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Old 09-22-09, 06:48 AM   #1
BikeNinjagirl
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Really ???

Could this REALLY be right???


Ironic Study: Not owning a car can make you fatter. Sorta.
by Frank Filipponio (RSS feed) on Sep 20th 2009 at 4:25PM



Can not owning a car make you fatter? Iteems conventional wisdom would have it that people who don't own cars might tend to get more exercise having to walk everywhere they go, no? No. Well not completely, at least according to a new study that appears in the September issue of the Journal of Urban Health. While the study doesn't imply that walking isn't good exercise, it does take a closer look at where those people without cars are walking to. And if you happen to live in a poorer neighborhood, you're probably walking to a fast food restaurant, which is bad.

It's not a novel idea to think that you might be heavier if you live in an area with a lot of fast food options, but this study also takes into account that people with cars might be able to drive to find healthier dining options. And they were right. After studying 2,156 adults from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study database, the researchers found that car owners weighed about 8.5 pounds more than those who didn't own cars on average.

That makes sense, but they also found that in neighborhoods with lots of fast food joints, non-car owners whose data they reviewed weighed 12 pounds more than car-less folks in areas without fast food restaurants, and 2.7 pounds more than their neighbors who owned cars. The dichotomy is that the skinniest people proved to be those who didn't have cars, but lived in areas with fewer fast-food restaurants. Which, as one might suspect, tends to be upscale neighborhoods. So if you live in an area with a lot of Mickey D's and KFC's, you might want to get yourself some wheels. Car ownership... it's the new Atkins!

[Source: Journal of Urban Health via L.A. Times Blog | Image: Tim Boyle/Getty]
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Old 09-22-09, 06:54 AM   #2
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"Can make" implies a causal relationship, ie: if those fat individuals bought a car, their weight would drop 2.7 pounds. Since that is unlikely to happen, we can assume that there is probably some other cause for their fatness that also caused their lack of a car. For example, they might be extremely lazy people, who are too lazy to work out, and too lazy to work enough to get money for a car.
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Old 09-22-09, 06:57 AM   #3
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I think I just died a little.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:02 AM   #4
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Fast food places should be required to have a scale to weight all walk -in customers before they order.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:04 AM   #5
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Well, I have visited Ireland twice, where people are much are more likely to walk than drive. In fact, it's a pain to drive there and much easier to walk. And the average Irish person is much skinnier than the average American. I don't remember seeing a truly obese person while in Ireland, while they are commonplace in the USA. A heavy person in Ireland would probably be lighter than an average American.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:06 AM   #6
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Useless statistics with unrelated data again. They must have had some help from the Quality manager where I work.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:11 AM   #7
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Now do the same study in (insert local affluent neighborhood here) and see what the results show.

I was having a similar conversation in the office yesterday. It was centered around household budgeting. It is much cheaper to eat fast food than it is to eat well; i.e fruits and vegetables.

I would guess that those who don't have a car by choice rather than circumstance are less fat.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:25 AM   #8
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The conclusions made from inferred judgements on statistical data can be fascinating.
The tendency of poor people to be overweight from poor nutrition is yesterdays news. Clever of the author to throw in the "car" angle.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:28 AM   #9
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Oh jeez. Lies, damn lies and statistics...combined with crappy faux logic. Do we really need to give this any attention?
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Old 09-22-09, 02:36 PM   #10
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I'm with everyone here so far. Owning a car <> making healthier eating choices.
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Old 09-22-09, 02:51 PM   #11
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Could someone find the author and bludgeon him with a sack full of Introduction to Statistics books, please?
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Old 09-22-09, 02:55 PM   #12
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It is not much cheaper to eat fast food. It is WAY more expensive. You just have to know how to maintain a pantry of staples (e.g. investing in everyday items like flour, sugar, etc.) and plan a menu for versatility, availability, and pricing.

My wife is a chef - our food budget is next to nothing because we make our own everything, including salad dressing, mayonnaise, pasta, and sauces including the vegetables we grow in our garden.

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Old 09-22-09, 04:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pubb View Post
It is not much cheaper to eat fast food. It is WAY more expensive.
Well, it's neither, actually...because adjectives like "cheaper" and "more expensive" imply a comparison, and there's no comparison being made. Cheaper than what? More expensive than what? The answer is, it's cheaper than some things, and more expensive than others.

There are a lot of factors that tie low income to poor nutrition, and in the US today, "poor nutrition" often does not mean "low calorie". The book Fast Food Nation is a real eye-opener in this regard, if you want to get deep into it, but just walking into a fast food restaurant and really scrutinizing the menu will give you a good idea. It's typical for fast food restaurants to offer loss-leader "value menus" that allow someone to get some kind of food for about a buck. Not to pick on Taco Bell, but I just took a quick look at their "Why Pay More Value Menu" -- you can get ten different items for under a buck, including a cheese roll-up (flour tortilla plus cheese), a crispy potato soft taco (think taco shell full of tater tots), cinnamon twists, chicken burrito, etc. Lettuce is the only vegetable included in any of these items (oh wait, one has a little diced onion), only two items include corn rather than flour tortilla, and there's plenty of fat and salt and sugar.

Then, once you've done that, go into a grocery store and check out the price of a deli sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a can of vegetable juice or a single serving container of milk (if you can even find one). Think it's more than a buck? Yeah, probably four or five bucks at the very least -- and that's assuming that this hypothetical low-income person even has access to a decent grocery store, which is a big if.

The nutritious and low-cost alternative, as you've pointed out, is to live on a beans-and-rice-and-a-few-vegetables diet. It's doable, but it's more work, you need a kitchen and utensils and time to make it, and kids just don't go for it the way they go for the engineered-to-be-addictive tastes of fast food (never mind adults, we're really no different). So imagine yourself as someone who has just had a very hard day, on your feet, working a minimum wage job. You had to get up earlier than most people because you have to take three buses to get to work. You work all day, then you have to take more buses to pick up your kids. Everyone is tired and hungry and they want food now. Are you going to say, "No, we need to go home and you need to wait while I cook the rice and beans?" -- while there's a Taco Bell RIGHT THERE with a big huge sign about how they've got ten scrumptious dishes for under a buck?

A wise choice, no. An understandable choice, yes.
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Old 09-22-09, 04:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeNinjagirl View Post
Could this REALLY be right???
No.

The author needs to be bludgeoned with a statistics textbook. And then a logic textbook.

Following that, anyone who gives this serious thought may raise their hands as exhibits testifying to the poor state of scientific and analytical reasoning amongst the population in this country. Somewhere along the way there have been terrible failures in education.
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Old 09-22-09, 04:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
So imagine yourself as someone who has just had a very hard day, on your feet, working a minimum wage job. You had to get up earlier than most people because you have to take three buses to get to work. You work all day, then you have to take more buses to pick up your kids. Everyone is tired and hungry and they want food now.
You don't even have to work a min-wage job to be in that situation sometimes.
Got up at 03:00 to ride to work and start by 05:30
I'm PM for an engineering transfer team working on an FDA licensed product, so I have to oversee the entire operation.
First crew came in to start at 06:00
Second crew will be here until 21:00
I will be here until 21:30
Then ride home, which puts me back there around 22:45

I will not feel like making lunch/dinner for the same schedule tomorrow after I get home. I will likely send someone to pick up teriyaki or Thai carryout for the entire crew again tomorrow. I could do a lot worse; like Wendy's or Jack in the Box, but having a bunch of Muslims on the team sort of helps me rule out the really crappy quick take-out joints.
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Old 09-22-09, 04:59 PM   #16
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And people don't drive to the McDonald's that's only 3 blocks away?
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Old 09-22-09, 06:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pubb View Post
It is not much cheaper to eat fast food. It is WAY more expensive. You just have to know how to maintain a pantry of staples (e.g. investing in everyday items like flour, sugar, etc.) and plan a menu for versatility, availability, and pricing.

My wife is a chef - our food budget is next to nothing because we make our own everything, including salad dressing, mayonnaise, pasta, and sauces including the vegetables we grow in our garden.

pubb
+100

I don't agree that poor people need only eat "cheap" fast food, when food staples, a little know-how and some elbow grease can make healthier options less expensive. My staples are flour, sugar, salt, vinegar, & oil. I buy yeast although I know how to make it naturally if I had to, and if I splurge, I'll buy milk, eggs and butter. I am lucky to have a few garden plants and an expert knowledge of wild edible plants, however, for 20 bucks you can come home with a hefty amount of fruits and veggies from the farmer's market and these make up the bulk of our meals.

I can (preserve) fruits, pickle vegetables, make syrups, jellies, jams, etc. I make bread from scratch, all manner of pastries, pancakes, muffins, egg noodles, crackers, pasta, etc. Quiche, cobblers, pies, soups, sauces...I make a soft white cheese with the milk and the eggs and butter lend a richness to everything.

Learning how to cook from scratch means I spend about 60 dollars a month for groceries - for two people.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:19 PM   #18
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+100

I don't agree that poor people need only eat "cheap" fast food, when food staples, a little know-how and some elbow grease can make healthier options less expensive. My staples are flour, sugar, salt, vinegar, & oil. I buy yeast although I know how to make it naturally if I had to, and if I splurge, I'll buy milk, eggs and butter. I am lucky to have a few garden plants and an expert knowledge of wild edible plants, however, for 20 bucks you can come home with a hefty amount of fruits and veggies from the farmer's market and these make up the bulk of our meals.

I can (preserve) fruits, pickle vegetables, make syrups, jellies, jams, etc. I make bread from scratch, all manner of pastries, pancakes, muffins, egg noodles, crackers, pasta, etc. Quiche, cobblers, pies, soups, sauces...I make a soft white cheese with the milk and the eggs and butter lend a richness to everything.

Learning how to cook from scratch means I spend about 60 dollars a month for groceries - for two people.
That's fine... and I'm quite a capable cook. But what the @#$#@ makes you think I want to work 8-10 hours(plus an hour for lunch), add in an hour and a half commute (round trip), then come home and cook? Yes, sometimes I'm up for it, but most of the time I'd rather just go for some fast food, or whatever. The difference is that with my genetic makeup and active lifestyle I can handle it. Others may not be so lucky, especially if they're busing it to work and not riding a bike.
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Old 09-23-09, 07:27 AM   #19
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This is such a bad case of causation fallacy abuse I'm about to fall out of my chair. Several someones were asleep during statistics and logic classes.
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Old 09-23-09, 11:24 AM   #20
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People who own health food stores, on average, are healthier than people who can't afford to shop in those same stores.

Clearly everyone needs to own a health food store.

I really enjoy articles like this. I had quite a few statistics classes in college and it is truly amazing the kind if drivel the statistically uneducated journalist can generate.
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Old 09-23-09, 11:42 AM   #21
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Oy. I think requiring journalists to study statistics and logic would do the world more good than requiring weigh-ins at fast food restaurants.

Oy.
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Old 09-23-09, 11:43 AM   #22
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Guys, the first thing you learn in any stats class, or psychology class, or hell, a lot of classes, is, "correlation =/= causation." That means if you have two numbers that covary together, you don't automatically conclude that one is causing the other, because it may well be a third factor affecting both. In this case, lack of money leads to both not having a car and eating ****ty junk food, not to mention it correlates with lack of education which means a lack of ability to know how to eat well.
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Old 09-23-09, 11:45 AM   #23
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Seems to be more about income levels and economic class than anything else.
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Old 09-23-09, 04:00 PM   #24
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There is alot of junk science regarding the benefits of walking. A couple of weeks ago, the local paper here had a weekly health feature which claimed that you can burn the same amount of calories by either biking 45 minutes or walking 1 hour. That of course is ridiculous. Even if, for the sake of argument, that the walking pace is 3 miles an hour. Which is an extremely quick walking pace for the average person. Except for the chronic coasters of the world, someone biking is going to exert more energy.

What's even more ridiculous is the article was in regards to how long it would take to burn the calories in two slices of pizza.
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Old 09-23-09, 04:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeNinjagirl View Post
...walking...
WALKING!?



I am certain that I will have a nightmare tonight about having to walk somewhere.
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