Where's the government intervention on obesity?


karrie
#1
Okay... so the topic came up over coffee with my little brother this morning. It's been picking at me for a while, and why I haven't thought to bring it up here before is beyond me. But, here goes.

The government and health care agencies claim that we are currently suffering an obesity epidemic which is threatening the stability of our health care through an excessive burden of heart, kidney, and various other problems.

So where's the treatment center? We have government run drug and alcohol treatment centers with counselors. We have government funded physio centers for rehabilitating injuries. We have government funded access to counselors to help you quit smoking.

Yet for obesity, the government is not willing to pay to intervene until a person is in absolute crisis, morbidly obese, and requiring pricey surgeries like lapbands or gastric bypass. Where on earth is the government gym and trainers to get people up and motivated and moving, to intervene BEFORE the costly surgeries are necessary?

My brother pointed out 'you can't hold people's hands, and only a few would do it and not relapse', but the same can be said of smoking and alcohol abuse programs.

So, is the government really doing enough to combat what they say is a crucial problem?
 
Praxius
#2
Well there's many types of eating disorders and I imagine different reasons which trigger these in certain individuals.

Like what they did with smoking over the years, I am sure they will deal with fat people in the same fashion. In which I mean, it took many years for people to come to the conclusions as to how much smokeing affect our health, what causes addiction, how to treat, etc.

20 years ago there wasn't the patch (That I remember anyways), there wasn't any chewing gum.... and now a days, you can goto the pharmacy and there's an entire section loaded with stuff for quitting. Not to mention the bans on where you can smoke, how much it's going to cost you, and so forth.

Now I imagine within time similar tactics will be placed on getting fat, but then again, eating is something we all do in order to live, smoking and drinking is not.... once the government starts to dictate how much you can eat per day, then you're loosing freedom.

And besides freedom, think about the market of fast food companies and what you buy in the store... how much will it cost to place restrictions on those businesses? Will they comply or just pack up and head back to the US or elsewhere where the restrictions are not as harsh and they can make a profit?

I think this topic is more of something that requires public education so people will make proper decisions based on their own personal lives.

Also, I don't think they have programs or organizations out there for helping those who are overweight, because frankly, that's what Gyms are for. If they want help with loosing weight, perhaps a friend or family member should tell them to get off their asses and do something about it.

It's not the government's fault people are fat and lazy, it's the people themselves and the choices they make, just like myself. I was pretty overweight for a while (Well enough anyways) and I made the changes I needed to. If people can't do the same, that's their loss and I shouldn't have to have my tax dollars spent of people who are just too damn lazy to take care of themselves.

Then again, it can also fall under the category of addiction, much like tobacco or alcohol, so I guess more study is needed. Until then.... tell those lazy buggers to goto the gym.

Most doctors will tell you that you can eat all and anything you want, so long as you counter balance with proper exercise.
 
karrie
#3
See Prax, you can walk into a drug store, and there will be a whole aisle of medications that can help you lose weight...Dexa-Trim, shakes, bars, prepackaged food plans, etc. You can go to any restaurant and there will be a slim menu on most all of them. There are societal steps being taken, there are education plans in place, much like there was for smoking. But it doesn't work for all, and many need medical intervention. Currently, we're offering that intervention in the form of surgery, at the tax payer's expense. You're already paying for the fix. And it's not a good fix either. Sure, it may make the person skinnier, but, obesity is a symptom of an unhealthy body, not the cause. Some people can sneak by with the sickened kidneys and clogging arteries while still maintaining a trim figure.

Why on earth do we feel consumer goods of questionable efficacy, and surgeries to starve them thin, are a better fix (I'm quite sure it's not cheaper), than a weight loss counseling center where they could have access to nutritionists, trainers, and equipment to lose weight. Or heck, even a gov. voucher for a gym and trainer so they don't have to maintain an infrastructure.

If activity's the answer to obesity, and people are clearly not doing it themselves for whatever host of reasons, we should be offering as much help for this particular mental block, as we do to other addictive problems.
 
Praxius
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

See Prax, you can walk into a drug store, and there will be a whole aisle of medications that can help you lose weight...Dexa-Trim, shakes, bars, prepackaged food plans, etc. You can go to any restaurant and there will be a slim menu on most all of them. There are societal steps being taken, there are education plans in place, much like there was for smoking. But it doesn't work for all, and many need medical intervention. Currently, we're offering that intervention in the form of surgery, at the tax payer's expense. You're already paying for the fix. And it's not a good fix either. Sure, it may make the person skinnier, but, obesity is a symptom of an unhealthy body, not the cause. Some people can sneak by with the sickened kidneys and clogging arteries while still maintaining a trim figure.

True, but there are always going to be similar cases of people who smoke or do other drugs that the current systems don't work for, due to whatever complex personal issues they have in their lives.

Unfortunatly no matter how much the restrict smokers, or how much they attempt to solve the obesity issue, there will still be a good number of people who will need the above surgery regardless, because they don't take the initiative in protecting their own health.

It all boils down to individual decision making in my view. As a loose example, with all the tax hikes on smokes, with all the ads on how smokes can kill you which take up half the pack's surface, with all the known illnesses and connections to cancer and everything else we're bombarded with everyday of our lives.... I started smoking just last year, after years of not wanting to smoke. The system worked for so long for me, but eventually I personally made the decision to start smoking, and I have nobody else to blame but myself.

When I over ate, I was fully aware I was, but I didn't care.... food tastes good. When you're bored or depressed, you tend to eat more. Get depressed about your weight, and then you eat more.... it's all in the head when you think deep down about it.

You have to look at yourself in the mirror, look at your body and ask yourself if you are pleased with what you see. If not, then ask yourself how you became so fat by your standards. Then instead of actually cutting back eating and trying to make some magical transformation, start to look at what you do in the run of a day. What were you thinking when you were eating what you were? How much did you eat and why?

Basically, you have to find out for yourself, what makes you eat more then you neeed to. What part of your brain is making you instinctively go for the snacks without paying much attention?

See the problem with most overweight people these days is that either A) they don't think they have a problem (Denial) or B) They know they have a problem, they admit it, cry / get emotional about it, and use that to get other people to do the work for them... which in the end, doesn't make them learn anything and they continue through their cycle of eating, slowly killing themselves each day. The first main step is to accept that it is your own responsibility that you are the weight you are. You are not Big boned and it wasn't your mother's genes. They may have played a small part in the situation, but overall, they can easily be used as excuses.

Quote:

Why on earth do we feel consumer goods of questionable efficacy, and surgeries to starve them thin, are a better fix (I'm quite sure it's not cheaper), than a weight loss counseling center where they could have access to nutritionists, trainers, and equipment to lose weight. Or heck, even a gov. voucher for a gym and trainer so they don't have to maintain an infrastructure.

Makes sense. They have tax breaks for people who get bus passes through the year for helping reduce pollution.

Quote:

If activity's the answer to obesity, and people are clearly not doing it themselves for whatever host of reasons, we should be offering as much help for this particular mental block, as we do to other addictive problems.

And that's why they brought back:



:P... oh I missed those commericals. Ok no I didn't, I hardly remember them, but I do remember the Special K logo on crack. The commercials today though are pretty funny.
 
Walter
#5
Why should the govenment have to do anything alout it? Anything run by the government will be sure to cost us too much.
 
EagleSmack
#6
For what it is worth and at the local level some schools are banning the junk food, soda machines etc. here in Massachusetts. I know that is not Canada so maybe my post is not relevant here. Oh...and Bloomberg (Mayor of NY) passed a law saying that all transfats are to be banned from restaraunts in NY City.

I think there is an attempt to try but there is truly so much fast food and junk so readily available to all.
 
DurkaDurka
#7
I certainly don't need the government dictating what I can and cannot eat. We already pay a good portion of our taxes to healthcare, if one chooses to be a lard *** or a smoker or a drinker or a drug user, so be it.
 
Tonington
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Why should the govenment have to do anything alout it? Anything run by the government will be sure to cost us too much.

There was a cost-benefits analysis on obesity treatment in the World Journal of Surgery, which found the following:

Quote:

The general level of discrimination that society allows the obese to suffer also allows medical insurance companies, businesses, and government to not provide many obese Americans with obesity treatments that have established a level of effectiveness far surpassing many other forms of medical therapy.

In any case, your assertion is faulty from the get-go. Cancer treatments, open heart surgery, and many other related forms of therapy are expensive, and would be cost-prohibitive to many citizens without government run programs. Even in the USofA where socialism is a derogatory term in many circles, they provide a basic level of care for poor citizens.

Where would you say the government's responsibility should stop in relation to the health and security of it's citizens Walter?
 
Zzarchov
#9
I agree there should be effort to tackle obesity.

Complain all you want about the cost, we are all ready paying it, and more.

Preventative maintenance is almost always the cheaper option.
 
karrie
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

For what it is worth and at the local level some schools are banning the junk food, soda machines etc. here in Massachusetts. I know that is not Canada so maybe my post is not relevant here. Oh...and Bloomberg (Mayor of NY) passed a law saying that all transfats are to be banned from restaraunts in NY City.

I think there is an attempt to try but there is truly so much fast food and junk so readily available to all.

There are cities here trying to ban transfats as well, and schools banning junk food. There are schools even trying to ban bake sales, which kind of ticks me off... to me, that's going quite overboard.
 
DurkaDurka
#11
Why don't schools start re-implementing extra circular activities that were cut back in the 90s? I think exercise would be as effective as banning unhealthy food for kids.
 
Tonington
#12
Some companies are already removing trans fats from their products here in Canada, ahead of the expected Health Canada regulations. If the voluntary measures don't work, Health Canada will enforce the regulations. As it is now, they're recommended to make trans fats no more than 2% of the fat content in vegetable oils and soft margarines. I think Tim Horton's has removed them, but the fat content in the donuts is still insane.

The question is, would anyone even notice if the trans fats were removed, without knowing of announcements from regulatory and media agencies? Like a double-blind test.
 
karrie
#13
Well, trans-fats won't impact the obesity problem anyway. It almost seems to be worse.... it appalls me up how many people seem to think that 'trans-fat free' means they can eat as much as they want.
 
Walter
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurkaView Post

Why don't schools start re-implementing extra circular activities that were cut back in the 90s? I think exercise would be as effective as banning unhealthy food for kids.

Things are as active today as they have ever been.
 
darkbeaver
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurkaView Post

I certainly don't need the government dictating what I can and cannot eat. We already pay a good portion of our taxes to healthcare, if one chooses to be a lard *** or a smoker or a drinker or a drug user, so be it.

Coughhackspit, You vil ship up or you vil shape out vee vil nitct pay for zee drunk smokink lardbelly vis mine tax. Yu half bin varnd. Zis ist yor lest chanse.
 
mt_pockets1000
#16
I was a construction worker in my younger days and I stayed in fairly good shape just through everyday work. For the past 15 years I've been sitting behind a desk without much in the way of physical activity. The extra 50 lbs. I'm sporting are a result of that change. Sedentary lifestyles, combined with huge junkfood intakes, are turning us into a population of overweight citizens. What with the computer, TV, video games, etc. the incentive is just not there to get active.
My membership at the gym begins next week...let's get 'er done.
 
Zan
#17
Our entire lifestyle as a society is built to not succeed at this goal. There are so many factors at play here - for starters, most 2 parent families have both parents working full time. This makes less time and energy for shopping and preparing healthy foods - which btw, tend to be significantly more expensive than their cheaper, mass produced, more convenient, processed instant foods. I remember well the after work frenzy of having one parent racing to get home and get dinner on while the other runs to pick up the kids from after school care - trying to get dinner on and eaten before soccer practice, cub scouts, piano lessons etc etc... How many times did we just cave in from pure exhaustion and stop for drive through or throw something resembling food together that comes in a package - just add water and microwave. We call that dinner? I can't count how many other parents I saw doing the same - kids arriving at practice trying to cram the remnants of a big mac into their mouths while changing their shoes.

I wish I'd done it differently now, but at the time the name of the game was getting through the day without losing my mind or dropping from exhaustion. My story is no different than any other parent in today's world. Our days are too damn crowded, and the more we whine about it, the more we see the market catering to our need for fast, convenient and cheap food.

Now, as a single parent, I find that when I'm shopping I occasionally have to make less healthy choices due to financial constraints. This pisses me off royally, because I'm extremely aware that the most powerful weapon for change I have as a consumer is the choices I make with my dollars. Having no choice but to opt for less healthy items makes me feel forced to perpetuate the problem. If more of us could find a way to consistently buy healthy foods, the demand would create more competition and we'd see more product choices becoming available for less money.

I don't know what the solution is - it's pretty hard to get off a merry-go-round that just won't stop.
 
Zzarchov
#18
I find healthy foods dirt cheap.

I buy enough vegetables for side salad for about $5 per week per person. I get a playing card sized piece of meat for about $1-$2 per person per day, the spices and sauces I use with cooking is about $6 per month per person. I mix it up with Side pasta every now and again for about $7 per person per week (vegetables, tomoto sauce, spices and noodles).

Bread and Sandwhich items (usually meat I cook up the night before and chop up and vegetables) cover lunch for about $2 a person a day.

And Breakfast I admit I skimp out on, usually toast, or coffee or some mass produced breakfast bar since I hate mornings.

This is all time consuming though, that is the big issue.
 
karrie
#19
I find myself hovering over some decisions... the cost is frustrating. Healthy oils tend to be more expensive.

Natural peanut butter versus the stuff made with vegetable oil, is more expensive unless you buy bulk and hope no one sneezed in it.

Multi-grain products cost more than their counterparts.

Lean meats cost more.

colorful vegetables seem to be pricier (red/yellow/orange peppers seem to average $4/lb here for example).

Fresh chicken breast is sometimes twice the cost of brine soaked individually frozen breasts.

It isn't always easy to make the choices that we're encouraged to, because they do add up to a great deal more money. And not all obese people are that way because they've chosen to eat chips instead of side salad. With current levels of inactivity, the little differences (lean meat or not for example) can add up quickly.
 
Zzarchov
#20
You don't need lean meat or multi-grain bread. You just have to be willing to eat less. And lets face it, eating is a social activity, and it is fun to eat. If your done eating in a third the time, you feel like you should eat more. But you get used to it, and if you wish to keep eating, eat carrots or apples or other cheap healthy food.
 
DurkaDurka
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Things are as active today as they have ever been.

compared to when?

I know in the 90's, extra ciricular activities were stripped to a minimum.

So perhaps we have a generation of tubbies in between the 90's and now if you think everything is good?
 
eh huh
#22
I have a theory. Walk into any big government office and look at the physical characteristics of the employees and bureaucrats filling up the over sized chairs - especially the corner offices. I suspect the obesity problem at Health Canada is probably most severe.

But seriously, in this age of Orwellian doublespeak they don't want to fix anything, they want something they can tax - the fast food lobby is probably quite strong.
 
Kreskin
#23
Did you see that show a couple of weeks ago on mega obese people? May have been A&E. That one guy weighed over 800 lbs, lost over 600 then regained it all back. One guy on the show was over 1000 lbs! It was unbelievable. I felt so sorry for them.

The show was theorizing a genetic eating problem where the stomach never feels full. People become addicted to excess food. One guy said he would eat 24 hotdogs. It was like a drug. If he ate 1 he'd eat a couple dozen. He made a quote, paraphrased " imagine if you were a heroin addict and you had to take just a little heroin everyday. Do you think you wouldn't over indulge? Think what food addicts must go through."
 
Walter
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurkaView Post

compared to when?

I know in the 90's, extra ciricular activities were stripped to a minimum.

So perhaps we have a generation of tubbies in between the 90's and now if you think everything is good?

My local high schools brag about having more extra-curricular activities than ever before.
 
Unforgiven
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

Did you see that show a couple of weeks ago on mega obese people? May have been A&E. That one guy weighed over 800 lbs, lost over 600 then regained it all back. One guy on the show was over 1000 lbs! It was unbelievable. I felt so sorry for them.

The show was theorizing a genetic eating problem where the stomach never feels full. People become addicted to excess food. One guy said he would eat 24 hotdogs. It was like a drug. If he ate 1 he'd eat a couple dozen. He made a quote, paraphrased " imagine if you were a heroin addict and you had to take just a little heroin everyday. Do you think you wouldn't over indulge? Think what food addicts must go through."

Now you are beginning to see the issue through the eyes of the addict. Imagine if you will, that it was legal for tobacco to advertise the same way as alcohol or fast food is. Do you think there would be an increase in smokers addicted to nicotine? Always tempting and diligently working on the weaknesses obese people have.

What's more is the commonality of the message that over weight means stupid and lazy and loser. It's just more predation on those who have some visible stigma making the superficial aspects we claim to value justified.

Ex-smokers know that little whiff if smoke you get from someones cigarette once in a while is very tempting. It brings back the joys remembered like that smoke after eating, the one after sex, the one that you have with a coffee. How difficult is it to quit smoking while everyone around you is smoking? Having no where to retreat to that is smoke free makes it almost impossible to quit for all but the most determined.

This is how it is for over weight people. It's easy to say that they just need to get some exercise but there are also any number of factors involved that can make exercise problematical. I for example have Asthma, so I can't just head out and go for a run. My lungs won't permit that sort of thing. As well I have a back injury and from the extra weight I carry, a bad knee. This doesn't exclude me from exercise at all, it just puts limits on what it is I can do. And the Catch 22 here is that what I can do, is expensive.

The health system in North America has something in common and that is it's not health care, it's sick care. If you drop from a heart attack, no matter which country or system you are in, you will receive help regardless of the cost to save your life. But you won't get one dime's worth of help up until then. If I want help, I can join some dieters club and eat their food and pay their fees. That's that.

When I was young, I was active. An avid cyclist, sprinter, played football all through high school. Once I quit smoking and started taking Asthma medication, I started gaining weight.

There are so many factors that have an influence on obesity, it's never going to be something that you can just point to and say do this to solve the problem. But it will take the help of everyone to solve it, and not just the fatso who has the visual part of the problem.
 
karrie
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by UnforgivenView Post

This is how it is for over weight people. It's easy to say that they just need to get some exercise but there are also any number of factors involved that can make exercise problematical.... And the Catch 22 here is that what I can do, is expensive.

You've hit the nail on the head with so much of what you've said, but this really stands out for me. With fibromyalgia and arthritis on the rise... so many people who can't just jump up, energetic, and go for a brisk walk... why on earth isn't the gov seeing that 'get some exercise' is a futile statement if it costs you five dollars a day to got to the pool, or even more if you want to go to a gym and use an elliptical trainer.

Yet compared to surgeries and other hospital fees, that's a steal. And probably cheaper than the daily costs of drug and alcohol treatment programs too.
 
Nuggler
#27
["Quote, Praxius:
It's not the government's fault people are fat and lazy, it's the people themselves and the choices they make, just like myself. I was pretty overweight for a while (Well enough anyways) and I made the changes I needed to. If people can't do the same, that's their loss and I shouldn't have to have my tax dollars spent of people who are just too damn lazy to take care of themselves.

Then again, it can also fall under the category of addiction, much like tobacco or alcohol, so I guess more study is needed. Until then.... tell those lazy buggers to goto the gym.

Most doctors will tell you that you can eat all and anything you want, so long as you counter balance with proper exercise.[/quote]""

Fat = lazy. Clear thinking there, Praxius! Just not true, but if it helps you to believe the stereotype, rock on.

Poor = lazy ?

Disabled = doesn't want to work?

Obesity, although it does cost society some money, I would venture a guess not near as much as alcohol or drugs.

IMHO, what it is, is the newest media darling. Going to be studied to death, and not a whole lot done about it. But, it will gets its' fifteen minutes of fame in the medical journals, the popular magazines and newspapers, then fade away, like the war on drugs. So much positive was done about that, n'est pas?

 
jimshort19
#28
Some people like to eat all day. They eat until they are fat. Then they keep eating. My theory is that it has as much to do with the spoons and forks as the food, the eating is the thing.

Just stop eating (it's cheap). We need the government to make us stop eating too much. It will cost too much to hide the food. Rationing is the only way.

Please Sir, may I be rationed?
 
Zzarchov
#29
In the end, yes it is about eating.

Nothing anyone says can change that. Regardless of how hard it is to do excersize, that means you just eat less than you burn sitting there (which is a big number) and you'll slowly lose weight.

That being said, that isn't a good way to treat a problem. Its akin to saying "Hey you! Smoker, just stop smoking!" or "Hey you Alcoholic, just stop drinking!"

Yes some people have that kind of willpower. Some people don't, we can either berate people for not having the willpower (And pay for their expensive treatment) or do something to help and save ourselves money.

These chants of "They can just exercize". Well if you are going to be so cheap , think in reverse. They can be equally as cheap, why pay to go to a gym when they can just make you pay for the medical treatment.

Their is no good moral or economic reason not to help people lose weight and prevent people from being overweight.
 
karrie
#30
I say we start a campaign. Push for a government 'Prescription Gym Plan'.
 

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