requiring a certain level of food to be going into their bodies in some constant rate. This would account for the overall discrepancies in American BMIs compared to others, since their diets are more low-energy than Americans'.
    The increase in obesity is not as huge as it is made out to be, in every well nourished population there will be obese people.

    <EDIT> Picture didn't work, the graph is halfway down this page: Junkfood Science: JFS special report: Obesity statisticulation — When will people get it?

    The dashed lines on this graph are the population distribution in 1976. The solid line is a modern one. "The obesity epidemic" is the result of a big chunk of the "norm" creeping over an arbitrary line, these people gain a few Kgs (which gives no significant increase in health risks) and all of a sudden we're going mental about the obesity crisis. The overall distribution is pretty similar and as you can see there were a ton of "obese" people back in 1976, contrary to popular belief. Also most of the health risks of being obese come at >40, and as you can see on this graph that much of the obese lie at less than 40.

    The obese are a natural part of any well nourished population and always have been.

    Americans have also increased in height by an inch over the last 40 years but their isn't a "height epidemic" going on is there?
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  2. #102
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    Americans have also increased in height by an inch over the last 40 years but their isn't a "height epidemic" going on is there?
    No, because an extra inch of height doesn't carry any negative effects, and the individual has little choice in the matter anyway. Choosing a lifestyle and diet which leads to obesity is an individual choice with health implications.

    There should be social pressure to remain fit and trim. Physical ability is of great benefit through life and obesity's cost to society is massive.

  3. #103
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    Cheers for ignoring everything I've said and completely missing the point.

    If social pressure actually produced results everyone would be slim.
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  4. #104
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    Reasons why we could be bigger on average now than in the past:

    Aging population- As you get older you naturally gain some weight, the few extra pounds gained by the aging babyboomers alone could probably account for a lot of the increase.

    We are less sick- Generally sickness decreases weight, these days we have erradicated a huge amount of disease and illness, therefore you're usually a few pounds (at least) bigger when we're not sick.

    Poor people are less likely to go without food- Efforts to improve basic needs for the very poor have improved, so they are more likely to be well fed than in the past.

    Changing cultures- In the US there has been huge growth of "minority" populations, not only could the influx of genetic differences change the average weight but also generally those cultures are less concerned about a few extra pounds, so millions of people trickle to one side of an arbitrary line (your risks do not significantly increase either side of the line).

    Medical/Treatments- These days we treat mental illness (depression/anxiety) with more and more drugs many of which have the side effect of increasing weight (and I would assume that anxiety and depression decreases weight). You also have massive amounts of women on the contraceptive pill, that can cause you to gain weight.

    Smoking- With the widespread decrease in smoking there is an inevitable increase in weight as smoking can reduce and maintain weight loss.

    Dieting- The dieting craze that has persisted since the 80s ultimately leaves people weighing more than if they had not dieted at all.

    Combine all of these factors and you have a huge chunk of the few pounds needed to cross millions and millions of people from one side of that arbitrary line to the other.

    I'm not asking people to accept my opinions out right, only to consider where much of the information out their regarding weight is funded from and view it with a healthy skeptcism, also be aware of how the media can bias our perception, scaremongering sells so be aware that you will hear much more about negative studies (even if their findings are weak) than you will about positive or null studies.

    Examine for robustness the axioms that our beliefs about fat are based on.
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  5. #105
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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  6. #106
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    See, the thing is is that I'm overweight. My parents are overweight, too. They have always been overweight. In the 1970s, my mother was overweight, and she's overweight now, but all of the sudden that she's overweight is a part of an obesity epidemic.

    Weird.
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  7. #107
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    See, the thing is is that I'm overweight. My parents are overweight, too. They have always been overweight. In the 1970s, my mother was overweight, and she's overweight now, but all of the sudden that she's overweight is a part of an obesity epidemic.

    Weird.
    Well, I think the statistics have been fairly clear that there are more obese people in the USA now than there were in the 1970s.
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  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Well, I think the statistics have been fairly clear that there are more obese people in the USA now than there were in the 1970s.
    I dunno. It just seems weird that it should suddenly be my problem, because I'm a part of a long line of overweight people. How many people were overweight in the US in the 1940s?

    I mean, I'm not saying that it's not important to eat healthy and exercise. I agree that overall people are probably less fit than they used to be because of the change of lifestyle. But purely putting this matter on weight seems... wrong.
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  9. #109
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    This is an interesting analogy, showing that while there are definitely more obese people around than before the amount of panic and hysteria is not in proportion to the slight increase in average weight.

    So let me give you an analogy... Imagine that 40 years ago the average IQ was 100 and there was a bell-shaped curve. Imagine now that our educational system improves and the bell-shaped curve shifts a little and the average IQ is now 105. With that you could imagine that the number of people who have an IQ greater than 140, so-called geniuses, might have doubled. Now is it more useful to think about how our education is doing by saying, “average IQ increased 5 points” or “number of geniuses is doubled.” I think probably both are of interest but the former seems to me more informative.


    Ok. So how does that analogize to weight? Over the time period that you’ve heard that the obesity rates have quote “doubled” or gone up by 70 percent, the average weight gain is 7 to 10 pounds... think about the fact that 7 to 10 pounds is almost nothing compared to the hundreds of pounds of difference in weight that you might see in any two people walking around the street today, both of whom essentially have unlimited access to calories.
    Junkfood Science: JFS special report: Obesity statisticulation — When will people get it?

    People like to picture "the obesity epidemic" as most of the population suddenly going from slim to morbidly obese, when that is a lie of statistics. The increase in the obese is just already very overweight people gaining a little bit more weight and crossing an arbitrary line.

    The very/morbidly obese (the headless pictures you see on TV and in newspapers) are still rare at only 2.5% of the population and much of the health problems associated with obesity come form this small group.
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  10. #110
    Senior Member Clonester's Avatar
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    Just an observation as a Canadian, but a few parts of the US I've visited have some areas where a lot of people are very fat. I mean there are fat people in Ottawa, but this is far worse. And it can vary by the neighbourhood too. Another thing is the portion size. Some American restaurants have HUGE portion sizes. Which is nice on occasion or something, but on a frequent basis? It wouldn't be hard to have a day's worth of calories just in one meal with dessert & drinks.
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