Obesity is Structural

Comments

1
obesity is a very, very sad epidemic.

and fat people jumping isn't as funny as it sounds.
2
None of that dime-store pop-sociology pablum explains how a well-paid writer for major publications came to be a huge fatass, however.
So I guess in his case, it's not "the system" forcing him to be fat. It's just that other thing that leads to weight gain ... what's that called again? Oh! Laziness. Right.
3
No, it's character flaw. Just ask Rob in Baltimore.
4
Or the troll @ 2.
5
@4, Why is disagreeing with someone's point being a troll? Just as sheer sloth or poor choices can't explain ALL of America's obesity problems, neither can some great unintentional conspiracy to make it impossible for the poor to eat well or exercise.
Like anything in life, it's a bit of both.
Ambinder's assertion is that fat people would all be fit and trim if they were just supplied with farmer's markets, treadmills, and "role models." This is beyond cliche.
Lots of people who have access to that stuff are fat, just like he was. I used to be one of them too, until I got sick of it, stopped being lazy, and went on a diet.
I don't see why it's troll-ish to simply question the slavish devotion to an idea that the downtrodden would all miraculously choose to do the right thing and apply themselves if only given the opportunity. Some of them would. Some would continue to be fat and lazy, or drunk and poor, or what have you.
6
@5,

Only 3 percent of diets work. Congratulations on being one of the lucky few.
7
@ 5, why don't you go re-read your comment @ 2? I don't see disagreement; I see pronouncement, judgment, and mean spirit. That, coupled with an unregistered name like "BS," is the hallmark of the troll.

If you're really interested in debate, then try a different approach.
8
Cue the snarky comments about fatties eating all the cookies at the party and how those who opt for surgery are 'cheating' because they lack 'willpower'.
9
I am well paid.
I have access to healthy foods.
I have probably above average access to health care.
My community infrastructure seems fine.
I'd like to think I have access to accurate information.

Shit. This IS my fault. :(
So surgery is the answer then?

10
The people most vulnerable to obesity, however, do not have access to healthy food"

TOTAL HORSE SHIT. It's called the PRODUCE DEPARTMENT of the fucking GROCERY STORE. Ooops I forgot, all the grocery stores in inner-ring Detroit got robbed out of business by violent black thugs. Why don't you whiney wimpy white-guilt Seattle lib progressives go open up a nice organic co-op in blackest Detroit? Oh yeah you are all a bunch of hypocritical shitasses, that's why!
11
Poor people are fat because the cheapest foods are based on grains, which are nutrient-poor and highly insulinogenic. But this fact will never be widely acknowledged, because the most profitable foods also happen to be based on grains.
12
Only 3% of diets work because more often than not people give up their temporary diet and return to their dietary norms, which were the problem in the first place.
Dieting doesn't work, only major nutritional/lifestyle evaluations.

Also you MUST exercise. Got to. Every time I see a weight loss commercial that offers results "without diet and exercise" I cringe. Also, do these types of programs count as dieting? If so, maybe that's part of the reasoning behind why the statistics for dieting don't show much success.
13
@12,

It's cute how you think you know how those studies are conducted. Most of the 3 percent who kept the weight off continued calorie restriction below what medical science says they need to maintain their weight. If you lose weight by eating, say, 1,200 calories a day (calorie restriction recommended by most weight loss "experts"), be prepared to eat 1,200 calories/day for the rest of your life.
14
Hey, @10 - you're being an idiot. There are large sections of inner city America (not surprisingly, where the obesity crisis hits the hardest) where there ARE NO grocery stores, and where what fresh meat or produce is sold is either of poor quality or hugely over-inflated in price.

These are referred to as "food deserts" and in many inner-city communities, including here in Chicago, people are trying to organize around the issue.

Add to that an insane system of US farming subsidies (which keeps nutritionally dubious food cheap) and the pathetic amount we give to people on food stamps and to school lunch programs, and you've got a recipe for a system that drives people to eating food that is nutritionally bad, but highly caloric and fattening...and cheap.

Try educating yourself a bit:
http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazi…
15
God, I would nail Jillian Michaels to the wall. (After I started a punishing workout regimen to get in decent shape.)
16
@13

It's SO cute that you have all sorts of excuses not to diet and are so quick to cherry pick my statement.
"be prepared to eat 1,200 calories/day for the rest of your life." This is only if you don't exercise enough to make up for the extra calories you consume.
Not to mention that calorie restriction is proven to work.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/magazi…

So really, if you can't limit your calories or make significant changes in your life, either your circumstances are the issue (like growing up in the projects with no access to recreational spaces or money for nutritional foods), or the issue behind your obesity is personal ie. the person is unwilling to make significant changes.

I've been overweight. ->
I've made significant nutritional reevaluations, and started an exercise program. ->
I've lost weight.
I still restrict my calories, but I definitely indulge. The day the diet ends is the day I DIE. The french have it right on this one; there are detours in the quest for health/fitness, but you can always return to the right path.
17
Hey dipshit at 14, maybe you missed the fact that there are no grocery stores in those areas because they got ROBBED OUT OF BUSINESS BY VIOLENT BLACK SCUM. Or you just don't care and you think groceries should be charities.
18
@17: Inner-city grocery stores have no produce sections because they're robbed out of business by violent black scum.

Obesity: Americans have it because black people somehow pulled off being both lazy and violent.
19
Too bad the black scum didn't rob the organic produce section, I guess?

Or maybe something else is going on? Like they couldn't get educations because their parents never had the whites' opportunities to get jobs so they couldn't finance their educations like whites could and thus never had the earning power to buy produce so produce grocery stores never located there in the first place, which of course, meant that they never had access to produce but to shitty food that drove up their healthcare costs and made it harder to finance their kids' education, which of course limited their earning power, and despite working two jobs for 16 hours a day, the drug trade was still the lowest opportunity cost work in the area...

Nah. It's the violence and laziness of black scum. I mean, if something's easier to think of, it must be correct, right?
20
" black people somehow pulled off being both lazy and violent.".

You are just now noticing????
21
Yep, black people. Lazy and violent. And we can't call that opinion racist, that's for damn sure. Otherwise, we'd just be hypocrites.

Because, after all, we'd never do any of this "organic farming" stuff in the inner city. Certainly not. Never. Not a chance.
22
Just google "Detroit grocery robbed" for lots and lots of news stories that prove that I am right.
23
I can google it, but it doesn't prove that obesity isn't systemic.

It actually proves that it is systemic. That a system of robberies keeps a system of grocery stores from locating in the inner city and marketing organic produce.

But that's okay, because by #22, you've forgotten what you were originally trying to argue. Most of us don't think in the split-second though, but rather several moves ahead, and doing so sorta makes a difference in how you approach problems like this.
24
Slog obesity posts always provoke the most illuminating and thoughtful comment discussions.
25
Haha, don't they though? ;)
26
To all the haters - other countries some how find a way to build systems that do not produce legions of losers. Therefore we could too.

Please make a note of it.
27
give up your fucking car. its that simple.
28
fresh produce is obscenely expensive in the US, and that makes it a luxury. but potatoes are not. no one gets obese eating potatoes, eggs, chicken, apples and rice -cheapest diet ever....... cheaper than mcdonnalds and a lot healthier. people who eat twinkies and pizzas and penaut butter sanwhiches and pre-cooked meals get obese. AND IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE LAZY. being poor is not an excuse.
29
It IS about personal choices, but we have to be honest about what those choices look like. And those choices are not line with the typical American lifestyle (and not just the lifestyle of the poor).

I try to maintain about 1,400 calorie a day diet, plus exercise 5 days a week. Maintaining that requires:

1) Almost no eating out. When eating out it means no bread basket or chips. It means ordering salads as an entrée with dressing on the side and taking half of that salad home. It means substituting French fries for side salads or fruit and saying no to dessert.
2) Cooking at home and measuring everything. Taking prepared and measured meals to work instead of going out for lunch.
3) In the office, avoiding offers of donuts, bagels, etc. Cake at work is obviously out. Going to happy hours means limiting to one drink and no food.

For people like me who are prone to gain weight, this is what weight maintenance looks like. Yet, when I go out with friends, I'm seen as the crazy one. We can't deny that the realities of a low calorie diet are in conflict with American eating habits. It can be done, but it requires constant vigilance. For everyone out there calling the obese fat asses, I wonder if you’d say no to every bagel, latte and margarita that was put in front of you. Because for some of us, that’s what maintaining a healthy weight requires.