Should people be responsible for their own health?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by francois, Jan 6, 2011.


Should people be responsible for their own health?

  1. Yes

    18 vote(s)
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
  3. Other answer (explain in thread)

    4 vote(s)
  1. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    Interesting item in the latest New Scientist magazine.

    Some scientists suggested that a major contribution to the obesity epidemic is the use of bedroom heating. Apparently, if you sleep in a cold bedroom, you expend a lot of calories in keeping warm. If you heat the bedroom to your comfort zone, calory expenditure goes down. The last few decades, coinciding with the increase in obesity, has seen more and more homes fully heated. Coincidence or not? I don't know.
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  3. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    People can't just delegate thier health to clinicians when they get too fat. It's simple, if you eat more energy than you expend you're gonna get fat, it's not rocket science. Laziness is not an illness I recognise. This costs the government, and hence taxpayers billions every year. It also leads people into an early grave. Is there a case to say that fat lazy people should be sent to fat farms for thier own good and at thier own expense? Should the government step in to save these people from themselves?
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  5. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    And should smokers be denied taxpayer funded health care? Same thing, really.
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  7. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Yes they are. They're one of the fattest countries in the world - right up there with the USA, UK and Australia. Mexicans are famously fat, to the point where it's been a standard stereotype for at least an entire generation. I can't imagine where you got the idea that the situation was otherwise.

    The upward trend in obesity started to really take off around 1980. It's thought to be related to earlier Nixon-era policies called the "War on Hunger," which had the effect of introducing a lot of HFCS and other cheap junk food into the national diet on a large, subsidized scale.

    Not really. McDonald's, as such, was around for decades before the obesity epidemic ever arose. You might as well say "food made America fat." Sure it's true, but it misses the point.
  8. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    And those choices are made in the context of options and incentives that are strongly influenced by the actions of "big brother" and "societal conspiracies." It is not the case that people, en masse, have suddenly undergone some internal change in their preferred level of fitness or health over the past few decades. That idea is, frankly, ridiculous on its face - unless you're the sort of Thatcherite reactionary who literally believes "society does not exist" (which is itself an even more ridiculous proposition).
  9. Absane Rocket Surgeon Valued Senior Member

    Well, I do agree that there are outside influences that help explain why my fellow Americans, for example, are fat, lazy, and generally unhealthy. High fructose corn syrup, refined grains, "fruit juices" (basically sugar water), low fiber intake, lowered protein intake, increased calorie intake, decreased sun light exposure, etc.. Maybe there is a reduce level of physical activity and maybe there isn't. My contention is that there is less physical activity. In observing my peers over the years, the ones that are lean now tended to always be moving around just a little bit more than the ones that have gained weight.

    It's so much easier to obtain unhealthy food and to do unhealthy things around here than it is in a lot of places around the world. And humans generally do what's easiest. However, that doesn't excuse the ignorant Americans that know better, yet they do nothing about the state of their bodies. And then 20+ years later, they expect me to reach down into my pocket to help pay for their insulin shots.

    Of course, then there are the stupid Americans. They don't know any better and they are incapable of learning any better. I suppose that we could help them... I can't fault them because nature short-changed them in the white-matter.

    Then there are those that have legitimate genetic problems. Can't fault them, either. But these people are very rare. The average fat guy isn't in this category.
  10. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    There is no "should" people "Are" responsible for it. People will want the government to wipe their butt soon and mow the lawn.

  11. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    This is one occasion that I agree with you.

    There are old genetic memories that urge us to eat fat and sugar when we can get it. We need to use the new part of our brains to overcome that. It can be done.

    Young man, those are 2 very different ideologies that pursue 2 very different things. Please Google both terms and read what is there. Part of becoming a scientist is to learn how to learn. It is not possible to impress an educated audience without being educated yourself.

    It is not possible to 'freak out' this crowd by being outrageous. We are all that way, just older than you.

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    ...and very much more outrageous than you can even imagine.

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  12. Mircea Registered Member

    I'm not sure I would use that as evidence for an argument. As an aside, Romanian girls are beautiful, but when they come to the US the blow up in no time flat, so maybe you can add that to your anecdotal evidence. As far as "What the hell happened?" I would say the problem is you introduced oil into your food.

    Royal Dutch Shell operates a refinery in St Rosen, Louisiana that refines 30,000 barrels of imported light sweet crude oil (specifically Bonny Light from Nigeria).

    How much gasoline is produced?


    So, what exactly is Shell doing? They're refining imported light sweet crude oil for feed-stocks, specifically for liquid detergents, and artificial food colorings and artificial food flavorings and artificial food preservatives.

    A lot of the petro-chemical feed stock goes to Givuadan and Wild Flavors so they can make those artificial things for you foods.

    It is my opinion, although I don't have hard evidence, that this oil in your food interferes with liver function, and prevents carbohydrates from being broken down, and so it ends up as fat stored in the body.

    I would like to see unbiased research into this, but after the UN/UNICEF asthma fiasco, I don't think that will happen. Just to comment on that, a study was done on childhood asthma and the findings showed that US children had rates of asthma higher than the most polluted cities on Planet Earth.

    Resorting to an epidemiological approach, what is it that US children are exposed to that children in the dirtiest cities in the world are not?

    Two things: wall-to-wall carpet in homes/apartments made from synthetic oil-based fibers. In other countries, there is no carpeting and if there is, it is made of animal or crop fibers, not synthetic oil-based fibers. The other is central air conditioning in the US. In most of the world, that is not an option. You want your air conditioned, you open the windows.

    Anyway, that study got scrapped for the very obvious potentially negative impact on the US economy.
  13. SnowsportsSid Registered Member

    Yes, the individual is ultimately responsible for his own health. However, the government should also play a part by educating people on and promoting the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. The government should also encourage sport and exercise in schools and encourage schools to provide healthy school dinners menus. Should the government tax unhealthy foods to discourage their consumption? Possibly. I'm sure this would be an incredibly unpopular policy however.
  14. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

    I would blame, to a large extent, family culture. Fat kids almost always have fat parents. If they legalize cocaine for food products, I predict that obesity levels would drop tremendously.
  15. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    I got that information from old statistics. It appears Mexicans have caught up with America quite a bit. But at a BMI of 30 versus 34 for Americans, they're a bit leaner. I was looking at stats for 2003, which had Mexicans at like 24, at which point Americans were at 30. Wow! The speed with which fat people get fatter! Why is this?

    Ehhh, maybe they were getting to be fatter at that point, but you have to admit that in the 80s Americans were not anywhere near as fat as they are now. But if you really want, just substitute what I said about fat people in the 80s with fat people in the 70s.

    Sure, McDonald's and all were around back then, but in what capacity? How many MacDonald's restaurants and similar places existed back in the 70s vs now in 2010? Has the menu changed at all? Did the portions of the food they serve increase?

    Why do you think people exploded?
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Right - there's a vast system of incentives that governs the outcomes here, and many of those incentives are systemic policies enacted by organized, institutional interests (agribusiness, government, developers, etc.).

    Actually, it does, as such. As mentioned above, they aren't on a level playing field.

    What it doesn't excuse is the failure to confront the forces that are systematically tilting the playing field for their own benefit.

    Why would you care about that? You realize that they're going to die a lot earlier than they would if they weren't fat and diabetic, right? And so, the overall costs of treating them will be lower than if they were thinner? They're saving you money, overall, by being unhealthy, even if it does cost more to treat them during their brief lives. Likewise for smokers. The real costs are thin, "healthy" people who survive into their 90's and so require all kinds of expensive, comprehensive care for decades and decades after they've stopped working and paying into the system.

    That's just a canard, unless you're talking about children or the mentally disabled. There's no significant portion of the normal adult population that doesn't understand perfectly well that eating lots of caloric, fatty foods and not getting much exercise makes you fat and unhealthy. It's just that they have other priorities, like working huge hours, driving long commutes, raising their kids, and finding affordable food that their kids will enjoy eating. Well, and some just don't care much about getting fat - it's only a "problem" for social critics that they don't give a shit about, and those who imagine that unhealthy people impose greater medical costs on society (rather than lower, as is the case).
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Hard to say - possibly screwy data collection? If you link to your actual data, maybe we can figure it out.

    Right, the point was that the early 1980's was when the obesity began it's steady climb (which continues to this day).

    Not as many, but still more than enough to systemically make people fat, if their mere presence was going to do that.

    The menu has actually become a lot healthier, as far as I can tell (now that super-size meals are a thing of the past anyway). If you're interested in fast food, I'd point out the proliferation of fast-food businesses premised on out-fatting McDonald's. Every time McDonald's does something to make its menu more healthy, places like Carl's Jr., Jack in the Box, Wendy's and Burger King respond by introducing ever-more-unhealthy products to snatch up the displaced business. Back when McDonald's did away with super-size meals and introduced apples and so-on, Carl's Jr. introduced its line of "$6 burgers," which are extra-large burgers (that only cost $4) with ridiculous toppings. At one point you could buy a double-$6 burger topped with 4 slices of cheese and an entire serving of gyro meat. It had something like a pound of meat alone, and lord-only-knows how much saturated fat. And of course you get their extra-fattening curly fries on the side, along with a mega-size beverage.

    Nor should we let KFC off the hook - especially considering that they target entire families at home, and not just the lunch crowd.
  18. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Considering I've just got done losing a huge amount of weight, am poor and chronically ill, I had a malicious chuckle at this one.

    Although I don't want to retire. Retired people croak. I like having a job to get up and go to.

    Forced retirement bites.

    Anyway...stay on target...

    I attribute the obesity epidemic to the bushel-basket of following factors:

    -Wage stagnation versus a huge rise in the cost of housing (meaning money has to come from everywhere else in the budget of most middle/working class families for housing)

    -Working more hours, which would to less exercise, more stress, and stress-eating of junky food:

    -The prevalence of advertising to young children, who accept such things uncritically.

    -School lunches:

    - Food deserts for the urban poor: (If you don't have a car, the supermarket may take an hour to get to on foot...but there's a Timmy Chan's right across the street. You can just smell the grease coming off of a Timmy Chan's from over a block away...)

    -Wealthier people are working more hours and commuting farther to afford McMansions:

    -Soda and sugary drinks:

    -Oversize restaurant portions:

    -An addiction process that is similar to that of opiates and cocaine use:

    -The cheapness of starches versus the expense of fresh veggies (Beans and rice=best caloric bargain for your money. I blew up on beans and rice. Oh, and ramen noodles-to make them vegan, you just make your own seasoning-discard the packet.)

    Funny, I find that letting myself get cold in winter makes me eat like crazy. To maintain my weight the longjohns have to go on whenever it's below 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  19. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    As as a very asthmatic child, now a controlledly wheezy adult:

    Carpet is frigging evil. HATE carpet. HATE it. I have a dust mite allergy-how CAN you get a carpet completely free of allergens? completely sanitized?

    YOU CAN'T.
    (Excuse me for shouting... pet peeve)

    A carpet steamer, which I own, actually encourages the dust mites.

    And one house we lived in as a child? I don't know what the carpet was made out of, but if I did not wear socks on it I would get athlete's-foot like cracks in my toes-I was having a skin reaction to the carpet.

    But my asthma likes air conditioning-which I didn't have until we moved from the northeast to the deep south.

    I think some asthmatics don't like a/c, but a majority do, because while cooling the air, the air conditioner condenses moisture out of said air...and in the process of that particulates get pulled out as well. Like the pollens I'm reactant to.

    Reminds's that time of year to take the window unit to the car-wash, pressure-wash it, and sanitize it for summer.

    Edited: oh, I forgot: I do try to avoid artificial food colorings. I understand Yellow# 5 is especially likely to cause reactions in people.
  20. keith1 Guest

    It is a problem that takes many years for an individual to acquire by practice, and must be stabilized at an early childhood age...

    Back then, my parents read many health issue related data sources, and were able to implement a successful early intervention for myself, as I am fairly fit today. But the data sources available in those days, for young readers (and it is in the young mind that these seeds are implanted), looking back now, were inefficient and limited in scope...Simple examples:

    "...Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
    His wife could eat no lean.
    And so between them both, you see,
    They licked the platter clean...."

    "...I do not like green eggs and ham.
    I do like them, Sam I Am..."
    (Dr. Seuss)

    The State was not held responsible for mandatory parenting prep training,
    yet that could still be interpreted as a failure of the State.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2011
  21. Saerain Registered Member

    I've often wondered if perhaps many, even most, of the people who claim to feel better on organic produce than non-organic produce also happen to be allergic to the flowers from which many insecticides are derived. Aside from the known placebo effect of organic food, I mean. I haven't really seen it looked into. For instance, pyrethrin in a common insecticide derived from pyrethrums, a type of chrysanthemum, and chrysanthemum allergies are very common.
  22. Skeptical Registered Senior Member


    Conventional food that has sprayed with synthetic insecticides is not legally permitted to be harvested and sold until after a proper period. I think it might be 6 weeks?

    Samples of such food are taken by government food safety agencies, and tested for pesticide residues. I have a friend who does this. According to him, about half of all such tests return "too low to be detected", and all the rest are less than one part per million insecticide.

    I think you should stick with placebo, or rather 'psychosomatic illness.'
  23. nicholas1M7 Banned Banned

    That makes me wonder whether or not people should be responsible for themselves. We are driven to commit crimes based on superficial or genuine needs. Needs born out of the illusory identity versus those genuine needs born out of the physical body. To put others in harm's way is to be a victim of one's own animalistic or brute nature. Living conditions are paramount in determining whether we are harmful to ourselves and others or not. With the demand that human health be met for many people it becomes a luck of the draw whether one should be chosen to receive medical help. Death is a natural phenomenon and we should be made aware of it and face it down. That is the only way we could come to our senses and consider the consequences of our actions. This illusory reality is just that... illusory.

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