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No Country For Thin Men: 75% Of Americans To Be Obese By 2020

Tyler Durden's picture




 

While much heart palpitations are generated every month based on how much of a seasonal adjustment factor is used to fudge US employment, many forget that a much more serious long term issue for the US (assuming anyone cares what happens in the long run) is a far more ominous secular shift in US population - namely the fact that everyone is getting fatter fast, aka America's "obesity epidemic." And according to a just released analysis by BNY ConvergEx' Nicholas Colas, things are about to get much worse, because as the OECD predicts, by 2020 75% of US the population will be obese. What this implies for the tens of trillions in underfunded healthcare "benefits" in the future is all too clear. In the meantime, thanks to today's economic "news", fat people everywhere can get even fatter courtesy of ever freer money from the Chairman, about to be paradropped once more to keep nominal prices high and devalue the dollar even more in the great "race to debase". Our advice - just pretend you are going to college and take out a $100,000 loan, spending it all on Taco Bells. But don't forget to save enough for the latest iPad, and the next latest to be released in a few weeks, ad inf.

From ConvergEx:

Summary: It’s a shocking anomaly that a highly developed country with the world’s largest GDP also has the world’s most obvious obesity endemic. Nearly 34% of United States citizens are obese, which is triple the rate of most of its peer countries. Notably, Americans both drink and smoke less than much of the industrialized world, making this problem all the more puzzling. The causes appear to be largely cultural, with low food costs playing a supporting role. Obesity in the U.S. is more prevalent along certain groups, but by some estimates an astounding 3 out of 4 Americans will be obese or overweight by 2020. The obvious comparison here is to smoking, a public health challenge that has declined in popularity for decades due to higher taxes and public awareness of the risks involved. The answers to the obesity problem will be much tougher, however. And with widespread use of government money for Food Stamps (+20% of all households) and school lunches (+30% of all children), the Federal government is squarely in the middle of the debate.

Consider some wacky “all-American” dining options. Burger King’s Manhattan Whopper Bar offers an aptly-named “Pizza Burger”– a ginormous cheeseburger accentuated by pepperoni and chopped into 6 slices. Denny’s spices up the classic but boring grilled cheese by driving 4 mozzarella sticks into the already gooey cheddar goodness (Fried Cheese Melt). And IHOP delivers fluffy pancakes stuffed with hunks of cheesecake drowning in whipped cream and splashed with powdered sugar (New York Cheesecake Pancakes). Not to mention they’re only 4 bucks.

Not to be outdone, Las Vegas is home to another appropriately named (and self-proclaimed) producer of “nutritional pornography” – the Heart Attack Grill. Menu options include a “Quadruple Bypass Burger,” “ButterFat Shake” and all-you-can-eat “Flatliner Fries.” If you’re over 350 pounds you eat for free, and shots are served in 4 ounce pours. The restaurant made headlines last month when a 40-something man suffered a heart attack (what else?) while chowing down in its dining room. Go ahead, you can chuckle – he’s alive and kicking somewhere out West. At the time of his heart attack he’d been eating the 6,000 calorie “Triple Bypass Burger” featuring 3 half-pound patties, half a fried onion, cheese, and 15 slices of bacon.

So is it really any surprise that 1 in 3 Americans are obese? The United States has a bigger obesity problem than any other industrialized country in the world, with a 33.8% obesity rate, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Note that obesity is defined according to a body mass index (BMI), which calculates human body fat based on weight and height. BMI readings of 30 or greater signify obesity, while a score between 25 and 30 indicates “overweightness.”

A typical man of 5’10” should weigh, for example, about 170 pounds. The U.S.’s next closest “competitor” is Mexico with a 30% obesity rate, while Canada and the U.K. have rates of 24% and 23%, respectively. Other highly developed countries such as Germany, Italy and France have rates below 15%, and Japan is all the way down at 3.9%. India’s citizens are the trimmest, with a 2.1% obesity rate. The average for the 34 OECD member countries is 16.9% – exactly half that of the United States.

Obesity is one obvious culprit for the exorbitant amount of money that Americans spend on health care. Health expenditures (including capital investment in health care infrastructure) are just shy of $8,000 a year per person, which is almost 50% more than in any other country, and represents nearly one-fifth of total GDP. Expenditures in Norway and Switzerland, numbers 2 and 3 on the list, represent a little more than $5,000 per person. The Brits spend about $3,500 a person, while the Japanese spend just $2,900 per person. Indonesia brings up the rear with only $99 spent per capita, although that comparison is obviously skewed by its emerging economy status.

Despite access to high-quality health care services, facilities and infrastructure, Americans live 78.2 years on average, or more than a year less than the OECD member nation average of 79.5 years. Our neighbors to the north and nearly all of our European counterparts live somewhere between 80 and 82 years, while the Japanese live longer than anyone else (83 years).

Just to quickly check off a couple of obvious other behavioral/health boxes, we know our lives generally aren’t cut short by smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. Sixteen percent of Americans are daily smokers, compared with the OECD average of 22.1%. In France, for example, more than 1 in 4 people are regular smokers, while a whopping 40% of Greeks fess up to having at least one daily smoke. Comparatively we don’t drink that much either. On average for ages 15 and up, Americans consume 8.8 liters (298 ounces) of alcohol annually. The OECD average is 9.1 liters, and the French top the chart (surprise, surprise) at 12.3 liters.

There’s no denying that the mortality rate phenomenon is at least somewhat of an obesity issue. In the U.S., Japan and select industrialized European countries, the correlation between obesity rates and life expectancy is greater than 80% (refer to this chart and several others following the text ). Obesity is a disease and while it isn’t often listed as a “Cause of Death” the outcomes are deadly. Since the cardiovascular system is the number one affected area when someone is overweight, it should come as no surprise that more people die from heart attacks in the U.S. than in most other countries. For every 100,000 Americans, 129 die from a heart attack. The OECD average is 117, while in the “fit” countries of Japan and Korea heart attack fatalities occur in fewer than 40 out of 100,000 people.

As far as root causes, it’s a basic economic principle that people consume more of things that are cheaper, and food in the U.S. is relatively cheap compared to the rest of the world. The food component represents 14% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), meaning that on average 14% of our total expenditures is spent on food.However, the “Food at home” component of the CPI is a mere 8%, and since most Americans eat most of their meals at home, this is likely a more logical number to use. In China and India, on the other hand, food weightings in their respective inflation indexes are 31% and 27%. Yes, this is clearly the result of lower incomes and food prices set to a large degree by global trends; the correlation/causation to consumption is still valid, however. The Chinese and Indians rank in the bottom 3 in terms of obesity rates, at 2.9% and 2.1%, respectively. As for more economically comparable countries, Canada (17% of CPI), Australia (17%), Italy (16%) and the U.K. (11%) have more similar food component cost weightings to the U.S.’s, and their citizens are substantially slimmer. Either way (economic or cultural explanation), mass industrialization of farms and food processing in the States has resulted in a dramatic lower food prices and an unmistakable trend to overconsumption.

Perhaps Americans work so much that we simply don’t have time to be active. After all, we work more than anyone else in the world, right? Wrong. We take less time off, but in terms of hours worked per week, we have it pretty good. At an average of 33.6 hours per week, Americans actually work less than the French (37.6 hours per week), who have a reputation for more slack work habits. People in the U.S. also work less than those in Japan (40.7 hours per week) and Turkey (49.7 hours per week), but the Japanese and Turkish have much lower obesity rates, as do the French.

However, while we work just as much as (if not more than) most other people, Americans take fewer vacation days. Including paid public holidays and voluntary vacation time, workers in the U.S. have an average of 25 days off per year. This compares with 40 in France, 36 in the U.K. and 31 in Italy, for example. Brazilians take the most time off (41 days), while Canadians take the least (19 days). Vacation time doesn’t appear to be correlated to obesity, but helps to validate the notion that Americans are among the hardest-working people in the world, even if hours worked are in line with other countries.

We’re left with a rather unspecific, and somewhat unsatisfying, conclusion that the obesity endemic in America is caused by broad cultural factors and personal responsibility issues. High-risk groups include African-American and Mexican-American women, who have respective obesity rates of 46% and 35%, and those in lower income groups. Women with lower levels of educational achievement are 1.3 times more likely to be obese, though virtually no disparity exists among men of varying education levels. And Southerners and Midwesterners carry more weight than their Northern and Western counterparts.

Nonetheless, 75% of Americans will be obese or overweight by 2020, according to OECD projections. We’ll have to see how the ongoing national health care debate plays out, but this undoubtedly means more government spending in terms of both preventative care and educational programs. In its food stamp program, the government has already begun educating recipients on nutrition, yet soft drinks, candy, cookies and ice cream are eligible items for purchase with food stamp benefits. I would expect this to change considering we’re on track to be 40% obese in the next decade, and likely even more government intervention will be necessary to curb some culturally-ingrained bad habits.

In an admittedly altruistic way, the U.S. government is a major enabler to the obesity problem. While we’re not debating the necessity of food stamps, they do provide incremental spending power, and the fact that lower-income people are more likely to be obese means that the government has a profound responsibility to ramp up nutritional education and hone in on the obesity problem. With +20% of households using food stamps, keep in mind that any policy shift will be significant for a wide swath of companies from supermarkets to producers of food.

So far government efforts have been mostly ineffective “nudges.” Policies enacted in the past few years that mandate calorie labeling in fast-food and chain restaurants have thus far had no impact on calorie consumption, according to a recently-published study (link below). While relying on people to use nutritional information to make healthier meal choices wasn’t effective, giving customers at a fast-food restaurant the option of downsizing their dishes did in fact work. About a third of customers opted for the smaller portion (versus less than 1% who asked to downsize on their own) and subsequently ate less. And accepting the downsized option had no effect on the amount of food uneaten at the end of the meal, translating into even more calorie savings. People in the study generally didn’t have the self-control to make smarter nutritional choices on their own, but it seems that some sense of self-control was activated when they were pushed to make healthier decisions.

With proof that intervention can in fact work, the Federal government has a role to play, whether it likes it or not. When you’re handing over money for food to 1 in 5 households and when about a third of all children are in notoriously non-nutritious subsidized school lunch programs, there’s certainly a moral responsibility.

Obesity is essentially the “Smoking” of the 21st century. And just as smoking rates were lessened thanks to government intervention, the obesity problem will need governmental action as well. Yes, it’s been written about countless times and there aren’t any immediate investment implications, but this topic is worth having in the back of your mind. The answers here are not as obvious as cigarette smoking; no one is going to back higher food taxes to reduce consumption. But the problem is significant and costly to the U.S. economy.

Link to study on effectiveness of calorie-labeling: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/2/399.abstract

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Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:28 | 2290767 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

"I didn't realize iPads were so fattening" - Dudley

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:33 | 2290803 Clueless Economist
Clueless Economist's picture

Scientists have even named the new species: OBESTIUS AMERICANUS

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:37 | 2290834 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Fear not... There are a bunch of right minded people in high places who work tirelessly to change all of that...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2461985/replies?c=3

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:40 | 2290842 ratso
ratso's picture

Who says that the US is not growing really fast.  Just look around you.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:46 | 2290864 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

Our Surgeon General is all over this problem like syrup on sausage and ho' cakes.

People in the study generally didn’t have the self-control to make smarter nutritional choices on their own, but it seems that some sense of self-control was activated when they were pushed to make healthier decisions [for other people].

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:46 | 2290886 brewing
brewing's picture

fried chicken and waffles...

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:52 | 2290926 AssFire
AssFire's picture

What is the trading symbol for Cracker Barrel???

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:05 | 2291006 CharlieSDT
CharlieSDT's picture

Everywhere I go in America they’re there, mountainous creatures waddling down the street armed with their XXL Big and Tall outfits, burritos in hand, with gargantuan partners and morbidly obese children drinking Super Big Gulps filled with sugar soda.  Sweating through their pits at the slightest effort and mouth breathing like some woolly mammoth out of Ice Age, these disgusting creatures are everywhere and it is only getting worse.  This is an epidemic that is to America what AIDS is to Africa.

 

My proposal:  The Fat Tax

It would be insanely easy.  Just tax all that shitty processed food.  Have the FDA identify what food is “Junk food” by factors like percentage of calories from fat and sugar and then tax by the calorie.  Then return the money in salad subsidies.  If you went to McDonald’sand a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese was $8 and a salad was on the Dollar Menu, what would you eat?  Money changes people’s behavior.  It would also motivate the food manufacturers to make more healthy food and the pattern would be self-reinforcing.

 

http://www.singledudetravel.com/2011/07/fat-people-the-aids-of-america/

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:09 | 2291031 brewing
brewing's picture

did mdb change his handle?  this is some good sarc...

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:10 | 2291036 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Fuck you.  How about we cut the farm subsidies that have lead to total infiltration by HFCS into every single thing we eat and drink?  I wouldn't be too surprised to find that shit in municiple water at this point.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:15 | 2291059 redpill
redpill's picture

Yep.  And the last thing we need is more taxes.

Eating a natural diet is becoming increasingly expensive. If you actually go to the store and get a healthy meal of non-hormone protein and organic vegetables, you are going to spend literally 10x the money as you would going to Taco Bell. And weight is really just one of the symptoms of the larger problem of unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle.

Of course a lot of it could be solved if people would do a mere 15 minutes of vigorous exercise per day and cut the bottom level of the "food pyramid" by 2/3rds. The FDA definitely has a hand in creating the juvenile diabetes monster with decades of high grain "requirements."

 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:24 | 2291097 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Mobile, long-term food storage? 

Like all stats, the "experts" keep moving the bar lower.  We need a little weight stats inflation to adjust to the current realities.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:29 | 2291618 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

wow Tylers, that was a LOT of words for no mention of the corporate fud supply's inherent toxicity to the human body.

despite the great research and posts many here put up every time the fatty-hate crowd show up to bray, despite the fact that this is a degraded fud supply that some other countries are restricting imports of, despite the fact that "obesity" creates MASSIVE profits for the pharma-care corporate industry, which people are supposedly going to be FORCED to pay for - win win gov!!!   despite last week's multiple posts put up by GWashington, with regard the fud supply and health effects, which had some great commentary. . .     despite all this -

none of that is mentioned in your post.  but the heart attack burger, lovingly detailed.

I can only come to the conclusion that this is a troll for hate posts.  given that other hate groups are verboten, as "access denied" shows a loss of one of the more strident voices targeting other groups, it appears this post lets folks know that FATTIES are now the chosen fair game.

beyond disappointing.

 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:52 | 2291724 bernorange
bernorange's picture

I am the 25%.  Don't supersize me bro.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 17:50 | 2292535 smiler03
smiler03's picture

I am not fat! I am big boned!

Eric Cartman

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:24 | 2291098 Vampyroteuthis ...
Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

I know the US is getting bigger and generating a lot of fat asses. I live in Texas and it is quite obvious here. I cry bullshit on 75% of the population will be obese in 2020. This is propaganda and is no different than the global warming or terrorist scares.

It is disturbing the poor state of health Americans are in though.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:40 | 2291176 TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

Tyler's headline was wrong. Should have said 'obese or overweight', as per the article...

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:21 | 2291589 MountainGreenhouse
MountainGreenhouse's picture

I think more americans need to start p90x instead of eating a super sized fry dipped in a super sized chocolate shake

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:30 | 2291622 redpill
redpill's picture

Wouldn't work.  You have to be in shape to do P90X, the average person would be out of gas in 5 minutes and quit.  You have to start smaller so that people feel that they are successfully completing the workout, and then slowly build the intensity.  The bottom line is that most people simply don't have the willpower to do the "boot camp" approach.  Anyway, they don't need to be pro athletes, and a mere 10-15 minutes of bodyweight exercises can do wonders for the sedentary.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:58 | 2291747 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Actually p90x is great for the out of shape. I did it when I was 50 lbs over weight. Of course I couldn't do all the exercises. Had to take lots of breaks and modify 90 percent of the exercises. The beauty of it is that you can do it at home and not at the gym where people will burst a gut laughing at you hoisting your lard around. Gym rats can be cruel...I had tried that route before. When I got 20 pounds off I did a group bootcamp for 2 weeks. Working out with others with various abilities and kind motivational instructors can really help to keep you on track. I'm still 20 lbs overweight but I'm much fitter then I ever have been in my life. However I do agree that diet is probably more important in the obesity crisis we are facing in this country. Those of us in the medical field see it every day. Read an article yesterday that 50 percent of RNs are obese or overweight, more than the general public! Now that's scary.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:48 | 2291440 bobola
bobola's picture

Vamp,

Visit your local WalMart and that 75% will look spot on....today....

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:21 | 2291586 Slewburger
Slewburger's picture

+1 Muffintop

The term fat cats hardly seems fitting as now the bottom 99 is plumped up on HFCS, GMOs, MSG and the like.

I live in TX also and it makes me sick. Obesity seems to coexist with poverty and ignorance, not success and excess.

I see fatass panhandlers.

 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:43 | 2291687 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

We are being attacked on every major front

Food, water, fiancial, relationships, laws/rights, medical, entertainment, music, media,etc... - all of it.

EVERYTHING.

The whole system has been tainted and hijacked - on purpose.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:27 | 2291114 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

+1.  I also want to bring up another subject: flavor-enhacing food additives.  I am talking about MSG, and all of the other names it goes by: modified food starch, hydrolyzed (XXX) protein, etc etc. 

I have vigorously pursued eating more natural foods (it IS more expensive and time-consuming to boot), and I have begun assidously reading labels and have entirely cut out food additives.  Result: I have lost 15 pounds in the past 6 weeks.  Commercial food preparers: fuck you very much.

 

http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v16/n8/full/oby2008274a.html

With adjustment for potential confounders including physical activity and total energy intake, MSG intake was positively related to BMI. Prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users than nonusers. For users in the highest tertile of MSG intake compared to nonusers, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios of overweight (BMI 23.0 and 25.0) were 2.10 (95% confidence interval, 1.13–3.90, P for trend across four MSG categories = 0.03) and 2.75 (95% confidence interval, 1.28–5.95, P = 0.04). This research provides data that MSG intake may be associated with increased risk of overweight independent of physical activity and total energy intake in humans.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:30 | 2291130 ShankyS
ShankyS's picture

No offence, but this article does not take into account that there is going to be a complete global financial collapse and no one will be aboe to afford to eat (much less get food) for 3 to 5 years. This will take care of the obesity problem. 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:34 | 2291148 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

So we should all fatten up in preparation for the famine?  The MSG industry is doing us all a favor, right?

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:48 | 2291200 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

canned butter in the bunker, bitchez.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:54 | 2291230 European American
European American's picture

Keeping people FAT makes a lot of people a lot of money.

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 17:58 | 2386622 piceridu
piceridu's picture

Just the opposite...poor people are fatter. It's much cheaper to eat fascist corporate "food" than the healthier alternatives (fruit, Veggies and other whole foods) plus I hear that Pepsi, Coke and Frito-Lay will become the general sponsors for US FEMA camps and European National Closed-Hospitality Centers

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:32 | 2291139 brewing
brewing's picture

i've gotten tired all of the sudden...

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:10 | 2291290 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture

 

 

If only mosquitos sucked fat.  Think how easy mosquito pterodactylus would be to swat. 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 14:27 | 2291662 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

For those of you who may not know, there's a company in New York that produces the flavorings and aromas that go into some of the most toxic garbage food out there, like BK Whoppers (no, that's not the taste of real 'flame broiled' flavor) and Cinnabon thingies.

International Flavors & Fragrances

Scientists working there literally succeed in molecular engineering that causes humans to crave particular molecular compositions/formulations. Unfortunately, these molecular designer flavors end up in some of the most health damaging foods.

I'm not a food Nazi, but I do try to keep my intake of toxic calories low, and my intake of nutrient dense, clean calories high.

As for that professor and his weight loss on the junk food diet, of course reducing calories consumed will lead to weight loss. The problem is that if you stay on that diet, you're going to be malnourished and eventually suffer from diet induced disease, such as anemia, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The other big problem that those seeking good health face is that even if they choose the right foods, soil erosion and modern agriculture techniques (which cause much of the soil erosion) have caused the mineral content in the soil to plunge. Stack the limited varieties of vegetables and fruits (there were once over 130 different varieties of potatos grown; now, it's just a handful) grown for commercial reasons along with GMO seed, and the world's awash in empty, or worse yet, compromised calories.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:56 | 2291238 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

gardens

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:45 | 2291432 bobola
bobola's picture

Red,

The cheapest food where I live is at an indoor/outdoor, year-round vendor market.

For example, I can buy a 20 lb bag of potatoes for $3.  Three big onions for $2.  A bag or carrots for $1.

All natural foood and all dirt cheap.  I can fill up the 2 bike panniers for about $10  with various fruits and veggies.

Buy from a grocery store and you pay top dollar. 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:33 | 2291639 redpill
redpill's picture

It's even cheaper when you grow it yourself of course, but the reality is there are a lot of overweight people in the city that don't have ready access to anything except grocery stores and fast food.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 17:02 | 2292292 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

bobola, if those are white potatoes (rather than the orange or certain specialty varieties), they'll keep you fed, but if you do some research, you'll find out that a baked white potato creates a bigger insulin spike than drinking a 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola.

Corn & Potatoes are the staple of the processed foods industry (and the new staple of the American diet) and a big reason why is because their molecules are very easy to manipulate at low cost, and they even get massive USDA and other government subsidies for doing so, hence the massive rate of diabetes, obesity and heart disease in the U.S.

Corn & potatoes. Potatoes & corn. Processed food induced diseases, bitchez.

 

Eliminate all processed foods, fast foods, chips, junk food, candy bars, white flour, most pasta, processed white rice, deep-fried foods and all soft drinks.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 15:22 | 2292058 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Actually one of the hidden causes is estrogenous chemicals like bisphenol (BPA) that are found everywhere. They mimic hormones in the body that signal to store fat, not burn it. Scientists have even noted that newborns are getting fatter even though their diet and exercise have stayed the same. Scientists also say wild animals (squirrels etc) are also getting fatter...even though their diets and exercise have obviously not changed.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:33 | 2291372 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

Yep - Id agree, I dont think the problem is some vague and unknown behaviour driven problem - Im guessing you need to look no further than the amount of HFCS consumed in the US compared to elsewhere.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:24 | 2291101 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

Sure, nice idea if the govt (or business) really gave a shit about peoples' health.  As it is, the system's working pretty good for the owners.  Junk food manufacturers offer super-low-cost garbage to a willing population, making good money for themselves (and with the margins being what they are, the more supersized the offerings, the bigger the profits) and at the same time generate the market for all the dubious medications being pushed by the pharmaceutical industry.  So, as long as you ignore the health effects, everybody wins - processed food manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, and even the consumers themselves.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:31 | 2291619 V in PA
V in PA's picture

The first airline to charge by weight will be a winner. Passengers will have to enter their total weight (with luggage), when they purchase a ticket, to determine the cost, and if they are within 10lbs, their cleared to fly. Over by more than 10lbs they are charged extra per pound over. Under their ticketed weight, they get a discount. Ultimately flying is all about weight, so why not charge by weight. It might also wake people up to this growing problem.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 16:40 | 2292335 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Would be great if it would work! Unfortunately I think most of the chubbies at walmart aren't doing much flying.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 18:48 | 2292742 nufio
nufio's picture

Airlines should have different sized holes for people to crawl through and charge different rates. like they have specific sized containers that carry on luggage should fit in.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:32 | 2291140 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

I agree, but offer a simpler solution and dare I say, more elegant.  You get a GPS neck collar filled with a small charge of C4.  If your collar detects your bodyfat percentage goes over a set number, such as 25 percent for men, and 15 for women, the charge vaporizes your head just after it sends out a GPS location for body / organ recovery.

We can create a new job, call it the Sandman, that just disposes of bodies.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:49 | 2291276 flapdoodle
flapdoodle's picture

Ultimately, I think the problem is that the quality of what americans eat - adding bacon and cheddar flavoring to shit doesn't make the shit any better - the body still recognizes it as shit, not food, and will make up for the lack of quality with quantity.

As a now less obese expat (eating food grown with many fewer chemicals and prepared fresh), I've concluded that what Americans eat is simply not recognized as food by the body. Some studies have found that soft drinks made w/ real cane sugar for example seem to satisfy much more that ones made with HFCS.

GMO vegetables and fruits from depleted soil, "pink slime" flavored meat, diseased fish, fake sugar, "fat-free" food that substitutes carbs which are worse that the real thing,  hydrogen gas processed oil instead of butter - none of this stuff is REAL food and chemical fakery just gets past the tastebuds, not the digestive system - satiety is never achieved...

I'm convinced the body demands more to make up for what is lacking in the crap that is passed off as food in the US (unfortunately, the US style of food, like a cancer, is spreading everywhere these days)

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:52 | 2291459 Mariposa de Oro
Mariposa de Oro's picture

Logged in just to up vote you.  I'm an expat too.  I've finally managed to get the garden in and have noticed that I feel saitiated after eating my homegrown, self prepared food.  Eating in the 'dining facility' that's provided for us has caused most newcomers to gain 15+ pounds, on average.  Its all government approved food.  The company is on us about our health and yet look what they feed us.  Its a running joke.  Even the doctors are wise to it.  I'm now trying to get someone with some authority to take a close look at why so many of us have underactive thyroid function.  Even the local pharmacist has commented on it.  The water contains a lot of flouride and chlorine and who knows what else but the government says its good for us.  **sigh**

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 17:00 | 2292340 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Because much of our pharmacy corp driven medical system is a massive scam, and it's an open secret amongst physicians that Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is synthesized and secreted by your pituitary gland…i.e. it’s a PITUITARY hormone, NOT a thyroid hormone.

I have a sister who herself is a newish M.D., and she used to have thyroid issues but was helped by a wise D.O. who put her on dessicated pig thyroids (I'm being very general); but the pharma companies can't make nearly as much money off of tossed away pig organs than they can from molecularly designed (hint - patented - hint) drugs.

Patients who have switched to natural desiccated thyroid have discovered that when they are allowed to dose by the COMPLETE elimination of symptoms, which also puts the free T3 at the top of the range, they will end up with a TSH lab VERY BELOW range……..and not one hint of hyperthyroid. It is not uncommon to see a TSH of .009 or .004 when optimal, for example, yet not one iota of hyper. (If you do have a suppressed TSH with hyper-like symptoms, it’s time to check your adrenal status or your Reverse T3/Free T3 ratio.)

Additionally, patients see both their heart health and their bone strength completely improve, even with a TSH far below the so-called normal range, when on an optimal amount of desiccated thyroid and strong adrenals or adequate adrenal support.

 

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/tsh-why-its-useless/

 

It's the same reason why drugs like these are in short supply, even though they're abundant, more effective than what most hospitals stock, and create far less side effects:

 

Cheap Drug, Tranexamic Acid, Is Found To Staunch Bleeding

 

One of the best books you'll ever read about the whacked out beyond belief scam that is pharma company driven health systems:

Amazon.com: Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Comanies Are Turning Us All Into Patients 
Mon, 03/26/2012 - 21:30 | 2293083 malek
malek's picture

Are you sure you halfway know what you're talking about?

TSH is the stuff you measure in blood tests, but if the value is too high (because your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, and therefore your body creates more Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH) your doctor will subscribe you some Levothyroxine, which is a synthetic version of thyroid hormone.

Tue, 03/27/2012 - 00:56 | 2293465 Mariposa de Oro
Mariposa de Oro's picture

Check you new contacts.  I'd like to discuss this a bit more with you...  :)

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:38 | 2291380 bobola
bobola's picture

Charlie,

I suggested your identicle idea a few years ago - a tax on heavily processed, fattening fast foods - on the itulip web site, in a thread about obesity, and I was roundly (pun intended) critisized.

What better way to keep the sheeple (98% of the population) distracted, fat & happy than an endless supply of cheap fast food..??  The same can be said for 300 channels of mindless cable TV and fast internet porn, but that's for another discussion.

I'm with you.  Tax the shit out of fast food...

On a related subject, I rode the bike to work today and burned a bunch of calories.   Fresh start toward breaking my recent personal best of 15 work day bike commutes in a row.   

Bike Liberation Army Club member here.  Rule #1 about Bike Club---ride the f***ing thing...!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 14:08 | 2291750 oldman
oldman's picture

@charliesdt

Charlie, everything you say is true. i have a son who weighs in at 440 or about 270 pounds too much. He is dying and there is nothing to do about it; he guards his 'right to eat' like it was a stash of PMs----lies to others and himself---and eats right on.

It is pretty sad to watch your 'little boy' of forty years ago killing himself with food---he can't walk more than a few feet without being out of breath----he can't fly or ride in a car, or even get behind the wheel of his pick-up.

That's my son and all I can do is watch him die.

Maybe, the best idea is too make obese people ineligible for federal aid----our tax dollars are killing our own people----nothing to do but watch them fall down dead. No, not a good idea---everyone has the right to live or die on his/her own choice of poison-----sadly true.

It is difficult not to be attached to one's own child                      om

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