Americans are fat?

  • Thread starter eNtRopY
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  • #51
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nahh.. let's can it. I think we've made enough progress in international relations for one day

I'm sure you're feeling a little "sheepish":wink:
 
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  • #52
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Originally posted by Zantra
Do Europeans obsesss this much about American's health? I mean honestly. Saying "you're fat so hah!" is about what I'd expect in grade school.
That has a reason.The American way of life is the reason they're fat. And that way of life is becoming more and more popular in other countries (I mean, who can resist comfort?). That MUST be stopped.

Other than the fact that we're overweight, does anyone have any VALID issues or generalizations about Americans?
Yes.

A friend of mine (I'm from a European country) got told by an American customs officer that his passport was invalid because no such country existed. He asked for a valid driving license (American, of course, because, as I already said, my country doesn't exist). This case seemed particularly shocking to me because iot was a CUSTOMS OFFICER, but this is certainly not the first time I or someone I know has been shown how absolutely hopeless many Americans are when it comes to geography.

Well, you might have heard what Ambrose Bierce had to say about this: War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.
 
  • #53
kat
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Originally posted by Tail
That has a reason.The American way of life is the reason they're fat. And that way of life is becoming more and more popular in other countries (I mean, who can resist comfort?). That MUST be stopped.
LOl, just so I have this straight...Americans are overweight because they work too many hours, eat poorly and are over-stressed...the stress reduces their productivity output..so they work harder..and longer hours...continuing and escalating a vicious and unhealthy circle..and this is the comfort you're all finding hard to resist?
 
  • #54
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As Kat pointed out, there's a price to pay for everything. Believe me, working 50-60 hours a week under etreme pressure while struggling to just pay the bills is far from a comfortable lifestyle.

Maybe you ought to try it before you knock it:wink:
 
  • #55
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Fast food comes from America, as do all the fancy things that prevent you from doing anything yourself.

And, sorry, I'm not buying it that you work too hard and live so stressful lives. You WOULDN'T be fat (uh, nothing personal, just generally speaking), if it was so.
 
  • #56
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Originally posted by Tail
Fast food comes from America, as do all the fancy things that prevent you from doing anything yourself.

And, sorry, I'm not buying it that you work too hard and live so stressful lives. You WOULDN'T be fat (uh, nothing personal, just generally speaking), if it was so.
None taken since I'm not fat. But I wasn't the one who preposed that being fat was related to overworking and stress. HOWEVER, in the white collar industry, a lot of jobs are desk jobs, so you don't get much exercise. Perhaps another contributing cause is the fact that there are not as many white collar (and thus non-physical) jobs in Europe, and so people DO get more exercise. Not to mention, most people who have a lot of MENTAL stress, don't really feel up to working 12-13 hours, no matter what the job entails physically, and going home and exercising.
 
  • #57
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Originally posted by Zantra
nahh.. let's can it. I think we've made enough progress in international relations for one day

I'm sure you're feeling a little "sheepish":wink:
I actually feel disappointed. I expected more on a science forum. I wasted a lot of time on this "I don't have a problem, you do" topic (isn't denial the first sign?). You didn't take seriously anything I said. You just took it personally, "grade school" style. I forgot you're the smartest grown-up on the planet and I'm just a kid who doesn't know anything about the world he's living in. You live in your universe. It's not built properly but you feel confortable in it just like a horse likes its stables and hence take any criticism personally. Keep it up! Don't change anything. You're perfect.

You're doing 50-60 hours a week? I'll go out on a limb here (again) and ask: are you a programmer? If so, I'll let you know I see this "2-3 hours of sleep per night" type of people everyday. If you'd ask me (don't) it's the worse job one can have.
 
  • #58
LURCH
Science Advisor
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Plugged my numbers nito the calculator. I'm overweight bordering on obese. (You'd be laughing hystarically if you could see me!)
 
  • #59
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Originally posted by Sonty
I actually feel disappointed. I expected more on a science forum. I wasted a lot of time on this "I don't have a problem, you do" topic (isn't denial the first sign?). You didn't take seriously anything I said. You just took it personally, "grade school" style. I forgot you're the smartest grown-up on the planet and I'm just a kid who doesn't know anything about the world he's living in. You live in your universe. It's not built properly but you feel confortable in it just like a horse likes its stables and hence take any criticism personally. Keep it up! Don't change anything. You're perfect.
That hasn't been my intonnation at all. Now see who's putting words in someone else's mouth. I did take what you said very seriously. I acknowledge that some people in the US have a weight problem. And you are right in the statement that it is spreading to the rest of the world. But it isn't the "american way" that is spreading, it is technology. As new technologies such as sattelite tv, computers, and fast food which make everyone's lives easier spread beyond the US, eventually the rest of the world will fall prey to the pitfalls of "comfort". It's not a healthy way to embrace technology, but perhaps in time we'll realize the errors of our ways and integrate health back into society. But not before it encompasses the globe. Yes one day even Romania will have a Macdonalds(if they dont' already) and a computer and cable TV in every household. But wait.. those things are expensive to manufacture, so to pay for them, you'll have to work a little bit harder. Soon your neighbors will start aquiring "stereo equipment" and "DVD players", and hey, you've just GOT to have one too, so you'll work a few extra hours at work. But hey, everyone else wants a DVD player too, so THEY'RE working a little longer hours too. Next thing you know everyone's putting in 50 hour work weeks to pay for all this little conveniences that you've bought on credit that you don't even own. And then one day you realize that all these things you bought to make your life more enriched and easier, you don't even get to enjoy. Because you're working so much to pay for it that you're never home to enjoy them. And of course there's the huge credit card bills that you can never seem to pay off because as soon as you pay them down you're ugrading the PC, or buying a larger TV, or a bigger car. And before you know it you're 50 and you're life has been mostly spent chained to a desk instead of what you really wanted to do. But hey, it's no problem because I've always got that big bag of money under my bed.

Welcome to America- You really want this?

Soon my friend- soon Europe will mirror the US. Maybe even in our lifetimes. And then you'll see that having that big bag of money isn't so cool when you have an even bigger bag of bills on the other side.

You're doing 50-60 hours a week? I'll go out on a limb here (again) and ask: are you a programmer? If so, I'll let you know I see this "2-3 hours of sleep per night" type of people everyday. If you'd ask me (don't) it's the worse job one can have. [/B]
I'm not a programmer, but you're close;) However-all things considered there are many worse jobs to have than programmer:wink:
I never condescended to you. If anything you were the one chiding us "lazy americans". To be blunt, you come off as arrogant to me. For what purpose I do not know. There's a difference between patriotism to one's country and flat out arrogance. Which side of that fine line are you on? Have you noticed that up to this point I haven't once put down Romania, or any of the insults that you're trying to put into my mouth? Let's not do this "my country is better than your country" crap, because we're all human beings here.

And that TWO for international relations
 
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  • #60
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Dear Ladies and Gentlemen...

I was sitting in a restaurant (I am currently in Korea) and it occurred to me why Americans may be fat. This is pure speculation of course. For some reason American food compels me to gorge. When eating Korean food I eat until I'm no longer hungry, maybe a bit more. This has no real bearing on the quality of the food, as I love Korean food, but when me and my friends go to an American restaurant here in Korea, say, Bennigans, we eat a TON. We look around and notice that while our table has ordered appetizers and main courses for each person, all the other tables either share or don't finish their food. Maybe it's the greasiness of the food, I'm not sure. This is speaking from my own personal experience and I am not intending to generalize but I thought it fascinating. The portions given in this country are tiny! So perhaps they're just trained to eat less, whereas if you go to any restaurant in America they give you huge portions of everything.

Just a thought.


-betsy
 
  • #61
100
0
Originally posted by Zantra
That hasn't been my intonnation at all. Now see who's putting words in someone else's mouth. I did take what you said very seriously. I acknowledge that some people in the US have a weight problem. And you are right in the statement that it is spreading to the rest of the world. But it isn't the "american way" that is spreading, it is technology. As new technologies such as sattelite tv, computers, and fast food which make everyone's lives easier spread beyond the US, eventually the rest of the world will fall prey to the pitfalls of "comfort". It's not a healthy way to embrace technology, but perhaps in time we'll realize the errors of our ways and integrate health back into society. But not before it encompasses the globe. Yes one day even Romania will have a Macdonalds(if they dont' already) and a computer and cable TV in every household. But wait.. those things are expensive to manufacture, so to pay for them, you'll have to work a little bit harder. Soon your neighbors will start aquiring "stereo equipment" and "DVD players", and hey, you've just GOT to have one too, so you'll work a few extra hours at work. But hey, everyone else wants a DVD player too, so THEY'RE working a little longer hours too. Next thing you know everyone's putting in 50 hour work weeks to pay for all this little conveniences that you've bought on credit that you don't even own. And then one day you realize that all these things you bought to make your life more enriched and easier, you don't even get to enjoy. Because you're working so much to pay for it that you're never home to enjoy them. And of course there's the huge credit card bills that you can never seem to pay off because as soon as you pay them down you're ugrading the PC, or buying a larger TV, or a bigger car. And before you know it you're 50 and you're life has been mostly spent chained to a desk instead of what you really wanted to do. But hey, it's no problem because I've always got that big bag of money under my bed.
Slaves of your own greed.... Human nature...... Can't battle it.

It's probably arrogance and I think I know why. Some reminents of an older me still exist. Before having a real sit-down with life I considered America an ideal and americans as the idols that created it. You still are the society I have most to learn from and I kind of look up to that. From there to expecting perfection was just a step.
 
  • #62
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9
Isnt it that society is getting lazy? And that the reason why americans are fatter than than any other nation at the moment is because the american society influences others societies mainly european societies very strongly. I know that alot of people are getting very lazy, I have to admit that i havent got on my bike since i passed my driving test whereas before that i used to cycle to college everyday. I think that this happens to most people as soon as they have the option to do something that require less effort then they tend to take it.

And after calculating my height and weight, im not fat.
 
  • #63
740
3
Americans do tend to exercise less. But as Andy alluded to, it's a matter of conveniences. If you have a car, who would bicycle 20 miles to work or school? not many if given the choice. The answer lies in that European nations are not as advanced in transportation systems as the US, so they use biking, walking, and other methods to get around. Honestly, I don't know of anyone over 18 here that doesn't use a car if they have one to go ANYWHERE, unless it involves purely recreational exercise. Combine that with the huge portions americans eat, and there's your answer.

However, the catch is that as sonty mentioned, American influences will soon catch up to Europe, and the roadways will increase, and autos will increase, until no one walks anywhere. Eating habits I can't account for because who knows? But within a few decades, it won't just be an american problem, it will be a world problem.
 
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  • #64
Integral
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Yes, many in the US are over weight, myself included. More then likely this extra weight has several causes. Many in our culture have a heritage of manual labor, with this came eating habits of a manual laboror. This consitst of big high calorie meals, now in many parts of the world this type of meal simply is not possible, there is simply not enough food. Here on the other hand we have more food then we know what to do with. People who live off of fast food (and there are lots) get lots of calories, lots of fat and little nutrition. I think the biggest problem for the US health is simply too much food. As I said above we have a heritage of manual labor, unfortuantly the number of people in the US still doing manual labor has dropped, our eating habits have not followed suit.

The reason I posted my pic upthread is you show you the type of people included in the Obese statistics, do not think that all obese people look like the morbidly obese shown in Monicas pic. You do not have to be that far gone to be obese. If I liked or ate fast food with any regularity I would undoubtly be 50lbs heavier. Then I would look even fatter then I feel.
 
  • #65
55
9
Here's a question, I quite often here people complain about being fat and that whatever they do they cant lose any weight, do you beleive this to be true or do you put this down to there lazyness?
 
  • #66
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I've heard the same complaint from teenage girls who have maybe 3-5 percent body fat on them. That they can't loose weight. It's not a matter of weather they can loose weight or not, but weather or not they can AFFORD to loose weight. You have to account to metabolism. Some people can eat and eat and eat and never gain weight. I have several uncles like this. they can sit down and eat an entire box of cereal, and still have room for dinner. Yet they are super skinny. I have a friend who's 6-3 and maybe 160, and all he eats is fast food and junk food. I've never seen any kind of belly on him, and he never will have one. I on the other hand, have to watch what I eat, and exercise regularly or it catches up with me. Metabolism is a big factor in people's weight.
 
  • #67
eNtRopY
Originally posted by Andy
Here's a question, I quite often here people complain about being fat and that whatever they do they cant lose any weight, do you beleive this to be true or do you put this down to there lazyness?
I don't blame laziness as much as I blame eating habits. I once went for three months eating nothing but boiled vegetables served over steamed rice topped with vegetable oil and little curry powder. Also, once a day, I would eat a can tuna fish. This wasn't a test like Project Monkey Chow, I was just a poor student. Anyway, I believe I was down to 150 lbs. Now, I weigh 160 lbs. The most I've ever weighed is 170 lbs. My point is that the human body is desiged to survive on much less food than we modern humans normally give it.

I believe in the Rinzai and Soto schools of Zen, the practice is to only eat until one is 80% full. I actually do this for the purpose of better health.

eNtRopY
 
  • #68
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Lazy Americans

Zantra said:
Americans do tend to exercise less. But as Andy alluded to, it's a matter of conveniences. If you have a car, who would bicycle 20 miles to work or school? not many if given the choice. The answer lies in that European nations are not as advanced in transportation systems as the US, so they use biking, walking, and other methods to get around. Honestly, I don't know of anyone over 18 here that doesn't use a car if they have one to go ANYWHERE, unless it involves purely recreational exercise. Combine that with the huge portions americans eat, and there's your answer.

However, the catch is that as sonty mentioned, American influences will soon catch up to Europe, and the roadways will increase, and autos will increase, until no one walks anywhere. Eating habits I can't account for because who knows? But within a few decades, it won't just be an american problem, it will be a world problem.
I'm an American who owns a car, yet bicycles 20 miles to work & back each day. I wouldn't have it any other way! I *feel* better when I'm fit; the air tastes better!

Why are Americans fat? Well, it's true; many are. Mostly they are in the eastern states, Michigan in particular. The folks there eat gross amounts of food, primarily milk, hamburger, sodas, & doughnuts; it's horrifying! :yuck: Healthy food is virtually non-existant there! What's more, people there are *beyond* lazy: they *never* exercise, and they even have little electric carts to shuttle their unwieldy flesh-anchors around the shopping mall! :uhh: Too much effort to walk & shop, I guess....

Give me a bicycle girl *anyday*! :devil:
 
  • #69
Evo
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IronGeek said:
Why are Americans fat? Well, it's true; many are. Mostly they are in the eastern states, Michigan in particular<snip>they even have little electric carts to shuttle their unwieldy flesh-anchors around the shopping mall! :uhh: Too much effort to walk & shop, I guess....
Not too fond of Michiganders I take it? :wink:

Welcome to PF, btw. :smile:
 
  • #70
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Americans are ALL fat !
The fittest one will be at least 200, and 5'8 tall, :tongue2:
 
  • #71
Moonbear
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LOL! I don't consider Michigan to be East! I grew up on the East Coast and consider Michigan to be the midwest. Americans tend to be fatter in the middle...meaning the middle states. It seems the two coasts are similar in terms of attitudes about diet and exercise, and everything in between is very different from that. I currently live in the midwest and am shocked and appalled at the number of overweight and obese people I see everywhere! And where can I always count on seeing a cluster of obese people? In the frozen food section of the grocery store. I suspect therein lies the problem. There is a vast availability of pre-packaged, processed, prepared food in the US. That stuff is amazingly high in fat and calories (I just can't even stomach it). I actually walked down an aisle in the grocery store the other day that I rarely walk through, and noticed there is now half an aisle of things like "hamburger helper", which is basically fattening stuff to add to your meat. Why does hamburger need help? Sure, I've heard of it before, but I must have been living in a vacuum or something because I never realized there was more than one kind.

I've visited Europe only twice (once was Britain if they count themselves as Europe ;-)), but I do think the portions are much smaller there (as in, normal sized portions, unlike the meals they serve in restaurants here that I can usually take home enough leftovers for two more meals...appetizers are enough for a full meal for me). Plus, I didn't get the impression that the Europeans ate as many meals in restaurants as Americans do (well, except the Indian restaurants after going to the pub in Britain).

So, I think it's simple, Americans eat too much junk. They also don't seem to count sodas or other sugar-filled drinks toward their daily caloric consumption, so they'll eat a small meal and then follow with a 20 oz soda (or worse, one of those gallon pails with a straw of sugar-stuff from the local convenience store...I don't even know how that volume of liquid can fit into one's stomach). I've seen children walking around with not a bottle of water or a half pint of milk, not even just a can of soda, which I already think is too much for a child, but an entire 2 liter bottle of soda to drink while out walking and playing with friends (and then we wonder why they can't sit still and pay attention in school when they are filled with sugar and caffeine!). What do I see people putting onto the conveyor at the check-out line for the grocery store? Two loaves of white bread, two cases of soda, a few 2 L bottles of fruit drinks (not just juice, but the sugary drinks), two or three boxes of sugary cereals, a package of bacon or sausage, several boxes of frozen dinners, frozen pizzas, frozen breakfast foods (like pancakes or waffles), maybe a bag of frozen french fries, a pile of deli meats, and a couple bags of potato chips (those are crisps to the Brits here) or pretzels, and gotta have a bag of cookies too. You'd be lucky to see a fresh vegetable, or even a bag of frozen vegetables (most likely to be corn, which is probably more a starch than a vegetable in the state it's picked to be frozen). Sometimes there is real meat...some chicken or ground beef to get mixed with that hamburger helper stuff. Oh, don't forget the American cheese (I just don't trust cheese that doesn't require refrigeration). And of course they then have that 1/2 gallon of skim milk, as if the milk was their problem. The truly amazing thing is I suspect many of these people have accomplished the seemingly impossible, to be overweight and malnourished at the same time. Unless they are taking vitamin supplements, I can't see how that food they are buying results in any sort of balanced diet. I don't have any evidence for that, it's just hard to believe otherwise based on what I see people buying.
 
  • #72
740
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IronGeek said:
I'm an American who owns a car, yet bicycles 20 miles to work & back each day. I wouldn't have it any other way! I *feel* better when I'm fit; the air tastes better!

Why are Americans fat? Well, it's true; many are. Mostly they are in the eastern states, Michigan in particular. The folks there eat gross amounts of food, primarily milk, hamburger, sodas, & doughnuts; it's horrifying! :yuck: Healthy food is virtually non-existant there! What's more, people there are *beyond* lazy: they *never* exercise, and they even have little electric carts to shuttle their unwieldy flesh-anchors around the shopping mall! :uhh: Too much effort to walk & shop, I guess....

Give me a bicycle girl *anyday*! :devil:
Ok being a native Michigander, I have to defend my home state. First, you're generalizing. There are fat people there and skinny people there, and everything in between, just like anywhere on earth. you're generalizing. I see fat people in California too. People eat doughnuts hamburgers and sodas here in California as well. The difference is that people here get out more because of the weather, and thus get more exercise.
 
  • #73
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My trip to Michigan...

...was, admittedly, brief & limited. But the family I visited just shocked me! :eek: Sitting at the dinner table, I felt like I was on a feedlot! And I'm a big eater too!

Sorry for singling out Michigan, (to Californians, everything past Colorado is "eastern" :tongue2:) but that's just where my most vivid encounter of American gluttony arose. That's all...

IG


Zantra said:
Ok being a native Michigander, I have to defend my home state. First, you're generalizing. There are fat people there and skinny people there, and everything in between, just like anywhere on earth. you're generalizing. I see fat people in California too. People eat doughnuts hamburgers and sodas here in California as well. The difference is that people here get out more because of the weather, and thus get more exercise.
 
  • #74
adrenaline
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I think it is just a representation of increasing urbanization... this study looks at urban Mexican (still living in native Mexico) vs. Mexican Americans and the obesity rates are similar. Thus, I don't think this is just a matter of becoming "Americanized". http://www.obesityresearch.org/cgi/content/full/8/2/179#T2

I think, overall, we also have piss poor mass transportation, compared to Europe (which would involve some minimal form of passive excercise walking to the train/metro station daily) instead, our highways and roads connect workplaces and shopping areas and we provide very little in terms of accessable mass transportation. I look at Atlanta vs. New York subways system. It is a joke down here.

I also agree that we need to bike more, Iron Geek. I bike commute 30 miles 3 days a week and drive the rest. Welcome fellow bike commuter!
 
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  • #75
Moonbear
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Regarding biking to work...that's easy when you live in urban areas or near universities where there are plenty of bike paths and bike lanes on the roads. The rest of the US roads are just not meant to be shared with bikes. I think people on bikes are truly risking their neck to get out onto many roads that are too narrow for a car to get around them and no shoulder to get out of the way (of course when driving, I also wish they'd get out of the middle of the road if the speed limit is over 20 mph...unless they're training for the Tour de France, they aren't going to be peddling that fast and I want to be able to pass them safely!).

I used to live in Michigan, and it's like many parts of the midwest, there does seem to be a much higher proportion of overweight people there, and a noticeably higher proportion of obese people. I think it has a lot to do with the selections in the grocery stores there. When living there, I found it next to impossible to find decent food in the grocery stores. Things I considered perfectly ordinary foods could only be found in the expensive health food stores! I had no problem staying thin because I just couldn't find food I was willing to eat.

I really don't think it's just mass transportation to blame though. Poor food choices is still a big problem. And people do tend to be just plain lazy. I live about two and a half blocks from a video rental store. My neighbors would drive there rather than walk the two blocks! Recently, there was a festival near my house, about a half mile walk...I didn't even think twice about inviting my friends to park at my house (no street parking much closer) and walk over with me. My Brazilian friends didn't mind at all, this seemed a great idea. My American friends would rather pay to park in the parking lot next to the festival. But I grew up in a family where my grandfather would walk to the grocery store if they just needed one or two items. They only drove if they needed to do the month's shopping to stock up on heavy items like canned goods and laundry detergents.

I also think people on the coasts burn more energy walking than people in the midwest...it's a lifestyle difference. On the east coast (and when around my Californian friends too), I walk at about an average to slower pace (short legs...can't walk any faster)...now that I'm in the midwest, people are always telling me to slow down, don't be in such a hurry. I'm not in a hurry, I just can't physically make myself walk as excruciatingly slowly as the people around here walk! It just feels unnatural to me.
 

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