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White House Fingers PlayStation As Obesity Culprit

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  • wheres the story? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metalmaster (1005171) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @01:08PM (#33475798)
    "lets throw in a gaming console amongst other big culprits that help fatten up kids" If your fat its because you didnt exercise enough as a kid and you probably ate shit. More so, its probably the fact that you ate shit. Oh, and your parents probably didnt push activity and exercise on you. "LETS BLAME SONY!" I call it a witch hunt
  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday September 04, 2010 @01:12PM (#33475822) Homepage Journal
    I agree with you, but it makes sense that the later-generation consoles would be more easily blamed as more and more parents became afraid to let their kids play outside unsupervised and decided it was okay to pass increasing amounts of parenting onto the systems. As somebody below you pointed out, the XBoxes should also share the blame.
  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @01:13PM (#33475830)

    To be fair, the basic laws behind statistical mechanics are equally simple, yet thermodynamic behaviors can be complex and non-obvious.

    The epidemiology is:
    Why are people using less energy?
    Why are people consuming more energy?
    What subtle biochemical and metabolic effects might be involved?

    There are a lot more subtle biochemical effects than one might initially suspect.

  • nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bobtree (105901) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @01:14PM (#33475832)

    Does reading books also cause obesity?

    America is sugar addicted and everything we eat has corn syrup and corn starch.

  • Playstation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @01:14PM (#33475840) Journal
    Is there really a strong correlation between the playstation and obesity?

    I see a stronger correlation between the portion/serving sizes.

    When parents keep programming their children from young to finish everything on their plate and don't waste, think of the starving in Africa etc, they sure are going to find it difficult to not try to finish a super sized meal/drink.

    And the businesses are sure happy to sell larger sizes. You can more easily sell larger portions for higher revenue and profits. Only a few snobs like going to expensive restaurants to get very expensive food in tiny portions.

    As for "food preparation time", I eat out very often and thus spend nearly zero food preparation time and I'm not obese. It's just a matter of what you choose to eat and drink.

    Here's a tip, cut out the sugar water and fries. Only have them as a treat once in a long while. Do fast food establishments in the USA make it easy and convenient to just order water with their burgers? Or is it more expensive to do so than to order it with sugar water?
  • Re:Wheat and grains (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nattt (568106) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @01:23PM (#33475900)

    And for vastly longer than "ages", grains were not part of our diet at all. The recently obesity epidemic has coincided with the (incorrect) assumption that eating fat makes you fat, that eating cholesterol is bad etc. What's the life expectancy of a 3rd world grain eater?

    Now that wheat consumption is linked to heart disease (whereas we now see saturated fat is not) and how starches and sugars interact with our metabolism through insulin, and low cholesterol is associated with increase cancer risk, you really have to think that the diet of grains needs serious consideration, and the advice to base our diets on grains (advice given by grain producers and their lobbies) and that such recommendations are very suspect.

  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:19PM (#33476272) Journal
    > The basic fact that consuming more energy than you use makes you fat
    > seems too obvious to even bother arguing about anymore.

    Obvious but wrong. Clearly it's not so simple. You like many other people miss out the amount excreted. Unless you consider excretion of calories to be using those calories, which would be stupid.

    I don't see many diet researchers measuring the amount of calories in the feces or other excretion. And there certainly are differences.

    Also people are now noticing the differences in digestive systems: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526141845.htm

    Many obese people have bacteria and digestive systems that are more efficient and/or converts food into stuff that makes them fat.

    Some probably have cultivated those bacteria through poor diets (poor at least from a modern day "plenty of food" sedentary lifestyle perspective), others might just be unfortunate.

    So I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that in some unfortunate people the food becomes changed by their bacteria so that they need to eat more or feel like eating more.

    For example:
    a) Say you need a minimum of 10 x A, 10 x B, and the food is 10 x A and 10 x B, but the bacteria keep converting half of the A to B, so you need to consume 20 x A and 20 x B, and end up with 10 x A and 30 x B. You meat the "A" requirement but you get fat and unhealthy.

    b) Alternatively your bacteria might just do better on a fattening diet and so they have evolved to make sure (by various means) that you feel like eating a fattening diet suitable for them. After all who's the boss? You (10 trillion cells) or the 100 trillion bacteria in your gut? If it's a democracy you lose ;).

    It's certainly not all due to bacteria either, but just pointing out it's not so simple when you get to the details :).

    FWIW, I'm not fat (puny and skinny actually), but I'm not one of those who place the blame for obesity completely on the obese. Or think they are lesser beings than I am (they most certainly are greater in some ways ;) ).
  • Re:wheres the story? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msclrhd (1211086) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:33PM (#33476392)

    The more I think about it, the more I think that civilisation is not going to end through war or asteroids or whatever else -- it is going to implode on ourselves because of all the scare stories we create.

    Hell, breathing and the metabolic process produce free electrons that destroy DNA and cause cancer, so breathing is bad for you and you mustn't do it! Exercising just speeds up the metabolic rate and damages your bones and other parts of the body. Therefore, exercising is bad for you! But if you don't exercise, you will get fat and die as well, so not exercising is bad for you!

    If you go out and buy groceries, you may get hit by a car and die! If you don't go out and get some food you will starve to death!

  • Re:Huge Idiot (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:02PM (#33476614)

    What if your food inhibits your ability to determine when you have eaten enough ?
    Because that's what fructose does, the replacement for sugar, otherwise known as high-fructose corn syrup is highly prevalent.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:20PM (#33476736)

    Older folks (you know, a large part of electorate) are traditionaly sceptical of new fangled toys; don't search for your deamons in what is simply categring to preexisting sentiments of many voters.

    I believe you missed the point. There are lots of "new fangled toys" produced by a number of manufacturers. Yet of all those toys produced by all of those manufacturers, it's the foreign manufacturer that is targeted.

    To the people you described an XBoX360 would be just as "new fangled".

    Incidentally this is a reason why collecting Social Security should mean you surrender your right to vote. Perhaps then Social Security would be something other than a Ponzi scheme doomed to collapse under its own weight since it would no longer be political suicide to fix it. As a bonus, the tendency you have highlighted would be irrelevant and no longer an input towards decision-making.

  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @04:00PM (#33476942) Homepage

    You stopped tracing it back a bit too soon. Try an economic system that forces two parents to be full time employees outside of the home resulting in neighborhoods devoid of responsible adults in the afternoons so that kids aren't safe playing outside. Make part time employment and single income more viable and the problem can begin reversing itself. The 8 hour day was reasonable when the basic assumption was that a family had another adult that wasn't in the workforce at all.

    Given our current unemployment rate, it's obvious that society has no pressing need for people to put in that many hours. Salaries have plummeted compared to the GDP/capita.

  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:24PM (#33477452)

    I was once an astrophysicist, but then I underwent a career change to the molecular biology field, where I am now involved in the characterization of the proteomic mechanisms responsible for regulating skeletal muscle metabolism in response to available nutrition.

    I can assure you, the simple laws of thermodynamics do NOT adequately describe the metabolic complexities of biological systems. Of course there is a fundamental energy balance involved, but this does not imply that the human body will simply burn the energy available to it. Biological systems tend to be conservative, which is evolutionarily advantageous to avoid starvation.

    Your typical muscle cell has a host of surface receptors to receive global insulin signals from your pancreas. These signals are then conveyed to a very complicated and hardly understood network of intracellular kinases, which then control numerous cellular functions, particularly those related to energy expenditure and metabolism. Unfortunately, in many obese patients, we notice failures in these underlying cellular mechanisms to produce the desired outcomes. In some cases, we see that many genes related to metabolism simply fail to become activated. In others, we find that cells simply refuse to take in glucose from the bloodstream.

    In some patients, we observe that extremely intense exercise will yield some benefits regarding these abnormal cellular functions, so yes, exercise is still a valid treatment for this condition. The more obese you get however, the more difficult it becomes to fight the inherent instabilities of your biological self. Many people in this world do not have to try as hard to remain fit, due to either genetic, environmental, or behavioral reasons.

    Nonetheless, I urge my fellow overweight comrades to do whatever it takes to get healthy. Do NOT pay attention to clueless people who tell you it is entirely your fault. At the same time, do NOT pay attention to people like me, who point at clear underlying biological causes for your illness. Instead, accept the reality that maintaining a healthy weight is clearly more difficult for you, but you must accomplish it regardless. Exercise more, cut the soda pop, and read diabetes and obesity-related scientific literature. In the end, fighting a tougher battle will make you much stronger and wiser.

    You should NOT wait around for modern molecular biology to make it as easy for you as skinny people. I can assure you, it will take years to fully understand the obesity epidemic.

    Now off I go to centrifuge some bacteria..... on a saturday......

  • Re:Huge Idiot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:37PM (#33477508) Homepage

    Actually, no. I am saying that the stuff that food manufacturers put in the foods we buy in the U.S. are often outlawed or tightly restricted in other nations. For example, foods with aspartame are restricted from consumption by children. It doesn't mean adults can't choose diet coke if they want to, but it does mean that children shouldn't be made or allowed to drink it... the same is true of smoking.

    It's not so much about choice of individuals to eat whatever they like. It's more about what food industrialists make available to the general population because in the city, we really don't have a significant amount of choice. Let's put it this way: Look at your grocery store. Look at the ratio of healthy foods to those that contain large amounts of carbohydrates. You will find, as many other have found, that more than 90% of what is on the shelves are not appropriate to those who seek to limit their carb intake. Now if EVERYONE made the same choice to limit carbs for themselves, what we would see in the short to mid term is a food shortage crisis because that roughly 10% of food on the shelves is not enough to feed EVERYONE. In the long term, we would just see higher prices.

    Perhaps I am going off-topic, but it helps to understand why food industrialists seek to put so much crap in our foods. SHELF LIFE is among the top concerns for food makers. I think the reason for that is self evident. Additionally, the more processed cereal fillers they can put into foods, the cheaper it is to manufacture. And let's not go into HFCS... high fructose corn syrup is just bad from every angle.

    I seriously hope you just misunderstood what I wrote earlier. The FDA and similar agencies in other countries are there to regulate the industries that the populations depend on. They regulate to ensure that they do not endanger the health and safety of the population at large. Without such agencies, we would have power lines everywhere, cancer clusters all over the place, more children of thalidomide and more.

  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aztracker1 (702135) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:18PM (#33477718) Homepage
    I agree, but why not just stop subsidizing corn, instead of taxing HFCS based products? This would make other sugars more compelling... the main reason HFCS is used over say sugar cane is that it's cheaper and it's cheaper because of the subsidies... That, and Pepsi throwback tastes better (imnsho). Of course, I'm diabetic so tend to avoid all processed sugars, which isn't so easy. Beyond this, to the GGP post, other than the sodas, chocolate milk and ice cream what has HFCS in it? Since the items mentioned are known *bad for you* wouldn't it be the parents' fault?
  • by incognito84 (903401) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:05PM (#33478236)
    I was talking to my folks recently about whats going on in my hometown.

    I grew up on a dead end street where lots of kids live. Lots of kids still live there. There is hardly any through traffic. When I was a kid, we'd play games on the street pretty regularly. Anything from street hockey, to improvised soccer, to water gun fights... you name it.

    Recently a new generation of kids on that street started doing some of the same things. The police were called, parents fought and eventually it was decided that it was beyond inappropriate for the kids to play there. One of the main reasons that seemed to be cited was a large fear of child abductors and the fact that they couldn't always be supervised.

    So thanks to years and years of pampering and isolating our children from fears both real and manufactured, a new generation of kids won't have any memories of the street I grew up on. Instead they'll all stay inside and get fat in front of their Playstations and we'll blame the Playstations for all their problems. Might as well put them on Ritalin to keep them from using all that pent up energy, too.
  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dcavanaugh (248349) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:06PM (#33478590) Homepage

    With all due respect to engineers and economists, I enter this discussion as someone who has very complicated taxes and has spent some time analyzing the system.

    You would be surprised how many dual-income families could drop to one job with negligible loss of real income. Why? The marginal tax rate on that second job is sky high. Ever hear of the "marriage penalty"? My wife CAN'T work because we would end up getting hammered with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)! Personally, I would prefer she stay home and raise the kids. This is good, because the government doesn't offer us any choice.

    Many of the "luxuries" found in dual-income households are in fact necessities triggered by the second wage earner. By this, I mean things like another car, additional clothing, convenience foods, eating out, daycare, etc. Most of this gets paid for with after-tax income. There are many things that would either cost less or nothing at all if the wife stayed home. When dual-income couples buy a snazzy car or a huge TV, it's not really the second job that pays for the upgrade. We already know these second jobs don't bring in much after taxes and expenses. The second job merely enables a higher debt burden. Most of the true luxuries are purchased on credit.

    I can understand married women having a right to work, but I wonder how many of them realize they are working very hard for a salary that amounts to less than minimum wage! The marriage penalty is not something you see as a payroll deduction. It's a hidden cost that is only visible when filing a tax return -- and even then most people don't figure it out.

    I saw a TV show where Dateline NBC was helping some families determine if Mom could quit her job and stay home to raise the kids. They had some accountants analyzing the families' tax returns, checking accounts and credit card statements. In most cases, the couples were shocked at how little it would cost them to have Mom stay home. In one case, they found a family where the mother was earning NEGATIVE income from her job! She said to the accountant, "This is great news! Does this mean I can quit in a few months?" The accountant says, "You should quit TOMORROW. In fact, the sooner you quit the less money you will lose."

  • Re:Hmmph. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:09PM (#33478608)

    No. The "fatness" problem is due to the USDA suddenly telling everyone they should have an inherently UNBALANCED diet that favors BREAD.

    Bread (in its numerous forms) has been a staple of the human diet since the freakin' Neolithic period, and is far more commonly and frequently eaten in many cultures outside the USA, that do not have the same problems with obesity.

    The real problem - from an "energy in" perspective - is that portion sizes in the US are huge (because food is so incredibly cheap here) and humans are genetically programmed not to waste food since we've spent the majority of our existence living barely above a starvation level.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 05, 2010 @07:44AM (#33480838)

    I'm currently reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. This comment reminds me of something he said while discussing the validity of the toxic-environment hypothesis to explain the increase in obesity :

    "That the toxic environment hypothesis is deeply immersed in moral and class judgements is evidenced by the observation that few or none of the condemnations of fast food restaurants include a coffee chain such as Starbucks, despite the copious excess calories it peddles. A 'grande' (sixteen ounces) Tazo Chai Creme Frappuccino, for instance, with whipped cream has roughly 510 calories, equivalent to a quarter pounder with cheese at McDonalds. The same judgements are made when discussing physical activity : If we sit around all day watching television, we're condemned as couch potatoes, and our obesity is only a matter of time. If we sit around studying or reading books, this same accusation is rarely voiced."

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