The "No Shit, Sherlock" scientific finding of the day

Hambydammit
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The "No Shit, Sherlock" scientific finding of the day

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23358982/

 

I am posting this as an irrational precept because, well, letting children get obese is really fucking irrational.  There are lots of reasons for this, and all of them are irrational.  First, children don't play outside anymore.  When I was a kid, every other kid in my neighborhood would be out playing until dark -- every day.  Now, you can drive through any neighborhood you like, and there won't be anyone out.  No kids, no adults.  Everyone's inside playing video games or looking at internet porn.

Fast food is like poison to children.  People who take their children to McDonalds are being irrational.  People who take their children to All You Can Eat Buffets, and then let them eat all they can eat are irrational.  People who let their children eat candy and dessert and junk food snacks more than once (or twice on the outside) a week are being irrational.

People who don't get their children involved in some kind of physical activity, whether it be a sports team or taking the dog for runs, or YMCA after school programs, are being irrational.

Yesterday, I was on the bus and saw a poster extolling the virtues of math and science in school.  It's a noble cause, and one that I'm in favor of.  The thing is, the kid in the picture was fat.  Not just big boned.  Fat.  Even our poster children are fat children now.

Anyway, here's the full article from MSNBC.  It's nice to know that journalists are on top of the facts.  "TODAY'S INCREDIBLE NEWS!!!!   Being a lazy ass couch potato will make you fat!"

[/rant OFF]

 

 

Couch-potato culture may cut our lives short

Will today’s kids be the first generation to reverse U.S. longevity gains?

The photo of Justin Boughter at left was taken last August, just before he started a program to slim down from 184 pounds. At right, he is shown in February after dropping to 154.

 

By Jacqueline StensonContributing editorMSNBCupdated 9:29 a.m. ET, Wed., April. 23, 2008 function UpdateTimeStamp(pdt) { var n = document.getElementById("udtD"); if(pdt != '' && n && window.DateTime) { var dt = new DateTime(); pdt = dt.T2D(pdt); if(dt.GetTZ(pdt)) {n.innerHTML = dt.D2S(pdt,((''.toLowerCase()=='false')?false:true));} } } UpdateTimeStamp('633445541685070000');

The turning point happened last summer when Sherrie Boughter's son came to her in tears about his weight — at 8 years old, he tipped the scales at 184 pounds.

"I weigh more than Rey Mysterio," the professional wrestler, Justin told his mom. "You have to help me! You have to help me!" he pleaded.

"We sat and cried for an hour," remembers Boughter, 41, who lives in Medina, Ohio.

She and her husband, Brian, sought help from the Akron Children's Hospital Future Fitness Clinic, where she says the staff didn't beat around the bush. While Justin didn't have full-blown diabetes, which runs in the family, he had brown patches on the back of his neck that can be a warning sign of the disease.

"It was the worst day of my life when I was there and they're going, 'You're killing him. You're not doing him any favors by giving him another piece of cake,'" she says. "You give this child life and you don't stop that. I brought him here and basically now I was wrecking him."

Thanks largely to medical and public health advances, Americans are living longer than ever. The average life expectancy in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, was nearly 78. That's up from 47 in 1900 and 68 in 1950.

But even as the market for anti-aging pills and products has never been hotter with Americans seeking a longer life, some experts say we as a nation are doing ourselves in with our couch-potato culture of eating way too much and exercising far too little. Some health professionals even raise the controversial notion that today's generation of kids like Justin — about a third of whom are overweight or obese — may be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.

'Like advanced aging'
"All of the signs are pointing in the wrong direction," says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Young kids are getting what have traditionally been adult-type diseases — type 2 diabetes and heart disease," she says. "It's like advanced aging."

"These kids are headed for real trouble," agrees S. Jay Olshansky, a professor of public health and a researcher at the Center on Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their parents may not be faring so well, either, he says. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.

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In 2005, Olshansky and colleagues published a paper in The New England Journal of Medicine predicting that in the coming decades, the obesity epidemic and its health consequences would reverse the upward longevity curve in America over the last century, slashing life expectancy by two to five years — more than the impact of cancer or heart disease.

Olshansky says he's particularly concerned about obesity in children, which has tripled since 1970, because they could be dealing with diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related health problems for a longer period of time and face a greater toll.

Predicting the future, of course, is a rather uncertain science. And researchers studying life expectancy may use different methods to go about it.

Olshansky's team, for instance, based their forecast on the prevalence of obesity and on reports of the years of life lost from it. They estimated the effect of obesity on life expectancy for the U.S. population based on reductions in death rates that would occur if everyone who was obese would lose enough weight to have an optimal body mass index (BMI).

But not everyone is convinced that the obesity epidemic will have such a dramatic impact — or even an effect at all — on life expectancies across the nation. Critics say dire predictions focus too much on body weight without taking the whole picture into account.

“It’s extremely unlikely that today’s children will have shorter life expectancies than their parents. From everything I see, we continue to make rapid progress at extending life as a result of improvements in medical technology and personal health practices," such as smoking less, says Samuel Preston, a professor of demography at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "Yes, we are fatter than we used to be but the implications of that have not been nearly as severe as has been popularly assumed."

Preston, who wrote an editorial accompanying the Olshansky paper, acknowledges there is "some uncertainty" about the long-term impact of obesity on young kids. But, he says, "I haven't seen a single convincing study that relates adult deaths to childhood obesity."

Living vs. healthy living
Olshansky believes that, unfortunately, such hard data will come in time, once today's generation of young people grows older and begins to suffer the consequences of decades of obesity.

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"The level of frailty and disability that we’re going to see in this population is going to be enormous," he says. Besides the health impact of obesity, the monetary toll will be staggering, he says, noting that annual health care costs of treating obesity and its complications, such as diabetes, already total an estimated $70 billion to $100 billion a year in America.

Experts don't dispute that obesity, particularly morbid obesity, can lead to a host of serious and costly health problems. The question with regard to life expectancy, though, is whether those problems will be so great as to actually alter averages for the entire nation — and reverse decades of longevity gains.

David Freedman, an epidemiologist in the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, says he believes, as Preston does, that modern medicine will blunt the impact of the obesity epidemic because heavy people who develop diabetes or heart disease can live a long time with the right medical care.

 

"There are effective treatments for the complications of obesity," he says, such as medicines for high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and excess blood sugar.

Of course, a lifetime of pills and doctor visits isn't ideal, particularly for the young generation who may "be the most medicated in history," Freedman says. “It would be better for people not to be moderately to severely obese. I think it would be a healthier life for people. It’s not a matter of longevity in my opinion, it’s more a matter of living a healthy life.”

Clearly, it would be a mistake to conclude that obesity does not matter for our health or well-being, that it's without consequence to eat all the Krispy Kremes we want, throw out our sneakers and kick back and watch as our waistlines expand, says Dr. I-Min Lee, an associate professor of epidemiology and medicine at Harvard.

"Looking at dead versus not dead is not the only option,” she says.

Lee says the confusion about the impact of extra pounds on our health relates to how much weight conveys which risks.

A federal study published last fall in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for instance, concluded that obesity (BMI of 30 or higher) is associated with more than 112,000 excess deaths a year from heart disease in this country while both overweight (BMI of 25 to 29) and obesity together are associated with more than 61,000 excess deaths from diabetes and kidney disease. However, the study also found that being overweight but not obese was not associated with deaths from heart disease or cancer. In addition, extra weight seemed to actually protect against deaths from pneumonia, injuries and some infections.

When looking at all the many factors that can determine life expectancy for an entire population of millions of people, it can be difficult to tease out the role of a single factor, Lee says.

Additionally, with weight, things aren't always what they seem. Research that speaks to the benefits of exercise has suggested that it's possible to be "fit and fat" — that overweight, active people are healthier than their overweight, sedentary counterparts and possibly better off than some thinner, sedentary people. And smokers tend to be thinner than nonsmokers, but they aren't necessarily healthier, she notes.

Another federal study that looked at the growing longevity gap between the nation's rich and poor — a whopping 4.5 year difference (79.2 years versus 74.7 years) between people living in the least and most deprived areas of the nation — cited lifestyle and various other factors that can play a role in health disparities and longevity. Among them: lack of health insurance, limited access to health care, low-paying jobs, smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and neighborhoods that lack parks and good grocery stores selling fresh fruits and veggies.

Breaking things down even further, a study out earlier this week concluded that women living in some of the poorest counties in the country are lagging behind other women in life expectancy, primarily because of smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.

Family fitnessAs for Sherrie Boughter and her family, they're not waiting for researchers to sort out all the possible risks of being overweight. They're banking on shaping up and slimming down to boost their odds of long, healthy lives.

She and her husband are both overweight and take blood-pressure medicine, so they're working alongside Justin to shed pounds. And they're hoping to get Justin's 2-year-old brother off on the right foot. "We're all doing it," she says.

Since starting the weight-loss program last September, Justin has lost 33 pounds. He meets with a trainer every other week and with a doctor every six to eight weeks. As part of his program, he exercises at a recreational center about five times a week and he's drastically cut calories.

Take after-school snacks, for instance. “He would have a sandwich and take the bag of Doritos to the couch,” says Boughter. Now Justin has a 100-calorie snack of an apple, banana or yogurt. "We don't buy Doritos anymore.”

Boughter says improving Justin's health to help him live as long as possible is a top priority, but there are other perks to his program that are evident right now.

"I don't get the feeling that people look at him as 'the fat kid' anymore," Boughter says. "He looks taller and he moves better and he’s more at ease with himself."

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Renee Obsidianwords
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It sounds like the center

It sounds like the center the parents took the kids to laid it out in black and white: You are killing your kid.

I don't have kids so the following statements come without hands-on experience ; parents make kids fat by allowing them to sit in front of the TV instead of helping in the yard, playing video games instead of a game of softball up the street, stopping at McDonalds instead of making a home-cooked healthy meal..

Times have changed since I was a kid. I remember my mother didn't work so we had meals cooked, very rarely going out for fast food (that was my grandparents job...to spoil us) I too remember being outside, playing hide and seek for like 5 hours straight in the 60 acres of timbers in our town, running, hiding, climbing trees...

I wonder if double income households are to blame for the rushed, quick way parents prepare meals and interact/communicate with their kids? Maybe if people would buy homes they can afford and not rack up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt both parents wouldn't have to work and one could stay home and encourage the kids to go out and play while they are in the kitchen making a well-rounded meal.

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Unfortunately double incomes

Unfortunately double incomes are required for most people today to stay out of the ghetto or homeless shelter. Another problem is lack of places to go out and play - some suburban/small town areas are built totally without pedestrians in mind - to the point of not having sidewalks. Also the overdevelopment encroaches the areas kids used to play in. Then some urban areas aren't safe to go out in. Another reason a lot of poorer kids are more likely to get fat is that nutritious food is often too expensive - the only affordable option is McDonalds or cheap unhealthy food, at least if they want to keep a roof over their heads and the lights/water on.

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We all know how this

We all know how this happened.  I just can't figure out how the people rasing their children let it happen.

I could relate a story of my childhood that's similar to Renee's, but what the heck happened?  I had television and video games and I also lived in a house with one over exhausted parent for my childhood, who worked and took care of four children.  Perhaps it was our mother's insane obsession with having a clean house?  We were regularly kicked out after dinner (3pm) and told not to come in until the street lamps were on while she stripped the floors with amonia and waxed and murphy'd them.  Then there was all the other cleaning.  We were regularly given outdoor chores and were initiated into gardening on every suitable spring day.  When were were allowed to be inside, there were no snacks after dinner.  A distinct lack of sugar in the house meant we had veggies or fruit and if we wanted juice in stead of milk or water it was koolaid with twice the water and half the sugar.  There was baseball, bowling and curling.  Two school yards a minute's run from the front yard a park the same distance, the riverfront a bit further.  I loved my video games.  They could occupy me for hours and television was hypnotic, but between four children...

Oh.  People are having just one kid these days, eh?  Lonely buggers.  That explains the difference, I guess.  And I suppose Super Mario is way more cool now than it was on the Nintendo and our giant 19" CRT.  Perhaps kids have less friends close to home?  Are more children growing up in suburbs and not urban areas?  Is it difficult to get them to sports?  Are parent's just fat and lazy themselves?  Are parent's just ignorant of what's good nutrition?  What is the difference between the people having kids now and the baby boomers'?  Why are the children of the baby boomers less fat than their parents and than the post 1988 generation?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Hambydammit
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Like virtually all societal

Like virtually all societal problems, this is not really "a problem."  It's many problems, each compounding the other.  When I was a kid, I had video games.  If I was really good, I could play one game of Pac Man for an hour before losing.  Today, we have MMORPGs designed for literally months or years of play -- which can be done continually if you just happen to have a bedpan next to the computer.

FAUX News has successfully scared parents into cloistering their children.  (See the Southpark Episode where Butters meets the Ghost of Human Kindness and the Chinese guy builds a Shitty Wall.)  When I was a kid, I would ride my bike or walk across town to play with my friends, who had walked from their house.  Today, parents don't trust anyone enough to let their kids out of the house unsupervised.

The snack food industry has grown obese, as have the people it markets to.  There are hundreds more snack options now then there were when I was a kid.

Speaking of snack options, have you watched children's TV recently?  Every third ad is for a breakfast cereal made primarily of sugar and wheat gluten.  Every other third ad is for a snack food made primarily of processed sugar and artificial flavoring.

Of course, when they outgrow that kind of junk food, they start eating prepackaged microwave and serve meals, made with the lowest grade meat and produce legally allowable.  Then, they go to college and live off of Ramen Noodles and Coke, neither of which has much but calories to offer the human body.

As someone pointed out, we live better than we need to.  The average middle class family has a big screen TV, an SUV and a sedan, X-Box 360, etc.  I don't know what the credit stats are off the top of my head, but I'd be interested to know how much an average family spends on credit fees, mortgage interest, and auto loan interest per year.  An economy car, smaller house, and good spending habits could reduce the work week by at least eight hours if people were willing to live within their means.  Of course, they aren't going to live within their means because the credit companies know good and well that it's human nature to keep up with the Joneses.  So, they work long hours, leaving their children unsupervised, or in afterschool programs designed to keep them busy, not make them more fit.

It's a big, big problem.  (Play on words intended)

 

 

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Hambydammit
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Feh... meant to say "leaving

Feh... meant to say "leaving their kids unsupervised in front of the TV."  In other words, it's not the non-supervision, its that they default to X-box rather than outside.

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MattShizzle
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Most of the people I know

Most of the people I know have double incomes, smaller/older cars, TVs about 25" a computer but no game system and still have a lot on their credit card just to make ends meet , barely pay their bills and have some entertainment/nice things - you can't expect people to live like ascetic monks.  I have a feeling the people you are seeing are a bit above middle class.

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Hambydammit
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Quote:Most of the people I

Quote:
Most of the people I know have double incomes, smaller/older cars, TVs about 25" a computer but no game system and still have a lot on their credit card just to make ends meet , barely pay their bills and have some entertainment/nice things - you can't expect people to live like ascetic monks.

I'm not talking about people living like monks.  I'm talking about people who have the means to live comfortably but choose to live extravagantly.  It's a subset of the middle class, not the whole middle class.  I used to know a man who worked as a financial planner for families who stayed at the local homeless shelter.   It's shocking how many people make very decent incomes and spend all of it and more, and then when one medical crisis or layoff comes up, they're screwed.

I live in one of the poorest counties in the country.  I fully recognize that people making less than a living wage don't fall into this category.


 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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