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Thread: Commentary on obese people on London Times

  1. #1
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Commentary on obese people on London Times

    Here

    Just tell me if I am overreacting - but isn't this incredibly offensive? And I don't just mean the comments by the readers, the author's opinion itself seems to be, well, offensive?

  2. #2
    Custom Title 76olympics's Avatar
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    Nope, I think this type of article almost defines unnecessary.... and I am not obese. I wouldn't mind losing that last pregnancy 10 pounds that never did disappear ( son is 14!), but I haven't had to struggle with this issue. And I do believe that heavy people struggle; they aren't lazy or uninformed. If someone is over 100 pounds overweight, they are well aware of it and articles like this are just mean- spirited to me. This is a personal issue between the individual and the doctor; why does the press or the public for that matter need to "intervene."

    Weight issues can increase the chance of health issues ( those healthcare dollars!) , but everyone does things that increase their health issues. Thin folks smoke,drink and sky-dive...

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Interesting article. I didn't know what a stone was so I looked it up --- 1 stone is 14 lbs. I don't know if you looked at the comments below but one said....smoking helps you lose weight.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee4707 View Post
    smoking helps you lose weight.
    my grandmother picked up the habit after 15 years of not smoking because she felt she was 'too fat' (I must look like an overstuffed cow to her, actually she has made comments like that recently... hmmmm)

    it's so stupidly frustrating.

  5. #5
    Dedicated follower of the black line Wicked's Avatar
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    This article is interesting to me because I am a social worker. It states that the children were not removed for weight issues but does not give any other reason for their removal. That is amazing.

    One of the major causes of obesity, at least in the US, is poverty. People in poor neighborhoods have limited access to transportation and often the nutritional quality of food in their local grocery stores is sorely lacking. Another problem is that processed food is usually cheaper than things that are more healthy for you like produce.

  6. #6
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked View Post
    One of the major causes of obesity, at least in the US, is poverty. People in poor neighborhoods have limited access to transportation and often the nutritional quality of food in their local grocery stores is sorely lacking. Another problem is that processed food is usually cheaper than things that are more healthy for you like produce.
    But those problems are probably really limited to the US. Great Britain and most Western European countries are so densely populated that nobody has limited access to transportation, you can get everywhere by public transportation - often the distances are so small, that you can even go by bike.

    I heard about the expensive fresh food in the US. Is that really true? I have a friend at university who lived in Annapolis for 6 months, and she was shocked how expensive fresh fruits and vegetables are. She said that eating fast food is a much cheaper way to live there.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I heard about the expensive fresh food in the US. Is that really true? I have a friend at university who lived in Annapolis for 6 months, and she was shocked how expensive fresh fruits and vegetables are. She said that eating fast food is a much cheaper way to live there.
    My own experience - which I must point out was some time ago - is that the problem is not always the cost of produce but the cost of fresh, high quality produce. If you buy your fruit and veg from a farmer's market or an organic producer or the like, you can get very good food and while it won't necessarily be cheap, I doubt it will be pricier than in many European countries. Of course, you can buy Ramen noodles or Campbell soup, and that will always be cheaper.

    As far as I can tell, the problem is that many people in the US only have access to supermarket produce, or can't afford to buy elsewhere. This means buying fruits and vegetables that are often transported over huge distances and designed to look as good as possible rather than taste as good as possible - and it's just awful. I don't know about the situation in Germany, but I'm used to eating mainly locally grown produce, and even if it's not organic, it's still generally good. Meanwhile, there were some fruits and veggies that I just couldn't bring myself to eat in the US. It was just disgusting, and I fully understand Americans who would rather not eat such things.

  8. #8
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I don't know about the situation in Germany, but I'm used to eating mainly locally grown produce, and even if it's not organic, it's still generally good. Meanwhile, there were some fruits and veggies that I just couldn't bring myself to eat in the US. It was just disgusting, and I fully understand Americans who would rather not eat such things.
    I also often eat locally grown products, e.g. the supermarket where I mostly buy, it's just around the corner, is part of a large chain, but they always offer products from the region. I live right on the border to the Netherlands and there is a big farm in the Dutch village next to us - the supermarket always sells their potatoes, tomatoes etc. And it's really quite cheap, probably because they only need to transport the products 1 kilometre. There is also a store in the city centre that sells products from the mountain region that borders Aachen. Also not expensive.

    But there are a few vegetables that I don't like to buy in Germany, avocados, aubergines (the dictionary says "eggplant" in American English)... Those are vegetables that always tasted so good in France, but somehow Germany doesn't buy those where France buys them. Plus, they are also more expensive in Germany then in France.

  9. #9
    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    Alot of places in the USA aren't accessible without driving. Even in my small town you can't walk to Wal Mart, which is the only store that sells groceries. There are no sidewalks to it and if you tried to walk in the grassy area you would be in a ditch, then have to climb over a few property fences. It's not possible at all to walk to it.

    Many cities like Indianapolis, Indiana, have little public transportation.

  10. #10
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    If you look at obesity as a disability, it's a health and identity-politics issue and people are victims. If you look at it as an addiction, it's a behavioral issue and people need to take responsibility for it. That is, until addiction too becomes a disability and health-identity politics issue and addicts are victims too. :sheesh:

    There are lots of overweight middle-class people but I can't deny there's a big poverty connection. I used to be so poor I bought a lot of my food from 99-cent stores, and let me tell you, there is tons of cheap pasta, sweets, and processed food in those places - and absolutely no fresh produce. LOTS of people in poorer neighborhoods depend on those stores. I also did a lot of work with soup kitchens and food pantries, and the nutritional quality of their offerings is on the whole very low.

    I don't know what the answer is. It's depressing! But I don't think the answer is not talking about it or banning the word fat or denying people's responsibility for their lives. Comments on media sites are rude and anonymous. The problem is much bigger than this particular article, and the article doesn't disturb me at all.

  11. #11
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    If you look at obesity as a disability, it's a health and identity-politics issue and people are victims. If you look at it as an addiction, it's a behavioral issue and people need to take responsibility for it. That is, until addiction too becomes a disability and health-identity politics issue and addicts are victims too. :sheesh:

    There are lots of overweight middle-class people but I can't deny there's a big poverty connection. I used to be so poor I bought a lot of my food from 99-cent stores, and let me tell you, there is tons of cheap pasta, sweets, and processed food in those places - and absolutely no fresh produce. LOTS of people in poorer neighborhoods depend on those stores. I also did a lot of work with soup kitchens and food pantries, and the nutritional quality of their offerings is on the whole very low.

    I don't know what the answer is. It's depressing! But I don't think the answer is not talking about it or banning the word fat or denying people's responsibility for their lives. Comments on media sites are rude and anonymous. The problem is much bigger than this particular article, and the article doesn't disturb me at all.
    [CENTER][/CENTER]
    Addictions are psychiatric illnesses, you know that, right? That's not just some joke or modern nonsense to make people feel better about themselves. Just like we know that genes can contribute to illnesses like depression, cancer, allergies, attention deficit disorder - we also know that genes can contribute to addictive behaviour. There are neurotransmitter imbalances in the brains of addicts, just like in the brains of depressive people.

    I am not saying that people shouldn't take responsibility for themselves, on the contrary. Everyone should accept that we are all born with a certain set of cards in our hands, some can be assets, others can jeopardise our health and well-being - and some can do both. We all have weaknesses and strengths. How we play them, that's our decision.

    So some people have problems with discipline as far as eating is concerned. That can count as a weakness (also as a strength of course). The author of the text basically said that fat people shouldn't complain if they are bullied for their fatness, because it's their own fault and they could change it. I find that statement to be outrageous. The only thing different about having problems with one's weight from other weaknesses / problems people have, is that it is a weakness, that's obvious to the world - everyone can see it.

    But we only see one tidbit of this person, one weakness of a personality, that has probably myriads of assets, strengths and some weaknesses. How can it be right to judge someone just because of one tiny glimpse you get of him/her?

    I have no problems with articles giving good advice, articles describing health problems that are connected with overweight / obesity. But this article was just nasty, the author took some extreme examples, put them together in a judgmental and patronising opinion piece, that seemed to have a near demagoguing effect on it's readers.

  12. #12
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Look, I believe in being nice and not bullying, OK? But I also believe in free speech and personal responsibility and the ability to change. I think it's silly to look at this article in a vacuum. It's a drop of frankness about an issue that is often drowned in an ocean of political correctness, and it makes some real points that you can't see if you only see obesity in terms of genetics, rights, and victimhood. Maybe I'm living under a rock, but I don't see bullying of fat people as a big social problem - I see increasing normalization of obesity in the media, by clothing companies, and in everyday life.

    There's been an inexorable trend in our society for everybody but white men to organize and demand special victims' rights. Oh, I forgot, they're doing it too! No doubt the obesity-rights movement will succeed too. But as the article pointed out, that movement and its defenders are ignoring the real victims here - the children. Moreover, the ideology of victimization is the opposite of empowering. Yeah, it's great to have "obesity rights" or whatever you want to call it - but what if you don't WANT to be fat any more?

    Years ago I used to attend Overeaters Anonymous meetings, based on AA, NA, etc. Whenever you wanted to say something, you had to say, My name is XXX and I'm a compulsive overeater. That strikes me as a healthier approach to the problem. And there is nothing mean or uncaring about it.
    http://www.oa.org/

    ETA: Lest you think I'm trying to claim special authority by citing OA, I'm not and have never been obese, but I've always eaten a bit too much and used to be something of a binger.
    Last edited by Spun Silver; 10-27-2009 at 06:20 PM.

  13. #13
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Of course self-help groups are a great approach to find solutions for one self. That what I meant with constructive help, articles etc.

    If someone can't get a job, where weight is irrelevant for the work, because he/she is overweight, then it is discrimination. If you are bullied, and discriminated against, then you are a victim. Just because your are at least partly at fault for your problem, that doesn't mean you aren't a victim. A motorbike driver who is paralysed after an accident caused by his own reckless driving, is still a victim. We don't throw him into the dirt and tell him that it's his fault, mock him, because he is in wheelchair now.

    I have no problem with telling people that they need to lose weight, when I was supposed to talk to patients in the hospital about their weight issues, I was always rather blunt and straightforward (I don't do subtle). I told them about the problems, about the gains if they were to lose weight, about simple ways to increase their daily activity, about healthy food (especially elder widowers or elder men with sick wives don't have a clue about how to eat healthily). That's constructive advise.

    The article was demonising fat people. As part of my studies I worked in a paediatrics practice, and I swear, I can't remember one mother who was obese / heavily overweight and who didn't care about her children and let them get overly overweight. That case described in the article is very rare, at least where I come from. And how many people do you know that think being obese is "totally fabulous and really healthy"? I maybe met about 2 people like that in my life, and as I said, I worked in hospitals, cardiology etc., with loads of overweight / obese people. Most of these people want to lose weight, have lost a lot of weight in their life, and gained it again, tried this and that.

    This is like writing an article on cancer patients, and only taking nicotine-smoking alcoholics dying of hepatic and lung cancer as examples - but at the same time talking about all the cancer patients together as a whole.

    And bullying is a big social problem, also for obese people. There are lots of chubby children and not all of those are chubby because they eat too much, sometimes children are just chubby and later in life are of normal-weight. Children love to tease chubby children, they bully them, exclude them from activities. That's really helpful, with the whole self-confidence thing. Children learn from their parents, when they can mock the fat neighbour lady, Junior can bully the fat kids at school, too. Chubby kids start hating all kinds of sports because they are mocked and bullied constantly during games and PE, often also by the PE teacher. This is not some fantasy of mine, traumatic PE as a child can spoil physical activities, especially in groups, for all your life.

    You complain about the "increased normalisation of obesity" in society. What would be, in your opinion, the appropriate way of dealing with it? You can't tackle the problem if you make the concerned patients feel like greedy lazy freaks, who have no place in our society? And clothing companies only offering clothes for slightly overweight and normal-weight people can't be the way. "You are fat, better be ready to wear ugly clothes" Way to increase self-confidence!

  14. #14
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Hey, Medusa, you don't have to like my opinions but please don't put words in my mouth. I didn't "complain" about the growing normalization of obesity - I mentioned it as the reality I see, as opposed to an increase in bullying. The normalization is simply a market-based response to an increasingly heavier market, IMO. Good manners and compassion are always good - I already told you I'm not in favor of meanness. So, no, Medusa, I'm not proposing a bullying campaign to tell fat people they're "greedy lazy freaks."

    What I complained about and what the article complained about was the victims-rights approach to the problem (especially since it only focuses on the parents' rights and ignores the children). I prefer to emphasize responsibility and the ability to change, which I find more hopeful, socially positive, and personally empowering. I also value freedom (so I don't favor *forcing* people to eat properly), and that includes free speech, so I don't like seeing conservative journalists "demonized" (to use your word) by the left in the name of tolerance.

    I'm not in favor of discrimination either, but a technically obese person as a fitness trainer for anyone but other obese people? Come on. IMHO, that seems like political correctness to the point of absurdity.

    Obviously we don't agree and as I said, I really don't know what the solution to growing obesity is. And, since I have other things to do tonight, I think I'll leave it there. Peace!

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    I haven't read the link yet, but I do 'wonder' about the term obese at times.

    Marilyn Monroe was a size 12. I wouldn't consider her obese.

    I do think that part of the image problem is related to the ultra skinny models and celebrities. Courtney Cox is a beautiful woman, but I think she's too thin - at one time she was 115 pounds. That's what I weighed from high school until I was about 28 - I'm at least 3 " shorter, but wouldn't consider myself obese at that age. Isn't a size 2 a bit too slim for a woman that's over 5'2" in height?

    I also recall the MJ autopsy report citing that he was a healthy 5'10" male at 130 pounds. Isn't that too light for a guy?

    For me, as long as you're healthy and your general activities aren't limited by your physical condition and you're content with your appearance, then no one has a right to comment. Personally, I could lose 30 pounds, but I'm in general good health and take aerobics class and nothing's falling apart, yet.

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