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Old 10-26-06, 09:31 AM   #1
Bikepacker67
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Obesity drives up U.S. fuel appetite

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Chubby drivers and plump passengers add to the fuel crisis in more ways than one. A fat nation needs more gas in the tank, according to research released yesterday.
"The key finding is that almost a billion gallons of fuel are consumed each year because of the average weight gain of people living in the U.S. since 1960," said Sheldon Jacobson, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois who crunched the numbers to show obesity is expensive on the roadways, and it's going to get worse.
We may be hungry, but we're also impatient.
"If our nation gets lighter -- and healthier -- one of the side benefits is that we will simply use less fuel," said Mr. Jacobson, adding that although Americans continue to gain weight, they are also driving more aggressively, which in turn uses more fuel.
He compared national health data and passenger-car fuel consumption from 1960 to 2003 to find that because of a heftier population, we use 983 million gallons of gas more each year than we did in the slimmer '60s. That amount could fill 1.7 million gas tanks.
It also translates to an extra $7.7 million a day, or $2.8 billion a year for consumers -- serious money, Mr. Jacobson says, considering that much of our fuel comes from foreign sources. A further finding of note: His analysis showed that every extra pound of human body weight in a vehicle equals an additional 39 million gallons of extra gasoline use collectively in a year.
"We felt that beyond public health, being overweight has many other socioeconomic factors," Mr. Jacobson said.
Indeed. Close to 66 percent of Americans are considered overweight by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, racking up $91 billion in health care costs to treat the condition. But obesity has become a force to be reckoned with as well.
The Ford Motor Co. announced last month that it would recalibrate engineering standards to accommodate fatter drivers, using updated design mannequins with bigger bellies and wider hips beginning next year. Savvy fashion designers already have tweaked women's sizing to flatter today's generous figures, replacing the Department of Agriculture guidelines established in the 1940s.
Plus-size thinking has also arrived among furniture manufacturers, not to mention medical suppliers who must provide sturdier X-ray tables, ambulances and longer needles to accommodate an ample population.
Beefier passengers cause airlines to spend $275 million a year for extra fuel to get them aloft, prompting some airlines to charge fatter fliers extra fees. While environmentalists cringed to discover the increased fuel use sent an extra 4 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air, the Federal Aviation Administration revised its passenger weight standards in 2004, for the first time in 66 years.
Fact-finding can turn to fault-finding, though. A 2003 study by the National Center for Smart Growth blamed obesity on urban sprawl and the commuting lifestyle. Research released last year by Oregon State University found that obese folks personally preferred a car-centered existence, concluding that "overweight people tend to choose suburban life."
Drive everywhere and get fat.
Get fat and have to drive everywhere.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:50 AM   #2
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so let's complain about the socioeconomic factors obesity brings and let's plurg in to making seats larger, furniture larger while keeping a low cost very accessible fast food chains on the market and let's not try and put all this money into reaching out to this population and educate and offer them exercises and meal plan and the supervision and incentive they need to gain back thier health and happy life.
Could be true that we are a fat nation but however more and more people are coming out trying and gain control of thier life again and exercise, id like to see more energie put in to this effort.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:55 AM   #3
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Perhaps they could make a start by giving the kids a healthier lunch in public schools? I don't know what they eat in private or charter schools, but when I worked at a public school last year, I was always very disturbed at what they fed these kids. I remember my own lunch choices as not being so great when I was a kid. It just keep getting worse and worse.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:59 AM   #4
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I think it's less the food, and more the inaction.

I didn't eat fresh veggies and baked skinless chicken as a kid. I ate tatertots and ballpark franks.
The difference was, after school I didn't plop in front of cathode tube, but was out building forts, jumping ramps, and plotting water-balloon ambushes on the neighborhood girls.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Shadiyah
Perhaps they could make a start by giving the kids a healthier lunch in public schools? I don't know what they eat in private or charter schools, but when I worked at a public school last year, I was always very disturbed at what they fed these kids. I remember my own lunch choices as not being so great when I was a kid. It just keep getting worse and worse.
so true! they offer my kid's school pizza twice a week and there is a vending machine with sodas! and they only have to take gym 2 session out of 4 a year.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:03 AM   #6
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Simple solution.....
Ban videogames, ban TV and put a bicycle powered dynamo in place to power the computer!

Other than that, just try as best you can to encourage better choices in the people you directly interact with. Past that, you can't legislate diet, or tax it, so just make your choices and remember, others have that right as well!
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Old 10-26-06, 10:03 AM   #7
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Yeah, the inactivity plays a HUGE part. Kids don't go outside and play like they used to. Still, the diet does NOT help. The stuff we have been eating within the last 25 years or so is the worst its ever been.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
I think it's less the food, and more the inaction.

I didn't eat fresh veggies and baked skinless chicken as a kid. I ate tatertots and ballpark franks.
The difference was, after school I didn't plop in front of cathode tube, but was out building forts, jumping ramps, and plotting water-balloon ambushes on the neighborhood girls.
right.... back then, you needed to be outside to see your friends or socialise, these days, all they have to do is come home and go online, on myspace to get thier interactions with friends.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:48 AM   #9
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The Ford Motor Co. announced last month that it would recalibrate engineering standards to accommodate fatter drivers, using updated design mannequins with bigger bellies and wider hips beginning next year.
Does this mean I'm compromising my safety?
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Old 10-26-06, 11:03 AM   #10
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Does this mean I'm compromising my safety?
Maybe you could just slip into one of those Sumo suits.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:08 AM   #11
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We'd have to ban bike forums to get people on their bikes and off the computer.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
I think it's less the food, and more the inaction.

I didn't eat fresh veggies and baked skinless chicken as a kid. I ate tatertots and ballpark franks.
The difference was, after school I didn't plop in front of cathode tube, but was out building forts, jumping ramps, and plotting water-balloon ambushes on the neighborhood girls.
Building forts and jumping ramps RULE! I never see kids doing that stuff. When I was a kid after school, you got on your bike and rode to a playground and ran around untill dinner time. I remember playing a game called "muckle" all the time. Basically it was like football, but with no goal. You grabbd the ball and everyone else tried to tackle you and throw you to the ground, so you ran like hell to avoid it. Then after you were down someone else would grab the ball and everyone would chase him. That was a fun game.
Who's up for a game of Muckle tonight afterwork?
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Old 10-26-06, 11:15 AM   #13
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Muckle?
We called it "Kill the guy with the ball"

We had no use for euphemisms!
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Old 10-26-06, 11:23 AM   #14
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Sure, I'll muckle you! You're going down!
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Old 10-26-06, 11:25 AM   #15
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Muckle?
We called it "Kill the guy with the ball"

We had no use for euphemisms!
Yeah, no kidding! What's with giving it a cutesy name?
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Old 10-26-06, 11:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl
so true! they offer my kid's school pizza twice a week and there is a vending machine with sodas! and they only have to take gym 2 session out of 4 a year.
I eat pizza twice a week, but I exersize. Some unhealthy food is fine in moderation, but must also be accompanied by exersize.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:29 AM   #17
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It's really simple.
If you have only 200 cals more a day than you burn (about the amount in a 16 oz coke) you'll gain 20lbs of fat in a year.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:43 AM   #18
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Rename the US 'canada' and it should solve all our problems
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Old 10-26-06, 11:46 AM   #19
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Yeah, I love to start my day with a toasty warm bagel washed down with a gallon of high octane, preferabbly Shell, as Exxon leaves a bad aftertaste.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:02 PM   #20
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Burn fat, not oil.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheard
I eat pizza twice a week, but I exersize. Some unhealthy food is fine in moderation, but must also be accompanied by exersize.
Right on! How about providing some health and nutrition education in school? Teaching kids how to make decisions on their own that's wise. All the sheltering "for their own good" that's done is only going to delay the inevitable and does them a disservice in the long-run. It sucks that all the funding-cuts have forced schools to remove sports and arts programmes...
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Old 10-26-06, 02:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl
so let's complain about the socioeconomic factors obesity brings and let's plurg in to making seats larger, furniture larger while keeping a low cost very accessible fast food chains on the market and let's not try and put all this money into reaching out to this population and educate and offer them exercises and meal plan and the supervision and incentive they need to gain back thier health and happy life.
Could be true that we are a fat nation but however more and more people are coming out trying and gain control of thier life again and exercise, id like to see more energie put in to this effort.
Take away my big macs, and I'll kill ya !
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Old 10-26-06, 02:43 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadiyah
Yeah, the inactivity plays a HUGE part. Kids don't go outside and play like they used to. Still, the diet does NOT help. The stuff we have been eating within the last 25 years or so is the worst its ever been.
McDonalds goes back farther than that (heck I got boots older than that). It's definitely a combination of the two, but I think the exercise is the most important factor. Hell, back in the day when I was an olympic class athlete, the bulk of my diet was quarter-pounders, beer and pizza - and I smoked! Not saying that I couldn't have been even better had I taken better care of what I put in me, but it was how, and how often, I burned it out of me that enabled me to get to that level anyway.

My diet has varied over the years, but the only reason I am not 300lbs like most of the rest of my family is the exercise.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:47 PM   #24
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I agree with shadiyah and Danno about schools being a problem. Not just the food, but also a lack of gym clases. Elementary school students typically get gym class once a week, and that is nothing short of horrible.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Right on! How about providing some health and nutrition education in school? Teaching kids how to make decisions on their own that's wise. All the sheltering "for their own good" that's done is only going to delay the inevitable and does them a disservice in the long-run. It sucks that all the funding-cuts have forced schools to remove sports and arts programmes...
Yep, and liability concerns have removed playgrounds and even outdoor recess. It's like we are raising our kids like they raise calves for Kobe steaks...feed em and keep em immobile.

I remember way back when JFK made fitness a national priority...now it seems our national priority is to do whatever it takes not to exert ourselves.
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