Monday, February 7, 2011

Post No. 156a: The Ridiculousness of It All


Earlier today, a study was released which found that 3/4 of all women living in America, and 2/3 of all men, are either overweight or obese. The study described the current situation as one approaching epidemic proportions. [Evidently, it's not a problem in Hollywood.]

And to think, we are arguing about how to fund the costs of health care in this country, instead of directly addressing one of the most significant reasons for the high cost.

As Dirty Harry said, "A Country Has to Know Its Limitations."

15 comments:

  1. The rapid increase in obesity over the last 25 years is due to lifestyle changes. Automation, computers, TV and video games are more prevalent now. People only have to walk from their home to their car and back. One can drive through almost anything and if that's not possible we'll just shop online. Highly processed foods, that you find in the supermarket and fast foods are loaded with sugar and/or fat. What was once a regular size meal in fast food joints is now considered small. But at least we can "super size it" now. Even in the supermarket you'll find items labeled " low-fat" and if you do not look any further you'll miss the fact that it's loaded with sugar instead. We are what we eat, if we do not live in Hollywood. Once the future is won, there just might be Liposuction and Lipitor for all.
    BTW, we're facing the same problem over here.

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  2. Good to hear from you again wsteffie.

    Lifestyle is definitely a factor. However, what we eat is also our choice. Various nutrition and health experts have been telling us for over 75 years the dangers associated with eating certain foods. Yes, we are aware of some of the conflicting studies and such out there, and some new developments.

    However, the basic principles remain the same and they are no mystery. However, we choose to eat the dangerous foods for a multiplicity of reasons. Couple that with choosing to sit our rear ends instead of going to the gym or engaging in some form of exercise, and it pretty much boils down to a lack of personal responsibility.

    One would think that the self-professed party of personal responsibility, namely the Republicans, would champion the healthy food cause. But then again, part of their platform is not telling folks what to do with their lives. We don't know what's going with the Democrats and the health care debate, other than contending that someone other than the responsible party should foot the majority of the health care expense.

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  3. Inspector, what makes you think Republicans don't "champion the healthy food cause?" Unless you mean they should champion the governmental intrusion into personal choice? Which is basically saying to the public "you are making bad choices, so we will remove the bad choices and force you to eat what we think you should."

    Personal responsibility is just that, personal; an individual choice. When government steps in and decides what you should eat, what will be available to you, because it decides that you are making the wrong choices, that has nothing to do with "personal responsibility." In fact, it removes that from the equation entirely. It says "the government will decide."

    It takes away personal responsibility and the liberty involved.

    Now, I am not arguing that government should not regulate anything at all. I am arguing that it should be careful about how deeply it intrudes in our lives.

    Personally, I think the sudden wave of obesity is a matter of genetics and evolution plus family habits. Fat people tend to beget (and enable) fat children. Skinny people tend to beget skinny children.

    One thing about that exercise and eating right thing. You produce a body that you created. Which fools the potential mate into thinking that is who you are. Once the mate is won, the work involved in maintaining that facade no longer seems as necessary. The mate is fooled into believing her offspring will also be healthy and trim. Instead, they inherit the genes which made the effort to create and maintain the healthy looking body an arduous task.

    I am all for removing soda and junk food from schools. High sugar and heavy carbs aren't needed there. I don't think you would get a fight from parents on that. But pressuring restaurants to get rid of these too? Not so sure that's a good idea.

    Just my opinion, of course.

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  4. Douglas:

    No governmental intrusion into personal lives of citizens here:

    Abortion

    Prostitution

    Strip Bars

    Gay Marriage

    Burning of the American Flag

    Illegal Drugs and Prescription Drugs

    Sodomy

    Speed Limits on Highways

    Statutory Rape

    Cigarettes

    Alcohol

    Well, the miscegenation laws were the province of the Dixiecrats later turned Republicans....

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  5. I do not know how it is in the US right now, so my reply is based on life in Germany. Over here health experts and nutritionist have been saying the same as in the US. The question is though, who did hear abut it? It's easy to assume that just because "we" know, everybody else knows. In reality that is not the case. There are plenty of people who are clueless because that information never reached them. Not every citizen buys a paper, or has Internet access.
    Our Health Insurrance companies (who are more like big corporations) will bombard you with junk mail to sign up for additional services, but they never send out anything in reference to nutrition or preventive care. Should you visit their office (something the average citizen does not have to do), you will find little pamphlets about preventive care and nutrition. Regardless of the huge profits our Insurrance companies make they still go up with their rates. If people would start to lead healthier lives there would be no justifiable reason to go up with the rates. So it saves a purpose to keep people uninformed.

    The big corporations (or in our case the "hidden champions") that control the food market love to label a lot of their products "low-fat" for example, but they fail to mention that instead they're loaded with other unhealthy crap.

    Since the prices for food have gone up very much (especially fruits, vegetables & dairy) a lot of the processed unhealthy crap offered is much cheaper than the healthy stuff. So, our poor, even if they were educated, have no choice, but to eat unhealthy. FYI: Germany has a lot of poor people, much more than reported.

    Thanks for the link to that study Douglas. Interesting that only formula-fed infants showed an increased risk of becoming obese when introduced to solid food early. Breastfed infants showed no impact. Makes me wonder if the problem might be the formula?

    Inspector could you please explain what you mean with "no governmental intrusion into personal lives of citizens in reference to: Statutory Rape, Illegal Drugs and Prescription Drugs, Speed Limits on Highways?

    If the age of consent was 16 for example, do you think that it should be okay for a 50 year old (man or woman) to pursue a 15 year old? Do you think cocaine and heroin should be legalized? If your car goes up to 174 mph, should you be able to drive at that speed?

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  6. Wsteffie, with respect to the issue of making assumptions about what certain segments of our society know and don't know, we offer a post we generated some time ago, "Hanging Out with the 'Right' Crowd."

    Wsteffie also commented: "Inspector could you please explain what you mean with "no governmental intrusion into personal lives of citizens in reference to: Statutory Rape, Illegal Drugs and Prescription Drugs, Speed Limits on Highways?"

    In his comment, Douglas raised the issue of "governmental intrusion into personal choices." He intimated that many Republicans, although not adverse to regulation in some instances, were generally against governmental intrusion into the personal choices of its citizens. Consequently, we raised a number of instances where we think they support or would support such intrusion.

    Don't the Republicans and the Democrats, the liberals and the conservatives, the leftists and the rightists, support governmental intrusion into our personal choices, but just differ as to what those choices are?

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  7. Humans like other animals have evolved over millions of years without the benefit of any government other than natural selection - you made mistakes, you died without procreating so much, your 'kind' died out making room for others who did not make these mistakes.

    Now we prefer laws to protect stupid people from both the results and criticism of their stupidity. Let the 'government' restrict our freedom to damage our own and our children's health - even if they get things a bit wrong sometimes. Let them know better than me what's good for me - someone has to!

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  8. Wsteffie, you clearly lay out why there are situations which cry out for governmental regulation. I use the analogy of a bullied child who allies with a tough, larger, child. The larger child protects the smaller one from the bullies. In return, the smaller child shares his lunch money with him. Everyone is happy. For awhile. Then the larger child starts demanding larger and larger shares of the lunch money. Pretty soon, the smaller child is unsure which is the greater problem... the bullies or the protector? Isn't that what government is all about? Hiring bullies to protect us from other bullies? Isn't that what government has always been?

    As for the link between early weaning to solid food, it means very little to me except to show that statistics can be misleading. Obesity is the result of too much junk food readily available at lower prices than healthy food. Or maybe it's the lack of exercise as a result of all the technology we are dazzled with. Or maybe it's the additives in all food. Or maybe it's a cultural thing (diets tend to be cultural and a result of what's available in a region). Or genetics (as I like to point out) Or maybe something else. Studies can be done which show a pattern for almost any position on almost anything. One can discern patterns in a Jackson Pollock paintings if one tries hard enough. And wants to.

    Just as large corporations manipulate us through marketing techniques, so do politicians.

    Inspector, your examples were wonderful. But you make my point in this remark to Wsteffie:

    Don't the Republicans and the Democrats, the liberals and the conservatives, the leftists and the rightists, support governmental intrusion into our personal choices, but just differ as to what those choices are?

    So why should the Republicans be anymore willing to support the government as "food nanny" than anyone else? The opposing political party plays to its constituency. Each party uses issues to show "we are not them, vote for us." The reality is people think others are sheep-like and must be watched over. But not themselves, never themselves, only the "unwashed masses", "the poor", "the uneducated", the "Republicans" or the "Democrats", the others. We must protect them from themselves.

    Of course, in order to do that, we must control their lives at some level, mustn't we?

    Just to pick one of those issues you rightly brought up (and to show I agree with you about them to some degree)...
    I believe I told you once about my ambivalence regarding abortion? On the one hand, I hold that the concept of personal liberty demands women have the right to decide. On the other, I remember that the child and the father are then deprived of their right to choose. A definite quandary, I think, one which will never be resolved until all children are born in laboratories ala Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."

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  9. CorfuBob: Welcome back; it's been a while. You make a very interesting point. We are, after all, just an animal with a larger brain. From an evolutionary perspective, something has to wipe out the less fit.

    Very nice contribution to the discussion, and something more about which to think.

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  10. Douglas: Very nice discussion of the issues, particularly, this part:

    "Everyone is happy. For awhile. Then the larger child starts demanding larger and larger shares of the lunch money. Pretty soon, the smaller child is unsure which is the greater problem... the bullies or the protector? Isn't that what government is all about? Hiring bullies to protect us from other bullies?

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  11. Ah hah, two other governmental intrusion: a) prohibitions against assisted suicide, Dr. Jack Kevorkian style; and b) prohibition against multiple spouses aka polygamy.

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  12. And the list goes on - and let it lengthen, if the only other alternative is giving people the idea that increasing their 'free choice' will increase their free choice. As America is seeing I think, only Douglas' 'bullies' really have the choice of exercising their freedom when matters are important to THEM.

    Weaker folk like me will be given choices of the quality found in cheap Christmas crackers (which at least used to go off when you pulled them).

    The freedom I now enjoy in Greece is limited by economic intrusion. Of no interest to bullies, government or otherwise, my pension of about 17$ a day needs no complex laws to limit my danger to society or body weight.

    What is the lesson here to your obese readers? None at all for sure. As it happens I lost 2 stone in my first 8 months in a Greek mountain village (4000 people), and not exactly from choice, nor from illness. The result - which lasted - was due to less choice, not more.

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  13. CorfuBob:

    Should we have laws to protect what you characterized as "stupid people?" Should we have ANY laws to protect us from ourselves?

    Is there really such a thing as the "common good?"

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