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Great article about the "obesity epidemic"

And not only because it uses my favorite example of confusing correlation with causation:

Killing Turkeys Causes Winter by Sandy Szwarc

(Those of you participating in the current LJ fat flame war, feel free to use this as ammo.)

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
therealjae
Oct. 22nd, 2003 10:51 am (UTC)
This *is* a great article. Go, Sandy!

-J
daltong
Oct. 22nd, 2003 10:56 am (UTC)
Thanks. That was awesome.

I read Eat Fat, which is referenced in the article, a couple of years ago and it was a very liberating experience. How to Lie with Statistics is also a nice resource for this sort of thing.
sistercoyote
Oct. 22nd, 2003 10:58 am (UTC)
I'm not participating in the fat flame war, but I love having ammo when I need it. Thanks!

(hey, can you see that poetry post yet?)
firecat
Oct. 22nd, 2003 11:20 am (UTC)
No I can't. Waah! Are you sure I'm on your poetry filter? (But I'm not even getting a "Can't access that" message, I'm getting "403 Forbidden.")
(no subject) - sistercoyote - Oct. 22nd, 2003 11:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sistercoyote - Oct. 22nd, 2003 11:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Oct. 22nd, 2003 11:47 am (UTC) - Expand
porcinea
Oct. 22nd, 2003 11:07 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link! Excellent article.
eve_l_incarnata
Oct. 22nd, 2003 12:58 pm (UTC)
How often are there fat flame wars on LJ, and how do you find out about them? I would love to participate, but I have to prepare for a Vermont trip.

I have not been keeping up with "One Word", but I'd be glad to participate in your little dealie. I probably won't be able to get to it until Sunday night.


firecat
Oct. 22nd, 2003 06:50 pm (UTC)
I have no idea how often there are fat flame wars on LJ; I found out about that one because it was linked to in two different journals I read (kshandra's journal and bellacurve).

I'm looking forward to seeing your oneword exercises!
(no subject) - eve_l_incarnata - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Jan. 21st, 2004 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eve_l_incarnata - Jan. 21st, 2004 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Jan. 21st, 2004 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
tedesson
Oct. 22nd, 2003 01:39 pm (UTC)
NYTimes article
What did you think of the article in the NYTimes which suggested that the obesity epidemic is related to the 500 calories per person per day which the US agricultural industry is growing now which they didn't used to, because of the 1972 Nixon administration change to direct cash farm subsidies? The article said that of the 500 extra calories per person per day grown, Americans are eating an extra 200.

I also found the analogy between the increase in consumption of whiskey in the 1800s due to low prices, and current food prices quite interesting.
firecat
Oct. 22nd, 2003 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: NYTimes article
I didn't read the NYT article, but I think the theory is crap. If reading the Szwarc article doesn't help you understand why I think it's crap, let me know and I'll expand.
tedesson
Oct. 22nd, 2003 07:55 pm (UTC)
premise
Would you grant me the premise that North Americans weigh more now than they did in the 1970s?

That is, my point is not about any health effects correlated with body size, but merely about cheaper food and body size.
Re: premise - sistercoyote - Oct. 23rd, 2003 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
premise - tedesson - Oct. 25th, 2003 11:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: premise - firecat - Oct. 23rd, 2003 12:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
premise - tedesson - Oct. 25th, 2003 11:05 am (UTC) - Expand
cjsmith
Oct. 22nd, 2003 01:56 pm (UTC)
I LOVE that phrase: killing turkeys causes winter. That's ammo for a whole lot of wars! Thank you!
ailbhe
Oct. 22nd, 2003 02:30 pm (UTC)
I have many reasons to dislike fast food restaurants, but "making people fat" isn't one of them. "Selling people nonfood" and "lying about the nutritional content of the food" and "treating workers, especially teenage workers, like shit" and so on...

However, I do believe that a lot of people could avoid becoming fat by eating well, exercising regularly, and staying otherwise healthy. The third clause is the one that bites, I think. Fellow who lives near me doubled his weight after an accident rendered him bedridden, and now that he's up and about again, the weight is staying exactly where it is. Other people I know have thyroid problems, a family history of suddenly gaining weight in their 30s, eating disorders . . . The list goes on. It doesn't seem to matter a damn how well you eat or how often you exercise if something else happens.
ailbhe
Oct. 22nd, 2003 02:31 pm (UTC)
I have many reasons to dislike fast food restaurants, but "making people fat" isn't one of them. "Selling people nonfood" and "lying about the nutritional content of the food" and "treating workers, especially teenage workers, like shit" and so on...

However, I do believe that a lot of people could avoid becoming fat by eating well, exercising regularly, and staying otherwise healthy. The third clause is the one that bites, I think. Fellow who lives near me doubled his weight after an accident rendered him bedridden, and now that he's up and about again, the weight is staying exactly where it is. Other people I know have thyroid problems, a family history of suddenly gaining weight in their 30s, eating disorders . . . The list goes on. It doesn't seem to matter a damn how well you eat or how often you exercise if something else happens.

And what about people who are too thin, eh?
pir_anha
Oct. 22nd, 2003 04:55 pm (UTC)
fat flamewars
"a lot of people" -- maybe so. a lot of people seem to manage it, in any case. but a lot of people don't seem to, on the other hand. so i don't know what such a belief gains one. IMO the first clause also bites because it's hard to define, and doctors do by no means agree on it. i grew up eating well (certainly nobody, including no doctor and no food pyramid ever disagreed), working a lot physically (which is what people did before "exercise" swept western civilization), and i was healthy alright. and yet i have always been fat. it's my metabolism, baby. it's very efficient. it's in my peasant genes. i'd have to starve myself to be at a weight western society seems to consider "healthy" these days. which wouldn't be healthy for me at all. and i am not a freak of nature. if that's true for me, it's likely true for millions of other people.

and really, it doesn't matter. i don't quite understand why so many people focus on weight over other health risks -- maybe because weight can be seen relatively easily. i don't smoke, i don't do drugs, my last tests looked good, my cholesterol is fine, aside from this pesky mental illness i am still healthy as the proverbial horse. i don't let stupid-ass LJ flamewars get to me (less stress), and i am working hard on not letting clinical depression kill me. all the while i stay fat. and anyone who tries to tell me that it's ever-so-unhealthy can go tie zirself in a knot because i just Do Not Care. i am coming to believe that caring what others try to tell one about almost all "average" and "normal" things is not healthy in itself. besides, i don't want to be average anyway, *grin*.
Re: fat flamewars - firecat - Oct. 22nd, 2003 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: fat flamewars - ailbhe - Oct. 23rd, 2003 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: fat flamewars - firecat - Oct. 23rd, 2003 12:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
firecat
Oct. 22nd, 2003 06:58 pm (UTC)
I agree with your reasons for not liking fast food restaurants.

I don't agree that eating well, exercising regularly, and staying otherwise healthy (whatever all those things mean) make very many people not-fat. It's a popular myth, but in fact lots of people who are fat do all three.

People who are very thin are largely ignored because of all the screeching about how so many people are getting fatter, even though there's substantial evidence that being very thin is associated with (but not necessarily in a causal way, in either direction) worse health than being fat is.
(no subject) - ailbhe - Oct. 23rd, 2003 02:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Oct. 23rd, 2003 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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