PDA

View Full Version : Startling Stuff



Marko Tsourkan
06-20-2012, 11:15 AM
http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/18/12278587-report-worlds-population-is-17-million-tons-overweight#.T-HgwvpvBUY.email

"Despite only making up five per cent of the world's population, the United States accounts for almost a third of the world's weight due to obesity..."

The hekler
06-20-2012, 11:41 AM
That quote is a little misleading and reading the article it's just a bad in there. Don't know if it was msnbc's sloppy journalism or an improperly wrote study, but it would be ridiculous for any one to believe. Sure it draws your attention but if you look at it mathematically it's easy to see what they wanted to say and not the oddly phased quote above. 5% of the world makes up 33% of it's weight do to obesity? Really if that were true the average European or Asian would have to weigh 30lbs so that I weighing 180lbs could be six times heavier. No instead it wants to say that the US is responsible for 33% of the weight above what they consider average. Which certainly is something but not overly surprising nor nearly as startling as what the badly worded quote in the article would lead you to believe.

Marko Tsourkan
06-20-2012, 11:54 AM
I got to tell you, at first I thought that it might be a mistake, that perhaps US accounts for 30% of the 17 million tons overweight, but after rereading the article, the claim is that is 30% of the world population's weight. That is what I found startling.

I will try to find the original study, to see if the article is consistent with it.

M

Deckhand
06-20-2012, 12:08 PM
Interesting mix of human ecology, obesity, and a random study. Not all statistics lie, but all liars use statistics. It has been a while since I was sharp at the ways you skew P values etc. You are probably up to date on reading that properly. I definitely see a study that could have skewed statistics or at the least a study not taking racial and cultural differences into account. I see lots and lots of invalid studies with poor parameters used for agendas, and taken as fact if mentioned in the news.
“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”
― Mark Twain

Eamon Burke
06-20-2012, 12:09 PM
But there's no way that the whole Asian continent is only 13% of the population by weight. There's just way too many of them. 13% of the obesity, maybe.

I'm not arguing the point of the article--by and large, Americans are killing themselves and their children through the mouth.

chinacats
06-20-2012, 12:12 PM
I'm not arguing the point of the article--by and large, Americans are killing themselves and their children through the mouth.

+1

Maluaka
06-20-2012, 01:06 PM
It's happening in Canada too. The problem is education. Children are taught what to eat by their parents so guess what obese parents are teaching their children to eat?

A friend of mine doesn't like vegetables (don't ask) so guess what his three year old won't eat?

While I'm having trouble with those stats, I think something is getting lost in semantics, the fact remains that a lot of Americans (and Canadians) are getting huge. I visited my mom last year in Mississippi and it was startling. But then you drive around a bit and see Sonic, White castle, Carl's junior etc. all over the place. You don't even have to get out of your frickin car to get your 10,000 calories! It's not that there aren't choices though. Lots of slim folks at whole foods and the farmers markets.

Eamon Burke
06-20-2012, 02:26 PM
We've had people ask how we get our kids to eat their food so well, and eat healthy things. They make it sound so hard. Just don't give them other options.

Your kid can't live on candy and soda if your house doesn't have any candy or soda.

Maluaka
06-20-2012, 03:07 PM
Like Burke says, your kids won't get hooked on junk if they don't have access to it.

It's all about what you habituate yourself and your kids to. If you're used to burgers and cheese fries your probably not going to dig a spinach salad. Of course the opposite is also true, I hate that greasy taste you get in your mouth with fast food burgers. I had a can of coke the other day for the first time in a couple years and couldn't finish it. Too sweet.

Being a parent is a huge responsibility that, unfortunately, a lot of people really aren't equipped to handle. It is amazing the power parents have to mess up their kids both physically and emotionally. We've made ourselves so busy that many have cut out preparing proper food, and just "pick up something quick" instead.

There needs to be more education on nutrition outside of the home (school, media etc.). People who eat crap always think eating healthy is waaay more work and tastes lousy. It's hard to convince them otherwise.

North America's ignorance is catching up with us.

Sorry, end of rant.

Deckhand
06-20-2012, 03:09 PM
We've had people ask how we get our kids to eat their food so well, and eat healthy things. They make it sound so hard. Just don't give them other options.

Your kid can't live on candy and soda if your house doesn't have any candy or soda.

Agree, I make a conscious effort to feed my kids healthier and waste less money on junk.
Sorry to all if I sounded oppositional up thread. I am genetically fortunate and whatever I eat I burn off. I am 6'3
My kids as well are in no danger of obesity, but healthy eating habits are always good to establish.
I am just annoyed with this being the latest news concern. I don't want chocolate milk banned at school. I am not a fan of the nanny government mentality replacing free choice. I believe in personal responsibility not the government knows best view.

Crothcipt
06-20-2012, 03:27 PM
I agree with you on the free choice, but what is served in schools is also on a board based ruling. Most nutrition needs are over looked. But when the government is already involved there has to start being a loud voice for the government to hear.

kalaeb
06-20-2012, 03:39 PM
Hmm, I am going to go have a burger, fries and a coke!

Deckhand
06-20-2012, 03:55 PM
Hmmm.. In and out burger, fries, and a chocolate shake with wax peppers for my burger sounds good.

Obesity and weight in general is controlled by taking in less calories than you use. I know sounds too simple.

Dream Burls
06-20-2012, 04:24 PM
There's a socio-economic angle to this also: protein costs more. People have tight budgets these days and a dollar goes a lot further on carbs and fat than it does on protein and veggies. Sad, but true.

Korin_Mari
06-20-2012, 05:03 PM
But there's no way that the whole Asian continent is only 13% of the population by weight. There's just way too many of them. 13% of the obesity, maybe.

I~ don't~ know~... Asian are REALLY f!@*in skinny. I usually want to stop eating... I don't know you know, I think about it. LOL

SameGuy
06-20-2012, 05:03 PM
By my quick, grade 10 math, that means people in the US would need to weigh five times as much as those elsewhere.

apicius9
06-20-2012, 05:33 PM
The study looks reasonably well done to me. If anything, it underestimates the numbers. The effects would be even larger if it included kids - with the overweight/obesity rates among kids also being the highest in the usual suspect nations. One other not mentioned limitation is that there should be ethnicity-specific BMI limits for obesity. Research indicates that, for example, some Asian groups show disease rates at BMI>23 that you find in the US at BMI>25. If you included that into this study, it would also lead to higher overall bio mass due to overweight/obesity but the percentages would shift slightly.

As for overweight/obesity in general, that could certainly fill looong threads of discussion. I would like to just point one thing out that is a major concern in public health and nowhere as misunderstood as in the US: In most cases, food choice is NOT strictly an expression of free will. Americans seem obsessed with free choice and government interference with it - but they have little problems with the food industry not only selling them cheap crap that is based on maximized profit but also, most importantly, advertized to them with budgets in the tens of billions of $$ every year. Advertizing is there to create 'needs' that are independent of things like health or well-being. Fast food places are not randomly placed in cities, they are strategically placed to cater to specific target groups. Between price structures, advertizing influences, access/availability, economically caused society changes (e.g. both parents need to work), and lack of education (which is a topic in itself...), the range of free choice is minimal. The majority of the population can not shop for healthy stuff at Wholefoods.

Stefan

Andrew H
06-20-2012, 05:38 PM
By my quick, grade 10 math, that means people in the US would need to weigh five times as much as those elsewhere.

More than that even.

apicius9
06-20-2012, 05:42 PM
More than that even.

Sorry, I don't even see where you get that from in the paper?

Stefan

Marko Tsourkan
06-20-2012, 05:47 PM
The report is below, and here is a part of an abstract:

In 2005, global adult human biomass was approximately 287 million tonnes, of which 15
million tonnes were due to overweight (BMI > 25), a mass equivalent to that of 242 million
people of average body mass (5% of global human biomass). Biomass due to obesity was 3.5 million tonnes, the mass equivalent of 56 million people of average body mass (1.2% of
human biomass). North America has 6% of the world population but 34% of biomass due to
obesity. Asia has 61% of the world population but 13% of biomass due to obesity. One tonne
of human biomass corresponds to approximately 12 adults in North America and 17 adults in
Asia. If all countries had the BMI distribution of the USA, the increase in human biomass of
58 million tonnes would be equivalent in mass to an extra 935 million people of average body
mass, and have energy requirements equivalent to that of 473 million adults.

http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-12-439.pdf

bishamon
06-20-2012, 07:02 PM
Haha, obviously it didn't mean the US made up a third of human biomass, each adult American would have to be over 700 lbs (if you take ~300 million americans). Got to read this stuff critically.
Percentage people overweight:
Europe ~56%, Oceania ~63%, Latin America ~68%, N. American ~74%. In other words, add another ~18% of their total population to the overweight list in Europe, and it would be similar to N. America in terms of the percentage overweight. So less than 1 in 5 additional people would become overweight in Europe. This would be noticeable, but not night and day. The rest of the world ain't all skinny either.

bishamon
06-20-2012, 07:23 PM
Correction to above, since it's all of N. America (~530 million people) the average N. American would only have to weigh ~400 lbs. We're working on it.

Adagimp
06-20-2012, 08:33 PM
The study looks reasonably well done to me. If anything, it underestimates the numbers. The effects would be even larger if it included kids - with the overweight/obesity rates among kids also being the highest in the usual suspect nations. One other not mentioned limitation is that there should be ethnicity-specific BMI limits for obesity. Research indicates that, for example, some Asian groups show disease rates at BMI>23 that you find in the US at BMI>25. If you included that into this study, it would also lead to higher overall bio mass due to overweight/obesity but the percentages would shift slightly.

As for overweight/obesity in general, that could certainly fill looong threads of discussion. I would like to just point one thing out that is a major concern in public health and nowhere as misunderstood as in the US: In most cases, food choice is NOT strictly an expression of free will. Americans seem obsessed with free choice and government interference with it - but they have little problems with the food industry not only selling them cheap crap that is based on maximized profit but also, most importantly, advertized to them with budgets in the tens of billions of $$ every year. Advertizing is there to create 'needs' that are independent of things like health or well-being. Fast food places are not randomly placed in cities, they are strategically placed to cater to specific target groups. Between price structures, advertizing influences, access/availability, economically caused society changes (e.g. both parents need to work), and lack of education (which is a topic in itself...), the range of free choice is minimal. The majority of the population can not shop for healthy stuff at Wholefoods.

Stefan

Insightful post that I completely agree with, except for the bolded claim. I disagree, because I think such a claim doesn't give individual willful ignorance, apathy, and greed enough credit for the US's food/diet problems. Most of the US population lives in cities or suburbs that have grocery stores with healthy/nutritious options (they might not be Whole Foods, but Whole Foods doesn't have a monopoly on nutritious food) and I assume, this might be a bad assumption, that most of the current adult US population went to primary school and at least made it past 2nd grade. Having completed second grade one should be familiar with some basic nutrition information and at least know that sugars and fats pose a more serious threat to one's health than green beans. However, while I assume most everyone knows that a healthy diet cannot consist of entirely sugary and fatty processed and/or "fast food", most people just choose not to eat a healthy diet. They make this choice, because they either care more about food tasting sweet or rich than they do about nutrition, they are unwilling to pay the extra cost of "whole food", or while know that some foods aren't good for their bodies and that better alternatives are within easy reach, they choose to ignore that knowledge or choose not to learn what the better options are.

Now I'll admit that there are pressures that make it harder for people to want nutritious food, and the fact that less nutritious food typically costs a few cents less than more nutritious food provides some incentive not to purchase nutritious food. But these mild pressures do not amount to a coercive force that would completely undermine personal choice and thereby remove responsibility from the individual. Americans may not be free from biased distraction when it comes to choosing what they eat, but it is not as though the option to buy healthy food does not exist for most Americans, or that an outside influence is really forcing us to buy only unhealthy food. I am not trying to downplay the negative effect that advertising and lack of proper education has on food and diet in this country, but I also think it is unfair not to place a significant portion of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the individuals who make poor choices out of apathy, willful ignorance, and greed.

Eamon Burke
06-20-2012, 08:42 PM
You can have it Fast, have it Cheap, and have it Good.

But you can't have all three.

We work for our food in this house, it's the fact that most people don't want to spend time making their food that they have to buy prepared foods instead of raw ingredients--which are still very cheap for any American. I'm not talking Cherries and Duck here--I mean roasts, rice, potatoes, lentils, flour, tomatoes, corn, etc etc.

A lot of the reason people don't like to cook from scratch is that they don't know how or can't deal with processing the raw ingredients.

Solution? Better knives & knife skills!

Tristan
06-22-2012, 06:53 AM
We are brought up on american TV - where everyone is a celeb, and everyone is slim. Yes I've been there, and yes I know hollowood doesn't accurately portray normality, and Asians are naturally slimmer.

But we also work harder at it. I believe the average Asian country has more focus on healthy eating than america by and large. Women are also far more weight conscious here... Past 50kg, or 110lbs, women call themselves out and say they are fat. Then start doing something to cap weight gain. Motivation and impetus is driven on an individual level I guess.

Also the typical asian diet is actually a fair bit more healthy as a starting point than the american diet.