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Old 07-20-2007, 07:52 PM   #1
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What's going on with our American diet?

a few stats about americans...

* 66% of U.S. adults were overweight or obese in 2003-2004.
* Women 20Ė34 years old had the fastest increase rate of obesity and overweight.
* 80% of black women aged 40 years or over are overweight; 50% are obese.
* Asians have a lower obesity prevalence when compared to other ethnic groups. However, Asians born in the United States are four times more likely to be obese than their foreign-born counterparts.
* Less educated people have a higher prevalence of obesity than their counterparts, with the exception of black women.
* States in the southeast have higher prevalence than states on the West Coast, the Midwest and the Northeast.
* 16% of children and adolescents are overweight and 34% are at risk of becoming overweight in 2003-2004.
* White children and adolescents had the lowest prevalence of overweight and being at risk of overweight compared with their black and Mexican counterparts

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Old 07-20-2007, 10:03 PM   #2
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I guess there are alot of theories on why this is happening. I think it has to do alot with laziness. America has (in general) become a very lazy country. Of course the horrible food is not helping either. People dont want to cook big meals anymore, they want to get home and eat. It weird though, It doesn't happen in Canada, and we are very similar to America. Again I dont really know, Im just speculating.
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Old 07-20-2007, 10:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitch_the_chef
I guess there are alot of theories on why this is happening. I think it has to do alot with laziness. America has (in general) become a very lazy country. Of course the horrible food is not helping either. People dont want to cook big meals anymore, they want to get home and eat. It weird though, It doesn't happen in Canada, and we are very similar to America. Again I dont really know, Im just speculating.
my guesses are as follows:

1. meat, esp. chicken, raised on steroids. you are what you eat.
2. high fructose corn syrup in just about EVERYTHING we eat.
3. sodium in preserved, canned veggies, snacks, etc.
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Old 07-21-2007, 07:13 AM   #4
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How about.

1 An over consumption of Calories!! mainly from Sugars, fats, and carbohydrates!

2. Broadly speaking, fast food restaurants..

3. Sedentary Life styles..

Also, Americans don't hold exclusive rights on laziness!

Enjoy!
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:22 AM   #5
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Ditto what Uncle Bob said. Talk to any dietician or read any of the studies out there. They will all point to the change being less active lifestyles (no one walks to work, and urban lifestyles are more prevalent now) and a shift to "fast food". I am including not just the take out places, but all the prepackaged convenience food you can buy at the store. You know what I mean. TV dinners essentially.

You know what though, in travelling through the US, the one place I noticed folks were in general pretty slender is Manhattan. I think folks in NY walk more than others. I read that something like 75% of people who live on the island don't have a drivers license and those that do hardly ever drive. Weird.
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:34 AM   #6
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It is so easy to get around NYC with public transportation and so difficult by car that I do not doubt that one bit Alix.

Yes laziness, larger portions, excessive amounts of sugar, these are all contributing factors to the weight problem.
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:46 AM   #7
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Oooooooooooooo! Larger Portions! Thanks for mentioning that GB. My personal pet peeve is the size of a slab of beef folks seem to require these days. A correct serving size of say steak is about the size of a deck of cards. I don't know about you, but seeing 16oz slabs of beef on a menu is a bit excessive IMO. Don't get me wrong here...I have on occasion polished off one of those bad boys, but I don't make a regular habit of it.
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Old 07-21-2007, 10:18 AM   #8
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I agree. It seems like too many sedentary people are eating like hard working farmers. I love to eat (duh! This is the Discuss Cooking forum!) but as I get older (40's) I'm eating less and less fatty types of food, and enjoying the taste of fresh, natural ingredients. I also stay very active. I gained weight in college and hated the way it felt so I lost it and have kept it off. Isn't easy sometimes, especially as I get older.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:59 PM   #9
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1. low income families generally have less access to healthy choices when it comes to food. There are fewer grocery stores with fresh veggies, and more fast food restaurants in low income parts of cities.

2. physical activity is not encouraged like it used to be. This is for several reasons: there are more things you can do at home now, and people are afraid to let their kids out of sight because so many violent crimes are on television now (this isn't to say there are more crimes happening, but they are more publicised).

3. more convenience foods in the grocery store. When I go shopping with my wife, I spend most of my time putting back things we don't need and that aren't on our shopping list. The grocery stores don't help much by pushing this stuff MUCH harder than plain old fruit and vegetables. Not to mention many of these foods are loaded with extra sodium, sugar, fat, and preservatives.

[edit] oh yeah, and 4. Larger portions (as described by others) [\edit]
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:12 PM   #10
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Yes, restaurants give larger portions, but that's to compete with the demand of customers. A restaurant is not holding a gun to your head telling you to finish all of your food in one sitting. Buffet restaurants don't have their own private militia going out and herding people in, telling them to stuff their face and make sure they eat their $19.95 worth of food. Everyone wants to point a finger. The problem is the PEOPLE. If someone wants to lose weight or change their eating habits/lifestyle, then do it. Are you a lemming or a person? If you have the ability to think for yourself, then you have the ability to make the change and not make any excuses if your goal is to lose weight.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:27 PM   #11
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Most people I know were raised under the mantra "clean your plate!" However, as our activity level has gone down, this philosophy still hasn't changed. It's hard to break out of lifelong eating habits.

I don't think anybody was slamming the restaurant industry for serving larger portions, I think they were just offering that up as one of the many reasons why our nation is becoming more and more overweight every year.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix
Oooooooooooooo! Larger Portions! Thanks for mentioning that GB. My personal pet peeve is the size of a slab of beef folks seem to require these days. A correct serving size of say steak is about the size of a deck of cards. I don't know about you, but seeing 16oz slabs of beef on a menu is a bit excessive IMO. Don't get me wrong here...I have on occasion polished off one of those bad boys, but I don't make a regular habit of it.
not only a slab ov beef, Alix, but also a plate of pasta. Since when did a POUND of pasta become just 4 servings? (and would you believe TWO? That's about 4 times the amount you'd get in Italy, where a serving is more like 2 ounces!
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:38 PM   #13
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My standard position on this matter is that we are all exercising free will when we make the choices we make about food. If we really want to be thinner, all we have to do is consume fewer calories than we burn up in our daily activities.

It's convenient to blame fast food restaurants, or snack manufacturers or the prevalence of sugar or HFCS or fat in our diets. The truth is, unless someone is holding a gun to your head, you get to choose how much and what you eat.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:47 PM   #14
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It's also convenient to say that a person's environment shouldn't matter when it comes to losing weight, but when those with little education are surrounded by bad choices, how can they really be expected to make any good ones, much less know which choices are good or bad?

I agree that those who have enough education and money to make responsible choices are completely responsible for whatever predicament they're in health-wise. However, people who don't have much time, money, or education are in a much more difficult spot. Trying to ignore the environment that has facilitated their poor health is like saying poor people are only poor because they want to be.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle Tom
It's also convenient to say that a person's environment shouldn't matter when it comes to losing weight, but when those with little education are surrounded by bad choices, how can they really be expected to make any good ones, much less know which choices are good or bad?

I agree that those who have enough education and money to make responsible choices are completely responsible for whatever predicament they're in health-wise. However, people who don't have much time, money, or education are in a much more difficult spot. Trying to ignore the environment that has facilitated their poor health is like saying poor people are only poor because they want to be.
That has little to do with it. Whether you're poor or rich, you can be overweight. Whether you're poor or rich you can be an alcoholic. Whether you're poor or rich, you can be addicted to crystal meth. Trans fat is not a drug, but if you switch out fast foods and large portions with alcohol or ice then you can make the same arguments that someone with a substance abuse problem has. No matter what, it all comes down to excuses, denial, and acceptance vs. delusion. So what if you're less educated? If you want to lose weight and eat healthier, you can still do it. Saying that money and environment is a factor is just another excuse. Are you saying that the fruit, veggie, and low fat foods sections in the supermarket is only available to those with a higher income? Are the healthier choice items (yes, there are some even at fast food restaurants) are only available to those with a higher income? It all comes down to the individual.

There are resources out there which doesn't cost money that people can use if they really want to. And you know what? Maybe some people just don't want to. That's fine, that's their problem. But to use excuses to justify why? Again, replace food with something like alcohol and it's practically the same argument.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:12 PM   #16
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And like with studies regarding drug use and alcoholism, obesity seems to affect the poor and less educated more than the rich and well educated. I wonder why that might be?

Using the logic you have given, a crack dealer is doing nothing wrong. The only person who has a problem is the person who buys the crack. Replace crack with food and your argument seems to be the same. Granted, food is not addictive like crack, but it is required to live, so maybe it's a litle addictive.

[edited to add] Just to keep this on topic, the post is about why obesity seems to be concentrated in the populations listed. Are you hypothesizing that there are more people with no willpower in the affected groups? [\edit]
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle Tom
And like with studies regarding drug use and alcoholism, obesity seems to affect the poor and less educated more than the rich and well educated. I wonder why that might be?

Using the logic you have given, a crack dealer is doing nothing wrong. The only person who has a problem is the person who buys the crack. Replace crack with food and your argument seems to be the same. Granted, food is not addictive like crack, but it is required to live, so maybe it's a litle addictive.
And again, the whole point is, it's still up to the individual. Stop making excuses and avoiding that.

Quote:
[edited to add] Just to keep this on topic, the post is about why obesity seems to be concentrated in the populations listed. Are you hypothesizing that there are more people with no willpower in the affected groups? [\edit]
And YOU were the one who brought in demographics. I could care less which is why I didn't even bother adressing it in my first post. Yes, demographics plays a part and will make a person more exposed to a certain thing, but it doesn't make them metanlly incapable of making their own decisions.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle Tom
Using the logic you have given, a crack dealer is doing nothing wrong. The only person who has a problem is the person who buys the crack. Replace crack with food and your argument seems to be the same. Granted, food is not addictive like crack, but it is required to live, so maybe it's a litle addictive.
If no one buys crack, the dealer canít peddle his wares.

At one time, being overweight or portly was desirable and a sign of wealth.....you could afford lots of food. That has changed these days.....except for the fact that, if youíre poor, you canít afford lots of over-the-top foods and extravagant meals, let alone eating out all the time.

As for education, how much brain power does it take to recognize when youíre full? I canít imagine anyone with an IQ above 30 not knowing there is a very distinct relationship between the amount of food you eat and how much you weigh.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:28 PM   #19
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But this whole post is about the demographics of obesity! How can you say people who are fat just lack willpower and make bad choices on purpose when the statistics are so lop sided towards particular groups?
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:34 PM   #20
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[quote=keltin]If no one buys crack, the dealer canít peddle his wares.
[\quote]

At least someone can avoid buying crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin
At one time, being overweight or portly was desirable and a sign of wealth.....you could afford lots of food. That has changed these days.....except for the fact that, if youíre poor, you canít afford lots of over-the-top foods and extravagant meals, let alone eating out all the time.

As for education, how much brain power does it take to recognize when youíre full? I canít imagine anyone with an IQ above 30 not knowing there is a very distinct relationship between the amount of food you eat and how much you weigh.

It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach. By the time you feel the "I'm full" sensation, you've been full for a while. If obese people wait until they feel full, they won't lose weight because their body will want to maintain its current weight.
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