Obesity is a choice

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by malkieD2, Nov 21, 2005.

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  1. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    In a desperate attempt to prevent someone dragging another Senate thread offtopic I'm posting this thread for a general discussion on obesity and it's current high prevelence in western society.

    Undoubtedly the current economic high, and the world domination of high fat fast food establishments, coupled with the reduction of physical education in schools has bred a generation of obese people.

    Why ?

    In my opinion, the tolerance of obesity, coupled with a BS sympathy attitude has made it socially acceptable to be obese and not do anything about it.

    There is absolutely no reason that ANYONE should be obese, because the simple fact is that you are only a product of what you put into your own mouth.

    Let's see what the US Government says about the causes of obesity.

    Genetic factors - undoubtedly your genes have a huge amount of control over what your body does to what goes into your mouth. However, only YOU control what goes into your mouth.

    Environmental factors - this includes lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and his or her level of physical activity. This is the major one, and where the real 'choice' is situated. Although you cannot change your genetic makeup, you can change your eating habits and levels of activity.

    Psychological factors / Biological Disorders - this is the controversial one. Many of the obese have genuine disorders which prevent them from realising they are 'full-up' when eating. Bottomline is however, that they are still a product of what they eat, and it's noone fault but their own. I personally could eat and eat (I often feel hungry after eating) - however, its obvious to me that if I continue to eat then I'll put on weight, and I don't want that.

    What does the US Government suggest as treatment ? A combination of diet, exercise and behavior modification.

    <img src="http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/images/energy_balance.gif">

    It's as simple as this - if you eat more than your body needs then you will put on weight.


    So, give me one good reason why someone should be obese ?
  2. beafet Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2001
    star 5
    Messed up thyroid gland?


    [face_plain]
  3. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    Influences appetite and metabolism, but has absolutely nothing to do with what you put in your mouth.
  4. Nrf-Hrdr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2000
    star 4
    Messed up thyroid gland?

    For what it's worth, I have an underactive thyroid and yet am perfectly thin. Luck? Or the fact I eat moderately and get reasonable levels of exercize? Who can say? But it suggests to me that having a glandular disorder shouldn't be treated as being by definition a no-questions-asked excuse for obesity.
  5. Mustafar_66 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2005
    star 5
    It's interesting. What about depression? Major factor in obesity. I think that if a person was desperate enough to lose weight, then you can tell yourself to. I know that when I wanted to lose weight, I literally told myslef I was gonna eat less. Lo and behold, my appetite was greatly reduced and I've lost a stone.
  6. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    The above two posters are perfect examples of what I'm talking about. Taking responsibilty for what the eat and controlling their own weight.
  7. Guinastasia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 6
    Praeder Wilis.

    And while yes, in some ways, it does happen as a result of lifestyle and choices, it's NOT EASY to lose weight. Sometimes weight gain is a result of a thyroid problem, and while you can cut calories, you can only cut so many before you start starving yourself. Sometimes it happens if you're injured and bed ridden for a while.

    I'm sure there are things in YOUR life that you're not proud of. So why not look at yourself instead of sitting there are smug because you're not omigawd FAT!!!!
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    I agree with Malkie.

    I love chocolate. I do. I love it. It's bad, I know, to be in love with it but still, [face_love]

    I also exercise a hell of a lot.

    For starters, I don't have a car or scooter here in Taipei, so I tend to walk almost everywhere unless it's so far, the MRT makes life convenient. I'm also at my gym, California Fitness, six days a week.

    Now, I'm big but I have a rugby players frame on a 187cm tall body. I don't look like a body builder but I'm solid, and in good shape.

    I freely admit if I wasn't exercising I'd probably have a nice little belly I'd call Dennis, who'd be my friend.

    And if I didn't have a gym, I wouldn't exercise.

    It's easier to simply accept the path of least resistance, which is to deny responsibility for your actions and just accept your current weight. Yes, it's hard to lose weight. It's hard to exercise. It was never meant to be easy, so making excuses doesn't have any affect.

    Good topic, Malkie. The sympathy and tolerance for one is a major contributing factor. "Oh, it's an epidemic" - of laziness, perhaps? Irresponsibility?

    I don't advocate mocking fat people, unless it's a girl who's muffin-topping in a mid-riff top ;) (I joke, I joke - I can still do that right?). But it is time that took responsibility for their state and made an effort to remedy it.

    E_S
  9. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    I think the TV show "The Biggest Loser" is a perfect example of how being obese is a matter of choice.

  10. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Praeder Wilis

    This is exactly what I was talking about, I just forgot the name of it. Of course it generally linked to people with mental retardation but I would like you to control yourself when literally felt like you were STARVING to death every minute of the day.

  11. Guinastasia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 6
    Yep. It can't be controlled by willpower-that's one of the characteristics of the disease. It includes mild retardation at least, and they say that those who suffer cannot control themselves, at all-family members have to lock up food and sometimes restrain the person to keep them from eating themselves to death. It's a rare condition, but it is one example, and a sad one at that.
  12. LemmingLord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 4
    malkieD2's subjects seem to be pointing to one of my favorite spooky concepts: what if life IS fair? What if all the bad stuff that happens is the fault of the person to whom these bad things occur?
  13. T-65XJ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2002
    star 3
    Firstly, I completely agree that most people should be able to control their weight with enough will power. And that today there are far too many over-weight people.

    But could it be possible that it's just temporary? Humans for centuries go through the feast and famine cycles because we were at the mercy of nature. So you ate when you could in the times of plenty and it was a survival mechanism that you body stored excess calorie intake in the form of fat for future use.

    Now in terms of crops and food, 1st world countries have largely overcome most natural elements and we can basically eat what we want when we want.

    This is a recent occurrance. So could we be in a transition phase. When our brains learn to control appatite and our bodies learn not to store so much fat we might be ok?
  14. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    Absolutely not. A thyriod problem does not cause weight gain. Eating moretoo much fat while having a thyriod dysfunction causes weight gain.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about - this sort of attitude is exactly why we have a generation of obese people.

    Again, this is nonsense. A well balanced diet matched with regular exercise is the only way to maintain a healthy weight. You should eat well, and on occasion spoil yourself, but only when coupled with a reasonable exercise regimen. Nothing major - just something simple such as walking one mile a day.

    No it doesn't. Being in bed doesn't make you gain weight. Not having a controlled diet while being unable to exercise results in weight gain. You have to realise that if you are bed ridden that you won't be able to exercise properly (but you can do a lot in bed - simple arm movements or leg lifts), so you have to cut down on food intake.

    What on earth does this crap comment contribute to the thread ? If you don't like to debate, then don't post in the senate. Again, this is a perfect example of someone pushing the blame away, and focusing on the person asking tough questions rather than actually address the problem of why people are obese.

    It's purely a choice, and nothing else.

    Exactly :) And I'm glad that various people in this thread are proving my point that it's the sympathy attitude that give quick and easy excuses to the lazy and irresponsible in our society.

    Neither do I, and no-one has been in this thread. However, as soon as you start asking tough questions people will get defensive and start hurling abuse and sarcasm in your direction because they know full well that obesity can be controlled, but they simply can't be bothered and are always looking to blame someone else.

    But of the 25% of the Western world that is obese, how many have this disorder ? 0.5% ??????

    The vast, vast, vast majority of the overweight are in that condition through choice, and absolutely nothing is stopping them turning things around.

    It isn't easy, and it won't happen quickly, but there is NOTHING stopping them.
  15. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    Something that does bother me is that my taxes pay for the results of obesity. Why should my taxes be used to pay for people who suffer from heart disease purely due to lifestyle choices they made ?
  16. Silmarillion Manager Emerita/Ex RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 6
    You're opening up a whole other can of worms there. Why should I pay for smokers to get treatment? Or alcoholics?

    The numbers for people with Prader-Willis is 1 in 15,000 births (according to their site) so that makes up about .006% of the population. While it's not a choice for someone with the condition, obesity is not guaranteed in all situations as their diet can be monitored and controlled.

    malkie, what do you suggest that the government can do to reduce the burden? I remember hearing a "traffic light" system on foods that would clearly specify sugar and salt content. What about shock ads like the ones we currently have for smoking?
  17. Dingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2001
    star 5
    As malkie said, it affects only a small percentage of people (stats are approximately 1 in 14000 births). Also "Life expectancy is normal if obesity is controlled. Most deaths are due to obesity and complications caused by it".

    The condition itself does not cause obesity, just a lack of control as something to do with the disease. Something analogous to that is that I suffer from mild psoriasis meaning that a large portion of my body itches constantly due to nerve triggering whenever I move. But over time I've had to learn to block out/ignore/control these signals, just as a person would have to if they were constantly feeling hungry.

    Actually, most of the "thyroid problems" that will lead to any actual effect on body mass balance are easily controlled by low doses of thyroxine that bring the TSH/FT4 feedback loop back to normal. But even then some people don't control their weight because it is easier to say that they cannot control it due to a "medical condition" even though the issue is completely within their power to deal with.

    Anyone who cannot control their weight due to issues with their thyroid hormones would have to have levels equivalent to that of a person suffering from a "Thyroid Storm", and then their weight would be the least of their concerns.

    I'm sorry, but you don't get "obese" from being bed-ridden unless you are eating the same amount of food for months that you would if you were training in the gym. Yes there can be a tendancy to put on some weight when bed-ridden for a stretch of time, but a) that would not push you into being obese unless you are gorging yourself; b) it is easily reversed by maintaining the same eating and exercise habits from before being bed-ridden, or altering said habits if an injury is sustained that prevents similar exercise habits; c) it is still regardless a basis of choice as your body will only require enough calorific intake to deal with general body needs regardless of how mobile or immobile you are.
  18. Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    As a healthcare professional and a person extensively travelled, I tend to agree fully that obesity is (most of the time) from one's own making.

    The US is becoming a fat farm, and in New Orleans that is especially true. I see the effects of these types of things as they end up in ICU for problems related to obesity: diabetes, heart failure, et al.

    We're also getting a number of those gastric resection patients (where they basically 'shrink' your stomach) because people are so damn fat.

    I'm personally in very good shape and have a very good frame (although I'm pretty short in height stature), and I don't need to exercise at all to keep my frame. However, I don't eat like a pig all day, and I take in moderation the things I enjoy.
  19. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    I don't think I am. Both alcohol and cigarettes are heavily taxed (in this country at least), so to some extent people who abuse cigarettes and/or alcohol and technically already paying for their own later life treatment.

    There is no such comparison for the obese.

    My suggestions for improvement ? I'd actually start taxing food with high fat content. "Fat Tax" could force food companies into producing more healthy foods to avoid paying the taxes, and as a result the vast majority of foods on our shelves would be better for us than they currently are.

    Furthermore it would abolish the crap arguement that fast food is cheaper and hence those in the poverty bracket have no choice but to live off processed burgers and chips (fries).

    It would push the cost of a McDonalds up thus hopefully prevent people eating there so often, and possibly force McDonalds into rethinking their menu (which they have recently been doing, due to publicity).


    I'd increase the physical education requirements in schools, and also actually insist that all college entrants participate in one sport through their college life. You go to college to learn, but there is always time for a little sport. I know I managed to play rugby all the way through undergrad, and post grad education without any effects on my grades. I'm not talking about daily training, I'm talking about a couple of hours a week, and also stress the importance of team participation and also the positive effects on 'self-worth'.

    I could go even further - I'd like to see a simple incentive for those people losing weight. If you are obese, but gradually losing weight I'd like to see them get given a small tax credit - nothing major, but something which shows that their efforts are being rewarded.

    (I'd much rather see a positive tax credit like that than the nonsense tax credits the unemployed and single mothers get for doing absolutely nothing). This point also counters the "why should the healthy be punished?", that someone will undoubtedly ask - people who look after themselves finanicially are already being grossly punished.

    Make exercise equipment taxfree ?

    State owned local gyms, where membership was cheap ?

    The list could go on and on.

    A good kick up the backside are what some people need, and its this form of 'tough-love' that our western world needs to get away from the obesity epidemic.
  20. Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    I was going to post that in my above post, malkie, but I had to take a phone call and forgot to edit...

    I do think that there should be a tax placed upon fast food establishments, and that money could go into the Medicare/Medicaid fund or Social Security.
  21. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Holy shiitake mushrooms, I agree with Darth Mischievous! :eek: Also, in addition to the ideas above, we could further incentivise healthy behavior through lower insurance premiums. Although it could be argued that healthy folks get this after a fashion already, because healthy folks are less likely to need medical attention, thus don't have to worry about doctor bills and/or copays.

    Ruthless & heartless as it sounds, as malkieD2 has stated elsewhere, there were no fat people in concentration camps.

    I do like the idea of tax breaks for the healthy :)
  22. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I actually knew a girl in my church who had Praeder Wilis when I was a kid and I remember there was some activity at their house and they had to fight to keep the food away, but as she also had mental retardation I didn't really know what was going on.

    I never said the majority weren't obese by choice, what I said was is that there exist people who do not have a choice, while your arguement is that it is a choice 100% of the time and you demanded that I give one person that is not obese by choice, and as I have now provided an example of a group that does not have a choice, this discussion is over.

  23. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    Uhhh...did you miss "Life expectancy is normal if obesity is controlled. Most deaths are due to obesity and complications caused by it".
  24. Mustafar_66 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2005
    star 5
    Now, you see the problem with this is that you'd just end up with people not going. I know I wouldn't. Seeing as how PE is mandatory in Primary and Secondary schools anyway, I don't think implementing it into the last two years of your school life is really worth it.

    PE was the bane of my school life. I dispised it. In fact, I haven't done school PE in over two years. This is partly due to my hatred of team sports and my hatred of people in general. However, I do excercise. I walk a lot and do 45 push ups a day. When I have more room in my bedroom, I will also start doing sit ups. Perhaps individual excercise should be more encouraged, rather than making team sports a must...
  25. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    very well said :)

    Although they have a clear, and defined mental condition, it doesn't actually cause obesity. Only the food entering their mouth causes obesity. They have the choice to overeat or not - while they might have limited control over that choice, it is a choice nevertheless.

    Besides, this thread is not to discuss the tiny number of suffers - it far more directed at the vast majority who have an obvious choice, yet chose to do nothing.

    What did you think of my suggestions ?


    Perhaps individual excercise should be more encouraged, rather than making team sports a must..

    That's a fair point. Many people hate team sports, especially if they are not the most talented sports player in the world - no-one likes to get picked last ;) There's plenty of individual sports - running, golf, cross-country, skiing, swimming, simple walking - that provide just as much exercise as traditional team sports.

    I'd put golf high on that list - carrying 14 clubs on a 5 mile trek is a decent work out.
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