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Obesity Epidemic - Who's To Blame

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51. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 8y

Quoting Mel.

I think the reason people dont exercise is for same reason other people dont
-stop drinking coffee
-stop smoking
- stop lying in the sun
Add your own health vice to the list.

I think people dont exercise becasue right now the committment to exercise is too difficult for them to make.
For example one time I was made redundant from a job. I started smoking more to comfort myself. Yes, I saw the signs on the cigarette packets saying this could have serious health implications. At the time the problem which made me want to smoke was too present and caused me to ignore the health warnings. How would I react if somebody came along when I was sitting in the cafe smoking cigarettes I could little afford and no job on the horizon and said that I am irresponsible for spending my savings on cigarettes and this might cause me to need social welfare or that I am damaging my health which may cause me to be a drain on the healthcare system.... Likely it would have made me want to smoke more becasue of the stress heaped onto the existing stress. A few months later I had another job. Then I looked at the sign on the cigarette packet and thought, yeah that makes sense. There is every reason not to smoke. I cut down to 2 cigarettes per day. Without the stress of being jobless it was easier for me to deal with the smoking problem.

Nobody makes the decision to go out and make a bunch of stupid mistakes. Who ever says I want to be a divorced, unempolyed, fat alcholic. There are many causes of these problems and I think one of the problems is that we have a high degreee of freedom in our society. Some of us are higher on the learning curve of using this freedom. I have a friend who is in serious debt and the problem is getting worse. I often feel like shaking her and telling her to pull herself together and fix that problem. But I honestly think she does not understand money managing as well as I do. Others will apply critisisms to my life and wonder why I dont improve. It is just as difficult for me to do some things as it is for my friend to manage money. People generally dont say u are doing lousy at that but your money managing skills are excellent. Nor do they say look how slim and healthy your body is and how unlikely u are to create expenses for the healthcare system with obesity related illnesses. They just say u are doing lousy at something and why cant u do it as well as I can. Well the simple explanation is that I cant but am trying and hoping to improve and I am doing my best according to my ability and circumstances.

Those of us who live in Western democracies live in the most progressive societies in the world. It is because we are progressing that we hit bumps and have problems in our societies. But having said that there is nowhere in the world where people are worse off then they were 100 years ago wealthwise. This is largely due to the relative amount of stability we have achieved in our democracies. More peace and stabiltiy often goes hand in hand with a rising standard of living. We in Western democratic countries are the most influencial countries in the world. When we progress and move forward all other countries do so also to varying degrees.
If we discriminate against the obese or any other group in society we take a step backwards. It is anti the democratic philosophy which has made us so successful. Look at any situation in history where we have supressed and/or exploited a group of people and examine the problems that this is still causing in todays society. Point the finger of blame at the obese or any other group and 3 fingers point back at u. U essentially want to abandon the democratic philosophy which has taken so long to get as far as it has.
I also think there is every hope that the problems in society we are experiencing because we are free to make a bunch of mistakes will become less. More and more help is becomming available to us. Weightwatchers, Alcholics Anonomous, Marriage and relationship experts........

Mel, I know we've not seen eye-to-eye in the past, but this is an excellent, well thought out, honest post.

52. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 8y

Maybe I am just learning to express my opinions more clearly James.
Thinking out these ideas and expressing them seem to be 2 different skills.

Thanks for the compliment.:)

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 26, 2007, at 1:24 AM by Mel. ]

53. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 8y

People don't exercise because exercising sucks - it's as simple as that.

People can find all the excuses in the world, but it basically boils down to a case of "I can't be bothered".

Personally, I'd like to see junk food and cigarettes taxed to the point that they effectively become luxury items. At the same time, I'd like to see some sort of tax deductibility be applied to gym memberships. eg. yuo obtain a tax deduction after maintaining a minimum membership time of 12 months.

54. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 8y

Who's to blame? We are all to blame.

We don't take responsibility for ourselves, we don't take responsibility for our neighbors, nor our communities.

55. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 8y

Taking responsibility for the community

I dont know how to get a direct link to it so look at todays featured story on www.yahoo.com today.

56. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 8y

Oh, they have changed the featured story.
The one I was looking at this morning is about the mayor of a village in Italy who wants to pay people to lose weight.
There was a video clip of the villagers out on the street exercising to try to earn the payment.

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 27, 2007, at 1:22 AM by Mel. ]

57. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

Quoting james

People don't exercise because exercising sucks - it's as simple as that.

People can find all the excuses in the world, but it basically boils down to a case of "I can't be bothered".

Personally, I'd like to see junk food and cigarettes taxed to the point that they effectively become luxury items. At the same time, I'd like to see some sort of tax deductibility be applied to gym memberships. eg. yuo obtain a tax deduction after maintaining a minimum membership time of 12 months.

I think your idea is brilliant - a great incentive to take personal responsibility.

I brought the subject up with my extremely socialist friend and he essentially said the same thing. However, we used to have extremely high taxes on cigarettes here, and what happened was the Indian communities would sell their tax-free cigarettes as contraband and people just bought them for cheap on the reserve. So they had to bring the taxes back down. I wonder if something similar would happen with junk food - like a blackmarket for Mars bars and Haagen-Dasz.

Sorry to play devil's advocate - I just can't see a clear answer to the obesity problem.

58. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 8y

i think its the way you have been brought up. if ur mother makes big steaks, fried fries and hamburgers with 110% fat, every day, then u will develop some kind of obesity i suppose. so blame you mother. ever seen a fat kid with a slim mother?

59. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 8y

Making something a luxury by making the taxes on that item unfordable is not a good way to stem the problem. As tway mentioned you just create black markets but more than that you create a greater rift between the rich and the poor. Think of fuel the same way... say it was taxed to the point that it was $5 per litre... rich people would still fill up their Hummers while everyone else can't afford to leave their house. True less people are driving, which would be a good thing, but you condemn the poor.

I think they would need to be outright banned - illegal to posses, trade, sell, buy. Or the best solution is to have a population that cares about their own health and the health of others.

hard topic

60. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 8y

Taxing something to make it more expensive is an excellent way to provide a disincentive to purchase a product. It is not a perfect way, but it is a proven way to control the market in a product to a high degree.

Thinkint back to my economics studies, it's called price elasticity and it relates to the relationship between the price of a product and the demand for it. If something costs less, people buy more of it. If something costs more, they buy less of it.