December 13, 2007

"If we went back to the obesity rates that existed in 1980, that would save the Medicare system a trillion dollars."

Said Barack Obama at today's Democratic debate. That sounds absurd to me. But let me be fair. He prefaced that assertion with the phrase "it's estimated." Oh, estimated. Well, then. He wants to "emphasize how important prevention and cost savings can be." I get it. The plan is to get the government to pay for all sorts of routine health care for everyone, and we're supposed to think it will actually save money. But the truth is that going to the doctor more is not going to solve our fatness problem. If it did, we'd be paying now for the treatment (not that we wouldn't like the government to reimburse us). The false hope of a solution to obesity and a promise of illusory savings is being used to soften us up for massive spending on health care. I'm estimating.

Then Bill Richardson tells us that 33% of Medicare costs are "related to" diabetes. Conclusion: "We've got to have an elimination, as I did in New Mexico, of junk food in schools. We need to have mandatory phys ed." He's waggling his pudgy fingers at us and his blubbery neck wobbles all over the place while he speaks. He's wearing an elegant blue-gray tie that slopes way out over his big belly. The seniors are soaking up too much money, so... quick take those potato chips away from that kid. Make him do some pushups! Like we did in New Mexico.

ADDED: I'm getting a kick out of watching the graph at the side of the screen that shows the instantaneous reaction of liberals and moderates. It's most fun when the lines suddenly diverge, like when Richardson said "mandatory phys ed." Here's my instantaneous reaction to that (from an IM conversation):
it's like... oh, no, he wants to make me do pushups...

dems are: great, make that kid do pushups

moderates hear: he wants to tell me what to do

liberals hear: he's going to improve things

81 comments:

SteveR said...

They are going to take potato chips from us for the common good.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann - when you look at pictures from the 1930's-1960's, you hardly see many obese people. It's astounding actually. I am just saying and am not commenting on Obama's claim.

As to Richardon, it is a fact the Hispanic diet is full of white foods and that means this group tends to be more obese and prone to diabetes than other groups. So I believe Richardson is full of soup.

Ann Althouse said...

I certainly agree that people have gotten much fatter. I remember when I was growing up in the 1950, there was one woman in the neighborhood whom we considered "the fat lady." I've looked at pictures of her from back then and she's not very fat. Maybe a size 20. But she seemed to be a distinctly different type of person than everyone else. She'd be ordinary today.

knoxwhirled said...

He's waggling his pudgy fingers at us and his blubbery neck wobbles all over the place while he speaks.

lol!

Steven said...

What's funny about all this is that back in the days when there were fewer obese people, we ate in what people today would think of as a much less healthy fashion. As many have begun to point out, it's the (I believe) mistaken obsession with eating a low-fat diet (the benefits of which are now being more openly challenged) that has caused average weight to rise, as people substitute carbohydrates for fat.

George said...

All my kids want for Xmas are electronic toys. They have strong fat-free fingers!

Does anyone really make a voting decision based on any candidate's health care policy platform?

Inflation has been running wild for several years now.

And the sub-prime debacle is sucking much life out of the economy.

When will some candidate ask, "Are you better off now than you were four/eight years ago?"

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

"Does anyone really make a voting decision based on any candidate's health care policy platform?"

Yeah, Democrat primary voters do. "Healthcare reform" and "single-payer health care system" routinely get the biggest applause at Democrat campaign rallies,conventions (state or national), union meetings or anywhere else folks who want other folks to take financial responsibility for their lives gather.

For Republican primary voters, not so much.

Middle Class Guy said...

I want the same health care the Senate and House members have. Unlimited, unrestrained, any doctor, any hospital, any clinic in the world. All for free. They are servants of the people, yet they get health care programs that rival anything we could buy for ourselves- unless we all were mulit-millionaires.

If they want my tax dollars to fund universal health care then either I get their health care plan, or they are reduced to the same health care plan they foist upon us.

If they get in, we will not have a health care system, we will have a death care system, for you will die before you get treatment. I guess then they will demand that the government fund universal funeral insurance.

Jeremy said...

Middle Class Guy continues, "Also I'd like the same salary as the average representative or senator. And vacation/holiday schedule. Throw in some of those flag pins, too. Maybe a couple of evites to a State dinner now and then."

Titusluvsu said...

Speaking of chubby has anyone seen the picture of the Hucakbee family Christmas Car? It was from a Christmas card they sent out a few years back when he was governor of Arkansas.

The boys, who are huge, and Huck have awful matching shirts. And worst of all their dog is not rare or even interesting and the wife is holding it by it's neck.

Hi fellow republicans, how is eveyone tonight? Just got back from my travels.

So do we have a date in Madison Althouse when I am there for the holidays? Fabulous dindin, drinkys, cute blouses, shoes that cost more than most people's monthly mortgages, gossip, maybe dancing afterwards, and no worries of any hanky panky. What more could a girl want????

vnjagvet said...

Inflation has been running wild for several years now.

George:

Where on earth are you getting your figures?

Here are the figures for the first six years Clinton v. Bush:

Source: http://inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Calculators/InflationCalculator.asp#results

The inflation rate from January 1993 to January 1999 is 15.22%

The inflation rate from January 2001 to January 2007 is 15.60%

Scarcely a large difference.

Titusluvsu said...

Middle Class Guy continues, "Also I'd like the same salary as the average representative or senator.


I think house/senate members make something like $175,000/year. For those of us living in NYC that is not a great income. You would be able to afford a nice little one bedroom-in Harlem.

Ann Althouse said...

Titusluvsu said..."So do we have a date in Madison Althouse when I am there for the holidays? Fabulous dindin, drinkys, cute blouses, shoes that cost more than most people's monthly mortgages, gossip, maybe dancing afterwards, and no worries of any hanky panky. What more could a girl want????"

Well, I'm trying to put together a Madison meetup, so email me.

Titusluvsu said...

I want a special dindin with just the two of us.

I am thinking really expensive.

Some of the other commenters may not be able to afford it which would be unfortunate but yet somewhat comforting.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I want pictures of the shoes :p

Palladian said...

"Some of the other commenters may not be able to afford it which would be unfortunate but yet somewhat comforting."

New money people are so fucking tiresome.

Trooper York said...

Just so long as they aren't ruby red slippers.

rcocean said...

moderates hear: he wants to tell me what to do

liberals hear: he's going to improve things


LoL!

Revenant said...

Inflation has been running wild for several years now.

"Running wild"? It was 3.24% last year. In the 25 years since the crazy era of "stagflation" ended, inflation has averaged 3.12%. Its average over the six years of the Bush presidency? Granted, 3.24% is higher than the Bush average of 2.90%, but claims that inflation is "running wild" are silly -- and claims that it has been doing so for "several years now" are flat-out ridiculous.

And the sub-prime debacle is sucking much life out of the economy.

Out of some sectors of it, anyway.

When will some candidate ask, "Are you better off now than you were four/eight years ago?"

Well, they could ask me. Of course, the answer would be "absolutely". I suspect it would be for most people, if they were honest with themselves.

Revenant said...

I think house/senate members make something like $175,000/year. For those of us living in NYC that is not a great income.

For people with the credentials and drive of the typical House member it is a pretty *lousy* income, especially considering the long hours and travel involved in keeping it.

Personally I'd like to see Congressional salaries raised dramatically -- to $5,000,000 a year, say. That would diminish the effect of lobbyists and campaign contributions and attract a wider range of people to the job (e.g., some of those who place a lesser value on power-for-its-own-sake).

It would cost an extra $2 billion a year, but I think we'd save more than that on earmarks alone.

SMGalbraith said...

"If we went back to the obesity rates that existed in 1980, that would save the Medicare system a trillion dollars."

And (I guess) if we went back to the mortality rates of the 1980s, we could save a (estimated) trillion dollars too.

More seriously, if one favors a public policy to address a social problem, don't be surprised if government winds up regulating that problem.

And regulating the problems that emerge from those regulations.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Some French guy in the 1830s said something along those lines; but what did he know?

SMG

Titusluvsu said...

"Some of the other commenters may not be able to afford it which would be unfortunate but yet somewhat comforting."

New money people are so fucking tiresome."

I completely agree. I hate not being a blue blood. It is so demeaning.

My friends do call me nouveau riche-I hate that. I want to be old money. It smells and looks so much better. The rest of us are always fighting to catch up and it is nearly impossible to fight all of the years of old money's breeding.

No they are not ruby slippers trooper. I thought you knew me better than that? I am not a queen in that way. My clothes choices are tasteful. Everything is understated. People with a good eye on design would appreciate them but the rest wouldn't notice anything extraordinary. Everything is muted in terms of colors, fit,choices and accessories. The most someone may notice is a nice belt or amazing watch or customized fit.

If you have to ask they would be Prada boots that end at the ankle and have zippers down the side. Price tag.....

Titusluvsu said...

"Personally I'd like to see Congressional salaries raised dramatically -- to $5,000,000 a year"

Wow, I would run for that kind of money. I could see it raised to somewhere around $500,000 a year.

I always wondered how they paid for all their trips back home most weekends for $175,000 a year. Are those trips paid by the reps or by us?

I generally have a difficult time speaking with others that are not well into the six digit figures annually.

Actually, I don't know anyone in New York City that I am friends with that aren't making well into 6 digits. Most everyone's mortgage I know is know is between 4000-5000 plus 700-2000 condo fees. It would actually be really difficult to get by, unless they lived in say Red Hook-which I read in New York Magazine has not expected the gentrification they were hoping for. Some of their fabulous restaurants have closed. I went there once and I like kind of grungy areas but I am sorry that was too grungy and far from the city.

Titusluvsu said...

Why are people fatter now? Back in the 50's I thought they generally ate worse than today? I am thinking of the movie Pleasantville's breakfast.

Revenant said...

Why are people fatter now?

We eat more and engage in less physical activity.

downtownlad said...

Dumb question, but in which states is gym class NOT mandatory for public school students?

George said...

Re: Why Do I Think Inflation is Worse Than Uncle Sam Says It Is

Random comments...

a) My gut...

I no longer want to carry any pocket change...

I find over and over I'm buying high priced junk at Lowes, Staples, Sam's...wood pencils that won't sharpen, screws that aren't made out of metal, clothes that fall apart, plumbing fixtures that are poorly machined.

b) Price of gold..tripled in the past 4-5 years

c) The CPI is designed to exclude lots of stuff whose prices are rising...Here's a Bloomberg editorial on the subject....and here's a NYT edit. on the subject, too.

d) AVERAGE PRICE OF GALLON OF MILK
2003: $2.44
Percent increase: 64%
Today: $4

e) Finally, my monthly insurance premium will rise about 15% in January, as it has done every year for the past 5+ years.

Clearly, I'm no economist, but I don't believe the govt's numbers. I don't think anyone running for President wants to talk about this issue, because I don't think anyone has a solution, except to push the problem on past the elections...keep cutting rates...keep the banks afloat...let the new Pres. deal with it in 2009...

Joe said...

First, the notion that we are much fatter now simply isn't held up by actual statistics.

Second, obesity rates have gone down in the past ten years.

Third, people above a BMI of 25 are healthier on average (in all but two categories) than those below. Perversely, this makes Obama correct--the "overweight" recover from surgeries faster and a simply live longer than the "underweight".

It continually amazes me that we are healthier and live longer than ever before in history, but somehow how we are living is bad.

(And anyone who says that eating McDonald's is less healthy than my mother's cooking in the 60s and 70s is just plain nuts. Then there are the barf inducing school lunches. I don't even try and eat far healthier than my father did at my age just a few decades earlier.)

vnjagvet said...

Forget about evidence, George. Feelings are ok, I guess.

I know that Bill Clinton still feels your pain. I am not sure about Hillary!

Bilby said...

Unfortunately, very few states require daily physical education in grades K-12. In an era when increasing obesity and rising healthcare costs are threatening our competitive advantage and national security, we are cutting the very programs that could help reverse this trend. That’s why the the American Heart Association is working in every state and at the federal level to require that quality physical education be offered in all grades. link

In 2003, only 55.7% of high school students were enrolled in a PE class, only 28.4% were attending PE class daily, and only 39.2% were physically active during PE class. In addition, female students and students in higher grades were consistently at greatest risk for not reaching the national health objectives for PE. link

Chip Ahoy said...

Sane people hear: another case for home schooling.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But the truth is that going to the doctor more is not going to solve our fatness problem.

The truth is no one gets off their ass and does any kind of physical activity. How about not eating everything in sight? If you can't find 30 minutes each day to do some moderate exercise then there is a problem with your life. Get off the couch, turn of The Oprah and go for a walk. When eating out, split a meal with your spouse, date, whatever cause what you order at the vast majority of restaurants can easily feed two people. Mrs. Hoosier and I have been doing that for years and it saves money to boot.

Use a little willpower. I know that's an alien concept in our victim hood society today but it does work.

Henry said...

I was thinking of something that Joe said, so I'll angle in from a different direction.

The longer people live in retirement, the more goverment programs for retirees will cost.

Perhaps Obama is talking about some kind of aggregated cost per person per year -- in which case, the savings are fantasy projections. If you don't pay for the last year of life for someone this year, you've just put off the inevitable.

Or perhaps, Obama is using 1980s actuarial data, back in the days when people died when they were supposed to.

Now the answer isn't gym class -- the answer is to take away people's cars. Public transportation makes people walk more.

Titusluvsu said...

I would definitley do Obama. He has a great smile and I bet he has an amazing hog.

Revenant said...

a) My gut...

We can skip that one.

b) Price of gold..tripled in the past 4-5 years

This is one of many reasons why the a gold standard is a horrible idea -- the price of gold fluctuates all over the place for reasons having nothing to do with the economy.

c) The CPI is designed to exclude lots of stuff whose prices are rising

Inflation calculations exclude items which are extremely sensitive to large changes in supply and demand, and therefore to large changes in price that have nothing to do with the value of a dollar. The price of oil, for example, has shot up not because of inflation, but because demand for oil is outstripping supply.

d) AVERAGE PRICE OF GALLON OF MILK

See above, re: supply and demand. Also note that the price of milk is very sensitive to transportation expensives, which (due to the increased demand for fuel) have gone up.

e) Finally, my monthly insurance premium will rise about 15% in January, as it has done every year for the past 5+ years.

If you want to say that insurance premiums are out of control, you're on much firmer ground. :)

Revenant said...

Wasting tax money on PE is stupid. You don't need a salaried, unionized government employee to explain to kids how to run in circles, do exercises, and throw balls at stuff. Any parent is capable of doing that during the many hours the kid spends outside of school.

If you're worried about kids meeting national objectives, take the money you would have spent on PE and give it to any students who can meet the official criteria. You can do N push-ups in 5 minutes? Congrats, kid, here's eighty bucks.

downtownlad said...

Only 28.4% of students attend gym class daily? I'm sorry but that's insane.

Really - this should not be that controversial. Are Republicans so fat and lazy now that the idea of students going to gym class horrifies them? I guess so.

I think that Math and English and History and Science should be "mandatory" as well. Oh yes - go and call me anti-freedom now.

George said...

I would not expect you to trust my gut instincts, but I do...

In China....Rising food and oil prices lifted November's consumer price index 6.9 percent from the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That is well above the government's inflation target of 3 percent and was the biggest increase since 1996, according to Xinhua.

Hmm....6.9 percent. I ask myself...how accurately can the Chinese govt. calculate inflation and how honestly does it want to report its domestic inflation?

Probably not very honestly. Maybe inflation in China is 10 percent or more...you know that's getting passed on to us.

I think we are paying more today for products that are less well made than they were 10 years ago.

And I hope none of those products are used in jet engines.

Titusluvsu said...

tits

PatCA said...

Maybe all those fat people should start smoking again.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It's getting to where an average middle-class family has to struggle to put gold on the table.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Hey, all of a sudden I'm a Blogger! Do I get to have a vortex of my very own?

Blake said...

Yeah, Paul, I'm jealous of Rev, he seems to be the only one not blessed with the "blogger" title.

Inflation has seemed worse to me lately, too, but in part it's the price of milk, up over a dollar in the past year.

I'm pretty sure that's due to the f*cking ethanol, though.

Blake said...

Ahhhh. P.E.

Dropped out of it every year until I had to do it to graduate.

At the time I was spending four hours a day, minimum, practicing martial arts. On a report card full of As, I think I got a C in Phys Ed. Tell me why I needed to experience the cattle call that is publicly mandated exercise?

Besides, they'll do to exercise what they've done to math: Make people hate it.

Ralph said...

the price of milk is very sensitive to transportation expensives
Also, fescue seed and corn have doubled in two years, fertilizer nearly so.

People eat more restaurant food than they did in 1980 and fewer smoke, as PatCA pointed out. Didn't someone calculate that tobacco produced a net savings to the Fed Govt by shortening/eliminating retirement and Medicare outlays.

Blake said...

I have to wonder how much a $5M salary would reduce corruption. It should be $5M, but you have to pay for everything. You can't be flying on lobbyist-paid junkets and the like.

But I think a man who can be bought at a $60K salary can probably be bought at $5M, though perhaps not as cheaply.

On the other hand, they'd still have to be elected, and election itself would become extremely valuable as opposed to a means to an end.

Synova said...

People didn't *used* to get up off their butts and do physical activity either.

They went to *work*.

If we throw out our information driven economy and put everyone back to work doing the jobs they used to have we wouldn't be FAT.

My brother is not fat. My brother has ripped abs and veiny biceps and he never goes to the gym. He's a general contractor and spends all day nearly every day either hauling tile or pounding nails or moving lumber or...

If we all did this, we'd all have his physique. But we don't. Instead of going to work we have to "get out and do physical activities" in our non-existant spare time and which usually costs more than our budgets can easily stand (instead of making money).

We don't eat more than people used to eat. If you burn calories working (rather than during a 30 minute paid gym visit) you eat. Lots. Piles of eggs and sausage or maybe pancakes with real butter and syrup for breakfast and by lunch you're ready for a couple helpings of whatever's cooking, and meat and potatoes and butter and whole milk...

Eight or more hours a day of actual *labor* is not going to be replaced by a gym membership.

Synova said...

How and in what universe DTL, is Public Education dominated by Republicans?

Joan said...

Daily P.E. is a pipe dream. My kids' school (a charter) schedules P.E. three times a week for each class, kindergarten through eighth grade. At the public middle school (6,7,8th grades) attended by one of my good friend's son, P.E. is an elective. And that particular school is considered one of the best in town.

I like my kids' PE classes. They learn to play actual sports and drill for several weeks before they get into playing games. In other words, they actually learn about what they're doing. And the kids get graded on it as well -- on effort, not talent or ability -- something that pisses off a lot of parents. Not all PE classes are useless.

As to going back to the obesity rate in 80s, I think what we need to do is go back to the diets we ate before the introduction of hydrogenated oils and corn syrup, and we need to stop eating so many refined carbohydrates. Hungry? Have some steak, it's good for you. Seriously.

The single biggest change in our diets has come about because people listened to all that preaching from the government and the AHA about how dietary fat was making us fat and sick. They were wrong, and now we (as a society) are suffering as a result. How long until they fess up and admit they were wrong? It's ridiculous.

Revenant said...

Maybe inflation in China is 10 percent or more...you know that's getting passed on to us.

How exactly does one go about "passing on" inflation from one country to another one?

Chinese inflation just means that each individual yuan buys less. It doesn't raise the cost of any Chinese products in FOREIGN currencies -- if it takes 20 yuan to buy what 10 yuan bought five years ago, the exchange rate will have adjusted so that a dollar today buys twice as many yuan as it did five years ago. It is a little more complicated than that, of course (since the dollar inflates too), but basically inflation just affects the prices of things within the specified currency.

The Chinese are "passing on" their price increases only in the sense that they are chasing after some of the same imports (e.g., oil and food) that we are, and that increased demand raises prices for everybody. But they're not "passing" those prices to us -- they're causing them directly. :)

Revenant said...

Yeah, Paul, I'm jealous of Rev, he seems to be the only one not blessed with the "blogger" title

I showed up as having one -- to me, at least. Maybe your blogs have to be public for other people to see them.

Now the "Blogger" has been replaced with a little logo. Much easier on the eyes.

Kirk Parker said...

Rev,

The little logo is indeed better, but alas it only shows up on the comments page. On the full page, you still get "Blogger" in front of each commenter's name. Useless (we're all bloggers on this bus!) and distracting.

Mr. Forward said...

Pardon me as I attempt to tie two themes in this thread together. George may be on to something with his gut theory. I've noticed my belly has been growing also, but I never considered it might be a leading economic indicator. But is it forecasting inflation or Gross National Product? Time will tell.

George said...

Higher wages and new environmental regulations, along with higher raw- materials prices, are pushing up the costs of manufacturing in China. That will lead to higher prices for the clothing, toys, electronics and other products the nation exports, said economists, manufacturers and others involved in the China trade....Intnl. Herald Tribune...

Long article in Time about China's inflationary effect on the US economy...

Former U.S. central-bank chairman Alan Greenspan has been emphasizing that prices for Chinese exports have started to rise, which will contribute to a revival of global inflation. Ben Simpfendorfer, China strategist for the Royal Bank of Scotland, puts it succinctly: "Where China was a deflationary
influence over the last 10 years, it will be an inflationary influence over the next 10 years."

It does also say that economists disagree about this...

KG2V said...

Oh, I love when I hear "the CPI is designed to remove the volate sectors" - Yeah, but that's where A LOT of the average American's money goes - Heating fuel, Electricity, gas for the car, food - Gee, let's exclude them, and see the inflation rate.

NO - that may be useful on a "week by week", but when I'm comparing this year, to say 3 years ago, and we are talking average for the year - the number is already smoothed

As for raised congressional salaries to make them less prone to being bought - hah

I have a MUCH better idea - Originally (and constiutionally) we had one Member of the house for every 30K in population, and until 1911, that's what it was. The decided to limit the number so they could continue to fit in the existing chamber

That means, today, a Member of the house approx 690,000 people!

I believe that this has had many unintended consequences - The members of the House were supposed to be somewhat like the people they Represent

Let's go back to the 30K:1 ratio - Bring the house up to 10K members - Impractical? OK, Make it 5K members of the house. Cut their salaries in 1/2, and away we go.

Members might actually have to serve 1-2 terms and then go back to work at a real job

It'd be a lot easier to influence ONE member, but a heck of a lot harder to influence 50%+1

MadisonMan said...

I do not like the blogger id.

brake said...

"If we throw out our information driven economy and put everyone back to work doing the jobs they used to have we wouldn't be FAT."

....hmmm, that sounds familiar. Didn't a fellow named Pol Pot give that a try once.

Michael said...

Only 28.4% of students attend gym class daily? I'm sorry but that's insane.

Really - this should not be that controversial. Are Republicans so fat and lazy now that the idea of students going to gym class horrifies them? I guess so.


For what it's worth, I went to elementary school in the 80s, and we only had PE/gym class once a week. Of course, we did have a daily activity called "recess", which burned more energy than any PE class ever did. FWIW, the lack of a daily PE class didn't stop me from learning how to exercise as an adult either.

EnigmatiCore said...

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.

I have a feeling that come election day 2008, a lot of people will be thinking "I don't know why I came here tonight."

Andrew said...

The CPI includes food & energy and has been well-behaved. Year-over-year it was about 6% in late 1989 and 2-4% since then. It was about 12% in late 1980.

There is a separate measure for CPI ex-food and energy. This centered around 4% from 1983 to 1990 and has been around 2% since 1997.

Paddy O. said...

I do not like the blogger id.

Blogger MM, I feel like it's the equivalent of 'comrade' in the Google Kingdom.

All bloggers are equal. Some bloggers are more equal than others.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Oh, I love when I hear "the CPI is designed to remove the volate sectors"

Me too: it means I have another opportunity to slap down this urban legend. The CPI does include energy and food prices; there's an alternative measure called "core CPI" that doesn't, but it's not the one that reporters are talking about when they say "inflation rate" or "CPI", and it's not the one that's used to determine COLAs.

MadisonMan said...

Comrades:

The problem with the lack of PE in schools is that it sometimes goes hand in hand with a lack of recess. Expecting a child to sit still and not burn off energy for hours at a time is a recipe for disaster.

I don't know of any fatsos in my neighborhood. I think they all live in Fitchburg.

Cedarford said...

Then Bill Richardson tells us that 33% of Medicare costs are "related to" diabetes. Conclusion: "We've got to have an elimination, as I did in New Mexico, of junk food in schools. We need to have mandatory phys ed." He's waggling his pudgy fingers at us and his blubbery neck wobbles all over the place while he speaks. He's wearing an elegant blue-gray tie that slopes way out over his big belly. The seniors are soaking up too much money, so... quick take those potato chips away from that kid. Make him do some pushups! Like we did in New Mexico.

1. Richardson, like with his assertion that he could easily have all US troops out of Iraq in a month, just makes up stupidities as he goes along. 33% of medicare costs are not due to diabetes. Not close.

2. Beware whenever you hear an advocacy group claim X number of auto accidents are "alcohol related", X number of rapes are from "patriarchal preconceptions". 1st, many of these advocacy groups make up their math stats. 2nd, "related" does not mean causal or even contributory causal in even a minor way to the event.

MADD and their "alcohol-rated" claims are the most notorious and dishonest. But the "related" tactic can be used to drag almost anything into an undesirable accident or event. Did you know that 80% of airplane accidents are gay-related? It's true! Based on a gay passenger or crew being "involved" in the crash. Would an effort to rid the skies of gay fliers have any effect on reducing crashes, aside from the descriptor "gay-related crashes"? Of course not.

3. In the 90s, my kids were active "machines" in sports and all about things...we fed them all they wanted to eat and they stayed skinny. Drop the crap they grazed on, and they conked out from lack of fuel. They devoured snack food, fast food, decent prepared food, gourmet food...it didn't matter...it was all good to them.

Richardson wants to ban "bad food" - meaning he wants to follow the Fed's nutrition Nazis in following the bad science "food pyramid" and pushing "healthy high fructose corn syrup fruit juices" loaded with "nutrition" on the little porkers.

Making Richardson another idiot who doesn't understand the food pyramid and pushing the 230 calorie a shot fruit juice boxes instead of "empty nutrition diet soda" are big causes of the fat kids. And who doesn't understand that 60% of the kids in school are like mine - active enough that they can eat whatever they want, when they want, how much they want.

4. Phys Ed is long-rooted in gymnasia, both in classic times and in modern ed. All the European and Asian countries that outperform America in education (most of them) have phys ed. But a lot of parents and kids HATE phys ed here because of the way it is taught and graded in America. (All too frequently, it is where jocks and jocks who become teachers enforce their pecking order)

One of my few hard interventions in my kids schooling was over my daughter getting a "D" during the time she was taught girl's softball. Before that, she was very into sports and was a good runner and "outdoorsy" active kid. She had a lazy eye, tried her absolute best, but sucked at hitting and fielding. The instructor belittled her. I got the grade moved up to a "B" after some very curt discussions with the school - but my daughter was bitter about the teacher's ridicule and hated phys ed from that time onwards.

5. Richardson is of a certain body type. Athletic (AAA baseball), but disposed to fat. He can be healthy but have "padded" poundage. He should be more aware, as a Dem wishing to impose food choices and other matters of "politically correct lifestyle" on others - that one body image does not fit all. Not all humans are ectomorphs like Snoop Doggy and is 5% body fat, 0% common sense lifestype, or Mesomorphs like "Suzy All Sports" jockettes. Watching some endomorphs swim, hike 6 miles up a Colorado mountain leaving chisled body types in the dust...THAT sort of "fat, obese" person with big thighs, butts, bellies, and an "inch pinch" of skin is actually on average the healthiest and longest-lived of any body type.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"If we throw out our information driven economy and put everyone back to work doing the jobs they used to have we wouldn't be FAT."

Yes of course because prior to the advent of computers, there were no office jobs, just manual labor.

Der Hahn said...

Somebody may want to introduce Obama to another statistic. In 1980, the median age in the US was 30. In 2000, it had increased more than 5 years to 35.3.

People tend to get heavier as they get older, and I don't think the increase can be laid entirely on external forces such as processed foods. Metabolism rates decline as we age, and accumulated wear and tear makes vigourus exercise more difficult.

PE for school kids and the other handwaving you all are doing isn't going to change the fact that the US population getting heavier because the Baby Boomers are changing from being skinny youngsters to old fat geezers.

Roger said...

I would suggest the diabetes issue is also related to genetics: There is an increasing rate of hispanics of mexican (primarily mestizo)origin in the US. This population carries a gene from native american populations that increases the risk of diabetes for those with that gene. The diet is clearly a issue, but the genetic component of diabetes via the native american genome is compelling.

Dave said...

Synova, I think you're forgetting that all those unionized teachers (NEA and AFT) are pretty much 100% Republican, and social conservative Bible-pounding ones, too. They're the ones who don't want to let little Dakota and Kal-el get any exercise so they'll grow up and be fat Republicans too.

DTL is *never* wrong about this stuff.

Melinda said...

I don't know about what this country should do, but I know I want to get back to my obesity rate of 1980.

AllenS said...

You’ll take my potato chips when you pry them from my cold dead greasy fingers!

shrinkette said...

Hi, Ann. I think Obama is right about the cost of obesity to Medicare. Obesity contributes to a higher risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, degenerative arthritis, and some cancers. Each of those conditions has costly complications of its own. Think of the heart surgeries for the cardiac patients. The knee replacement surgeries for knees that can't support a person's weight anymore. And think of the numerous potential complications of diabetes (blindness, amputation, infections, metabolic derangements) and the cost of cancer chemotherapy. Non-obese patients have these problems too, but obesity does increase the risk significantly.

PatCA said...

Why don't we just shoot everybody over 62? That would save Medicare even more bajillions!

We could offer an exemption for the death tax if you volunteered (something for the right, something for the left).

Revenant said...

An even simpler solution than offering PE is to refuse to cover obesity-related illnesses under Medicare.

Synova said...

"33% of medicare costs are not due to diabetes. Not close."

To be fair, it may be true here in New Mexico. Diabetes is rampant among Native Americans, particularly those in the desert South-West. It seems possible that whatever contributes to diabetes in these populations also contributes to survival on extremely low calorie diets.

The thing about that is that for many Native Americans a diet sufficient to slim them down is a starvation diet to anyone else.

Not that I'm the least bit interested in defending Richardson but the stats he's most familiar with may be regional ones.

Parker Smith said...

We need to require people to smoke heavily - then they'll die off both younger and skinnier.

Dumping seat belt and helmet laws will help, too.

And make sure every kid gets lots of Chinese toys!

Finally, do weird things with fuel efficiency standards to try and maximize collisions between light and heavy vehicles.

Oh, we've got that last one in place? Fine, then!

Blake said...

Non-obese patients have these problems too, but obesity does increase the risk significantly.

I thought it just came out that fatter people generally have fewer health problems than the skinnier ones, with diabetes and one other thing being an exception.

Titusluvsu said...

I got horny reading about Synova's brother's veiny biceps and hard abs.

MadisonMan said...

Comrade titus:

My opinion is that the part of the sentence starting with reading about is unnecessary in your case.

Synova said...

Too bad, Titus, but construction workers and contractors don't make anywhere near the six figures you require.

You're stuck with the boys at the gym.

Steven said...

Downtownlad, want to explain exactly how a switch from every-other-day PE from grades K-10 to every-day PE from grades K-12 is going to lower obesity-caused health problems? Are there lots of 40-year-olds in grades K-12 I'm not aware of?

And how, exactly, are you planning to have our education system make up the instructional hours lost as a consequence?