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Does your region affect your attitude toward weight/health?

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  • ScaredCurly92ScaredCurly92 Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    I love this question! I live in NYC, and since it's such a diverse city, I've seen every shape and size imaginable. But with that said, there is definitely a HUGE culture around diet and fitness, particularly in the more wealthy areas, like the part of Queens where I'm from, and of course Manhattan. Brooklyn is getting this way in certain spots as well. There's a lot of focus on going to the gym (I swear there's a gym on every corner), wearing cute workout capris and sports bras, and generally trying to get and stay as "hot" as possible. Most of the people around me who have complained about their weight or feeling "fat" have never been over 125 lbs. in their life. There's also lots of people following different diet programs and being highly restrictive with their food. Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a coworker or friend bragging about the new eating plan they're on.

    It may sound ideal to live in an area where there's so much access to health and fitness stuff, but it's really overrated. Because companies know they can make money off people trying to get in on this way of living, there's a LOT of misinformation and a lot of people, mostly young women, trying WAY too hard and being far too extreme, which results in them never maintaining any of the strides they made, or even taking the whole process seriously. It's very easy to get caught up in disordered eating patterns or overdoing it at the gym, because that's seen as preferable to slowing down and changing things in stages. The motivation is so superficial most of the time, and because these people are already thin, the stakes are not that high for them. I'm curious if the west coast, particularly parts of California, deal with a similar issue.
  • nvmomketonvmomketo Posts: 12,031Member Member Posts: 12,031Member Member
    Being in Canada, there seems to be a slight difference in types of foods, store, and restaurants available. I live in one of our fattest provinces with 60% being overweight or obese.

    I live in a major centre where the obesity rate is lower than in the surrounding towns and countryside. I find the city has more healthy food options than the towns. That is an issue of convenience.

    I find people in my city may be more aware of food choices and less likely to be following outdated information like a food pyramid. It is not a great difference though.

    The biggest difference seems to be gender. Close to half of all men are overweight whereas just over a quarter of the women are. The genders have a different approach to eating. Seems right to me. Around here women, are much more mindful of what they eat, and how much, than the men typically are. Generally speaking. Of course there are exceptions.
  • karmelpopcornkarmelpopcorn Posts: 77Member Member Posts: 77Member Member
    nvmomketo wrote: »
    The biggest difference seems to be gender. Close to half of all men are overweight whereas just over a quarter of the women are. The genders have a different approach to eating. Seems right to me. Around here women, are much more mindful of what they eat, and how much, than the men typically are. Generally speaking. Of course there are exceptions.

    Wow it's the opposite here! Both genders struggle with obesity but it is super common to see obese and near-morbid obesity in women. Many struggle with walking and simple movement.
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.
  • emdeeseaemdeesea Posts: 1,827Member Member Posts: 1,827Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    I think there's that, but I would also consider that cities tend to have a more educated populace that don't smoke, drink to excess, and make the effort to maintain good health.

    This has been my experience anyway, living in a city population and a college town, as compared to a more rural area. The more rural areas tended to have the more expanded waistlines and poorer health.

  • LounmounLounmoun Posts: 8,433Member Member Posts: 8,433Member Member
    I live in a small town of less than 5,000 people. I feel that no one really wants to do anything here and that is reflected in the local community. People drive away to go to work, stores or entertainment so there are longer commute times. The town doesn't have sidewalks in a lot of places. The park is usually empty. There aren't interesting places to hike or bike, etc. There are not active programs locally for kids outside of school sports. There isn't a gym in town or sports for adults. Food stores and restaurants are very limited. Portion sizes at restaurants are very large. A lot of the population is older. I see a variety of body types but there are a lot more overweight than very fit.
    Some people I know are more active than others. Most gatherings involve food and a sedentary activity.
    I was overweight when we moved here though and I attribute it to a sedentary lifestyle and eating too much for that activity level. I don't think the community made me fat but it doesn't really make it hard to get that way and stay that way.
    edited February 2016
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    Yeah, that's my experience even in Chicago. I assumed I was sedentary since I have a desk job, but after getting a fitbit I realized I always hit at least 10,000 just from commuting plus errands, and it's quite easy to add in more walking. Also the cost of driving (even if you have a car, which I do) is much higher due to parking. When I was in Kansas City one of the people I was meeting with was telling me how everyone got upset when parking was raised to something like $5/day for parking downtown, and that their firm paid for it. Here it's nearly $40 (cheaper by the month, but still insane), so that's a huge reason to take public transportation, and I imagine it's even more in NYC.

    One sad thing is that most buildings won't let you use the stairs, though -- if I could walk up to my 30-something floor office, that would be a great workout to start the day!
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    emdeesea wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    I think there's that, but I would also consider that cities tend to have a more educated populace that don't smoke, drink to excess, and make the effort to maintain good health.

    Cities have a very diverse population, which is one reason I was focusing on subcultures upthread. Most people I work or hang out with or see in my neighborhood are pretty fit. There are many extremely obese people in my city, however, and it's an issue with kids that the schools are focused on (and the public schools have a very high percentage of lower-income families).
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    Yeah, that's my experience even in Chicago. I assumed I was sedentary since I have a desk job, but after getting a fitbit I realized I always hit at least 10,000 just from commuting plus errands, and it's quite easy to add in more walking. Also the cost of driving (even if you have a car, which I do) is much higher due to parking. When I was in Kansas City one of the people I was meeting with was telling me how everyone got upset when parking was raised to something like $5/day for parking downtown, and that their firm paid for it. Here it's nearly $40 (cheaper by the month, but still insane), so that's a huge reason to take public transportation, and I imagine it's even more in NYC.

    One sad thing is that most buildings won't let you use the stairs, though -- if I could walk up to my 30-something floor office, that would be a great workout to start the day!

    Think there would be money in developing something that puts a treadmill inside a mini-van so that driving commute is still a walking commute?
  • CurlyCockneyCurlyCockney Posts: 1,394Member Member Posts: 1,394Member Member
    rabbitjb wrote: »
    I live outside the States

    I find cheerleading support with the aim of validating my feelings cloying and unhelpful and don't look for it from friends, appreciating this is my life and they can't do it for me

    I find in RL people are open to whatever kind of eating habits you have, and they just enjoy your company and wish to be hospitable ..if you don't make a big deal about it, neither will they.

    I think I live amongst food snobs rather than fast food fans...it is more common that we will try a new restaurant or have a dinner party than get fast food or take out...
    in fact my kids hate McDs and suffer BK when travelling ...and would prefer a sandwich

    I come from a family, and married into a family where love is shown by food, that's common...both the preparation and the sharing of...nobody is offending by the word no, they just don't take it as a final answer, like ever :D

    I've only emboldened the parts that reflect my experiences too (the unbold bits are because I don't have kids).
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    In older and more compact cities where driving and parking is both difficult and expensive, this makes sense. In the cities that don't compact and go up, but sprawl as they get bigger it's the reverse. You drive (or otherwise ride) just about everywhere in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio because if you tried to walk, it'd take you the whole day to get anywhere. There are areas in the city where there are exceptions - the medical center in Houston is set up for walking, as is the river front in San Antonio, and college campuses in all of the cities, but otherwise it's mostly a big no.
  • Need2Exerc1seNeed2Exerc1se Posts: 13,589Member Member Posts: 13,589Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    Yeah, that's my experience even in Chicago. I assumed I was sedentary since I have a desk job, but after getting a fitbit I realized I always hit at least 10,000 just from commuting plus errands, and it's quite easy to add in more walking. Also the cost of driving (even if you have a car, which I do) is much higher due to parking. When I was in Kansas City one of the people I was meeting with was telling me how everyone got upset when parking was raised to something like $5/day for parking downtown, and that their firm paid for it. Here it's nearly $40 (cheaper by the month, but still insane), so that's a huge reason to take public transportation, and I imagine it's even more in NYC.

    One sad thing is that most buildings won't let you use the stairs, though -- if I could walk up to my 30-something floor office, that would be a great workout to start the day!

    Think there would be money in developing something that puts a treadmill inside a mini-van so that driving commute is still a walking commute?

    Ever see The Flintstones?
  • Need2Exerc1seNeed2Exerc1se Posts: 13,589Member Member Posts: 13,589Member Member
    I live in a state ranked 35th in the nation for good health - which is definitely in the bottom half of these United States, and in a county with poor health patterns as well (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, teen pregnancy, STDs, etc. etc.).

    So if half of all Americans are overweight or obese, I guarantee that it is higher in my city/county. Obesity is the norm.

    I am in good health but overweight at 43 years old – 5'6", I am 176 pounds.

    I find that it's difficult to find support among peers, even my partner, because in this community - measured against the norm, I look like I'm doing pretty well.

    I know I'm not.

    My eating habits which include a love of all vegetables (except bok choy), tofu, sushi, and a commitment to sustainable eating just don't resonate with many either.

    Sometimes this helps me make excuses for myself when I am feeling discouraged. How does your community/culture affect your weight?

    Wow, I have no idea where my state ranks for good health but your post sounds very familiar. Right down to the height and weight, which are where I was when I joined this site (though I'd already lost some before then and I'm older).

    And yeah, when most people around you are larger and everyone keeps telling you that you don't need to lose, look great, call you a health nut, etc. it does make it harder to stay focused. At least it does for me.
  • robertw486robertw486 Posts: 1,998Member, Greeter, Premium Member Posts: 1,998Member, Greeter, Premium Member
    Just my .02, based on a profession I was in for about 12 years.

    I've worked in some capacity within military food stores in this area for that 12 years or so. Even within a small geographic area, we have 5 or 6 different commissaries, as we have a lot of local bases. Some of these stores are only a few miles apart, and at least 4 are within 20 miles of my house.

    The buying habits of the customer vary greatly store to store. What sells like hotcakes in one we can't hardly give away in the next. And often these customers have a choice of which stores to go to, as they are all fairly close. Market is driven by customer demand, and even within the small percentage of people that can shop within commissaries, the demand store to store is amazing.

    There are trends that seem logical, and others that make no sense at all. Some of the brokerages I have worked for put huge money into trying to nail down the market better, and most fail at anything beyond the obvious.



    Being that all active duty military people have to stay reasonably fit, I'd say that even within a very minor chunk of a demographic that influences well beyond regional location are driving forces. Based on what people buy, you would think that some stores supported only young, healthy, weight conscious people, and the others only supported the retirees that don't have to conform to health or weight standards.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    Yeah, that's my experience even in Chicago. I assumed I was sedentary since I have a desk job, but after getting a fitbit I realized I always hit at least 10,000 just from commuting plus errands, and it's quite easy to add in more walking. Also the cost of driving (even if you have a car, which I do) is much higher due to parking. When I was in Kansas City one of the people I was meeting with was telling me how everyone got upset when parking was raised to something like $5/day for parking downtown, and that their firm paid for it. Here it's nearly $40 (cheaper by the month, but still insane), so that's a huge reason to take public transportation, and I imagine it's even more in NYC.

    One sad thing is that most buildings won't let you use the stairs, though -- if I could walk up to my 30-something floor office, that would be a great workout to start the day!

    Think there would be money in developing something that puts a treadmill inside a mini-van so that driving commute is still a walking commute?

    Ever see The Flintstones?

    Heh.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    I live in a state ranked 35th in the nation for good health - which is definitely in the bottom half of these United States, and in a county with poor health patterns as well (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, teen pregnancy, STDs, etc. etc.).

    So if half of all Americans are overweight or obese, I guarantee that it is higher in my city/county. Obesity is the norm.

    I am in good health but overweight at 43 years old – 5'6", I am 176 pounds.

    I find that it's difficult to find support among peers, even my partner, because in this community - measured against the norm, I look like I'm doing pretty well.

    I know I'm not.

    My eating habits which include a love of all vegetables (except bok choy), tofu, sushi, and a commitment to sustainable eating just don't resonate with many either.

    Sometimes this helps me make excuses for myself when I am feeling discouraged. How does your community/culture affect your weight?

    Wow, I have no idea where my state ranks for good health but your post sounds very familiar. Right down to the height and weight, which are where I was when I joined this site (though I'd already lost some before then and I'm older).

    And yeah, when most people around you are larger and everyone keeps telling you that you don't need to lose, look great, call you a health nut, etc. it does make it harder to stay focused. At least it does for me.

    Here are the rankings and some other information, if interested.

    http://www.americashealthrankings.org/reports/annual
  • ManiacalLaughManiacalLaugh Posts: 1,048Member Member Posts: 1,048Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I live in a state ranked 35th in the nation for good health - which is definitely in the bottom half of these United States, and in a county with poor health patterns as well (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, teen pregnancy, STDs, etc. etc.).

    So if half of all Americans are overweight or obese, I guarantee that it is higher in my city/county. Obesity is the norm.

    I am in good health but overweight at 43 years old – 5'6", I am 176 pounds.

    I find that it's difficult to find support among peers, even my partner, because in this community - measured against the norm, I look like I'm doing pretty well.

    I know I'm not.

    My eating habits which include a love of all vegetables (except bok choy), tofu, sushi, and a commitment to sustainable eating just don't resonate with many either.

    Sometimes this helps me make excuses for myself when I am feeling discouraged. How does your community/culture affect your weight?

    Wow, I have no idea where my state ranks for good health but your post sounds very familiar. Right down to the height and weight, which are where I was when I joined this site (though I'd already lost some before then and I'm older).

    And yeah, when most people around you are larger and everyone keeps telling you that you don't need to lose, look great, call you a health nut, etc. it does make it harder to stay focused. At least it does for me.

    Here are the rankings and some other information, if interested.

    http://www.americashealthrankings.org/reports/annual

    Huh - MO isn't as bad as I thought it was. Yay, mediocrity!
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    In general, large cities are likely to have thinner populations as the reliance on walking increases. My work's main office is in New York and one person who's transferred to this office noted the week before he left, when he got his Fitbit, he'd easily hit 10,000 steps heading into the work, and 15K+ was more his usual steps.

    Yeah, that's my experience even in Chicago. I assumed I was sedentary since I have a desk job, but after getting a fitbit I realized I always hit at least 10,000 just from commuting plus errands, and it's quite easy to add in more walking. Also the cost of driving (even if you have a car, which I do) is much higher due to parking. When I was in Kansas City one of the people I was meeting with was telling me how everyone got upset when parking was raised to something like $5/day for parking downtown, and that their firm paid for it. Here it's nearly $40 (cheaper by the month, but still insane), so that's a huge reason to take public transportation, and I imagine it's even more in NYC.

    One sad thing is that most buildings won't let you use the stairs, though -- if I could walk up to my 30-something floor office, that would be a great workout to start the day!

    Think there would be money in developing something that puts a treadmill inside a mini-van so that driving commute is still a walking commute?

    Ever see The Flintstones?

    Now that you made my idea into a paleo car, I hate it and regret the idea. Well played.
  • MakePeasNotWarMakePeasNotWar Posts: 1,336Member Member Posts: 1,336Member Member
    I love this question! I live in NYC, and since it's such a diverse city, I've seen every shape and size imaginable. But with that said, there is definitely a HUGE culture around diet and fitness, particularly in the more wealthy areas, like the part of Queens where I'm from, and of course Manhattan. Brooklyn is getting this way in certain spots as well. There's a lot of focus on going to the gym (I swear there's a gym on every corner), wearing cute workout capris and sports bras, and generally trying to get and stay as "hot" as possible. Most of the people around me who have complained about their weight or feeling "fat" have never been over 125 lbs. in their life. There's also lots of people following different diet programs and being highly restrictive with their food. Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a coworker or friend bragging about the new eating plan they're on.

    It may sound ideal to live in an area where there's so much access to health and fitness stuff, but it's really overrated. Because companies know they can make money off people trying to get in on this way of living, there's a LOT of misinformation and a lot of people, mostly young women, trying WAY too hard and being far too extreme, which results in them never maintaining any of the strides they made, or even taking the whole process seriously. It's very easy to get caught up in disordered eating patterns or overdoing it at the gym, because that's seen as preferable to slowing down and changing things in stages. The motivation is so superficial most of the time, and because these people are already thin, the stakes are not that high for them. I'm curious if the west coast, particularly parts of California, deal with a similar issue.

    I recently moved from Canada to Los Angeles. I live in the gay village, just east of Beverly Hills. It's like fitness bizarro-world here. The men are almost universally jacked, and the women tend to be tiny and fat free aside from their breasts and lips. I used to think I had a pretty good body, but now I'm a little self conscious wearing shorts in public.

    On the plus side, there are literally 6 gyms within a two block radius of my apartment and if I don't want to walk to any of the dozens of juice bars in my neighbourhood, there's one that delivers, lol.
  • DKG28DKG28 Posts: 300Member Member Posts: 300Member Member
    Ditto the poster below. I grew up in an affluent town in which there was no fast food...by local ordinance it was kept out. Restaurants offered healthy and well made cuisine, for which people were willing to pay. We had several high-end grocery stores in town. On the whole, the population was fairly fit...perhaps related to upper-middle class economic conditions. I grew up in a household where my mom heavily promoted vegetables and healthy fare - she did not buy desserts, chips, snack foods, soda, etc. at all. We never had that stuff, because she grew up never having that stuff, and she grew up rural poor. She made us walk to school when no one else was walking. I was still overweight my whole life.

    I moved to a small rural town of 2,500. First thing I noticed is that people were bigger. That shock factor helped spur me to lose weight. Every leisure activity seems to involve food...other than going out fast food, or pizza hut type places, or the movies, we don't have many entertainment options. We're in a cold part of the country...outdoor activities cease from Oct. to May. It's dangerous to walk or bike most of the roads...no sidewalks, 55 mph speed limits on straight country roads, narrow shoulders next to deep drainage ditches. In winter the high school is opened for people to walk the halls for exercise before teachers and kids start arriving...we're talking a window between 6-7am. But what was most shocking to me is that many people i've met here have never tried new foods beyond what they grew up eating, and have never eaten a single meal that doesn't reflect the standard american midwestern diet. I bring all sorts of dishes to church potlucks, and folks don't recognize all the ingredients if I use a variety of produce. I always bring most of my dish back home. So, we have a decent variety available to us, but the culture is really "stick with what you know you like and is cheap." But then, I grew up learning to love trying to new recipes, and consciously avoiding food monotony.

    Lounmoun wrote: »
    I live in a small town of less than 5,000 people. I feel that no one really wants to do anything here and that is reflected in the local community. People drive away to go to work, stores or entertainment so there are longer commute times. The town doesn't have sidewalks in a lot of places. The park is usually empty. There aren't interesting places to hike or bike, etc. There are not active programs locally for kids outside of school sports. There isn't a gym in town or sports for adults. Food stores and restaurants are very limited. Portion sizes at restaurants are very large. A lot of the population is older. I see a variety of body types but there are a lot more overweight than very fit.
    Some people I know are more active than others. Most gatherings involve food and a sedentary activity.
    I was overweight when we moved here though and I attribute it to a sedentary lifestyle and eating too much for that activity level. I don't think the community made me fat but it doesn't really make it hard to get that way and stay that way.

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