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View Diary: Harvard Magazine: America Sucks (104 comments)

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  •  Well, check out this graphic of obesity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, greenskeeper

    ... rates in the U.S.:

    U.S. Obesity Trends 1985–2007

    There are many factors, health care being one. But the biggest factor in our declining national health is obesity.

    •  Of course... (1+ / 0-)
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      ....obesity is linked hugely to class. (no pun intended)

      •  True, but there are plenty of obese wealthy (1+ / 0-)
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        ... folks in this country, too. It's a national epidemic. Certainly, there is a class element to it, but it is becoming increasingly less discriminating.

        •  rich go to fat farms (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Johnson, trinityfly

          pay tons of money to be tormented back into some semblance of a normal weight range, while the lower class can only sit and watch TV eating twinkies and pizza. Overstatement, I know, but eating is a powerful instinct, and what is in the food supply is critical to the decisions people make on what to consume.

          A little warning, like those drug ads where they have to warn you about blood clots and sudden death may not be a bad idea for mickey D or domino's pizza ads.

          Fear is the mind killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

          by p gorden lippy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:37:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly, I'd have rock hard abs too... (4+ / 0-)

            If I could afford my own personal trainer!

          •  Our food supply (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Johnson, blindyone, MsWings, Dude1701

            is full of fats, sugars, and salt.  Yes there are healthy foods out there as well, but by and large, these fresh foods are much more expensive than the fatty, sugary, salty processed ones with no reedeming nutritional value.  I am diabetic on medication (hubby had a heart attack last year)and do not buy processed foods if I can help it...for health reasons and just because they basically taste bad.  Witness: plastic processed cheese, etc.  Yecch.

            But I am just barely able to afford to buy these fresh food items and therefore spend a larger percentage of our small income (starving artists)on food for the 2 of us.  If we had children at home we would really be strapped for cash and would have to buy cheaper much unhealthier items.

            Then then there is the problem of depression which occurs often in poor and/or overweight people.  It's a downward spiral.  No money.  It sucks.  Feel bad.  Depression.  Eat sugary cheap foods to medicate (for lots of reasons).  Feel better for a few hours, then crash.  Feel worse.   Eat more to feel better.   Can't afford a fat farm or therapy.  No insurance.    Sink more cheap junk.....

            The above story plays out every day in this country in every town in America.  There are lots of causes but the high price of fresh decent, healthy food doesn't help the situation any.  And why can't we as a country afford to eat better?  That would be a diary or a dozen on it's own.

            We spent a month in Germany last December and the Germans eat much better than we do.  Fresher food.  Small markets. Small restaurants with actual fresh food rather than frozen processed junk from Sam's Club or Sysco.  SMALLER, regular portions, rather that the heaps of food we are used to.   I actually lost weight over there.....we walked everywhere.  There was better public transportation.  The folks are a lot healthier and have better habits than Americans do.   We can learn a lot from these guys!

            "What, Me Worry?"...King George Walker Alfred Eusless Newman Bush

            by RantNRaven on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:30:34 AM PDT

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      •  it's the free ride for the fat-mongers (5+ / 0-)

        folks eat cheap, fat and carb-loaded fast-food or "convenience" groceries because there is an absolutely massive supply of it. Folks are barraged constantly by ads and by the on-every-corner availability. There's no accountability in the system for this because, after all, shareholders should be able to make tons of money off of anything, even if it kills and cripples people. Anything else is interfering with free markets.

        Fear is the mind killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

        by p gorden lippy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:34:16 AM PDT

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        •  I saw a great quote in Bicycling magazine... (8+ / 0-)

          ... a couple of months ago, They were interviewing this guy in Colorado who rides his bike 500(!) miles a week in the mountains and they asked him what he ate. He said, "My rule is simple: I don't eat anything with a bar code on it."

          Something to shoot for...

        •  also , fat and sugar loaded foods are about the (8+ / 0-)

          cheapest , fastest acting , and most readily available mood altering drugs around. Ever had a bowl of ice cream as a comfort after watching deadly TV news? Heard of a child being given a cookie as a pick me up after a childhood event such as a knee scrape? Almost an extinct injury ; big parts of this country where a child outside playing is not something you will often see.

          •  My husband grew up in the (7+ / 0-)

            St Louis projects, one of eight kids, and his Dad split when it got to be too much for him.

            I know from him and his Mom some of the tricks to making kids feel like they are full so they can sleep. It involves fat and calories. More affluent folks can get the better cuts of meat or the pricier vegetables. You can get fuller on $5 buying food that is bad for you in a grocery store than by buying the healthy stuff.

            "though we rush ahead to save our time- we are only what we feel" Neil Young- 1968

            by blindyone on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:54:57 AM PDT

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            •  WE live just outside a small town in NE Alabama (4+ / 0-)

              but both grew up in Crapingham. Gocery stores here carry generally inferior meat , produce and baked goods ; very noticeably so. When I was a kid , there was a chain of grocery stores , with maybe three different marquee names among the several hundred stores. Some of the stores were in areas that were nearly all black residents within walking or short , convenient car distance. I went in several of those , some quite a few times especially for convenience during college days. The immediately obvious differences in quality of displayed items was something that I always thought should be illegal. Meat of any sort , fruit and produce were of such lower visually discernible quality that it was enraging .
              Funny thing , prices were HIGHER than in the then lilywhite affluent suburbs ringing the city.
                   In general grocery stuff , like canned "meat" , canned veggies , cereal and so on , there were brands i didn't otherwise see except at a couple of places that sold nonperishable groceries from the same shelves as "salvage " items.
              I bought a few things . THose off brands , "good enough for the n******" , and tried them. My gawd , such crap. And they were not cheaper than national leading brands of stuff, usually cost more. It has not been ,  in my life time experience , just black neighborhoods that have been offered such insulting ripoff food at high prices , but anywhere that the people are mostly poor.But then again , it seems far more extreme there. And for anyone who thinks i am grinding some racial axe , no. I am white and Indian , and have passed as white but maybe kinda "different looking" most of my life amongst the dominant culture memebers. But I have been pissed off at the owners of America since I became old enough to begin looking at things for myself. Also , i am about 5 years out of date , as I no longer shop at any but three stores and then rarely , until we can visit the Rez , an infrequent 8 hour drive away. Forgive me for going on so ; I do get excited by the nasty things i've seen business people do again and again.

              •  Looking back... (3+ / 0-)

       on the West Coast of Canada, I think it's been the Chinese-run grocery stores that have kept healthy food at some kind of realistic price. I know in my present neighbourhood the local walking-range supermarket used to overcharge for produce until a couple of Chinese-run outlets opened nearby, with cheaper vegetables, more quality, and vastly more variety.

                Of course, some of those stores employ illegals and treat them like shit as well. Oh well, as the Chinese saying goes, it's always 99, never 101.

            •  Heck (3+ / 0-)

              I'll share something embarrasing from my younger days.

              I was on a limited budget one summer in a room provided by my job.  I was doing 8-14 hours of manual labor and I'd realized that I'd had a total of about 500 by the time my evening meal rolled around.  My solution - I took to eating pints of Haggen-Daz for dinner.  $3 for 1200 calories.  And yes in theory I could have gotten better food from the grocery store.  However, it was in a bad part of town that wasn't safe at night and often closed when work ended.

              Eventually friend found me a fridge and a hotpot and so I ate more Ramen and less ice cream and would occasionally get real food that I could keep.

              I know this was not a smart choice, but with limited spending money, limited resources, and the best source of grocercies the corner store, it seemed logical at the time.  

              I am the Typo Queen. Apologies in advance.

              by sadpanda on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:29:07 AM PDT

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        •  "fat mongers" - i really like that. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          p gorden lippy
    •  WOOHOO! Illinois at 24.9%! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Johnson

      Squeaks into orange-yellow by .1!  Suck on that, Indiana!

      Offshore Oil/NatGas is our Strategic Reserve. Save it for when the rest of the world runs out.

      by Inland on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:31:19 AM PDT

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      •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

        McDonald's should do something about that. Our infant mortality rate is killing their future customers.

        •  I've heard this one before... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Johnson

          In the setting for a dystopian future roleplaying game (Underground, I believe it was called,) the fast-food corporations were cloning people because the cost to grow the clone was only a small fraction of the expected lifetime revenue from their fast-food habits...

          Bring the WAR home

          Starve the corporate beast, buy local!

          by EthrDemon on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:03:53 AM PDT

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