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Sunday, June 6, 2010

My thoughts on Obesity

There are many interesting things I could talk about on my blog today...

1) Why do they call it "walking pneumonia"? I don't feel like walking. I feel like "laying". Why don't they call it "Knock you on your ass pneumonia"? Much more accurate.
2) What do they put in that dog food? Seriously, my dog can evacuate a country with that flatulence. And why does she insist on laying down next to me before she starts evacuation procedures? I'm slowly being asphyxiated as I write this because of the "Knock you on your ass pneumonia" nailing me to the couch (see #1).
3) What's up with our fat country?

#3 wins.

Strangely, as I'm finally getting around to grading old essays, the topic most on my mind today is obesity. One of the units we discuss every year in English class has to do with the alarming increase in childhood obesity in our nation. Here are some crazy facts:

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control)

2-5 year olds (percentage who are obese)
1980 - 5%
2008 - 10.4%

6-11 year olds
1980 - 6.5%
2008 - 19.6%

12-18 year olds
1980 - 5%
2008 - 18.1%

Crazy, huh? So there are many articles written by extremely intelligent people who differ on their opinions of who is to blame. The parents? The lack of nutritional content offered to make an informed decision? The lack of alternatives to fast food for kids in low-income neighborhoods? (The obesity rate is higher for inner city kids. You can't exactly tell that kid to go outside and ride his bike.) Is it the marketing that combines cute cartoon characters with junk food? The lack of physical exercise in schools? Maybe it's the super-sizing and portion distortion that's making America's waistlines pop at the seams. It's a crazy debate, and not an easy solution.

Nor is this blog a platform for me to rant to you about my political position on this topic; I have none. I can only read the articles and help kids write organized essays about them!

But I find these facts fascinating so I'm going to share.


On the portion distortion topic:

Do you ever wonder why they call the small size at starbucks a "Tall" and why the medium is called "grande"? How annoyed do you get when you say on accident, "Can I have a medium?" only to have the Starbucks barista correct you and say, "A grande?" And you have to say yes, even though everything in your logical mind knows that grande means "large" in every freaking language.

It's because Starbucks hopped on the super-sizing band wagon when they realized it worked. The sizes used to be "Short", "Tall", and "Grande", which totally makes sense. But who wants an 8 ounce nowadays, really? They discontinued the "short" and introduced the "Venti" -- 20 ounces of your sipping pleasure.

They did this case study at Cornell University with some movie-goers watching Mel Gibson's movie "Payback". They gave half of the audience each a large bucket of popcorn, and the other half each received an extra-large bucket. Nobody finished off their bucket, but when the researchers weighed all the leftover popcorn, the group with the extra-large buckets ate 45% more. CRAZY! Therefore proving if you put more in front of us, we're gonna eat more.

And not that our country needs any more financial problems, but between 1987 and 2001, diseases associated with obesity accounted for 27 percent of the increases in medical costs. I won't bore you with all the statistics about how much diseases related to Type 2 Diabetes are currently costing our nation, but do a google search if you're curious.

I have no conclusion to this, no great finale to send you off to the gym, and I'm only writing about this because I went to the movies the other night (saw DATE NIGHT - totally recommend it). While I was there, I noticed they now post the calorie content of your "movie meal".
I love the range of soda calories: oh, between 2.8 and 444.

In case you wanted to add some cheese and bread accessories to your popcorn, coke, and twizzlers, here are some more fat-free numbers:


I guess there are people out there who need clarification that water does in fact contain zero calories. Did anybody else's jaw drop to the floor when you read that nachos are 1400 calories? Whaaa?

In case you're going into hibernation, here's your one stop shop for getting an entire season's worth of calories in one meal.

P.S. I totally almost got kicked out of the movie theater by a 16-year-old concession stand girl who was indignant at me taking pictures of the prices. She made me erase them from my camera... which of course I did, as you can tell.

5 comments:

  1. Lol at the last, P.S. bit!
    I think it's really great that so many American are focusing on obesity- that's the first step.
    And I do think that portion sizing is a big factor. In some coffee shops, I ask to see the "medium" size before I buy-they don't like it (particularly Starbucks!) but it's MY health!
    Good to see you back!

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  2. Good for you, Mimi, checking the size before you buy! :) I've got a great pic for your Ruby Tuesday one of these days if I ever remember to post it!

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  3. Me again! Just popping by to let you know that I’ve moved my blog, so to visit, just click on the link with this comment. Sorry for the bother, the story is on the blog, hope to see you soon!

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  4. I have really enjoyed reading this post.

    Starbucks sizing is ridiculous. I have rarely finished eating or drinking anything in there. Also I have never seen calories being show before (live in the U.K so that was real interesting to read.

    I Think its stupied them getting precious about your taking pictures of the price board.

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  5. Mind boggling Blog!! That was dumbfounding. Your thought planning is incredible. The way you tell the thing is astonishing. You are really a specialist.
    θαμνοκοπτικά μηχανήματα

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