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Is the U.S. Government about to try and tackle the Obesity Epidemic?

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  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    Japan has an obesity rate of 4%, the US has a morbid obesity rate of 8%.

    Also who prevents anyone from walking? You can choose to walk or you can choose not to walk. If you live in a big city, it's often better to walk instead spending so much money on a car.

    Are we saying there's a culture that is against walking ? :D It's an individual choice, I think.

    Edit : And yes individualism vs collectivism is the most important aspect.

    No doubt that walking in a larger city is easier. Compared to Japan, America is far more spread out. I live in a rural area, and for me to walk to the store would be nearly 9 miles round trip. So, we have a car culture. In a more urban environment, Japanese walk to public transport, to the market... ect ect. Yes, there is a culture against walking in America... Just look at the people who stand on an escalator vs. taking the stairs. The stairs would be quicker sometimes, yet many choose to not take them. Watch people trying to get a parking spot at a store, many will drive around for a good while until they find a "close" spot. If they had just parked further away, they would have been in the store quicker. So yes, there is a culture against physical activity in America......

    Never mind the store, how about the people that do that *kitten* at the gym?

    Personally I look for where the furthest car is parked, then park 100 ft. further away. Hate door dings on my vehicles.

    Disabled people use gyms too.
    Just sayin’

    Yes. But I see the same thing at my rowing club, where *I know* that specific people are not mobility disabled. (I know whose cars those are.) Folks park close to the boathouse, then do a vigorous full-body workout on the water. Even at times when we've encouraged them to park in the parking lot a few hundred yards away, that's been true. It's curious. We've given up - created more parking near the boathouse.

    Off topic 🤪 .... I just want more info on the rowing club. I know nothing about the sport but Im quite curious about it. I think its definitely something I'd enjoy.

    Happy to talk about it @NoLimitFemme, but it's off-topic on this thread. Send me a friend request and PM me about it, or start a thread in the Exercise part of the Community and tag me, or something like that. 🙂
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 2,085 Member Member Posts: 2,085 Member
    ythannah wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    Combine this with a tax on hyperprocessed , energy dense, hyperpalatable foods.

    Hey. I'm not obese or overweight. Why do I have to pay extra for my treats? :'(

    Maybe the same reason you pay extra for your alcohol, even though you're not an alcoholic?
  • ythannahythannah Member Posts: 3,923 Member Member Posts: 3,923 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    ythannah wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    Combine this with a tax on hyperprocessed , energy dense, hyperpalatable foods.

    Hey. I'm not obese or overweight. Why do I have to pay extra for my treats? :'(

    Maybe the same reason you pay extra for your alcohol, even though you're not an alcoholic?

    Ha! I'm a non-drinker. :p

    Extra taxes on booze here go to the government coffers. It's possible that some of the money trickles down indirectly to addiction services but there definitely isn't a direct funding pathway.
  • ythannahythannah Member Posts: 3,923 Member Member Posts: 3,923 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    ythannah wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    Combine this with a tax on hyperprocessed , energy dense, hyperpalatable foods.

    Hey. I'm not obese or overweight. Why do I have to pay extra for my treats? :'(

    I don't have children but have no problem paying taxes to fund schools.

    I don't have children either but I'm happy to educate the doctors, nurses and personal support workers who will be looking after me in my dotage.

    We already have a treat tax here anyway. I pay tax on a single muffin purchased to consume with my cup of coffee, yet a six-pack of muffins from the same vendor is deemed "grocery = essential" and is not taxed.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,579 Member Member Posts: 7,579 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    Japan has an obesity rate of 4%, the US has a morbid obesity rate of 8%.

    Also who prevents anyone from walking? You can choose to walk or you can choose not to walk. If you live in a big city, it's often better to walk instead spending so much money on a car.

    Are we saying there's a culture that is against walking ? :D It's an individual choice, I think.

    Edit : And yes individualism vs collectivism is the most important aspect.

    I’m not American but I’m sure you guys have similar problems with most places being super inaccessible for walkers and cyclists. We have no separate bike lanes in most places and a lot of drivers are very aggressive towards cyclists. A lot of more rural areas don’t even have footpaths or streetlights!

    Where I live (midsized US city, Great Lakes state) there are many areas that are both reasonable safe to walk (crime-wise and traffic-wise), with reasonable facilities for walking (sidewalks, cut curbs, pedestrian signals at intersections, etc.) . . . and very nearly no one walking. That's true even in areas where residential areas are fairly close to business areas (i.e., within a few-block radius). Hardly anyone walks, as a form of transportation. In commercial (detached mall type) areas, it's common to see someone drive a car across the parking area from one store to another, maybe a hundred or two meters, rather than parking and walking across the lot, even when most people aren't buying un-carry-able things.

    Why? I'm sure it's complicated. But I think it's not a walking culture, as a generality.

    It really depends on where one lives, though. I think there's a walking culture where I live. I didn't have a car for years and know plenty of people who don't now.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    Japan has an obesity rate of 4%, the US has a morbid obesity rate of 8%.

    Also who prevents anyone from walking? You can choose to walk or you can choose not to walk. If you live in a big city, it's often better to walk instead spending so much money on a car.

    Are we saying there's a culture that is against walking ? :D It's an individual choice, I think.

    Edit : And yes individualism vs collectivism is the most important aspect.

    I’m not American but I’m sure you guys have similar problems with most places being super inaccessible for walkers and cyclists. We have no separate bike lanes in most places and a lot of drivers are very aggressive towards cyclists. A lot of more rural areas don’t even have footpaths or streetlights!

    Where I live (midsized US city, Great Lakes state) there are many areas that are both reasonable safe to walk (crime-wise and traffic-wise), with reasonable facilities for walking (sidewalks, cut curbs, pedestrian signals at intersections, etc.) . . . and very nearly no one walking. That's true even in areas where residential areas are fairly close to business areas (i.e., within a few-block radius). Hardly anyone walks, as a form of transportation. In commercial (detached mall type) areas, it's common to see someone drive a car across the parking area from one store to another, maybe a hundred or two meters, rather than parking and walking across the lot, even when most people aren't buying un-carry-able things.

    Why? I'm sure it's complicated. But I think it's not a walking culture, as a generality.

    It really depends on where one lives, though. I think there's a walking culture where I live. I didn't have a car for years and know plenty of people who don't now.

    Of course. I could've phrased that better. I meant to be saying that where I live is not a walking culture, generally . . . not that nowhere in the US has a walking culture.

    The main point was that even though here we have the facilities in some parts of my urban area so that it's reasonably walkable (unlike where the person I was responding to lives, seemingly), people here don't generally walk anyway. In a nearby neighborhood where I lived previously, one neighbor was a recreational runner . . . but would drive to the party store that was around a block away (ultra low traffic route), which I found kind of baffling.

    As an aside: I'm in Michigan, which I think perhaps still has a stronger "car culture" due to its history. In this city (as in several others in the state) the auto companies were one of the major employers, every employee owned at least one of their employer's cars, some still see buying non-domestic cars as bad behavior, etc. Voluntarily not driving would be considered fairly eccentric by many; not being able to afford a car seen as quite economically unfortunate. For most of my married life, we owned only one car, and that was considered mildly eccentric by many people, since we could've afforded two.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member
    ythannah wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    Combine this with a tax on hyperprocessed , energy dense, hyperpalatable foods.

    Hey. I'm not obese or overweight. Why do I have to pay extra for my treats? :'(

    Don't get me started on the time our county tried to implement a "soda tax". They said to combat obesity, but it applied to zero-calorie diet sodas as well. It didn't last long before the outrage forced them to repeal it...people will tolerate a certain amount of government oversight, but you can pry my Coke Zero out of my cold, dead hands.

    That's where I feel conversations like this always go: it starts out about obesity, but if we're just taxing hyper-processed foods like diet soda then it's clearly not about obesity, it's just more taxes.

    I'm not opposed to more taxes per se, but let's be honest: if I'm paying taxes for zero calorie flavored liquids, it's not an anti-obesity measure.

    I agree with your core point.

    As a tiny quibble: I also think that legislation tends to be a bit broad-brush, and probably needs to be (sometimes) in order to create fairly bright lines that are manageable to implement.

    As a bit of context, my state, decades back, was among the first to require a deposit on containers for certain beverages (officially had to do with reducing roadside litter, and was massively helpful in doing so). Creating clear rules was not necessarily easy, given the range of liquid-y things in cans/bottles that run a pretty smooth continuum from drinkable to eatable.

    The rules (in my loose understanding) were that the deposit applied to carbonated beverages, not to still beverages. With the big companies, at first, it was "let the games begin", i.e., "how can we manipulate this in our favor?" At a small producer/marketer level, there was some confusion (if the apple cider has a little bit of fizz, sometimes, where does it fall?). Among consumers, there was some WTH: Sweetened teas or juices in aluminum cans, no deposit; soda pop or beer in exact same cans, deposit.

    Things settled down eventually, and the same basic rules are still in effect. Personally, I'm still a little in the WTH camp about some of the consequences, but the law decently accomplished its goals, and everyone's used to it now.

    In the "sweetened bevs" zone, I can imagine some of the same effects: Apple juice (sweet, but no added sugar) counts? Unsweetened cranberry juice? Sweetened with an artificial sweetener that's only slightly caloric? Sweetened with a "natural" ingredient that's frankly added to make the thing sweeter (e.g., white grape juice, often)? The baby shouldn't go out with the bathwater, but we might be willing to toss a bath toy or two, just to keep things simple.

    I don't have a horse in this soda-tax race, but do feel that in general sidewalk quarterbacking legislation/regulation is probably quite a bit easier than formulating it in workable ways . . . at least that general concept is true in a lot of cases when us everyday folks have "common sense" opinions about many things done by genuine experts who have more information, knowledge, context.
  • tnh2otnh2o Member Posts: 129 Member Member Posts: 129 Member
    Money - sometimes in the form of taxes or credits - is one way the government uses to encourage particular behaviors. The results can be a bit of a mixed bag. I try to reduce my own sugar intake (and that includes the honey made from my neighborhood bees) and try to reuse and recycle as much as possible but could really do better.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 25,873 Member Member Posts: 25,873 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    ythannah wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    Combine this with a tax on hyperprocessed , energy dense, hyperpalatable foods.

    Hey. I'm not obese or overweight. Why do I have to pay extra for my treats? :'(

    Don't get me started on the time our county tried to implement a "soda tax". They said to combat obesity, but it applied to zero-calorie diet sodas as well. It didn't last long before the outrage forced them to repeal it...people will tolerate a certain amount of government oversight, but you can pry my Coke Zero out of my cold, dead hands.

    That's where I feel conversations like this always go: it starts out about obesity, but if we're just taxing hyper-processed foods like diet soda then it's clearly not about obesity, it's just more taxes.

    I'm not opposed to more taxes per se, but let's be honest: if I'm paying taxes for zero calorie flavored liquids, it's not an anti-obesity measure.

    I agree with your core point.

    As a tiny quibble: I also think that legislation tends to be a bit broad-brush, and probably needs to be (sometimes) in order to create fairly bright lines that are manageable to implement.

    As a bit of context, my state, decades back, was among the first to require a deposit on containers for certain beverages (officially had to do with reducing roadside litter, and was massively helpful in doing so). Creating clear rules was not necessarily easy, given the range of liquid-y things in cans/bottles that run a pretty smooth continuum from drinkable to eatable.

    The rules (in my loose understanding) were that the deposit applied to carbonated beverages, not to still beverages. With the big companies, at first, it was "let the games begin", i.e., "how can we manipulate this in our favor?" At a small producer/marketer level, there was some confusion (if the apple cider has a little bit of fizz, sometimes, where does it fall?). Among consumers, there was some WTH: Sweetened teas or juices in aluminum cans, no deposit; soda pop or beer in exact same cans, deposit.

    Things settled down eventually, and the same basic rules are still in effect. Personally, I'm still a little in the WTH camp about some of the consequences, but the law decently accomplished its goals, and everyone's used to it now.

    In the "sweetened bevs" zone, I can imagine some of the same effects: Apple juice (sweet, but no added sugar) counts? Unsweetened cranberry juice? Sweetened with an artificial sweetener that's only slightly caloric? Sweetened with a "natural" ingredient that's frankly added to make the thing sweeter (e.g., white grape juice, often)? The baby shouldn't go out with the bathwater, but we might be willing to toss a bath toy or two, just to keep things simple.

    I don't have a horse in this soda-tax race, but do feel that in general sidewalk quarterbacking legislation/regulation is probably quite a bit easier than formulating it in workable ways . . . at least that general concept is true in a lot of cases when us everyday folks have "common sense" opinions about many things done by genuine experts who have more information, knowledge, context.

    I agree that it would be impractically complicated to try to create a tax policy for beverages that successfully navigates all the various drinks we've created. I don't even think we'd have to -- I wouldn't object to a tax on flavored beverages as such, since they're a luxury item. I just bristle at it being touted as an anti-obesity measure when it includes so many things that aren't factors in weight gain.

    It's just my natural contrariness coming out.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,660 Member
    A couple of things that I find interesting, maybe even peculiar:

    1. I completely understand the question about why communities would invest the essential big dollars in walking trails and such, when usage seems fairly light (here, probably not everywhere even in the US).

    In my area, one answer - not the only one - is that for whatever reason, people do vote in favor of millage proposals (property tax increases) to maintain and improve trails in sufficient proportions that they pass. Why? Maybe more people use the facilities cumulatively (across time & places) than it seems from small experiential samples, maybe people like to think of themselves as trail-using active people but don't get around to doing it, maybe advocacy/advertising by actual users has an effect - no idea. But they pass.

    Another answer is that (here) the funding authorities that have pools of money for infrastructure that includes trails, do seem to use surveys and public comment requests to get input on how to allocate money from those pools. I assume that cyclists, runners, birders, clubs of those, etc., organize to make sure that people who do those activities are going to hit those surveys/comment opportunities hard. One could consider that a bias, but I'm pretty sure it happens (based on "answer this survey" solicitations I've seen, for example).

    2. I think that in some areas, there's possibly a maybe-sizeable minority of the female population who don't use trails out of safety fears, even though those fears are not well-founded. (Note: I am 100% *not* saying trails are safe everywhere, I'm saying they may be somewhat underutilized by anxious solo women even in places where they are reasonably safe.)

    I'm saying this from talking with women I know, some of whom, IMO, are fearful substantially disproportionately to our local risks. I walk and cycle by myself routinely, and it's not unusual for peers to ask me "aren't you afraid to go on the trails alone?". Many (not all) of the women I see on the trails are not alone, but are with a man, another woman, or a dog. I'm also *not* assuming that those who aren't alone would fear being alone: There are plenty of social or practical reasons one might prefer to be on the trails with others. But women alone are a minority of the user population, and (without counting) it feels like there are fewer solo women than solo men.
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