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Why so many Americans are overweight

Why so many Americans are overweight
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  • Why so many Americans are overweight

    Post #1 - August 11th, 2018, 6:49 pm
    Post #1 - August 11th, 2018, 6:49 pm Post #1 - August 11th, 2018, 6:49 pm
    Hi- There is an interesting article on the Vox website explaining why so many Americans are overweight, and why it is so difficult for people to lose weight. It gets into the fact that the majority of the money spent on food, is spent on restaurant and take out food, as opposed to food purchased in grocery stores. It then gets into how it is more expensive to eat healthy food. Only 15% of Americans eat the suggested servings of fruit every day, and only 10% of Americans eat the suggested servings of veggies. The article suggests that if people started eating the suggested number of fruit and veggies, there would not be a large enough supply to go around. All they would have to do though is take some of the land that is being used to raise soybeans, and use it to raise broccoli instead. It also mentioned that the great majority of the veggies being consumed in this country, consist of potatoes and tomatoes, and most of the potatoes are processed. Here is the link to the article.

    https://www.vox.com/2016/8/31/12368246/ ... 018-charts

    Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #2 - August 11th, 2018, 7:32 pm
    Post #2 - August 11th, 2018, 7:32 pm Post #2 - August 11th, 2018, 7:32 pm
    I think also other variables about the obesity epidemic in America is also related to:
    1. We drive everywhere (especially those living in the suburbs) where in some areas you rarely see people on the street in your neighborhood outside of going to and from there car.

    2. Young kids don’t play outside like we did when growing up. Most kids today are addicted to technology/internet and are indoors most of the time having a sedentary lifestyle at a young age doesn’t bode well for future health.

    3. Healthy school lunches are not common place as lobbying from the big food industry giants shape the public school lunch program with mostly carbohydrates and fats. What extends from the youth shapes eating habits as adults. The key to most industry’s survival (smoking, fast food, TV, etc.) is get the kids when they are young to shape their habits throughout their lifetime. By the smoking I mean the vaping and marijuana industries secondarily market heavily toward youth culture.

    4. American Society diversity, unlike most foreign countries where one ethnicity rules makes for people connecting less and less. For myself, I live in a condo and I don’t know 98% of the people living in my building outside of the surface level courtesy hello and goodnight. As we get older our circle of friends gets smaller so we turn our discretionary income to food instead of activities which contributes to sedentary lifestyles most Americans have today.

    5. Food has become very processed / modified being much less nutrient dense and more chemical dense with artificial sweeteners, fillers, and binders in all kinds of foods we as consumers buy in the grocery store. These so called foods are very bad for the human body as we cannot process many of the chemical sugars that contribute to the decline of the overall health of many individuals in the United States.
    Last edited by polster on August 12th, 2018, 7:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #3 - August 12th, 2018, 9:16 am
    Post #3 - August 12th, 2018, 9:16 am Post #3 - August 12th, 2018, 9:16 am
    This topic and the many factors involved interest me, so thanks to you, Nancy, for posting the article link and initiating the discussion.

    I call bullshit, however, on one particular aspect of the article: point #4, "Healthy foods can cost more" and its accompanying chart. If the premise is that fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods, then clearly they cost no more, according to that chart, than eggs, fats, and oils; they cost slightly less than dairy products, sugar, sweets, and beverages; they cost even less than beans, legumes, and grains; and they cost considerably less than meats, poultry, and fish. If, on the other hand, the premise is that beans, legumes, and grains are the healthiest foods, then yes, they cost more than most other foods, except meats, poultry, and fish. The premise of the subtitle is really only true if you think meats, poultry, and fish are the healthiest foods, as clearly they're the most expensive. All of this is clear from the values on the vertical axis in $/100 g.

    Using the information in that chart ($/100 g from the vertical axis times 1/(kcal/100 g) from the horizontal axis), the food groups shown ranked in order from most energy density per unit cost (kcal/$) to least are fats, grains, legumes, eggs, milk, sugar, meat, vegetables, and fruit (1130, 755, 640, 533, 450, 331, 299, 240, and 218 kcal/$, respectively).

    So I think the horizontal axis, kcal/100 g, is a red herring, at least as far as the point the text labors to make. The premise in the text is that people of strained financial resources will spend their money on the most energy-dense foods per dollar available. If that were true, they'd be consuming all the fats, oils, grains, and legumes they could get their hands on in place of not only fruits and vegetables but also eggs, dairy products, meats, and sweetened foods and beverages. I don't think that's really happening.

    Just in terms of food group choices (not to mention societal factors others have mentioned) I think there are other things at play. Beans, legumes, grains, fats, oils, and sweetened foods and beverages are fairly shelf-stable; meats, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables require refrigeration. Fats and oils are quickly satiating; fibrous foods like beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are quickly filling. But I think they key problem--as far as comparing food groups goes-- is that group in the middle of the chart: the relative cheapness and taste desirability of relatively nutrient-poor sweetened foods and beverages. People don't tend to go into 7-11 to buy tubs of butter or margarine and whole-wheat bread and cans of beans because those are what will give them the most energy for their dollar to get through the day (although they would); they go in to buy Big Gulps of soda (because that's what they want).

    Not that it isn't necessarily true that healthy foods cost more, but this chart is not the way to show it. I think a chart of cost per unit weight ($/100 g) on the vertical axis vs nutrient density---on some scale such as a 0-100 normalized nutritional ranking/100 g---on the horizontal axis would be more insightful and would better make the point the authors want to make.
    Last edited by Katie on August 12th, 2018, 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #4 - August 12th, 2018, 9:22 am
    Post #4 - August 12th, 2018, 9:22 am Post #4 - August 12th, 2018, 9:22 am
    It is so frustrating when I go to the Evanston farmer's market and I see all the mostly veggies that did not get sold. Yesterday I did not get there until 12:30, and my two favorite corn growers were out of corn, but Jon First had tons of eggplant left. He had three different kinds of eggplant he was selling 5/$1, and it looked like the pile barely got touched. A lot of people do not know what to do with eggplant. He also had some green peppers, but not nearly as many of those. I would have bought some eggplant, but I am still trying to use up the eggplant I bought from him the week before. The rest of the eggplant and other veggies I am sure he donated to the food pantry in Evanston that collects excess produce as the market is winding down. I also bought some edamane from Henry yesterday, and it looked like he had 3/4 of the half bushel of them he brought left. I love them.
  • Post #5 - August 12th, 2018, 3:03 pm
    Post #5 - August 12th, 2018, 3:03 pm Post #5 - August 12th, 2018, 3:03 pm
    Hi Katie- You can go to Aldi's and get a package of bologna or cheap hot dogs for $1. You can also get boxes of store brand mac and cheese for 2/$1. I never buy bologna or cheap hot dogs myself, but I know somebody that buys them all the time at Aldi's. Concerning the price of produce. I have found at the farmer's market I can get really cheap zucchini, green peppers, eggplant. kohlrabi and cabbage, and sometimes tomatoes and red peppers, but when it comes to asparagus, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, potatoes, leeks and broccoli they in general are not cheap, and especially sugar snap peas. I had sugar snap peas in my garden this year, and so I did not have to pay $3 for a half pint, or $8 a pound. There is somebody I can occasionally get #2 fruit from for $2 for a quarter peck, but I have not had any luck with her so far this season, and yesterday, I paid $10 for 2 pints of blueberries, and $6 for six peaches. I could have gotten a quarter peck of peaches for $9, but I did not need that many. Yes Jewel had blueberries for $.99 a pint, but they were from Canada, and when I went to Jewel yesterday they were $3 a pint.

    It also does not help if somebody lives in a food desert, and does not have access to decent produce. The article mentioned about the program where they will match your LINK purchases at selected farmer's markets, but the same group that started that program, also has a program out in LA that they got funding from Target for. There are a few clinics in LA where you can get coupons for produce that you can use at either your local farmer's market or at Target. Everybody gets $7 worth of produce coupons every week. Target has found out that this gets people into the store that otherwise would never visit, and they often spend double of what they get in produce coupons at the store. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #6 - August 12th, 2018, 4:03 pm
    Post #6 - August 12th, 2018, 4:03 pm Post #6 - August 12th, 2018, 4:03 pm
    Nancy, you keep referring to the Evanston Farmers Market and what’s leftover or what people aren’t buying. Jon and Henry and all of the other vendors have a one day crapshoot. They need to decide what to bring and how much of it to bring. At the end of the day, just because someone has a ton of eggplant leftover doesn’t mean we don’t know what to do with it. They guessed wrong. As long as the leftover inventory doesn’t go to waste, all is good.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #7 - August 12th, 2018, 5:02 pm
    Post #7 - August 12th, 2018, 5:02 pm Post #7 - August 12th, 2018, 5:02 pm
    NFriday wrote:The article mentioned about the program where they will match your LINK purchases at selected farmer's markets, but the same group that started that program, also has a program out in LA that they got funding from Target for. There are a few clinics in LA where you can get coupons for produce that you can use at either your local farmer's market or at Target.


    Again, both of these concepts originated from Chef Michel Nischan and his Wholesome Wave organization. If you like them, I suggest supporting them as well.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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