Myfitnesspal

Message Boards Debate: Health and Fitness
You are currently viewing the message boards in:

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

12346

Replies

  • psychod787psychod787 Member Posts: 4,073 Member Member Posts: 4,073 Member
    For the people suggesting fast food restaurants be taxed?
    Or that food stamps should not be able to purchase soda and candy?

    1) It is impossible to write a law that will clearly define junk food. Or candy.

    2) Poor people also deserve to have an occasional treat.

    https://medium.com/the-establishment/poor-people-deserve-to-taste-something-other-than-shame-90eb3aceabf9

    Poor people are surrounded by nutritional advice. However, food deserts are a real thing.

    I once visited Washington DC. The grocery store closest to where we stayed (an AYH hostel) was the very first time I realized how bad a grocery store in a food desert is. And yes, they exist. Even our capital.

    There were very few fresh vegetables. The oranges looked like they were leftovers from last year. Apples didn’t seem to exist. There were plenty of chips in single serve packets, though.

    And then the advice to just put something in a crockpot to eat after you come home from work. Sounds easy.
    … but it assumes you can afford a crock pot. Yes. I know they’re not expensive. But when you have essentially no money? It is a factor.

    Assuming you found a crock pot, are you going to leave it alone for twelve or more hours while you’re on the bus to your second job? Maybe. Maybe not.
    Can you trust the electricity will remain on that whole time? I know there were times I couldn’t be so sure.

    So. You swing by McD’s after you pick up the kids from daycare. Exhausted. But at least the kids are fed.

    Food banks don’t usually give you things that would benefit from being cooked for a long time in a crockpot anyhow. Just FYI.

    Food banks are mostly cheap carbs. And vegetables that need work. Which is fine. But if you’ve just done a ten hour shift, and you still have to feed the kids? It’s unlikely you’re going to have the energy to slice up a bunch of carrots for dinner.
    Chances are high it will be brand X Mac and cheese. Made with no butter. Because butter is expensive. And probably no milk either, unless you receive WIC benefits. Because milk is expensive. And very rarely handed out at food banks.

    If you wind up having to rely on community feeds? Good luck. You eat what you get served. And then if you’re lucky you leave with an armload of bread. But probably not much to put on it.

    I could go on and on and on….

    But I won’t. I just wanted to say my piece.

    Oh, which Washington D.C. youth hostel was it? I stayed at Hostel International 3 years ago when I backpacked D.C. I was within a 6-7 minute walk of 2 markets. Bost were not overly expensive. Had all the staples I could want and far cheaper than eating at D.C. fastfood places. Staples such as rice and beans. Yes, two simple, extremely cheap staples, have been the foundation of many diets in many countries. As we see in the less affluent nations, they still are. These staples with a few vegetables, can be a fully nutritious diet at low cost and low effort. They have a long shelf life and can meet almost all protein needs. 10 hrs and have to "feed" the kids. Yes, its rough. We also have free time to take advantage of media. Just look at how much time people spend watching t.v. or on social media. Time management is key. The people you speak of are not the majority in affluent countries, they are the minority. I could go on and on, but just wanted to say my piece.
  • MargaretYakodaMargaretYakoda Member, Premium Posts: 1,630 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1,630 Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    For the people suggesting fast food restaurants be taxed?
    Or that food stamps should not be able to purchase soda and candy?

    1) It is impossible to write a law that will clearly define junk food. Or candy.

    2) Poor people also deserve to have an occasional treat.

    https://medium.com/the-establishment/poor-people-deserve-to-taste-something-other-than-shame-90eb3aceabf9

    Poor people are surrounded by nutritional advice. However, food deserts are a real thing.

    I once visited Washington DC. The grocery store closest to where we stayed (an AYH hostel) was the very first time I realized how bad a grocery store in a food desert is. And yes, they exist. Even our capital.

    There were very few fresh vegetables. The oranges looked like they were leftovers from last year. Apples didn’t seem to exist. There were plenty of chips in single serve packets, though.

    And then the advice to just put something in a crockpot to eat after you come home from work. Sounds easy.
    … but it assumes you can afford a crock pot. Yes. I know they’re not expensive. But when you have essentially no money? It is a factor.

    Assuming you found a crock pot, are you going to leave it alone for twelve or more hours while you’re on the bus to your second job? Maybe. Maybe not.
    Can you trust the electricity will remain on that whole time? I know there were times I couldn’t be so sure.

    So. You swing by McD’s after you pick up the kids from daycare. Exhausted. But at least the kids are fed.

    Food banks don’t usually give you things that would benefit from being cooked for a long time in a crockpot anyhow. Just FYI.

    Food banks are mostly cheap carbs. And vegetables that need work. Which is fine. But if you’ve just done a ten hour shift, and you still have to feed the kids? It’s unlikely you’re going to have the energy to slice up a bunch of carrots for dinner.
    Chances are high it will be brand X Mac and cheese. Made with no butter. Because butter is expensive. And probably no milk either, unless you receive WIC benefits. Because milk is expensive. And very rarely handed out at food banks.

    If you wind up having to rely on community feeds? Good luck. You eat what you get served. And then if you’re lucky you leave with an armload of bread. But probably not much to put on it.

    I could go on and on and on….

    But I won’t. I just wanted to say my piece.

    Oh, which Washington D.C. youth hostel was it? I stayed at Hostel International 3 years ago when I backpacked D.C. I was within a 6-7 minute walk of 2 markets. Bost were not overly expensive. Had all the staples I could want and far cheaper than eating at D.C. fastfood places. Staples such as rice and beans. Yes, two simple, extremely cheap staples, have been the foundation of many diets in many countries. As we see in the less affluent nations, they still are. These staples with a few vegetables, can be a fully nutritious diet at low cost and low effort. They have a long shelf life and can meet almost all protein needs. 10 hrs and have to "feed" the kids. Yes, its rough. We also have free time to take advantage of media. Just look at how much time people spend watching t.v. or on social media. Time management is key. The people you speak of are not the majority in affluent countries, they are the minority. I could go on and on, but just wanted to say my piece.


    This was 15 years ago. I don’t remember the name, but based on pics it might have been the DC International Hostel?
    For sure it was cheap. The available grocery stores may have changed since then.

    Big community dining room, which was a really good experience for the two teen boys we had with us. We stayed for a few days, and every evening there was a different set of school groups, from all over the wood. For two homeschooled boys from Tiny Town, Nowhere’sVille? It was literally amazing.

    Speaking of staples like rice? In another thread, at another time, I might share my recipe for a quick, nutritionally complete, soup mix that is shelf stable for a decade, and can be used to feed people who don’t have any method of heating water.
    Requires a dehydrator. Easy to make. And cheap. Very good for a family meal on a busy night, too.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,665 Member Member Posts: 10,665 Member
    ccrdragon wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    One thing I see in the earlier comments that generally come up also in any such discussions is a conflation of what can be done as a society with what a particular individual can do.

    If I am worried about the overall obesity rate in the US and how to reduce it, that's a different question than what I personally can do to lose weight, if I need to. Saying that there are cultural and other barriers or incentives that lead to the obesity rate in the country as a whole is NOT claiming that I need the culture to change in order to lose weight.

    Unfortunately, I tend to be skeptical about most of the proposed solutions to the society obesity rate issues, although willing to try a number of them (including taxes). That said, the tax solutions tend to be so unpopular that I think it's unlikely they are really going to be an option in areas that aren't already lower than average consumers of the foods or drinks in question. The soda tax where I live (as Suzie noted) was a huge disaster and incredibly unpopular.

    The proposals in the summary kshama posted seem reasonable and potentially helpful for some, to me (I did not read the whole bill).

    I also think changes to make more places walking friendly would be nice. One thing I noticed (living in a walking friendly location) is that in a normal day I am reasonably active just from walking in connection with going to work and for errands (like going to the stores). That's something I had to make an effort to replace during the various lockdowns. And for me it was easy enough to replace (harder when the weather was bad), since where I live is reasonably safe and has nice sidewalks and pleasant places to walk (and normally parks, although they stupidly closed many of those for a time). I am aware that in some areas sidewalks don't exist. So infrastructure changes that address the walkability of areas that don't have that would be positive, although not necessarily a fix.

    The challenge is infrastructure changes to make areas more walker friendly are astronomically expensive and would take decades to implement in the US. Now you can add these changes to new areas or those undergoing reconstruction but again talking decades to get significant changes. Even, then if there are nice sidewalks, it doesn't necessarily make the area safe. A whole other can of worms

    I actually (based on my own experience) believe this is one of the lesser issues. The biggest issue I see, is getting people to use the facilities when they are provided. I live in a major metropolitan area and there are 4 'linear parks' - walking/biking paths - that have well maintained concrete paths, a couple are tree lined providing shade during the heat of the day, they are cleaned regularly, the grass along the sides of the paths is mowed, the trees are pruned so that they don't present issues to the people using them, etc. There are entry points and exit points that are well marked and have places for people to park cars (for the ones who need to drive to the paths). The park service even comes out after heavy rains and removes any dirt/debris that gets washed onto the pathways. Yet, in my extensive use of the pathways (I much prefer to ride on the paths than on the streets, but that's a whole different conversation), I rarely see more than 15-20 people in a 1 hour riding session (and most of them are the same people each and every day). All of the paths that I use are completely contained in residential areas, most of them have houses that literally line the paths (easily a thousand or more homes across the 4 paths) and people ARE NOT using them.

    I guess the point that I am trying to make is, why would a community invest the kind of money that this obviously takes to build and maintain if there will be no return on the investment? People know that exercise is good for them, but even if you provide safe and clean places for them to exercise, the vast majority of people do not take advantage of the offering.

    Where do those paths go? It sounds like they're easy to access, what destinations do they serve?

    Here in Seattle the most popular trail like you described is impossibly crowded. It goes by a university, many work places, and beautiful parks. There's another similar trail I like, which is shorter and goes by many house, but isn't useful for transportation and it's much less used. Even among people wanting to go for a walk with no specific destination in mind, they have other choices where to go and they mostly take those other choices.
  • ccrdragonccrdragon Member Posts: 3,122 Member Member Posts: 3,122 Member
    ccrdragon wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    One thing I see in the earlier comments that generally come up also in any such discussions is a conflation of what can be done as a society with what a particular individual can do.

    If I am worried about the overall obesity rate in the US and how to reduce it, that's a different question than what I personally can do to lose weight, if I need to. Saying that there are cultural and other barriers or incentives that lead to the obesity rate in the country as a whole is NOT claiming that I need the culture to change in order to lose weight.

    Unfortunately, I tend to be skeptical about most of the proposed solutions to the society obesity rate issues, although willing to try a number of them (including taxes). That said, the tax solutions tend to be so unpopular that I think it's unlikely they are really going to be an option in areas that aren't already lower than average consumers of the foods or drinks in question. The soda tax where I live (as Suzie noted) was a huge disaster and incredibly unpopular.

    The proposals in the summary kshama posted seem reasonable and potentially helpful for some, to me (I did not read the whole bill).

    I also think changes to make more places walking friendly would be nice. One thing I noticed (living in a walking friendly location) is that in a normal day I am reasonably active just from walking in connection with going to work and for errands (like going to the stores). That's something I had to make an effort to replace during the various lockdowns. And for me it was easy enough to replace (harder when the weather was bad), since where I live is reasonably safe and has nice sidewalks and pleasant places to walk (and normally parks, although they stupidly closed many of those for a time). I am aware that in some areas sidewalks don't exist. So infrastructure changes that address the walkability of areas that don't have that would be positive, although not necessarily a fix.

    The challenge is infrastructure changes to make areas more walker friendly are astronomically expensive and would take decades to implement in the US. Now you can add these changes to new areas or those undergoing reconstruction but again talking decades to get significant changes. Even, then if there are nice sidewalks, it doesn't necessarily make the area safe. A whole other can of worms

    I actually (based on my own experience) believe this is one of the lesser issues. The biggest issue I see, is getting people to use the facilities when they are provided. I live in a major metropolitan area and there are 4 'linear parks' - walking/biking paths - that have well maintained concrete paths, a couple are tree lined providing shade during the heat of the day, they are cleaned regularly, the grass along the sides of the paths is mowed, the trees are pruned so that they don't present issues to the people using them, etc. There are entry points and exit points that are well marked and have places for people to park cars (for the ones who need to drive to the paths). The park service even comes out after heavy rains and removes any dirt/debris that gets washed onto the pathways. Yet, in my extensive use of the pathways (I much prefer to ride on the paths than on the streets, but that's a whole different conversation), I rarely see more than 15-20 people in a 1 hour riding session (and most of them are the same people each and every day). All of the paths that I use are completely contained in residential areas, most of them have houses that literally line the paths (easily a thousand or more homes across the 4 paths) and people ARE NOT using them.

    I guess the point that I am trying to make is, why would a community invest the kind of money that this obviously takes to build and maintain if there will be no return on the investment? People know that exercise is good for them, but even if you provide safe and clean places for them to exercise, the vast majority of people do not take advantage of the offering.

    Where do those paths go? It sounds like they're easy to access, what destinations do they serve?

    Here in Seattle the most popular trail like you described is impossibly crowded. It goes by a university, many work places, and beautiful parks. There's another similar trail I like, which is shorter and goes by many house, but isn't useful for transportation and it's much less used. Even among people wanting to go for a walk with no specific destination in mind, they have other choices where to go and they mostly take those other choices.

    It's strictly for rec and doesn't serve any shopping/business/education. There is another rec path on the other side of town, never been there on a weekday, but weekends that path is almost unusable for the number of people who are there. By contrast, the local path is usually desserted on weekends.
    Another thing to keep in mind.

    Well designed paths get cyclists off roads. Tax payers aren't doing that for the cyclists, it's for the drivers.

    And the drivers around here are the primary reason I use the paths....
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,567 Member Member Posts: 7,567 Member
    Many US states are similar, including mine.
  • psychod787psychod787 Member Posts: 4,073 Member Member Posts: 4,073 Member
    side track comment - yes that has been an issue here too - the fact shaving cream, toilet paper and so on are exempt as essential products (which they are, of course) but tampons and pads are not.

    I have just convened an emergency meeting with the Council of the Patriarchy. We have put out an immediate stop action on the taxation of all feminine hygiene products!
    All joking aside, they should tax razors and shaving cream as well. It is not essential to remove body hair.
    ythannah wrote: »
    Here in Australia we effectively have a tax on treat foods already.

    Not directly to do with weight loss promotion though.

    GST (goods and services tax, similar to VAT in UK) is added to all things.

    But essential food items are exempt. Complicated list of what is exempt and what is not - but generally basic non prepared foods are exempt.

    Ready made foods and non essential foods ( like soft drink) are not

    Much the same in Canada, also called the GST. On top of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) which varies from province to province.

    Most grocery food items are exempt, including multi-pack baked goods. But if I buy a single item baked good at a coffee shop it's taxed. So if it was important to me to avoid the tax, I'd be better off buying the dozen at a grocery store than just one.

    I think there was more of a flap about taxing feminine hygiene products as "non-essential" than about snack foods though.

    In my home state, there is no tax on fresh and unprepared foods at the grocery store. People are not allowed to buy hot, prepared foods with public assistance. Though, there are loopholes. They can buy prepackaged foods that are not to be eaten on site, snack cakes, and other junk foods.
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Member Posts: 9,144 Member Member Posts: 9,144 Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    side track comment - yes that has been an issue here too - the fact shaving cream, toilet paper and so on are exempt as essential products (which they are, of course) but tampons and pads are not.

    I have just convened an emergency meeting with the Council of the Patriarchy. We have put out an immediate stop action on the taxation of all feminine hygiene products!
    All joking aside, they should tax razors and shaving cream as well. It is not essential to remove body hair.
    ythannah wrote: »
    Here in Australia we effectively have a tax on treat foods already.

    Not directly to do with weight loss promotion though.

    GST (goods and services tax, similar to VAT in UK) is added to all things.

    But essential food items are exempt. Complicated list of what is exempt and what is not - but generally basic non prepared foods are exempt.

    Ready made foods and non essential foods ( like soft drink) are not

    Much the same in Canada, also called the GST. On top of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) which varies from province to province.

    Most grocery food items are exempt, including multi-pack baked goods. But if I buy a single item baked good at a coffee shop it's taxed. So if it was important to me to avoid the tax, I'd be better off buying the dozen at a grocery store than just one.

    I think there was more of a flap about taxing feminine hygiene products as "non-essential" than about snack foods though.

    In my home state, there is no tax on fresh and unprepared foods at the grocery store. People are not allowed to buy hot, prepared foods with public assistance. Though, there are loopholes. They can buy prepackaged foods that are not to be eaten on site, snack cakes, and other junk foods.

    This seems to imply that you think feminine hygiene products are not essential. Do you think a woman could hold down a job if for several days a month she either had to take leave (paid or not) or show up to work with growing blood stains on her clothing, leaving blood stains on chairs, carpet, etc.?
  • Mellouk89Mellouk89 Member Posts: 319 Member Member Posts: 319 Member
    Yes they are essential but plenty of products that are demmed essential are taxed as well, this is nothing new. In my province, shaving products, deodorants, hygiene products and so on are all taxable.

    https://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/businesses/consumption-taxes/gsthst-and-qst/special-cases-gsthst-and-qst/food-services/grocery-and-convenience-stores/
    edited July 19
  • middlehaitchmiddlehaitch Member Posts: 8,364 Member Member Posts: 8,364 Member
    Shades of Monty Pythons ‘meaning of life’ there @ythannah.

    Now I’ve a ‘every sperm is sacred’ worm in my head.

    Cheers, h.

    (Sorry for the detour. I can’t, choose not to, debate the subject as I’m not from the USA, h)
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Member Posts: 9,144 Member Member Posts: 9,144 Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    side track comment - yes that has been an issue here too - the fact shaving cream, toilet paper and so on are exempt as essential products (which they are, of course) but tampons and pads are not.

    I have just convened an emergency meeting with the Council of the Patriarchy. We have put out an immediate stop action on the taxation of all feminine hygiene products!
    All joking aside, they should tax razors and shaving cream as well. It is not essential to remove body hair.
    ythannah wrote: »
    Here in Australia we effectively have a tax on treat foods already.

    Not directly to do with weight loss promotion though.

    GST (goods and services tax, similar to VAT in UK) is added to all things.

    But essential food items are exempt. Complicated list of what is exempt and what is not - but generally basic non prepared foods are exempt.

    Ready made foods and non essential foods ( like soft drink) are not

    Much the same in Canada, also called the GST. On top of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) which varies from province to province.

    Most grocery food items are exempt, including multi-pack baked goods. But if I buy a single item baked good at a coffee shop it's taxed. So if it was important to me to avoid the tax, I'd be better off buying the dozen at a grocery store than just one.

    I think there was more of a flap about taxing feminine hygiene products as "non-essential" than about snack foods though.

    In my home state, there is no tax on fresh and unprepared foods at the grocery store. People are not allowed to buy hot, prepared foods with public assistance. Though, there are loopholes. They can buy prepackaged foods that are not to be eaten on site, snack cakes, and other junk foods.

    This seems to imply that you think feminine hygiene products are not essential. Do you think a woman could hold down a job if for several days a month she either had to take leave (paid or not) or show up to work with growing blood stains on her clothing, leaving blood stains on chairs, carpet, etc.?

    ugghh..... I guess irony is lost on some people. Now, I guess I am going to be accused of mansplaining so anyways.. the first part was me speaking of the stupidity of the "pink" tax. No, female hygiene are essential. The second part was the point that is they were going to continue taxing female products, they should also tax mens. @ythannah , I don't really mix words these days, if I thought women belong in the kitchen pregnant, I would just say it........

    My apologies. I did say "seems to imply," in hopes that there was some other intent. I still think taxing something that you're defining as nonessential that men use doesn't make up for taxing something essential that women use.
  • psychod787psychod787 Member Posts: 4,073 Member Member Posts: 4,073 Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    side track comment - yes that has been an issue here too - the fact shaving cream, toilet paper and so on are exempt as essential products (which they are, of course) but tampons and pads are not.

    I have just convened an emergency meeting with the Council of the Patriarchy. We have put out an immediate stop action on the taxation of all feminine hygiene products!
    All joking aside, they should tax razors and shaving cream as well. It is not essential to remove body hair.
    ythannah wrote: »
    Here in Australia we effectively have a tax on treat foods already.

    Not directly to do with weight loss promotion though.

    GST (goods and services tax, similar to VAT in UK) is added to all things.

    But essential food items are exempt. Complicated list of what is exempt and what is not - but generally basic non prepared foods are exempt.

    Ready made foods and non essential foods ( like soft drink) are not

    Much the same in Canada, also called the GST. On top of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) which varies from province to province.

    Most grocery food items are exempt, including multi-pack baked goods. But if I buy a single item baked good at a coffee shop it's taxed. So if it was important to me to avoid the tax, I'd be better off buying the dozen at a grocery store than just one.

    I think there was more of a flap about taxing feminine hygiene products as "non-essential" than about snack foods though.

    In my home state, there is no tax on fresh and unprepared foods at the grocery store. People are not allowed to buy hot, prepared foods with public assistance. Though, there are loopholes. They can buy prepackaged foods that are not to be eaten on site, snack cakes, and other junk foods.

    This seems to imply that you think feminine hygiene products are not essential. Do you think a woman could hold down a job if for several days a month she either had to take leave (paid or not) or show up to work with growing blood stains on her clothing, leaving blood stains on chairs, carpet, etc.?

    ugghh..... I guess irony is lost on some people. Now, I guess I am going to be accused of mansplaining so anyways.. the first part was me speaking of the stupidity of the "pink" tax. No, female hygiene are essential. The second part was the point that is they were going to continue taxing female products, they should also tax mens. @ythannah , I don't really mix words these days, if I thought women belong in the kitchen pregnant, I would just say it........

    My apologies. I did say "seems to imply," in hopes that there was some other intent. I still think taxing something that you're defining as nonessential that men use doesn't make up for taxing something essential that women use.

    https://www.amanet.org/articles/get-rid-of-those-pesky-weasel-words/ 😉
  • g2renewg2renew Member Posts: 146 Member Member Posts: 146 Member
    Bàck to original question:

    Government HAS made attempts to fix our obesity issues multiple times in my lifetime. They have had Presidents physical fitness stuff with certificates for participating, and Surgeon General's guidelines and PSAs, and how many times have we had a food pyramid? Oh, yeah..how about those food labels? Does it look like any of these have made a real difference?

    Govt has given us alerts that eating fat makes us fat, passed laws against different foods and additives and sweeteners (Tab, anyone?), and then given official sanction to other foods and additives and sweeteners that they later warn us against. Milk, eggs, you know the drill- Bad for you, good for you.

    Not sure exactly what the fix is, because there are too many underlying things that either directly cause the problems or exacerbate them.

    Some can be fixed- like accessibility to information, medical care, and better foods, and making misleading labelling of food a crime. Some can only be discouraged, like laziness and giving sweet treats as rewards. And we can give encouragement and support to those who are making an effort.

    As for those who choose to remain blind and deaf to common sense and efforts to help, well, you know the saying.

    It is up to each of us to do the best we can- for ourselves, our family, and our fellow man. IMO, the more govt is involved in our daily lives, the more screwed up things get. They aren't doing a good enough job with my tax money for me to hand over my health and my children's future.
    edited July 22
Sign In or Register to comment.