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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    5 graphs and 4 photos tell the story on obesity, diabetes & walking

    Here's a well researched article from the NRDC's Staff Blog. It's about the difficulties of being carfree/carlight and the impact this has on the health of Americans.

    The lead paragraph:

    "Perhaps the single most alarming public health trend in the United States today is the dramatic rise in overweight and obesity, bringing serious risks of heart disease, diabetes and other consequences leading to life impairment and premature death. This is bad enough as it is, but I contend that it is particularly unfortunate that we do not sufficiently recognize the extent to which these trends are caused by environmental factors, particularly the shape of our built environment."

    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kb..._tell_the.html


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  2. #2
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I do agree with you that infrastructure is often a big inhibitor of transportation outside of the motorized vehicle.

    I'll reserve my comments on the rest of the article since they have nothing to do with your point.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    I do agree with you that infrastructure is often a big inhibitor of transportation outside of the motorized vehicle.

    I'll reserve my comments on the rest of the article since they have nothing to do with your point.
    Oh, feel free to comment on any part of the article you want to.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  4. #4
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Diabetes is typically the first disease to require treatment with obesity, but it's not the only one. Our profit based sickness care system is designed for maintaining patients like this, not preventing new diabetics.

  5. #5
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    I grew up in the suburbs of the Bay Area. I had never seen a place without sidewalks until I visited my wife's uncle in Pittsburgh. I was shocked that people could live that way; I really felt trapped. Then I took a job at Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX. While Lubbock had an interesting and fairly workable street plan for getting around by bike, I think I may have been one of about ten people who used a bike in that city. They also only had sidewalks going East/West. If you want to walk North/South, you're out of luck (I may have that reversed. It's been a while since I was there.). It was weird. Not surprisingly, the people in Pittsburgh and Lubbock were, to my eyes, HUGE. I'm 6'2" 195#, and I felt dainty-small. All of my co-workers, including the women, out-weighed me by a large amount.

    I still remember my first week in Lubbock. My wife, son and I were walking to the grocery store when someone I barely knew from work stopped in the middle of a seven-lane road to ask if we were okay or if we needed a ride. She just could not comprehend that we were voluntarily walking. The culture shock was too much for us; we returned to CA one month later.

    I have always done a lot more cycling than walking, but infrastructure for pedestrians seems to me to be much more important than it is for cycling. In fact, the photos in the article show roads that I wouldn't have much trouble riding on, but the cyclists they show don't seem to know how to do it. However, one would be hard-pressed to get around by foot on the roads they showed.

  6. #6
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Dude, take the lane!
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  7. #7
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Oh, feel free to comment on any part of the article you want to.
    Unfortunately the graph that shows the obesity percentages fails to mention that obesity was re-defined between those two graphs.

    I agree with the spirit of the article. Our infrastructure is causing "food deserts", where the only convenient source of food for many people is the local convenience store. If they want to go to a grocery store, they have to drive. The local convenience stores are filled with processed food devoid of most natural sources of nutrition. Sure they'll add chemicals to simulate vitamins and minerals, but I don't trust a human's ability to replicate real nutrition.

    These processed foods are leaving people feeling lethargic all the time, so they don't walk or ride. Then they get fat, in part from the processed foods stimulating hunger beyond caloric needs and in part from the lethargy induced by these foods. So now instead of walking to the convenience store, they drive two blocks to go to the convenience store.

    So now we have 3 contributing factors to diabetes: highly processed foods that are devoid of nutrition (an in turn throw off all sorts of processes in the body), obesity, and lack of activity.

    Infrastructure change isn't likely to happen overnight, but we can combat the problems caused by the infrastructure if natural, nutritious foods were available conveniently and inexpensively. We need to take away the corn subsidies that make all this processed junk so affordable and apply it to food that people actually eat in it's native form.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Interesting. Last year I toured - by bicycle - extensively in Eastern Canada, New England and upstate New York. As a visiting Brit I was struck by a number of things.

    First, there was a marked difference in attitude between the Canadians and the Americans. Canadians were interested in, but not astonished by, my journey (2500 miles in a couple of months) but the reaction from most of the Americans I spoke to was incredulity. And this seemed to be reflected in the infrastructure, with Canadian cities being more cycle-friendly and "routes vert" across Quebec, for example.

    Second, in small-town America as a cycle tourist it is really difficult to eat healthily. Fast-food outlets dominate to a massive extent, and often the obvious alternative is a Mom and Pop diner which is big on steak, eggs and bread products but appears not to have anything beyond lettuce in the way of green stuff. I got very, very tired of Caesar salads.

    Third, the portion sizes are usually absurd. Watching people have breakfast was sometimes a faintly nauseating experience. I was riding about 60 miles per day and eating a lot, but pancake after pancake with syrup and cream? And I lost count of the number of times I saw doting adults look on with approval as their almost spherical child downed a vast pizza and washed it down with about a pint of Coke. It was not unusual for me to be served a plateful of food that in my view - I am 6'3" and weigh 200 lbs, btw - would have been rather too much for two.

    We're going the same way over here. But it was still mildly surprising to see just how many people in states that aren't the fattest in America are truly, truly fat.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    ..... But it was still mildly surprising to see just how many people in states that aren't the fattest in America are truly, truly fat.
    In my youth, the people that I thought were obese at the time, are now dwarfed by the people I've seen locally over recent years. There are far more gas station convenience stores today, whereas the mom and pop stores were the norm in my youth. The first thing that generally greets people when entering most convenience stores is racks of candy whereas it was fruit and produce at many of the mom and pops that I frequented.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    In my youth, the people that I thought were obese at the time, are now dwarfed by the people I've seen locally over recent years. There are far more gas station convenience stores today, whereas the mom and pop stores were the norm in my youth. The first thing that generally greets people when entering most convenience stores is racks of candy whereas it was fruit and produce at many of the mom and pops that I frequented.
    I remember being in physical education class in eighth grade, back around 1970. (Do they still have those?) I was the second heaviest kid in the school at 140 pounds, so I had to wrestle the heaviest kid, who weighed 215 pounds (we were both about 5'10" tall). When I look at middle school students today, I think the average weight male child is closer to my fat friend's weight than to what mine was.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post

    ...Second, in small-town America as a cycle tourist it is really difficult to eat healthily. Fast-food outlets dominate to a massive extent, and often the obvious alternative is a Mom and Pop diner which is big on steak, eggs and bread products but appears not to have anything beyond lettuce in the way of green stuff. I got very, very tired of Caesar salads...
    I remember touring back east/down south in the mid-'80s. As a native Californian, where we always had fresh produce available, I was shocked that those people tended to eat so much starch and food from cans. The two women I was with practically had orgasms when we entered a restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway that had a salad bar. It had been well over a week since we had seen anything we recognized as food.

  12. #12
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    The two women I was with practically had orgasms when we entered a restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway that had a salad bar. It had been well over a week since we had seen anything we recognized as food.
    I had a similar experience. Can't claim I acheived a climax, but after days when I fantasised about fresh vegetables I arrived at a hotel in Fair Haven, NY which had a great salad bar; that was a very good day.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    There are far more gas station convenience stores today, whereas the mom and pop stores were the norm in my youth. The first thing that generally greets people when entering most convenience stores is racks of candy whereas it was fruit and produce at many of the mom and pops that I frequented.
    If I'm on a bike trip, I can often find relatively healthy choices at the convenience stores. They almost always have an assortment of fresh fruit and some sandwiches. Where I live, there's a Subway franchise in one of the gas stations. At the worst, I'll be able to find something passable (although not great) among the packaged food choices.

    One word of caution: When trying to get reasonably healthy food at a convenience store, read the labels. Some sandwiches are calorie-laden disasters, high in sodium and high in saturated fats. Not everything is as healthy as it looks.
    Life is good.

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think the article goes a little too far in listing inactivity as a primary cause of obesity and related health problems. I think the main cause is overeating. In most cases, people really can't lose weight just by exercising. They very much need to eat less also. Also, the quality of the food is not the main issue. I know people (including myself) who are overweight but eat only "healthy" food. Other people I know have an exclusively junk food diet and are skinny.

    Of course I do believe that lots of exercise and activity are necessary for fitness, if not for weight loss. One of the easiest ways to get more exercise is to incorporate it into your everyday lifestyle--as when we carfree people walk and bike every day for both transportation and fitness.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Third, the portion sizes are usually absurd. Watching people have breakfast was sometimes a faintly nauseating experience. I was riding about 60 miles per day and eating a lot, but pancake after pancake with syrup and cream? And I lost count of the number of times I saw doting adults look on with approval as their almost spherical child downed a vast pizza and washed it down with about a pint of Coke. It was not unusual for me to be served a plateful of food that in my view - I am 6'3" and weigh 200 lbs, btw - would have been rather too much for two.
    +100

    The portions served today are too much even for someone over 6 feet tall. This is why people under 5'8 struggle to remain thin with eating out because there is waaaaay too much for a smaller person. The availability of cheap fattening food in super sizes is what's killing millions of americans.

    The other day, a co-worker had a heart at my office and died on the job. The last time I saw him alive, his breakfast alone could have filled me for breakfast and luch. He must have been over 300 lbs.
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 03-31-12 at 09:59 AM.

  16. #16
    cycleobsidian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I think the article goes a little too far in listing inactivity as a primary cause of obesity and related health problems. I think the main cause is overeating. In most cases, people really can't lose weight just by exercising.
    I don't think people can lose weight just by exercising either. But exercise is a great appetite regulator. You are less likely to want to eat lots of junk food calories if you are in good shape.

  17. #17
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycleobsidian View Post
    I don't think people can lose weight just by exercising either. But exercise is a great appetite regulator. You are less likely to want to eat lots of junk food calories if you are in good shape.
    It's getting to that "good shape" state that a lot of people wrestle with.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  18. #18
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycleobsidian View Post
    ...... You are less likely to want to eat lots of junk food calories if you are in good shape.
    That wasn't my case, it was the lack of energy, and the sick feelings I had after my commutes. I wanted to still eat junk food, but my body rebelled.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Walking Just A Few Blocks Always Makes Me Feel Good

    In the last few months I've learned some things I didn't know from videos on Youtube. They are related to food and diet.

    Exercising off pounds is impossible. If a person burns three-hundred calories per hour bicycling that might only be the equivalent of three big cookies. For somebody many pounds overweight it would be impossible for them to exercise enough hours to lose all of their extra pounds.

    Another thing is that calories in versus calories burned during exercise is a myth. It is true that if you burn more calories than you take in you will eventually lose weight. Anybody doing that will starve. Calories in does not equate to calories turned into fat. These are very closely related observations. The types of calories taken in determine whether or not they can be converted into fat.

    Fat can always be converted into fat. So if people eat foods with oil in them such as salad dressing or oils used in cooking, those calories can go directly into stored fat. All animal products contain plenty of fat, even the lean cuts. Stop eating fats of all kinds and your body will lose fat weight. I've stopped eating almost all fat and I've lost one pound per week since starting. I'm not doing any additional exercise so the difference is from not eating fats. I'm still eating plenty of food.

    I know of some skinny people who eat as many as six-thousand calories per day. They eat mostly fruits. They follow what is called the 80 10 10 diet, 80% carbohydrates, 10% protein and 10% fat. They eat only uncooked foods, no meat or dairy products. Their fat comes from avocados and nuts. I eat too many nuts. That is why I'm only losing one pound per week.

    Walking in the snowy winter with ice covered sidewalks isn't fun. Still I'll do it every once in a while when I need to go to the post office nearby. The lack of sidewalks hasn't really ever stopped me from walking along a road. Usually there is a trail worn into the ground where others have walked before. Those aren't ideal when the ground is wet during or after a rain storm. Walking just a few blocks always makes me feel good.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  20. #20
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    Exercising off pounds is impossible. If a person burns three-hundred calories per hour
    So in 11 1/2 days, if they don't increase their eating, they lose a pound. It might be slower than the average person wants to lose weight, but that doesn't sound impossible at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    The types of calories taken in determine whether or not they can be converted into fat.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    Fat can always be converted into fat.
    Agreed, but it's also very easy to convert excess carbohydrates to fat. Insulin helps push that blood sugar into the fat stores very effectively. It also causes a drop in blood sugar (in varying degrees, depending on the person).

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    Stop eating fats of all kinds and your body will lose fat weight.
    That's one of those YMMV things. My wife struggled for years lose weight on what is considered a healthy diet by the USDA. It never worked and she was always hungry. After I watched FatHead (also on YouTube I believe), I decided to try a low carb high fat diet to help get my blood sugar under control, and it worked. My wife started eating that way and she's lost 30 pounds since January. I don't know if it was an intolerance to grains or what, but the USDA's recommendations of 6-11 servings of grains is clearly wrong for her. And she says she's not hungry all the time anymore like she was before.

    Fat is important for hunger and blood sugar control, and it my experience it may play an even more important role in those who struggle with their weight. Sure you can decrease calories and lose weight through sheer willpower, but that only lasts so long.

    If you have Netflix streaming or iTunes (and I think on YouTube), I would recommend watching FatHead. I have also watched Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. All of those ways of eating seem to work for people. I think your observation that the skinny people are eating lots of fruits and raw vegetables is right on, but you may be focusing on the wrong point. After watching all those documentaries, I have reached that conclusion that highly processed nutrient deficient foods are really the problem and that whole, minimally processed foods is the key to health and weight control.

    I know this seems to contradict (editted to fix from counteract) my earlier point about my wife eating low carb (which is really reduced carb because she eats fruits), but she also cut out the processed foods with this change, so that may really be the key to her success. It could be the increased fat that's causing her success as well. Or the elimination of wheat (which if you notice, grains are rarely consumed unless they're processed, which also leads me to question why we even eat them if we have to do so much to make them palatable). She made a couple of changes in the process, so I can't pinpoint a single cause. All I know is FatHead was a life changing movie for me and my wife.
    Last edited by chandltp; 04-01-12 at 10:12 AM.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  21. #21
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Nutrition is a very complicated field. Diets need to be fine tuned to the individual.

    However I completely agree that the over processed chemical laden crap that passes for food these days, along with the excessive portioning and lack of regular exercise are the main contributors to obesity in the US and it is spreading to the rest of the world, add in the fact that more people in the US eat out than ever before and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Regular exercise is less for calorie consumption and more for general health, keeping things moving and operating smoothly. Kind of like leaving a car sitting in the garage, the seals will rot, tires will go flat, and batteries will go dead.

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  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I find that exercise gets even more important as I get older (I'm 56). "Excessive" walking and riding might have contributed to my arthritis, but it's also the best remedy. If I go even one day without exercise, I will have a bad flare-up of arthritis, especially in my knees.

    Also, I don't think it's a coincidence that I had a heart attack at a time in my life when for once I owned an automobile. I think cars are a bigger cause of heart disease than even TV.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  23. #23
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    There are people who have adopted the all meat and dairy diet and lost weight. It's amazing to see their results. The raw food vegan diets also accomplish the same thing. Both diets don't include wheat products. That makes me wonder if wheat is very bad for people. I don't eat much of it. Eventually if I ever learn how to bake with sprouted wheat and other types of flour, I'll give up unsprouted wheat entirely. Apparently sprouted wheat has a beneficial chemical change that makes it nutritious. In the book "Eat Right 4 Your Type" it explains how wheat is bad for blood type O. It creates inflammation. Since I'm O I didn't memorize whether is is bad for the other three blood types.

    Hidden oils in foods are a big contributor to gaining weight or not being able to lose weight on certain diets. I watched a short show on Netflix about switching to an all vegetable diet "The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue". The guy teaching how to make the switch went through two families pantries and refrigerators to find the good and bad foods. Even many things bought from the health food store were just expensive fat laden products purporting to be healthy choices. Without the ability to grasp what ingredients are good and bad, anybody on a diet to lose weight might buy the wrong things and still think they are doing a good job finding good foods.

    Zero calorie diet drinks can add weight to people. A scientist in a Youtube video about sugar explained that anything containing corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, or sucrose will go into the liver and be converted to fat, even if the label says zero calories. His explanation was long and very detailed showing how the chemical process works.

    This is one and a half hours long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM&ob=av3e

    I do believe he is missing some data because the guys in the movie "Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead" used a juice machine for weeks at a time and lost weight. They were eating fructose from fruits without any fiber. The doctor's biochemistry lecture says that eating fructose without fiber will cause fat production. If that were true in all cases then these guys wouldn't have lost three-hundred pounds collectively. What they did do was not eat fat in any form nor eat any wheat products.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  24. #24
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Nutrition is a very complicated field. Diets need to be fine tuned to the individual.
    I agree 100%. What works extremely well for one person may only have mediocre results for another. That's part of the problem with nutrition studies (in addition to the fact there are usually 10 variables but one is picked at being the sole influencing factor).
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  25. #25
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    I do believe he is missing some data because the guys in the movie "Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead" used a juice machine for weeks at a time and lost weight.
    I think we just don't know as much about how the human body works as we think we do. We examine individual processes and figure out how those work, but whole is more than the sum of its parts.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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