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Old 06-12-2006, 04:39 PM   #16
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


It is far easier to blame the cheeseburger, fries and coke.


but we blame the alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

can we not make a case about the addictive qualities of carbohydrates and fats as being comparable to the addictive qualities of nicotine?

i suppose what i'm really getting at is some measure of consistency. there's no question that tobacco kills people. there's also no question that Big Macs kill people. yet, one is seen as an unqualified evil (smoke free towns, etc.) and the other is served to children by a clown. one is taxed, heavily, the other is celebrated as some sort of quntissential piece of Americana.

my guess is that one product has the weight of sinfulness on it due to it's mind-altering qualities, whereas the other does not.

this country seems to have a big problem with pleasure.
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Old 06-12-2006, 04:49 PM   #17
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I also think there is a paradox in this country - we are taught that we need to be more accepting of obese people and yet we are also taught that obesity is very harmful. How do we be accepting of obese people when obesity is such a killer?


this is very interesting.

as someone who was once very fit, then gained a bunch of weight, and has now lost most of it, i actually find myself *less* sympathetic to obesity than i once was. i fully understand that humans are weak, and that some people really can work out very hard and eat right and due to circumstance beyond their control they cannot lose weight (there's a woman in my office like this -- delightful girl, works out all the time, is still quite heavy), but having actually done what it takes to drop 20+ pounds, you really do see that it often is a matter of self-control and discipline. it really is as simple as "eat less, move more."

i am fully sympathetic to the idea that some people lead very busy lives with work and children and that the cost of modern life requires two incomes and mom (or dad) simply doesn't have the time to shop each and every day and then prepare that night's meal out of 100% fresh ingredients. i am also aware that the overall quality of food as diminished (as supply has gone up) due to the addition of things like high fructose corn syrup into every known product (that stuff is in freaking spaghetti sauce).

so, often, we're damned no matter what we do.

but at some point, it's kind of like, come on. i can understand an extra 20 lbs, but being obese, needing to lose 75lbs or more, it does seem like a little bit of insanity. it's like, "stop eating or you'll die!"

perhaps we need "shock videos" of some sort like we used to get with smoking in school -- we learned all about the horrors of lung cancer, why not learn all about the horrors of heart disease and diabetes?
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:00 PM   #18
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They'll never levy a tax on Diet Coke or any diet drinks because a) they have no sugar and no calories so it makes no sense and b) you'd be punishing diabetics.
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:04 PM   #19
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I was at the airport over the weekend and as I was walking through the roped off queue towards security, an overweight woman with her child cut in line in front of me by ducking under the rope. I made a gesture like "wtf?" and she turned around and said "You can go in front of me, I just didn't want to walk all that way." I had to bite my lip from saying, "No wonder you're so fat," not to mention the excellent example it set for the kid for breaking in line. Often one of the first things you read about how to lose weight is things like getting up and moving more, park further away at the grocery store so you can get a bit of exercise. Walk the length of the entire damn queue at the airport unless you're carrying heavy luggage (she wasn't).

When my officemate returned from Paris last week, one of the first things she said was that she did not see any overweight people in Paris. She commented that she also didn't see anyone as skinny as you might see in the US--just that everyone seemed to have normal weight, no extremes.

Anyway, I basically agree with everything Irvine's said. It's a growing irritation for me. A flight I was on recently was delayed 30 minutes while they tried to work out what to do with a guy who was too heavy to sit in one seat. They actually had to ask a couple who had gotten on through standby to leave the plane so this guy could have 2 seats. The whole thing happened right across from me so I saw exactly what happened.

I realize there are legitimate health reasons that don't have to do with overeating or bad eating that contribute to some people's weight problems but the fact is that the US is a fat country and it's absurd that I can't smoke pot legally because it's supposedly bad for my "health" while others can live on a diet of donuts, Coke and MacDonald's, and get fatter and fatter and die young of heart disease and any number of other illnesses related to obesity.
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:15 PM   #20
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I agree, joyfulgirl and Irvine. In Africa, the only obesity I saw was actually kids with bellies distended from malnutrition.

People have always given me surprised looks when I say I've never owned a car. I just moved back to my old neighborhood so now it takes me 35 minutes to bike home, or about an hour to walk, but honestly I've gotten so used to walking and biking that I've come to enjoy it. I don't care if people argue that it takes too much time. I get from point A to point B AND get in a workout at the same time. If I drove, I'd still have to schedule 20mins - 1 hr each day for a workout.

One of my really good friends it putting herself at severe risk for many health problems. Her parents are both very obese. She has gained 50 pounds in the past few years (she has a very small frame, so that's a lot). She never exercises, she hates being outdoors for anything. All she eats is fast food or takeout. She already has high cholesterol. To top it off, she's constantly switching her anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds, so she's prone to weight gains and mood swings. I feel like I'm watching her kill herself, the same way I've watched anorexic friends kill themselves.
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:37 PM   #21
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I recently had to write an essay about my opinion on taxes being placed on fast food restaurants in order to curb the nation's purchase of the harmful foods. My initial response is to laugh. Have we become such a sad, dependent society that we need government intervention to tell us what we should and should not eat? What happened to choice, taking personal responsiblity for what you put into your own body? If someone is worried about the foods he or she is consuming, why not investigate just exactly how that food affects his or her body?

I agree with the point of view that not ein your veryone has the time and energy to investigate every food he eats, but it is definitely healthier to refrain from eating at McDonald's, and instead pick up a few fresh vegetables and fruits. How much time could you possibly loose running into the market once a week buying healthier options? If you have become too busy for even that, I think your priorities need to be realigned. I am completely sympathetic to busy mothers and fathers, who have full time jobs and several children. To drive through McDonald's pick up window may be quicker and easier than preparing a healthy meal that your entire family would enjoy. However, if it is truly a problem for your family, just with every problem, there are always solutions that can be worked into your schedule.

When did it become the government's business what we eat? The government doesn't come into our homes and tell us not to eat certain meals. So why should we suddenly let go of certain freedoms in order to appease those who cannot control themselves? Is McDonald's really such a horrible business. In my opinion, the food is absolutely murderous, yes. But, the only reason franchises like McDonald's are in business is because of constant support from costumers. If we did not consume McDonald's, it would not be able to sustain such a large and influential profit margin. Businneses that do not appeal to the people are quickly tossed out of existence. So, the real problem is that our society has an issue with control, indulgence, and misaligned priorities.
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by jenU2child
IWhen did it become the government's business what we eat? The government doesn't come into our homes and tell us not to eat certain meals. So why should we suddenly let go of certain freedoms in order to appease those who cannot control themselves? Is McDonald's really such a horrible business. In my opinion, the food is absolutely murderous, yes. But, the only reason franchises like McDonald's are in business is because of constant support from costumers. If we did not consume McDonald's, it would not be able to sustain such a large and influential profit margin. Businneses that do not appeal to the people are quickly tossed out of existence. So, the real problem is that our society has an issue with control, indulgence, and misaligned priorities.


what about cigarettes and alcohol and some illegal drugs? the government certainly tells us when we can and cannot consume these things (must be 21 for alcohol, 18 for cigarettes) and these products are heavily, heavily taxed.

the flip side of this is that it is government intervention that has gotten people to quit smoking and to drink less, to wear helmets and seatbelts, to practice safe sex. government intervenes in many areas in life, and sometimes it has tremendously positive collective benefits.

why should fast food be off limits, but other products fair game?
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:16 PM   #23
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It is not as if there is no government intrusion into fast food. Regulations require posting of nutritional information (which is on par for other government intervention).

A "fat tax" is no more than the tax de jour.

And we are missing the greatest obesity in the room - the government's appetite for $$$.
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:34 PM   #24
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Yes, I guess the government has to have a certain level of restrictions, to discourage anarchy, but I guess I know I wouldn't smoke even if it was legal for my age. I guess I make my decisions based on my personal desires, but of course I realize I am subconsciously affected by the government in some ways.
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
It is far easier to blame the cheeseburger, fries and coke.
Generally because all three are major causes of obesity. Drop the french fries from that daily McDonald's combo meal alone and you'll start losing weight.

My view on this subject, however, is that a "Fat Tax" would be a meaningless gesture. What the government should be doing is regulating the nutritional value of our food better. There is absolutely no reason why most of our food has little nutritional value, while the healthy food that we should be eating is priced too high to be affordable for most people.

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Old 06-12-2006, 07:09 PM   #26
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Sin Taxes are one of the more blatant examples of social engineering, the government should stay away.
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Old 06-12-2006, 07:47 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Sin Taxes are one of the more blatant examples of social engineering, the government should stay away.
Sin taxes helped pay for the wonderful anti-smoking campaign my generation went through in US grade schools during the 1970's and 80's.

As a direct result, the number of US smokers between the ages of 30-45 is very low, especially compared to the cigarrette addicts in Europe and Asia.

This was money well-spent. I don't know what happened in the 90's, because smoking among teenagers started to rise again, maybe the educational campaign stopped?

A 10 cent sin tax on every soda, burger and pizza would not be noticed by consumers. A Wanderer, would you forego a nice, piping hot brat with all the fixin's if the price suddenly went up ten whole cents from one day to the next? I would wager no (then again, maybe you're a Libertarian vegetarian, what do I know).

If the money doesn't disappear into the black hole of Washington DC Spendaholics Anonymous, I could see how a vigorous health-food educational campaign, starting in the lower grades all the way through high school, can turn around this supposed obesity "epidemic" in a generation.

That would mean lower health costs for everyone, something we could all agree on.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:03 PM   #28
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:21 PM   #29
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While I don't like to see new taxes, I'd like to some sort of "sin tax" on soda or fast food.

Take the tax revenue from junk food and use that money to subsidize farmers and reduce the cost of healthy food! It's just too damn convenient to eat junk food because it's cheaper...

Edit: A_Wanderer's post reminded me of the word I was really looking for but the rum made me forget.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:46 PM   #30
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It has been argued that the farm subsidies on corn that distort the market are a good part of the problem.
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