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Fat People: Poor, Stupid, Americans?

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There is a potentially controversial article in today’s Sunday Times (UK) about obesity. The article postulates that fatness and obesity are directly related to poverty and ignorance; that rich, educated people are rarely fat. Also, it says, “Obese means not just podgy, but dangerously, disablingly, distastefully fat, as in American fat.”

I have to admit to having a chuckle when I read that. I am an expat Brit living in the United States. I love the US, so it is not a slight on this country, but no one can deny the preponderance of vast, humongous people shaking the sidewalk as they walk along — those who actually do walk anywhere, that is.

As the article itself shows, Britain is not immune to this problem; they are probably second only to the US. The US certainly must have a problem when Americans are used as examples whenever the conversation turns to obesity.

Not just in this article, but whenever I travel outside this country, I find the topic comes up an inordinate number of times. “Oh, you live in America; isn’t everyone beastly and fat over there?” To which, after today’s article, I can now respond “No, only the poor, stupid ones, apparently.”

I have two main points I want to consider. First, is the article’s theory true? Second, are the parents of obese kids stupid or evil? As for the first point, I am leaning towards it being half true; maybe three quarters. Half true because I buy the notion that the poor find it harder to eat healthily on a purely financial basis. Three quarters because I don’t think ignorance or lack of education plays that large a role. It does play some role, so I’m accounting for a bit of stupidity in there with the poverty.

We shop at Whole Foods (a healthy, largely organic food supermarket) and Publix (a major supermarket chain). It is patently obvious upon simply perusing the receipts that when we do a weekly shop at Whole Foods, we are paying around $100 more than when we do it at Publix.

Healthy, natural foods are more expensive than processed crap. I recently heard an old lady in the checkout line explaining, as though ashamed since no one had asked her, that she was buying a loaf of 20 cent supermarket-brand white bread because it was all she could afford.

There is no doubt that it is cheaper to eat like shit. It is also easier, especially if you go for the fast food option ahead of cooking your own cheap, unhealthy crap. It occurs to me that there is also a laziness factor involved here, which no doubt goes hand in hand with the “no exercise” cause of obesity.

Better to drag yourself into the car and drive two blocks for a super-sized quadruple cheeseburger than to walk to the kitchen and have to stand there making, or zapping, something. But yes, coming back from my tangent, lower incomes certainly play a part, but lower education?

On that one I’m torn. On one side of the question, I have a few friends myself who, though not obese, could stand to shed a few dozen pounds. Most of these are highly intellectual, college-educated people in very successful careers. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are smarter than me, but they would. They are well off and clever; so where do they come into the equation?

On the inverse side of the same query, if stupidity played any part in fatness, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, and Lindsey Lohan would be like a pod of blue whales. So I’m not sure I can agree on that.

The one quarter fraction that I gave to the ignorance side of the theory is for those people out there, and I suppose there must be some, who are so ignorant that still now they don’t realize that eating crap and living on the sofa results in a couple of extra pounds gained. Other than that, I don’t believe any lack of education allows you to never stumble across the information that eating fast food and other crap might be somewhat detrimental to your figure.

Now for part two. Are the parents of obese kids stupid or evil? I believe these are your only choices. I’m not talking about anyone who is obese through some kidney condition or any other ill health or accident or even those cases that do exist where the obesity is hereditary. I am talking about obese kids, seemingly nearly always the product of obese parents, made that way by their bad diet.

Parents have total control over what their small children ingest, from infancy through to at least early teens. Maybe before that they get the chance to sneak the odd candy bar here or there at a friend’s house, but obesity comes from a long campaign of overfeeding crap to your children.

So, does this happen out of moronic ignorance or plain Beelzebub-worshiping evil? For surely the obese parents are all too well aware of whatever unpleasantness life throws at an obese person — from whatever personal feelings of discomfort and actual fatness-induced illnesses or diseases to the mockery of cruel children and the difficulties of getting around in one’s day-to-day life.

There may be exceptions, but I would be enormously surprised to hear any obese person turn down an offer from a well-meaning genie to turn them into a healthy, fit, thin person. That just wouldn’t happen.

That being the case, any loving obese parent who, by definition as a parent, would want the very best life possible for their child is not going to want their child to grow up obese themselves, with a catalog of obesity-related diseases.

According to the Times article, two thirds of diabetes cases in Britain are of the avoidable type 2 associated with obesity. Obesity increases your risk of having major illnesses such as stroke, heart disease, some types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Clearly no parent wants that for their child.

All that said, I now state that any parent who knows the effects of a bad diet and yet still stuffs their children so much and so often that they become obese at such a young age is either irretrievably stupid (they really don’t know the effect that their diet will have) or unconscionably evil (they know but still willingly opt to give their children a shorter and more unpleasant life than they otherwise could and should have had).

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  • Well, what would one think of as American “cuisine?”

    Lessee…hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza (an American invention, from what I hear). McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King. Fried chicken; chicken fried steak, turkery with plenty of stuffing and mashed and gravy, apple pie. Some may quibble, but virtually all the traditional American fare is delicious but deadly.

    I agree with the income factor to a large degree, though it is still possible, if more ardous, to buy cheap and eat healthy.

    Great piece!

  • Yes, it certainly is possible to eat healthily on a budget, but then that other major cause of the problem rears its head – laziness. There is no doubt that it takes a much greater effort to buy and prepare healthy cheaper alternatives, and greater effort is not the favored thing of many obese people. And thanks for reading and for the comment.

  • JR

    Yes, it certainly is possible to eat healthily on a budget

    Indeed. Rule number one: stay the fuck away from Whole Foods. That place is rip-off exploiting rich, stupid Americans.

  • Orchid

    This article ignores a great deal of the complexity in this issue and asks all the wrong questions. The conclusions reached here are far too simplistic because the premise is incorrect, short-sighted and based on a desire to equate “stupid”, “lazy” and “poor” with “fat”.

    Obesity is the result of a disease, food addiction. It’s no different than lung cancer being the result of nicotine addiction and smoking or liver disease and alcohol addiction. The causes of food addiction are many and varied but it does have one thing in common with other addictions. It’s about placating yourself with the wrong thing when you are in pain or emotional distress.

    As to why Americans are afflicted at such an alarming rate, there are many reasons as well but one of the primary ones has to be unchecked capitalist competition and a consumerist culture. Why do restaurants serve enough food for 2 when they should serve enough for 1? It’s because they know their restaurant will be viewed more favorably than others if they serve large portions and food is so cheap that there is little profit lost in serving so much. And research shows that almost every human being, not just Americans, will eat more if more is put in front of him. That’s part of an evolutionary desire to consume as much as possible while food is available.

    The constant drumbeat of advertising which tells you what will comfort you and how you deserve more is another factor. In a country where people work more and more hours and do so often behind desks, counters, or machinery, they come home exhausted and turn on the T.V. where they receive food cues from commercials. Sure, they could say, “I’m fat and I should go exercise” but after working all day, it’s a lot harder to resist ordering a pizza and indulging yourself.

    You can add into the mix that Americans are discouraged from pursuing practically every other vice on a societal level. Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as vices are more seriously frowned upon in the U.S. than other countries. If you couple all of this with the decay in community involvement which brings emotional fulfillment, you have people who are taking comfort in the only addiction they have left which won’t land them in jail or have them hounded out of restaurants.

    This situation is much deeper and more involved than I have space or desire to write about here but the problem with simple-minded conclusions about the obesity problem is that they do nothing to solve the problem but provide those with an agenda, in this case, America-bashing, with smug satisfaction.

  • I must say that Orchid has brought up some excellent and valid points. Thing is, that of all the addictions, food addiction is arguably the most “visible”–and thus the most despised–though millions struggle with this demon. You can’t give up eating “cold turkey” (pun intended), and this can make it doubly hard to conquer. And our society reviles obesity and glorifies fast food in equal measure. Commercials for the Total Gym and Jenny Craig are constantly juxtaposed with close-ups of Whoppers and Pizza Hut pan pizzas with extra toppings. Very seductive stuff.

  • I think I made it clear that I was not America-bashing, first by stating my affection for this country, and second by pointing out Britain’s own problems. Indeed, the article quoted was a British one talking about British society, with just one reference to “American fat”. My article was not intended as a fully-fleshed out discussion of the problem, which would require a book to do. It was a superficial look at a newspaper article postulating that education and income played a role in the obesity problem. The only part of the article that constituted my own thoughts, and I stand by them, was at the end when I suggest that obese parents have it in their power to make sure that their children do not succumb to the same “addiction” as they have. And when I see obese parents walking around with their obese children I feel that the parents have severely let down their children. Two parents addicted to smack or crack do not start their kids on their own addiction. Because, amongst other reasons, they do not want their children to suffer as they have. No one is in a better position to prevent children getting obese than obese parents who know all the problems pursuant to such a condition. Even if they can’t stop eating themselves, they are perfectly capable of making sure that their small children eat smaller portions. But all too often I already see children 5 and 6 years old already on course to be like their parents. I don’t believe there is any argument out there that is going to make me feel for the parents, however addicted to food, who do not have it in them to make their children’s lives better than their own, when all it takes is to dish out a smaller portion for them.

  • Mohjho

    Or…average fatness of a culture is simply an indicator of its economic success. This may seem glib, but has ramifications for so many other countries. I do not believe this is an American problem, but a psychological reaction that any country will face if they find themselves in a similar economic situation.

  • Justin Berry

    So thats why supermodels and millions in sub-saharan africa are so thin! All this time Ive been led to believe that they were either anorexic (which I also heard was unhealthy) or extremely poor and starving.

    I am so angry at the biased conservative media for leading me astray and allowing me to wallow in ignorance. All this time Ive been dieting and jogging, and all I had to do was change jobs! hoodathunkit?

  • Agreed on the irony of the poverty argument. I remember back in the Middle Ages, our poor were all emaciated and living in gutters, since their poverty didn’t allow them to drink their swill and buy food too. And yet today it seems that lack of money allows you to grow the size of our large-breasted whores back then and the characters that Botticelli was painting.

  • Justin Berry

    Thats because the Euro’s were fat then so it was a sign of wealth. They set the bar we jumped it now they say we were supposed to go under. Kind of like the Tour de America (lets be honest the french dont have a chance), If an American wins it they must have cheated (come on 1 bad,7 good;Testosterone?).

    Like a carrot on stick;
    Fat, we set on them.
    money, we buy and sell them.
    Sports, well they still have darts.
    cowardice, we’re trying.
    libaralism, ” ”

  • VAL

    ALEX WAS RIGHT, IT IS MOSTLY LAZINESS THAT IS MAKING OUR NATION OBESE, MY FAMILY IS ON A STRICT BUDGET, I COOK ALMOST EVERYTHING FROM SCRATCH, WHEN WE GO OUT TO EAT IT IS A TREAT FOR THE KIDS BECAUSE IT’S NOT A DAILY OR EVEN WEEKLY OCCURANCE, ANY GOODIES THEY GET ARE HOME MADE BY ME, AND MY KIDS GET ONE EVERY NIGHT BEFORE BED, BUT MY KIDS WEAR SLIM CLOTHES WHICH ARE HARDER TO FIND NOW DAYS BECAUSE OF ALL THE OBESE CHILDREN. BUT I THINK ONE OF THE BIG DIFFERANCES WITH MY FAMILY AND SO MANY OF THERE FRIENDS IS THE ACTIVITIES THAT THEY DO WHEN THEY ARE NOT IN SCHOOL, MY KIDS ACTUALLY PLAY IN THE YARD OR RIDE THERE BIKES DOWN TO THE CREEK TO GO FISHING INSTEAD OF WATCHING TV ALL DAY OR PLAYING VIDEO GAMES AND SITTING ON THERE ASSES EVERY DAY, THEY GET BORED INSIDE ON RAINY DAYS AND WANT TO GO OUT AND PLAY, DOES NOBODY DO THESE THINGS ANY MORE? IT IS MOSTLY THE LAZY IGNORANT POOR WHO ARE OBESE IN MY COMMUNITY, IT’S NOT A SHORT SIGHTED STATEMENT, IT’S A FACT, I WORKED AT A GROCERY STORE AND THE PEOPLE WHO CAME IN WITH FOOD STAMPS BOUGHT THINGS LIKE LUNCH CAKES AND COOKIES, AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER FATTENING FOODS INSTEAD OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES, ALMOST NONE OF THEM BOUGHT FOOD THEY WOULD ACTUALLY HAVE TO COOK, AND ALMOST ALL OF THEM HAD TO COME BACK WHEN THE FOOD STAMPS HAD RUN OUT WITH ROLLS OF CHANGE TO BUY MORE FOOD, TO ME THAT’S IGNORANT FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO CONTROL THERE SPENDING SO THEY COULD GET THE FOOD THEY NEEDED IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND LAZY FOR JUST GIVING IN TO THERE KIDS ON ALL THE TREATS THEY WANTED. I THINK WE ARE GETTING CARRIED AWAY WITH BLAMING EVERY ONE ELSE FOR OUR PROBLEMS, THE RESTRAUNTS DIDN’T MAKE YOU STOP AT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE STORES DIDN’T MAKE YOU BUY ALL THE JUNK FOOD DOES NOONE HAVE SELF CONTROL ANY MORE, AND WHAT ARE WE TEACHING THE KIDS, THAT HAY IT’S ALRIGHT HONEY, THE ADVERTISERS ARE THE ONES MAKING YOU FAT AND ADDICTED TO THE FOOD SO YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND EAT ANOTHER TWINKIE, IN MY OPION PEOPLE JUST NEED TO GET A GRIP ON REALITY AND GET OFF THERE ASSES

  • There’s one very true aspect in that comment that I totally neglected to deal with. The TV, video game, computer, never-get-any-exercise factor. And it is likely one of the main reasons behind obese children. Certainly 40 years ago kids didn’t have any of those distractions and so were likely to be far more active. Unfortunately, for the sake of a thorough compare and contrast, they also didn’t have all the unhealthy crap and fast foods that kids indulge in today. So it would be hard to prove how much of a thinner, fitter generation of kids was down to more exercise back then or less crap food back then. I mean, obviously both played a role, but as to how much of each…? What would be interesting would be to visit a parallel universe where kids today ate the same shit but had no TVs or computers or Playstations and were thus all more active. Would the obese merely be overweight there?

  • I’ve observed parents giving young children those super-cafinated energy drinks, including the Starbucks expresso ones. I also saw a lady giving a toddler some Coke (the soft drink).

    I go to the grocery store now and see six packs of cola and other soft drinks in tiny cans, obviously meant for children. If a child is so young that he can only drink three ounces of fluid at a time, he sure as hell is too young to be drinking soda (pop)!

    The portions are so huge at restaurants, especially fast-food joints. Even the “small” sizes are pretty big. The super-size cups are around a liter, and the most popular sandwiches, such as the Whopper and the Double-Quarter Pounder, are enough to feed two people. I can’t fathom how anyone can drink a super-sized soda in one sitting.

    I worked at McDs during my high school years, and I once received an order from a drive-thru customer for SIX double-quarter pounders with cheese — and a super sized diet Coke (not kidding!) At first, I thought the guy was ordering take out for his family, but after receiving his order, we watched the guy pull into a parking space in front of the restaurant and eat ALL the burgers!

    I can vouch for the high costs of healthy eating. I’m dirt poor, and my diet at the moment consists primarily of lentil soup with whole grain crusty bread. It’s all I can afford right now.

    However, I’d rather eat very modest healthy fare than spend the same amount of money on a greasy steak, buttered dinner rolls and potato puffs.

  • Nancy

    Most of American food as currently consumed is the direct result of relentless hype & marketing, usually directed at people from the time they’re small children (for example, McDonald’s Ronald, the Hamburgler, etc.), which IMO should be criminal and absolutely forbidden – but that’s another thread.

    Recently I had radical stomach surgery. As a result, I’ve had to make some radical dietary changes as well, involving cutting out all processed flours & sugars, red meats, and more or less switching to ovo-lacto-vegetarianism. Once I got used to it, I found it was no more work to cook a spaghetti squash or throw together a small curry than it was to grill a burger. Less, in fact. It also costs less without the meat, altho fish and even cheese (which used to be reasonable) are almost as outrageous in price. The only drawback to veggies is that they aren’t really condusive to spur-of-the-moment snacking like pizza or burgers are. Oh, you can rustle up a carrot stick or a radish in a blink, but they really aren’t what anyone wants, and they aren’t very satisfying, because what you’re satisfying is generally appetite, not hunger, a distinction most Americans – even poor ones – are unaware of. Appetite is where something in particular appeals to you, and that’s all you want; hunger is when you’ll eat ANYTHING that doesn’t run faster than you can. A big difference, and one I never appreciated until I learned what true hunger is.

    The problem is, that we now have multiple generations who can’t cook from scratch, who have been raised on processed foods loaded with fats, sugars, additives, and chemicals, and who are as addicted to these additives as they would be to cocaine.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future someone exposed the food industry of deliberately putting addictive substances in foods – especially fast foods and junk foods – in order to secure & increase their share of captive consumers.

  • Bliffle

    It’s expensive to eat bad food and become obese. Requires more cooking effort, too. You can eat well, cut your budget and lose weight with a few simple principles. Here’s how:

    1-eat a good breakfast: filling, high fiber and tasty. Never skip breakfast because you will overeat later. Here’s the best breakfast: put a tablespoon of oatmeal in a bowl with a pinch of salt and an appropriate amout of tap water and nuke in the microwave for 1.5 minutes. If you don’t have fresh fruit handy and some chopped up figs, dried cranberries, dried raisins, etc., so they get plumped up, too. Add chopped fresh fruit when cooked, a peach, pear, orange, etc. If you require sweetener add a half packet of Splenda. Once or twice a week use a half teaspoon of brown sugar. Add some non-fat milk to the oatmeal, or nonfat yogurt. It only takes a couple minutes to prepare and eat this breakfast, which may last you right thru lunch hour. On saturday or sunday treat yourself to your favorite sinful breakfast, mine is a country breakfast of fried egg, potato and bacon, perhaps at a restaurant. Exercise moderation. And you can cook it better at home, usually, so maybe you invite a friend or friends for a convivial brunch of traditional food.

    2-don’t eat a sandwich for lunch. You don’t need the bread. you should bring a lunch to the office. More later.

    3-eat small amounts of varied foods for dinner. No big helpings of meat and potatoes, but lots of variety.

    4-shopping: this is the most important. Shop well and you eat well. You save, too. No need to go to Whole Foods, good food at reasonable prices is always available at a chain market, like Safeway. Pick a store near you, get their discount card and study their stocking and sales patterns. You should be able to save 25% on every trip because you buy what you need when it is on sale. the most important principle in shopping is to try to buy NOTHING that is packaged. Go immediately to the produce section and load up on fresh fruits and vegetables before you go anywhere else. Make yourself justify any packaged food, even a bottle of olives. Allow yourself two shopping indulgences: you can go into your target store every day even if just to survey, and you can walk out without buying anything.

  • Heloise

    The more brown and black Brits you get, the more fat you may find on your sidewalks over there. This piece does not take into account the genetic factor that is involved in the wide girths here.

    Yes, poverty, race and class are tied together like the knot in your story…that it’s funny to make fun of fat people. They don’t think it’s so funny. I have gotten in trouble for hints at saying someone is a fat or obese person. I don’t use that word.

    It’s true. It is not the color of your gray matter that determines your gene size, but the color of your skin. If you think that Paris and the others are stupid then just take a look at their bank accounts. Now, that’s PHAT for you.

    Heloise

  • Well, to begin suggesting that Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears have a brain cell between them is never going to be defendable. Paris is rich because of Hilton hotels, which she had no part in obviously. Jessica Simpson proved all by herself on her silly show just how moronic she is. Can anyone say Chicken of the Sea. That link’s definitely worth seeing again. And Britney? Come on! In case you haven’t seen it, go check that link. Also, the point of my story had nothing to do with making fun of fat people. What there was, was some anger at some fat people on behalf of their kids.

    But most of all, when I picture obese people I see in this country, the image I get is not of non-whites. Statistics show that about 20% of the obese in America are White, and 30% are black. Not such a big divide and certainly not one meriting suggestions that having more blacks in your country would lead to a leap in obesity. That’s no better than simply saying that all blacks eat fried chicken by the bucket, which would clearly be unacceptable.

  • Heloise

    Percentages translate to numbers. And there are simply more Blacks and Mexicans who are overweight. That is a fact.

    Now, if you are suggesting that the media has spent an inordinate amount of time on white, rich, anorexic-looking females who are also synaptically challengelled to the detriment of all other peoples of color–then you might be on to something.

    If you are suggesting that brainy or stupid they are not THE most important topic of primetime news–then you would be wrong. Please don’t insult MY nor the public’s intelligence, when it comes to assessing whose ass is on TV for whatever reason. Many movie stars have degrees from Ivy colleges. This is not a sign of intelligence if you count George Bush. But you are insulting these public figures by suggesting that they have a low IQ. And if you are then you would be WRONG. Just because you inherit money does not make you stupid. Who has really lost their trail of logic?

    It is not totally due to what is eaten but what is added. The salt or sodium content would reach to the now non-planet Pluto for fast foods (which most lower class blacks do consume for various reasons) and that leads to a host of problems. Then there is the gene for metabolizing sugar. Most Asians, blacks and Native Americans are not used to that type of diet of civilization. And yes, I am suggesting that an influx of these, not just blacks, will tip the scales.

    Heloise

  • Your opinion of the celebrities mentioned in these comments is quite baffling. My opinion is based on many interviews where I have heard them speak, or TV shows they have been on. They are morons. A couple of them can sing and have a good manager or agent or father. But your hypothesis that just because they are on TV a lot it means that they must be intelligent is quite astonishing. By that logic, the girls in Girls Gone Wild videos are all pretty smart too just because they’ve been on the screen. They had tits. Jessica and Britney have a mild singing talent. Paris is on TV and famous because she goes to parties and shows herself to be pretty dumb on a reality TV show. I am not saying that inheriting money makes you stupid…I never did. One has nothing to do with the other. Paris inherited money. Paris is stupid. Neither one because of the other. I never thought I’d hear the argument made for these people’s intellects. I can only assume you are defending them on principle, because if you’d seen them speak you could not do it. My God, watch the link to the Britney video in my previous comment and watch her state that she thinks time travel happens, amongst other gems. You must be kidding me.

  • Heloise

    If you read my comments it says “are you suggesting?” The IQ cutoff for average is 100. The students I see fall a little below that. In the “Bell Curve” they argue that blacks fall well below the normal IQ.

    People can “act as if” until the cows come home. But put them in front of a test with a black of lower class and whom do you think will do better on the test? This is my point. Not who is playing stupid on TV.

    Heloise

  • Dave is Fat

    Your fat… nuff said.

  • lostNtheWoods

    Heartland america is also in deep doo-doo. Having moved from Southern California to rural New Hampshire I am amazed at the obesity levels. Here’s a place of 99.9% white, where the poor, the working class and yes even the middle class are almost all at least overweight or obese. But what really strikes me is the apparent lack of concern. Fifteen years ago when I first moved here it was more or less the case. Now when you see a group of kids getting off the school bus seven out of ten of them are overweight. It almost seems that if the majority of folks are heavy then why bother, it’s normal. What the heck, come home from two jobs so you can afford the new Escalade and a garage full of motorized toys. Drive thru Crapdonald’s for the family meal and fall in front of the tube for some dumbed down entertainment. Rural America is now falling down this slippery slope screaming “don’t know, don’t care”. I guess it’s ok to be ignorant as long as you’re American.

  • Bliffle

    What nonsense! Good healthy tasty food is cheaper than junk food and quicker and easier to prepare. You’ve all just been indoctrinated by relentless advertising into believing the absurd notion that factory food is cheaper and quicker, a notion which is absurd on the face of it. It is simply impossible that food burdened with the extra costs of all the processing could be cheaper, and all meals can be prepared in less time than required to go to McD and return.

    I defy you all. Go ahead, dare me to prove it!

    You won’t because you know I’m right. You’ve surrendered your miserable souls to the demons of advertising and corporate food peddlers and your case is hopeless.

  • allie

    maybe there is something we can do. it is stupid to just sit around and have our country be fat!! i hate it and it makes me cry

  • Sam

    I am poor and always have been. Eating healthy meats, veggy’s are expensive. You look at meats the cheaper meat is full of fat. The family package of hamburger, etc are usually the cheapest and they are usually mostly fat with little bit of good meat on it. When your poor you buy cheapest and what will last the longest. This very very rarely is the good quality meat. Once in rare while you can find the lean meat.

    As for fresh veggies they also not the cheapest and they don’t hold up. meaning if you get what little food stamps you may get once a month and do your shoping for whole month fresh veggies don’t usually last whole month. So you go with the can stuff which isn’t as healthy as fresh. Also if your like me you don’t like cooked veggies. But yet you can’t afford the fresh. So your stuck with canned.

    Also when comes to food stamps they usually don’t give you enough to cover all your food costs. When we get our whole $11.00 in food stamps we just rush out and buy all all that expensive healthy food we can, Yeah i wish!!

    Most poor people rent and you compare what a poor person pays in bills doesn’t leave them much for food. You have someone that makes $20,000, say your paying $900 in Rent, 400 for insurance, lights, etc and then you have to buy clothing, maybe you want to get out and do something for fun once in while. So that is extra cost to lets say about $50 a month. Well with that you spent $16,200 that only leaves you $3800 for extra expenses. Food, Gas, Dr Bills. These also depends were you live. maybe more expensive maybe little cheaper. But doesn’t leave you much to go buy that expensive food.

    As for making stuff from scratch i have tried that yet after you buy all the cooking stuff you need your broke. You spent most of your money on things like baking soda, flower, baking powder. In my house you don’t find to much of that stuff. You find can goods and meat.

    There are people who take advantage of what they get and go hog wild buying junk food. Or buying the 12 burgers at McDonalds. But most people i know very rarely go to those places let alone order 12 burgers. I wish i could afford that many, i’d go do something i really want to do with that money though.

  • Mike

    I don’t know what big deal is. What i find that is sicking isn’t heavy people it is how people have become to disrectable and hurtful to others. We are all people and shouldn’t be judge by how we look. Seems like so many people have gotten stuck on this. You sit here and complain about how USA has so many heavy people yet you don’t think about how you are sitting here judging a person due to them being heavy. Does it matter? NO i think not! What makes a person a person isn’t how they look, it’s what thier personality is like.

    It makes me sick seeing someone that is heavy, or person that doesn’t fall in “Society Norm” and see how people treat them. They are very disrespectable, even cruel to these people. Like what was said ” preponderance of vast, humongous people shaking the sidewalk as they walk along”.
    Now think how hurtful this is for someone that is reading this article and been fighting with their weight, depression and how people treat them. You had just made them feel even worse about themselves making them turn more inward and making them feel as if they are not wanted. Now this is what i find that is sicking. People are so rude and never think about anybody else.

    If you never been heavy or poor then you have no right to talk. You have no idea what it is like. So instead of hurting someone with your words that you have no idea what it’s like to be like.

    Why don’t you give them respect and love. Go up to the person make them feel good about themselves, make them feel like they are a person and not a freak. Get to know them i bet you would find some of the most wonderful people if you did. A person that would do anything to help you if need be.

    Everytime you see someone you think is different and watch them walk pass you, your whispering to your friend on how person looks, all while laughing. That person knows what your doing and it hurts them, as they have experienced this their whole life and had very few people that treat them like a person.

    I can say this because i am one of these people and have felt how cruel and hurtful people can be. You walk into a place and suddenly people are eyeing you, whisping, pointing laughting. Well this doesn’t help you stop eating it makes you turn to it more. As it’s your only escape from rude and cruel people.

  • hjvgj

    1 lov3 5eorg3 b578.

  • sr

    THANK’S FOR ENLIGHTING US BILL. HAPPEY EASTER TO YOU SIR.

  • I’m big at 11 and get talked about. It does’nt matter I have self confidence

  • Kevin

    This discussion is only half right, missing the other half, exercise. Diet and exercise. Last time I checked running or jogging or walking was free, not just for the rich, and I bet a lot of “poor” people can at least afford a used bike(heck I bought one in college for $10.) It all comes back to LAZY. I want my food fast so that I can eat while watching my TV shows sitging on my butt.
    As for diet its not that hard Stop drinking all that nasty soda, water is a lot cheaper.

  • sr

    What comes to mind is food lost in the body folds, stink, blocked up toilets, cost of tp, plungers, food, diet coke, horney men who like hippos, blocking up the local market on a go-go, giant melon size tits and aircraft overloaded. If I missed anything let me know.

  • Joe

    So, behind the Pacific Islanders, Americans are the fattest people in the world. As much as I detest the fact that the corporate giants are slowly poisoning so many Americans who make poor food choices I cannot help but ask myself why so many Americans choose to eat the garbage they eat. I am tired of hearing all the excuses. Get of your ass America. We have the potential for being one of the greatest nations in the world. Let’s lead by example. Turn off the television. Get up from your cyber chair. Reality lies just outside your front door. Embrace this world while we still have the chance. So many mixed feelings about the “greatest” country on earth..

  • Just me

    I will tell you why so many Americans make crappy food choices. From the time when you are small children, your system begins to brainwash you. It takes ordinary children and turns them into stupid adults. Americans are lazy ignorant sheep. Not because they would naturally be that way, but because their system makes them such. This is a gross over-simplification but a lazy fat fuck, who spends his days sitting infront of a TV and only wants his burgers, fries, chips and coke, will buy a lot and stay out of the politics.

  • Fred

    After a couple of years working as a public school teacher in Massachusetts, I’ve found that the entire structure of eduation and surrounding social circumstances are very unhealthy for kids (physically and psychologically).

    1. Schools add extra Math and English classes to bring kids up to speed on basic readng and writing skills to pass state tests – but eliminate physical education time.

    2. Even where Phys. Ed. is mandatory a culture of laziness and indulgence obtains: kids that don’t want to swim sit on the side and watch, kids don’t have to do any structured exercise at all, etc.

    3. School sports are centered on the elite kids on the football and basketball teams; everybody else is supposed come out and glorify the few on Friday nights.

    4. Kids expect a car by Junior or Senior year of high school, so they work anywhere between 20 and 40 hours a week after school (sometimes until midnight) to afford the crippling insurance premiums a 17 year-old must pay ($2500 p.a.). And parents let them – even insist they work part-time for these types of expenses.

    Added to the many other good reasons for obesity discussed above by other contributors – and you have a compelling case for a national tragedy – fast becoming a global tragedy. When was the last time you read about a politician banging on about exercise for teenagers?

  • bliffle

    And still people whine that poverty condemns them to over consume, which is specious on the face of it.

  • STM

    Yes, what bollocks eh, Bliff?

    Go to a few places in Asia (or Africa) where poverty is real and see how many overweight people there are.

    Hardly any.

  • Yikes! What has happened recently? Australia has become officially the fattest nation on earth. What is their excuse? Americans don’t have an excuse.

    You can read the article here.

  • By the way, how does being fat make ANY country a “bad” one? And why does America HAVE TO be the “greatest” country? I think Japan and France are the best countries and it’s not because they’re good looking people.

    Those who judge others solely on appearance shouldn’t talk because, in my opinion, they have A LOT more problems than fat people do. 😉

  • Ana

    I loved this blog and I just happened to run into it! Lucky me! One thing you also may want to take into account is the huge pharmaceutical drug dependance in this country (I’m a Colombian-born American) It’s affecting not only people’s health, but also their weight due to the severe side-effects of most drugs.

  • Ana

    “yikes”- you can’t have a great nation of your people are complacent, drugged and one step away from a massive heart attack. It just doesn’t work that way.

  • Chris

    I do not understand why people think Americans are fat…most americans i see are fit, average, or too skinny, and i LIVE in america…I like how other countries talk about us, but yet they have mcdonalds, burger king, etc. etc., which, they bought from the us….so…besides, you can talk about america all you want, but you wouldnt have your cars, airplanes, computers, pretty much all that changed the world as we know it if AMERICANS didnt invent them…ya ya, americans arent really from america, blah blah, well fact is, those people were BORN in america, not in eurofuk or gook land…so therefore they are AMERICAN. Manifest Destiny of the Eastern world will come to play soon enough.

  • Chris

    What I also think is funny, is that other countries think Americans are “Barbaric” but yet you have gooks eating cats, dogs, you have ragheads bombing people and teaching children how to kill people, europe having nudity on public tv and sick hostle type crap, then you have the foreigners that say americans are naive, sorry but if you come here, most americans hate the government and DONT believe them, as well as DONT believe everything they see on the news…Other countries base their knowledge of america on what their government tells them, through media, yet we are the brainwashed and naive…lol…ya, right.

  • CJ

    According to Chris,”gooks” eat funny things (so do Americans–deep-fried Twinkies, anyone?). And the priceless statement that “ragheads” bomb people (gee, so do Americans). Europe is dysfunctional because of “nudity on public TV and sick hostle type crap.” And we all hate the government…geez, Chris, do you get all your news from Fox? Thanks for proving that many Americans are “brainwashed and naive.”

  • Zagbus

    In the wild, the fat and slow die (its natures way of eliminating the stupid from theu gene pool). The US is violating my rights to a strong natural woman by helping the poor fat welfare to people to breed on taxpayers back.

  • Sam

    Well they are kinda right. Though it is very possible to be healthy and on a low income. However that requires things that most Americans lack: Intelligence, the ability to not simply whine about “luck”, initiative to actually do something to help their situation and the ability to realize when they are hideously over weight.

  • Ems

    I don’t believe you can say the parents of obese children are stuffing their children’s faces. I can say that personally, I eat very little, mostly healthy food, and yet I’m still obese. Sure, I may have had too many candy bars earlier in life, but my parents are neither stupid nor evil. Maybe misinformed, but that’s it. For example, I have a low sugar breakfast cereal, semi skim milk and apple juice every morning. Totalling it up, it comes to 250 calories. I usually have pasta for lunch (wheat free) with a tomato sauce and some sweetcorn. 300-400 calories depending on the sauce and whether I add cheese. Dinner- varies, but usually consists of chicken or lean beef, potatoes and vegetables, about 500 calories tops. I then may have a snack some days, other days not. But in meals alone I round out at about 1150 from meals. I walk a lot to get to college, climb the stairs everywhere and do a lot of housework at home. So please do tell me how this lifestyle, fully encourage by my parents and my upbringing, springs from “evil or stupid” parents who don’t care about my health.