September 10, 2009

"The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care."

Ha ha. Get it? The elephant? That's you, reader. You're fat, says Michael Pollan. And you are a big — a huuuuge — part of the problem the government needs to solve. Pollan links to a study that supposedly shows that the reason we spend twice as much on health care as Europeans is because we are so grotesquely tubby. How can the government come between you and your food?
Cheap food is going to be popular as long as the social and environmental costs of that food are charged to the future. There’s lots of money to be made selling fast food and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry.
Greedy corporations are making you fat and costing the health care system money. They are so greedy that — how awful! — they are selling food cheap. Expensive food also makes you fat, of course, but it's less obvious who's making money selling expensive food and thus harder to blame the evil corporations. 
The market for prescription drugs and medical devices to manage Type 2 diabetes, which the Centers for Disease Control estimates will afflict one in three Americans born after 2000, is one of the brighter spots in the American economy. As things stand, the health care industry finds it more profitable to treat chronic diseases than to prevent them. There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise.
Oh, here are the money-mad limb-hackers Obama was warning us about. Now, what I want to know is what is so terrible about the fact that most of the health-care money is spent treating diseases? Why should healthy people be consuming a bigger portion of the money? It's a good thing that people are left alone to take care of themselves and that health care professionals are used to do the things we can't do for ourselves. Of course, it would be nice if people didn't get diseases, and maybe a lot more of us could have long, disease-free lives, with little consumption of health-care resources if only we did more prevention. But would it change anything to give people ample free sessions with professionals who tell us to do what we already know we ought to do? The doctors actually don't have a clue how to get us to stop overeating (or — as if it would help — push us into a vigorous exercise program).

Pollan gets an economic theory going. He says health insurance companies drop customers after they get diseases, but if new law prevents this and requires them to charge all customers the same rates, then, they will have a strong new interest in preserving health and, allied with government, will stimulate the creation of government programs, policies, and laws aimed at stopping us from eating so damned much.
When health insurers can no longer evade much of the cost of treating the collateral damage of the American diet, the movement to reform the food system — everything from farm policy to food marketing and school lunches — will acquire a powerful and wealthy ally, something it hasn’t really ever had before....

In the same way much of the health insurance industry threw its weight behind the campaign against smoking, we can expect it to support, and perhaps even help pay for, public education efforts like New York City’s bold new ad campaign against drinking soda. At the moment, a federal campaign to discourage the consumption of sweetened soft drinks is a political nonstarter, but few things could do more to slow the rise of Type 2 diabetes among adolescents than to reduce their soda consumption, which represents 15 percent of their caloric intake.
"Bold new ad campaign"? Nicely, the NYT includes a link. Here's the ad:


It's a run-of-the-mill public service ad? What is bold about it? Picking on one product? Using tax money to pay for it? Oh, I see, it "graphically depicts globs of human fat gushing from a sideways drink bottle." I couldn't tell by looking at it. So shoving disgusting images in our face is bold. How admirably edgy of New York City. What's next? Pictures of ugly fat people slobbering over hamburgers? Something like this?



Throw all the taxpayer money you want into preventive care and raise the price on our too-cheap food. Blare nauseating ads at us. But we will still eat. We already care and we already don't want to be fat. We're not fat because corporations are greedy or because you can't get a free appointment with a nutritionist. We're fat because of the deep, innate appetite that saved our ancestors from famine and motivated them to eat whatever they could find to survive. We are here thanks to those profound desires, and life is all too easy these days. The unfortunate consequence of the beautiful amplitude of modern life is that we grow too big.

IN THE COMMENTS: Bissage said:
It’s funny that some people look at that ad and see “globs of human fat gushing from a sideways drink bottle.”

Not me.

I see a dog’s head with a dagger in it, a penis, and the word “sex."

Makes me want to consume alcohol, but I don’t know why.

144 comments:

rhhardin said...

Gypsies, tramps and thieves have been replaced by handwringers, busybodies and hysterics.

Widmerpool said...

But Ann, to use the immortal acronym coined by Kingsley Amis, NKVD!

(Nanny Knows Very Differently)

campy said...

life is all too easy these days.

Well, that's going to change pretty soon.

VW: forkinv (Oh, please. Too easy.)

TRO said...

All I know is there are a LOT of fat Democrats. All that government cheese, you know.

Dark Eden said...

Well the libs have milked smokers about as much as they're able, its time to turn to fatties / the fast food industry for their sin taxes.

Original Mike said...

Now, what I want to know is what is so terrible about the fact that most of the health-care money is spent treating diseases? Why should healthy people be consuming a bigger portion of the money?

This point drives me absolutely nuts. I believe the first people who pushed the "prevention" meme did it because they needed apparent savings from somewhere, and they cooked this line up. Spend on "wellness", not disease. Unfortunately, there's no there there, but it has taken on a life of its own.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

He says health insurance companies drop customers after they get diseases, but if new law prevents this and requires them to charge all customers the same rates,

This is a bold faced lie.

Perhaps this varies by State, but health insurance companies that I deal with as a sometimes agent, CANNOT drop you merely because you have gotten sick. Nor can they raise your rates if you become sick for some time after you have taken out the policy. They are precluded from raising just 'your' rates. Your rates WILL go up as you age, since the risk of you getting sick becomes higher as you age.

If you do have a mild pre existing condition or are overweight etc, of course the insurance company is going to charge you a higher rate. Just like the car insurer will charge you more if you live in an urban high crime auto theft area or if you have had multiple driving accidents. No mystery here why.

They can deny coverage if you have been fraudulent in the application: covered up or didn't disclose pre existing conditions. They can also stop benefits if you have reached the cap, or limit of coverage in the contract.

If you do develop a condition after you have coverage you had better keep your premiums up and even pay in advance. The least little lapse and you will be canceled.

Also changing carriers when you have a serious pre existing condition is also impossible. After all, who wants to insure you when you are already sick? No one. It is like insuring your house for fire damage while the house is on fire. That is not insurance.

None of these facts are secret. They are common to ALL insurance, whether you are insuring your body, your car, your house, your business or your cat.

Insurance is a legal contract and people need to understand that and READ the contract before aquiring insurance.
They are such liars.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Nothing helps social stability more than raising the cost of food substantially.

Do any of these guys ever read history books?

Shanna said...

Every time I go over to the wellness blog, no matter what the topic, someone starts griping about people being too fat and how it is costing them money.

I am actually reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food book right now and I really do enjoy it, but he is obsessed with making food more expensive. I agree with many of his points, but on this “how dare sick people use so much money on health care” I think he’s off. Having read Good Calories, Bad Calories and seeing how little the science is settled on a number of these issues, makes you realize how bad government involvement in what we eat has actually been for the health, and yes waistlines, of this country. Many problems can be traced back to idiotic advice from the government that we stupid Americans actually took seriously.

Lem said...

The unfortunate consequence of the beautiful amplitude of modern life is that we grow too big.

Rush will be on at noon on your Amplitude Modulation radio ;)

Sloanasaurus said...

I have a solution.

The fatter you get the more you pay. If you are 10% overweight, then you pay 10% more for your insurance.

It seems so simple.

That way people can choose to be fat and spend their money accordingly.

Also, we need to bring back the idea that its okay and even helpful to ridicule fat people. Nothing causes a change in behavior more quickly than money and ridicule.

There is one thing the government can do - education. Maybe they can encourage schools to educate children that eating too much food will make you fat causing you to die earlier and be less wealthy.

The rich people in our society seem to be thinner, while fatness tends to be a sign of lower class. How odd is that?

Bissage said...

It’s funny that some people look at that ad and see “globs of human fat gushing from a sideways drink bottle.”

Not me.

I see a dog’s head with a dagger in it, a penis, and the word “sex."

Makes me want to consume alcohol, but I don’t know why.

ricpic said...

If we're in such terrible shape how come life expectancy continues to rise?

Fred4Pres said...

That Spirited Away clip is awesome. There is an element of truth in it.

While being overweight definitely causes health problems, our system is not breaking down due to that alone. Many fat people die prematurely, like smokers, and arguableThin people get sick too.

Widmerpool said...

I'll bite:

You are so fat, you had your baby pictures taken by satellite.

Pogo said...

I have posted this before, but a nationalized system will bring more and greater government intrusions into those parts of your life once considered wholly private.

With a single payer system, you become a cost to the government, and that cost will always be seen as a burden rather than an investment.

The government will soon see fit to regulate, tax, forbid, promote, and even require things that might have some consequence on health, however remote.

What you put in your own mouth.
What you drive.
Where you live (aggressive neighborhood planning in the UK to 'promote' walking).
What you read (internet controls to reduce unhealthy or violent behaviors).
What you watch on TV or in the movies.
What kind of risks you can take with your leisure time (e.g. rock climbing).

It's not paranoid thinking when the first salvos are sent even before the final votes have been cast.

Your freedom is dead.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

i find it amazing that the same people who applaud Lawrence v. Texas nonetheless think they can regulate everything else in your life.

But this is not the elephant in the room. he is veering off script. the democrats don't want to mention that one of the things they will do next is intrude into every aspect of your life, on the theory that now that we all pay for your insurance we deserve a say. that will be the next shoe to drop, but only after they pass their crappy bill.

Joaquin said...

Sloanasaurus said:

"I have a solution.

The fatter you get the more you pay. If you are 10% overweight, then you pay 10% more for your insurance."

Of course "you pay" with government money. ;-)

AJ Lynch said...

What a wonderful idea!

Let's ruin the food, beverage & restaurant industries right after we destroy the car companies, banks, healthcare and insurance industries!

Then we can all work for the govt and live unhappily but thinner ever after.

ricpic said...

"...our system is not breaking down due to that alone."

Our system is not breaking down! Don't be a chicken little just because credential twits tell you the sky is falling.

Robin said...

"There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise."

I'm about tired of this lie implied by this statement. As a medical transcriptionist, I have typed THOUSANDS of doctor's reports regarding their diabetic patients. EVERY SINGLE ONE includes lengthy and detailed documentation that doctors counsel their diabetic patients on the benefits of diet and exercise at each office and/or hospital visit. This includes, but isn't limited to, finding and contacting experts who help the patient follow through in these areas.

Sloanasaurus said...

Your freedom is dead.

The historical lesson from government dominance will be an ever increasing level of violence in our society. The more government controls society, the more one side or the other will have a stake in government, and the more they will "fight" to win.

Right now we have a tradition of peaceful transfers of power. the tradition only survives because the losing side does not see the worth of using violence to regain power. How long will that tradition last? It depends on how much there is to gain from breaking the tradition. Every year, the amout to gain gets more and more and more.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The fatter you get the more you pay. If you are 10% overweight, then you pay 10% more for your insurance.

Too late. That already exists. If you are overweight at application time, you are rated and pay more for your insurance. If you have high blood pressure...ditto. Also if you are too skinny....rated.

The dopes in the Democrat party want to have 'everyone' pay the same. This is stupid and completely defeats the definition of insurance.

Pogo said...

Hayek said it best, here in brief comic book form:
The Road to Serfdom.

It's happening as we speak, the light dimming on this brief experiment in democracy, our freedom traded for the chimera of 'free' health care.

traditionalguy said...

The Progressives seem to be aiming at controlling the Food Industry next. No one knows science, faked science that is, like the Bureau of Food Approval. The Progressives think that they have found another way we will accept their regulating the money that flows freely today, so that tomorrow a rake off goes into selected pockets. That is Facism again.

rdkraus said...

Dusty

You don't get it, if you don't let everyone pay the same, then we won't be all equal and you will be a bigot and a racist and a meany beany.

God forbid they let us eat and drink what we want (and do whatever else we want with out own bodies which we own) AND let us be responsible for the consequeces. God forbid they allow us to free.

We are so doomed.

rdkraus said...

Ouch - lotta typos.

Must proofread.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Once the government is in charge of paying for your health care, they then have an open door to tell you what to eat, how much to excercise. They can tell you how to live and control every aspect of your life.

They can tell you how many children you can have and how you should raise them. If you don't follow their rules, (for God's sake don't take them to McDonalds!!!) they will be able to take your children away from you.....for the children's best intersts of course.

Is that worth saving a few bucks on insurance?

Pogo said...

Next: Alleviating socioeconomic differences through the federal government's active intervention in beauty.

Workers of the World, Exfoliate!
By Sebastian Hurtado Perez
WaPo, September 5, 2009

"To that end, governments should nationalize beauty industries in order to ensure the supply of low-priced makeup, anti-wrinkle creams, aesthetic plastic surgery, etc. This would help to improve people's appearance, thus reducing the differences between the beauty icons and the common people. This would have a significant cost, which, according to a clear principle of solidarity, should be financed through a tax on the beautiful people in each country."

Jason (the commenter) said...

Sloanasaurus: The fatter you get the more you pay.

And thin people will have to be taxed as well. Most people who think they are healthy are actually underweight and would be "healthier" if they put weight on.

Henry said...

Jason (the commenter) wrote: Nothing helps social stability more than raising the cost of food substantially.

Do any of these guys ever read history books?


One historical fact that always warms my heart is the free-trade advocacy by late-19th century liberal and labor groups. Back then, the cost of bread meant something.

* * *

The problem with Michael Pollan's analysis is that preventative care -- of the universality all good people want -- is very expensive. You have to test everyone every year. Many of those tested will have follow-up tests -- either from false positives or from actual conditions. Doctors and hospitals will err on the side of treatment even for minor conditions that go away on their own or are untreatable.

If Pollan thinks that amputating limbs of the unfortunate few is a big money-maker for the health care industry, he should think about how much it costs to do blood tests for the entire population. Hint: Walmart's profits don't come from selling BMWs.

The essential problem with Pollan's argument is that unless you take food away from people -- either by making it expensive or crippling their digestive capability with stomach stapling -- nothing else makes them thin. We can pay diet counselors twice as much as surgeons, and they will still be completely ineffective.

Food is cheap, but eating less (and eating cabbage) is even cheaper. Nutritional counseling is free, if you seek it out. Exercise is free, if you want to do it.

Americans have all sorts of cheap ways to do whatever they want. Apparently options are the problem.

Florida said...

"... money-mad limb-hackers ..."

Classic!

This is why I read Althouse, for doozies like this puppy.

Good one, Ann!

madawaskan said...

McDonald's should wach their back-only thing is if Obama outlaws McDonald's since most of the uninsured are young-and right now unemployed by 25.5% IIRC McDonald's will be the only thing between them and debtor's prison.....

We have to have a way to punish the uninsured and enforce that, and regulate and hunt them out-right?

We can do that on the cheap...sure!

And, if we do outlaw McDonald's because it ends up being cheaper for the common good-we'll there's always cake.

Pogo said...

Rather than attacking certain activities, such as eating or riding a motorcycle, the gummint plan should arrive a t a total spending cap for each person.

Say $1 million.

Once your health spending exceeds that, you're cut off from all health spending.

Extermination is an option, certainly.

JAL said...

(Sorry, too many typos.)

Uhhnn.

With all these rights being found under the dots in the Constitution, isn't the right to food there?

In that case we ought to have food for free, (after paying a fair amount through a single payer, of course).

Of course that also means there will be rationing.

And put Coca Cola out of business unless they switch all production to veggy vitamin water? And probably Kraft, and General Mills (Ha! there go the boxtops for Obama's education fund!)

Any processed food will fall into the cross hairs (think PETA's goals projected by vegetarians).

The end game of this will we will be eating rice and whole wheat everything and no meat. And raw veggies.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Quayle said...

The left needs to put on a surge to tackle the health care costs of sexual diseases.

And while we’re at it, prisons are costing us a ton. It should be illegal to get a divorce or have a child out of wedlock, because the statistics are clear that most convicts come from broken homes.

Research has shown that you need 8 – 10 hours of sleep a night. It should be the law that you must be in bed by 10 PM. Why should I, the taxpayer, have to fund your late night puttering?

Traveling to exotic foreign countries? Out. (Did you know that the British have to purchase specific vacation insurance to cover them when they leave Great Britain? They do.)

Loud music? Out. The government doesn’t want to pay for your hearing aid later. It should be the law that iPods can’t pump out more than 15dBs.

Also alcohol should be banned, because drinking can cause health problems. (Didn't you read that warning sign at the bar? It should be law – not just a warning.)

Smoking? Out.

X-tream sports? Out.

Gay sex? Out.

(Does the left really want to go down this path?)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Gaaaahhh!

He's on television yet again. Can the man not shut up?

I turned on music and am now listening to Steely Dan. I'm a fool to do your dirty work. Oh Yeah!

vw - cybastr cyber bastard

Pogo said...

"There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise."

The payment rates favoring procedures over counseling are set by Medicare, the US government single payer system.

Pogo said...

In fact, Medicare does not pay for obese patients to see a dietitian or MD nutrition specialist.

Henry said...

Oh, I see, it "graphically depicts globs of human fat gushing from a sideways drink bottle." I couldn't tell by looking at it.

I thought it was some kind of cool foaming bubble tea.

Or maybe liquid bacon. Yummmm.

MadisonMan said...

I also thought that image of pouring soda was just overflowing because of overcarbonation or something. Fail.

daubiere said...

in new york they require lower class restaurants to print calorie counts on menus. high class expensive restaurants don't have to do that, of course, because people in the ruling caste shouldn't be troubled by such things. don't expect to go to nobu or le cirque or momofuku and see such unpleasantries, you'll only find such information at mcdonalds or kfc or chipotle where the mentally deficient lower class serfs & chattels eat.

rdkraus said...

Dusty

Gaaaahhh!

He's on television yet again. Can the man not shut up?


Yes, he can not shut up.

I mentioned to my wife and kids once that I had watched Sponge Bob. They couldn't believe it until I explained how it happened.

I was at the gym, on a treadmill. Flicking through the channels on the tv. What did I get?

Obama. Click.
Obama. Click.
Obama. Click.
Obama. Click.
Sponge Bob.....well, OK.

Shanna said...

"There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise."

I'm about tired of this lie implied by this statement.


It is completely idiotic. Have none of these people ever met a diabetic patient, or at least a newly diagnosed one? They do education. They tell you what to eat. Sometimes the lure of a doughnut or pizza buffett is too strong, I suppose, but it’s not the doctor’s fault.

former law student said...

Forget the American way of eating. It's the American way of ass-sitting that's the problem. The problem starts with kids watching TV, playing video games, and fooling around with the computer.

Look at people in Manhattan -- they eat an American diet but they walk too much to get obese. Look at urbanites in Germany -- hearty meals featuring pork, followed by whipped cream desserts don't pack on the pounds when you're walking all the time.

MadisonMan said...

Research has shown that you need 8 – 10 hours of sleep a night. It should be the law that you must be in bed by 10 PM. Why should I, the taxpayer, have to fund your late night puttering?

I know you are trying to be ironic, or something, but there do exist people who get along fine on little sleep. Not me, but some do. There is wide spread to the amount of sleep that is required by individuals.

In contrast, a fat person is not accruing many benefits from that extra layer of adipose.

Just being picky.

daubiere said...

"I also thought that image of pouring soda was just overflowing because of overcarbonation or something. Fail."

no talented graphic designer or illustrator is going to work a low pay low prestige government job in new york when they could work for a real firm... this is the best nyc can do... until such propaganda work is made mandatory.

daubiere said...

"In contrast, a fat person is not accruing many benefits from that extra layer of adipose."

the science is not "settled" on this matter.

AJ Lynch said...

Does The New York Times understand that these industries, which are under attack by libtards, pay the NYT big bucks to advertise in their paper?

former law student said...

the gummint plan should arrive a t a total spending cap for each person.

Say $1 million.

Once your health spending exceeds that, you're cut off from all health spending.

Funnily enough, $1 million is the exact amount of my lifetime spending cap had I elected traditional health insurance at work. I guess that, if I blew through the whole million, I could get a job somewhere else.

A co-worker did use up the entire mental health benefit under that policy on her adolescent daughter. Unable to afford further treatment, she turned her daughter over to the state.

madawaskan said...

See here-checking my own fcts-

Among the major worker groups, theunemployment rates for adult men(10.1%) whites (8.9 %), and Hispanics (13.0%) rosein August. The jobless rates for adult women (7.6%),teenagers(25.5%), and blacks (15.1%) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was (7.5%) not seasonally adjusted.(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

bls.gov

So it looks like Obama's Stimulus Promise of keeping unemployment at 8% or less if we passed his -$787 billion stimulus package has only worked for women and Asians.

madawaskan said...

*facts*

ricpic said...

I still say Sara Lee is a gift from God.

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

I would prefer a lifetime cap on govt benefits. Let's say $250K in cash. And you use it to pay for college, insurance premiums, retirement, dope or beer or whatever. No strings attached but don't ever ask for another red cent.

rhhardin said...

"He says health insurance companies drop customers after they get diseases, but if new law prevents this and requires them to charge all customers the same rates,

This is a bold faced lie."

An italic lie, if anything.

However it is true that you can't actually buy catastrophic illness insurance. They make themselves all sorts of deductibles for exactly what you wanted to cover.

On the other hand it has to be a profitable business or they won't be in it.

JAL said...

Conflictin edits ate my post.

Humph.

I pledged to go out and eat at McDonald's today.

Anyway --

If obesity qualifies one under the American with Disabilities Act how does THAT fit?

And the EEOC -- are poeple discriminated against because they are fat? Aren't these food laws in conflict?

What are we tralking about -- FOOD laws?

Progessivism (I wretch at the mal adaption of that word) is a RELIGION!!

I hate it.

Give me a Christian street preacher!

MnMark said...

We are most emphatically not fat because food is too cheap. We're fat because for 40 years we've been erroneously taught (thanks to federal government experts) that you should eat little fat and lots of carbodhydrates like "whole grains". This is exactly backwards. If you want to effortlessly maintain a trim weight, you get most of your calories from good fats and eat little carbohydrate. See Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories or Fat Head, a great documentary on this.

One example from Taubes: the earliest white settlers of the West described the Pima indians as unusually fit and beautiful people. By the 1890s however an anthropologist studying them described them as unusually fat, especially the women. Hugely fat, some of them. And this was in a population of people who exercised all the time - the women were basically beasts of burden - and ate almost nothing but coffee and bread. How do you get fat on coffee and bread? It's because the carbohydrates trigger insulin production, which triggers the storage of blood sugar as body fat. Even if you're basically starving, carbs will be stored as fat.

So we have an obesity epidemic and high health costs because well-meaning do-gooders taught us, via the federal government's Food Pyramid, etc, to eat the wrong kind of food.

JAL said...

I just heard President Obama speaking to some nurses this morning and insisting he will make it happen and taking pot shots at his oppositon.

The Cult of I continues. Tune in every minute.

SHUT UP, man!

clara
Clara Barton was nurse in the Civil War. Will we have any nurses in the next civil war?

madawaskan said...

daubiere-

Hey I was wondering about that-in California the IHOP had the menu items "calorized", we went to several places after that and didn't get the same menu breakdown.

How the hell do they determine which restaurants comply?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

in new york they require lower class restaurants to print calorie counts on menus. high class expensive restaurants don't have to do that, of course, because people in the ruling caste shouldn't be troubled by such things

Not to worry. Soon, due to the unionized public school system, the lower classes won't be able to read the menu anyway. They pretty much order by pointing at pictures on the wall now.

:-)

madawaskan said...

Shoot speaking of Cali I gotta catch a plane-but-

What the hell happened to Sara Lee frosted banana cake!?

Damn it man!!!

That and Entermann's Devil's Food Double Crumb Donuts....

Can only find those in da South...

JAL said...

Major thread jack:

Happen to have Glenn Beck on. Don't know if Drudge has it, but there is a major flap cooking.

The next assault is starting.

WV prowny
The President owns it.

JAL said...

Where are you madawasken (besides CA)?

JAL said...

They want to regulate your Coke and Twinkie instake --

Here's what people need to look at:

http://www.biggovernment.com/

Chilling.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

On the other hand it has to be a profitable business or they won't be in it.

Of course it is. The risk of paying out claims is spread over a pool of insured. If the pool of risk includes people who have higher risk...those people pay more.

Insurance is basically gambling.
The people who buy insurance are gambling that they might get sick and consider the premiums worth the chance. The insurance company is gambling that not that many of the insured will get sick and they get to keep the pot of money.
Generally, the claims paid out from the pool are less than the overall premiums paid in. When the incidence of claims gets out of round (actuarially) the premiums for the entire pool go up. Such as happens in areas like Florida and the Gulf Coast where the claims for storm losses exceeded the expectations.

The insurance companies either raise their rates in this case or go out of business.

If Obama wants to force private insurers to accept all kinds of risky insured and puts caps on their rates or puts unreasonable expectations of coverage, what do you expect the private insurers to do? They already CAN'T raise premiums. The only other alternative is to go out of business and then.....TA DAH public option is the winner!

Shanna said...

So we have an obesity epidemic and high health costs because well-meaning do-gooders taught us, via the federal government's Food Pyramid, etc, to eat the wrong kind of food.

Indeed. In Pollan’s book, he is much less fond of meat than Taubes, but he says that they were originally going to say something like “eat less meat” and then freaked out about all the cattle farmers etc.. in their districts and changed it to “reduced Saturated Fat” which they pretty much just decided had to be the problem, without a lot of research...which of course led us to margarine and all that nonsense, which is bad for you.

Which just shows how much you should listen to the government about what to eat. Which is not at all.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Why should healthy people be consuming a bigger portion of the money?

More to the point, why should healthy people be forced to pay for the walruses?

Proposed 'reform' would:
a) prohibit high-deductible insurance and its concomitant low premiums.
b) eliminate Health Savings Accounts
c) impose "guaranteed issue" meaning coverage of existing conditions, and
d) standardise premiums for everyone because "the healthy aren't paying their fair share" of a common benefit.

Presumably next in line, drivers with long safety records, no claims, and well-demonstrated evidence of both social and financial maturity ... will -- in the name of fairness, of course -- be required to pay higher premiums to cover the costs of 19-year old males, dithering old ladies, and people with a string of at-fault accident claims.

And household casualty insurance will soon be required to cover clogged toilets, torn screens, and doggie piss on the living room carpet.

Why is it that when both health care costs and American longevity are rising, that's a problem and costs must be reduced ...

Yet when education costs are rising even more rapidly but test scores haven't moved in 40 years the answer is that we have to "spend more on education."

There's no logic to any of it, and in such situations you must ask cui bono -- to whom the benefit. In the case of health the only possible benefit is to the political, bureaucratic, and administrative classes who will enjoy a prosperous lifestyle as a direct result of running the thing.

AJ Lynch said...

Madawaskan:

I think compliance is determined by the size of the restaurant business. The regulations assume a large company like IHOP can comply but probably exempt the Mom & Pop restaurants.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

To get back on topic, before I go to work....

The reason that many in the poorer economic strata are overweight has to do with many factors.

Imbalance of high refined carbs and simple sugars and stupid food guidelines from the federal government

but more importantly

People don't know how to cook and prepare inexpensive and healthy meals. There have been generations of welfare recipients raised on fast food and with no homemaking skills. They used to teach these rudimentary skills in school, but not anymore. If your mother, grandmother and even great grandmother don't know how to cook or even clean house, how are you expected to learn?

former law student said...

If Obama wants to force private insurers to accept all kinds of risky insured and puts caps on their rates or puts unreasonable expectations of coverage, what do you expect the private insurers to do? They already CAN'T raise premiums. The only other alternative is to go out of business and then.....TA DAH public option is the winner!

I believe these regulations are meant to persuade private insurers to start looking at the public option as a place to dump their unprofitable customers. Just as private insurers got out of the flood insurance business -- leaving it to a Federal Government Program (oh my!), and as most insurers in California got out of the earthquake insurance business -- leaving it to a State Government Program (oh my!), I'm sure they would be happy to shuffle the high cost patients off to a Government Program.

AJ Lynch said...

Bart:

You asked the pointed questions that the media won't ask.

bagoh20 said...

The idea that we spend too much on health care is never challenged.

The money we spend pays doctors, nurses, researchers, investors, janitors, construction workers, truck drivers, phamasuetical workers, pharmacysts and many many more who then spend that money employing the rest of us to provide them what they want. It's called commerce. What is especially good about this spending is that it saves our lives and continuously make them longer and better.

Do we spend too much on: cars, movies, books, travel, hotels, toys, computers, TV, music, etc. Do we really want to spend less on these things too, since they certainly are less important.

While it's true you can waste money from your own point of view, in aggregate it benefits us all when spending is up, especially when it's in areas of innovation and importance.

This is the idea of a stimulus, but of course then they have to take it from productive people to pay less productive which is a net loss of output and reduces the incentive of the productive to be so.

Just a thought.

former law student said...

People don't know how to cook and prepare inexpensive and healthy meals.

Or they can't obtain the ingredients in their neighborhoods, but they can walk to McDonald's.

Poor Hispanics and Asians do understand the value of eating produce, and stores in their neighborhoods feature inexpensive produce (usually with a short shelf life though).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm sure they would be happy to shuffle the high cost patients off to a Government Program.

Well, you are wrong. The high premium payers with some MINOR pre conditions, generally don't use as much of the health care benefits as you might expect.

The actuarial reality is that they pay more for longer periods. They keep their insurance longer than those who are completely healthy. The insurance company makes more profit on the minior pre condition policies.

I'm not talking a pre condition like cancer, gross obesity, major heart problems or AIDS. The person who has slightly elevated bp or may have a fear of a family history of arthritis will gladly pay more and for a longer time on the off chance that they might develop a condition.

The insurance companies rely on having a pool of people who pay higher premiums and yet don't use as much of the coverage.

bagoh20 said...

"I'm sure they would be happy to shuffle the high cost patients off to a Government Program."

Which is exactly what employers will do, thus when the president says you can keep your current plan, he is lying. Everyone know this, so why the pretending.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Or they can't obtain the ingredients in their neighborhoods, but they can walk to McDonald's.

Yes. That is another major factor.

You realize that not everyone lives in an urban area. The McDonalds is a 20 mile walk from my house. Not even a sausage egg McMuffin is worth that. Although I would certainly burn off the calories on a 40 mile round trip.

But you are correct. Fresh foods and ingredients can be hard to come by in some area. Farmers Markets, if they weren't so heavily regulated and restricted like in some States like California, would be a good alternative to expensive grocery/quick mart food.

Hector Owen said...

Jefferson would have put separation of food/medicine and state in the constitution right next to separation of church and state if he had thought it would come to this. From Notes on Virginia, the Religion chapter, writing about why an established church is a bad thing: "Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now."

G. Weightman said...

Fat below the waist supposedly is healthier than fat above the waist. In deference to Hillary and other pear-shaped politicians, government sloganeering can be simplified to "Big Butts Good; Big Bellies Bad."

Shanna said...

Or they can't obtain the ingredients in their neighborhoods, but they can walk to McDonald's.

This may be true for some small subset of Urban Poor, but they are not all the poor. They are probably only a small subset of them. Those in cities probably have some access to public transporation, which is a lot harder to come by in rural areas. But people in rural areas almost all have access to a car.

The simple truth is that if you prioritize these things, you can find them. And if they sold well, they would probably be in those stores (as you mentioned, Hispanic and Asian grocery stores do prioritize them.).

MadisonMan said...

Sara Lee might be a gift from God, but it's stock in the past, oh, ten years, has not been.

bagoh20 said...

It is strange that in our culture there are so many fatties. We get barraged with 24 hrs of weight loss and exercise equipment commercials. It's front and center on every magazine cover. Who's fat - who's not. Skinny role models. Our culture is obsessed with weight loss. And yet it seems that the people I see who consume this media most are just getting fatter. Nobody wants to be fat and I don't think more messages in a saturated media will make any difference. Empirically, you would expect it to make them fatter.

traditionalguy said...

Synova is right about the scheme to wreck all Companies who have not agreed to recieve their approval to remain in business directly from the Fascist State. I believe that this scheme is planned for every money making business in America, and it will be "Progressively" implemented as the smartest executives chose to play and pay so that they survive and become the fascist State approved business in their field. That is how Obama and Pelossi got all the big players lined up on their side in the Single payer scheme now pending in Congress.The new meme du jour is that the Crazy Republicans only say "No" to Reforms. We had better say no even louder, or we will all soon find ourselves and our children are serfs in the North American Province of the World Directorate administered here by the always kind and caring Barak Obama.

AJ Lynch said...

We are couch potatoes. It's pretty simple. TV has seduced most of us and led to bigger butts and bigger guts.

Like RRHardin says, if it can't sell, we won't hear it. Oprah is not going to tell us to turn her show off.

Pogo said...

This will all be solved once the government doles your weekly ration of food.

Socialism-induced poverty worked pretty well at eliminating obesity in Cuba.

Read and marvel: the authors are serious about using poverty or government-enforced methods to reduce food availability.

Impact of Energy Intake, Physical Activity, and Population-wide Weight Loss on Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mortality in Cuba, 1980–2005
American Journal of Epidemiology
September 19, 2007
Manuel Franco, Pedro Orduñez, Benjamín Caballero

"Cuba's economic crisis of 1989–2000 resulted in reduced energy intake, increased physical activity, and sustained population-wide weight loss.

uring 1997–2002, there were declines in deaths attributed to diabetes (51%), coronary heart disease (35%), stroke (20%), and all causes (18%). An outbreak of neuropathy and a modest increase in the all-cause death rate among the elderly were also observed. These results suggest that population-wide measures designed to reduce energy stores, without affecting nutritional sufficiency, may lead to declines in diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevalence and mortality."

bagoh20 said...

"Oprah is not going to tell us to turn her show off."

Half of her shows are about losing weight. If she really cared, she would open the show with: "Turn off the TV and go for a walk."

bagoh20 said...

I hardly watch TV at all anymore. I'm a keyboard potato now. Soon as they get a little more content on line, I'm canceling my cable tv.

Shanna said...

An outbreak of neuropathy and a modest increase in the all-cause death rate among the elderly were also observed.

Could this be because a little extra weight is protective among the elderly?

AJ Lynch said...

"Keyboard potato". Hah- never heard that one before.

Pogo said...

"Could this be because a little extra weight is protective among the elderly?"

That and the fact that the rationed diet (literally provided by the State) lacked several vitamins the vaunted Cuban health care system couldn't afford.

So people went blind by the thousands, but they were thinner!

AJ Lynch said...

"So people went blind by the thousands, but they were thinner!"

Thin, blind people bump into fewer objects.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Love "Spirited Away". We always watch it in Japanese with English subtitles.

traditionalguy said...

There is an over arching philosophy behind the Progressives.Call it a faith if you want. The core belief is that they are called to reduce the number of living humans on the planet. First they have set up the false crisis of lack of resources by refusing to use the falsely demonized CO2 from abundant energy fuels and also by destroying most free market capitalism. That is what the Global Warming Hoax was set up for. Next the will select the "bad People" to eliminate by groups of easy targets like Fat People, Foetus life, and Geezers. Finally the mean white men of America will need to be disarmed for the safety of the peace loving nations of the world. But before all this goes down, as always the first business of these Thinkers will strangely be to focus their resources on eliminating the nuisance of Israel's government ruling in the city of Jerusalem. Nothing has changed over the last 80 years except the words they are using.

MnMark said...

former law student wrote: I believe these regulations are meant to persuade private insurers to start looking at the public option as a place to dump their unprofitable customers.

I may be wrong, but isn't the point of Obama's approach not to let insurers dump or avoid unprofitable customers? He's not going to let them refuse people with prior conditions. He's not going to let them limit the amount they spend on a customer. He's going to force them to offer the same low premiums to customers who will obviously cause them huge losses. How is that "dumping them on the government"? The only way they'll be "dumped on the government" is when the insurer goes bankrupt because it's forced to provide unlimited coverage to people with expensive pre-existing conditions.

So don't make it sound like this plan lets insurers get away with something at public expense. It drives insurers out of business. Only an economic nitwit like Obama doesn't see that...or sees it and likes it.

William said...

One of the insights into life that poor people develop is the belief that if they don't get it in the next five minutes, they will never get it. There's some value to this insight. Poor people are marginal, and marginal people are the first to starve during a famine. Deep, latent fears of starvation are part of our consciousness. Raise the price of food and you will only increase anxiety about impending scarcity and, hence, compulsive hunger.

Pogo said...

"Thin, blind people bump into fewer objects."

There's always a silver lining, even if it has to be extracted from their teeth.

Jason (the commenter) said...

If we are fat because food is cheap, then we should be one of the most well informed countries on the planet considering our extensive library system.

Superdad said...

Cheap food has made feeding this nation possible. Libs and crunchy cons can bemoan the fact that cheap food is not as healthful as organics (debatable) because they can afford to. Try telling a kid living in a homeless shelter that making food more expensive is good for him.

Personally, I would rather have type-2 diabetes then starve to death. But hey that’s just me.

Eric said...

It is completely idiotic. Have none of these people ever met a diabetic patient, or at least a newly diagnosed one? They do education. They tell you what to eat. Sometimes the lure of a doughnut or pizza buffett is too strong, I suppose, but it’s not the doctor’s fault.

I agree. Obese people aren't lacking motivation to lose weight. As you say, newly diagnosed diabetics already get counseling about diet and exercise. The idea that more counseling is going to have some drastic effect is just feelgoodiness.

miller said...

Please.

I need the government to take care of me.

MOMMY! MOMMY!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It drives insurers out of business. Only an economic nitwit like Obama doesn't see that...or sees it and likes it.


Yep. That IS the plan. Bankrupt the insurance companies and force everyone to be under the control of the State.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

And again I'm thinking that I should start sending out book proposals for "McDonald's For a Year" or some-such... six months? All about how little money it costs to eat at McDonalds.

It will be the anti-Super-size Me. I'd make a fortune (maybe) because I'm sure that there are a whole lot of people sick of constantly being spoken down to. Granted, I'd probably lose weight just because I was so sick of McDonald's, but they sell salads and yogurt/fruit items as well as cheezburgers and fries and the 99 cent breakfast burritos aren't bad at all.

Better yet if I actually lived in town and walked.

Get a snack-wrap.

Synova said...

My aunt got invited to John Hopkins to do a study on diabetic longevity. She's in good health (otherwise) and has been diabetic for over 50 years. (She was 24 when she got it.)

Apparently the big difference is simply consistently taking care of yourself. She never seemed all that strict in her lifestyle but she always paid attention.

Perhaps if she'd been more strict and uptight she'd have had the sort of denial binges that get people in trouble.

My cousin died, either of diabetes or alcohol or both. He went on a bender and it killed him. But you know... he was an expert on the disease. He knew what to do and what not to do. He wasn't *fat* or even chubby. More counseling would have made no difference at all.

Brian O'Connell said...

Exercise has very little to do with weight, as the Times article Ann linked to explains.

MnMark has it exactly right. Obesity is determined by what we eat- but not in the way the govt has been telling us for the last 50 years or so.

The problem is high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, refined flour- grains in general. We didn't evolve to eat that stuff.

Not only is the govt telling us to eat these grains in large amounts- the govt subsidizes their production with our ridiculous ag policies- especially corn. A good bit of the problem would go away if the govt quit doing that.

This is yet another example of govt interference causing unintended consequences which are far worse than the alleged problem solved.

William said...

I rarely eat in McDonald's. There are, however, several excellent Chinese restaurants in my neighborhood that suck me right in. The fat and calories in chicken chow fun and sesame chicken dwarf anything in a Big Mac. The deep pockets of KFC and McDonald's dwarf anything to be found in a neighborhood restaurant. Perhaps KFC and McDonald's cleverly manipulate us into eating too much. Perhaps liberals cleverly manipulate us into believing that our obesity is a result of corporate greed.....During the potato blight one out of seven people in Ireland died of starvation. In the 20th century, there were famines in Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, China, India and many countries in Africa. It will take more than a public service announcement to counteract our cellular memory that it wouldn't hurt to have another serving.

JAL said...

Raise the price of food and more people will eat large amounts of macaroni and cheese.

Not that there's anything wrong with macaroni and cheese -- it's a vegetable in the south -- but too much of a good cheap thing is too much.

Alex said...

Funny how I avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store and stick to the periphery(veggies, meats, dairy) and cut quite a lean figure. I still have a ways to go to 6-pack abs, but I'm on my way!

JAL said...

Was behind an Obamamobile yesterday with a bumper sticker which informed me that 10,000 people died in America last year because they didn't get health care.

Wasn't it the best health care country in the world (France)[/s} that killed what -- 14,000 old people one summer because they didn't get health care?

Wv naunhari
green noun (Hindi green)

Synova said...

"I rarely eat in McDonald's. There are, however, several excellent Chinese restaurants in my neighborhood that suck me right in. The fat and calories in chicken chow fun and sesame chicken dwarf anything in a Big Mac."

True enough. I suppose if you had any handy you'd already go there but instead of Chinese food try Vietnamese. A pork noodle bowl is yummy, doesn't have the breading and fat from deep frying the meat chunks, just thin slices of BBQ pork and rice noodles on top of fresh vegetables and fish sauce with something or other in it that makes it not taste fishy. They usually have curry or soup, both non-fatty choices, and spring rolls that have uncooked vegetables and other stuff wrapped in an unfried rice based wrapper. (Those usually have cilantro in them, so I don't order them.)

Good stuff though, without the deep fat frying and breading in Chinese food.

Synova said...

Oh, and Vietnamese places have *sandwiches*... apparently the French had some influence before they left.

Shanna said...

The problem is high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, refined flour- grains in general. We didn't evolve to eat that stuff.
Indeed, and the speculation is that Native Americans, Hispanics, AA’s, etc.. have more trouble with the diet, because they started eating it later, so they have had less time to adjust. Hence, the poor PIMA indians blowing up the second they get stuck on a western diet.

Not only is the govt telling us to eat these grains in large amounts- the govt subsidizes their production with our ridiculous ag policies- especially corn. A good bit of the problem would go away if the govt quit doing that.

Indeed. And yet, we’re supposed to hand over more control in this area, not less and listen to people who tell us just to eat less fat, which is what made us fat in the first damn place!

Shanna said...

Synova, I love Vietnamese food!!! But we don't have a lot of it in Arkansas. There was a great place in Georgetown though, that oddly enough made the best calamari I've ever had, with this awesome lemony/pepper sauce instead of marinara. Mmmm. I also miss Ethiopian food.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BJM said...

@Alex, Have you ever noticed that most supermarket chains sandwich the laundry/cleaning products/toilet paper between the soda/chips and cookie/cracker aisles?

It pays to learn the layout, not only in pounds but $$$ and time.

Freeman Hunt said...

Fast food is not a problem. You can eat fast food for lunch everyday, even while on a diet, and be extremely healthy.

WV: litali "You can litali eat a burger a everyday and be healthy."

Freeman Hunt said...

With roving bands of limb hacking MDs, you think you'd see more amputees.

Alex said...

BJM - I don't know about that. In my supermarket the laundry-cleaning tends to be right besides the toilet paper/paper towel aisle and the pet food aisle. Besides I buy most of my paper supplies at Costco.

Anyways, the simple formula for weight loss is, consume less carbs, more fat and protein and exercise heavily with a good emphasis on weight training.

Alex said...

Freeman - really? I don't think it's healthy to consume french fries every day. But an Atkins burger with cheese would be fine(hold the bun) and a glass of milk. The problem is for most people it's about the large fries and the fried apple pie.

Healthy eating, livin' la-vida low carb style is just not mainstream yet.

BJM said...

@Synova, yes! The sandwiches are called Banh Mi and are to die for.

Our fav Vietnamese lunch place does the best Pho and Banh Mi. It's a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop with tables outside and a long counter against the wall full of folks slurpin' noodles. Yum. Now I'm hungry.

MadisonMan said...

The problem is high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, refined flour- grains in general. We didn't evolve to eat that stuff.

Coming soon from the Corn Council: An ad asking You get your nutrition information from a blog?

Joe said...

Wring your hands all you want but life expectancy is increasing! We are healthier than ever before. Based on the hysterics, even in this forum, you'd think Americans were dropping dead like flies WE AREN'T. (And please note that even with the vaunted life expectancy statistics, the difference between the US and Japan is actually very small.)

Alex said...

Joe - wrong! It's true we've cured most infectious diseases, so we're healthier from that standpoint. But diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers are off the charts because of diet and lifestyle. So-called "diseases of civilization".

dbp said...

The Time piece about excercise and weight loss was very interesting, but is misses some of the point.

Sure, you eat more when you work-out, but isn't that a classic win-win situation?

For instance, I ran for 42 minutes today on my lunch break and burned 632 calories. Maybe I will compensate by having an extra Big Mac which has 576 calories. I enjoyed the run and will enjoy the burger too.

Alex said...

dbp - depending on your goals of course. If you're already at goal body fat %, then you're strategy is fine. However if you're trying to lose weight, you'll skip the Big Mac and go for the 300 calorie burger instead.

former law student said...

Exercise has very little to do with weight, as the Times article Ann linked to explains.

Interrupting a day's worth of inactivity with a half-hour on the elliptical will not decrease your weight, whereas daylong low levels of physical activity will, as the Time article Althouse linked to explains:

Many obesity researchers now believe that very frequent, low-level physical activity — the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented — may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat.

Get out and walk to the store, as Manhattanites and urban Euros do. Climb stairs.

One example from Taubes: the earliest white settlers of the West described the Pima indians as unusually fit and beautiful people.

American Indians domesticated corn, and ate it as part of their staple diet of corn, beans, and squash. So whole grain corn is not the problem.

Alex said...

FLS - you are correct that 30 mins of low-intensity cardio will not do much for you. But 20 minutes of high intensity cardio combined with lifting weights will do wonders. I know this for a fact.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred4Pres said...

Food, glorious food!

I like the food scene from Over the Hedge too, which borrows the song and also has Bruce Willis's character (the wily raccoon) giving a rant on people and food.

Fred4Pres said...

It is also a myth that food has become fattier. Read the Grapes of Wrath and count how many times they eat bacon and then save the drippings for gravy? If anything, we attempt to each more fruit and veggies now. What is killing us is the combination of more sedintary lives, but with appetites that do not match our lack of calorie output. It is not extreme at any one time, but over the long run packing on a few pounds a year catches up with you.

Brian O'Connell said...

There was this brief bit on the Simpsons where Homer is talking to his new boss at this very hi-tech company. They're standing on a slidewalk as it takes them from one part of the facility to its gym, where they then get on treadmills and start walking. It's funny cause it's true.

So whole grain corn is not the problem.

It's less harmful than eating the extracted worst parts of it concentrated and processed. But you'd still be better off with meat & veggies.

All these grasses, which include corn, wheat, rice, and sugarcane, have only been eaten by humans since agriculture or later (no more than 10,000 years go). Our adaptation to them is weak at best. Take a look at a cow's digestive system for good adaption to a grass diet.

Alex said...

Vanity is also a Sin.

If more Americans were vain and lose weight our health care system would not be strained. Vanity is a virtue in this case.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I'll admit to a functional bias here, having not eaten anything in a McDonald's since mid-1959.

That said, numbers don't lie, and the obesity rate in Canada for both men and women is one-third of what it is in the States. Why?

Could it be that Canada doesn't have significant subcultures of either White Trash or their urban analogue, Black Trash? Dunno, but it's most certainly a significant difference between two nations quite similar at first look.

Joe said...

Alex, what the hell don't you understand about WE ARE HEALTHIER. No matter how you cut or slice it, WE ARE LIVING LONGER AND HEALTHIER THAN ANY TIME IN HISTORY.

(One interesting side effect is that we are seeing big increases of age related disease. Big surprise. I'm sure people in the third world are praising the heavens that they don't have to deal with all those nasty diseases one gets being well nourished and living to a ripe old age.)

Alex said...

Joe - if you call being overweight and afflicted with diseases of older age being HEALTHY then that's your definition. Look at Jack Lalane, now THAT is healthy to me at an old age. Stop with the excuses for being a lard-ass.

Shanna said...

Could it be that Canada doesn't have significant subcultures of either White Trash or their urban analogue, Black Trash?

You think they don’t have poor and/or trashy people in other countries? They may not call them that, but I’m sure they are there.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Shanna -- I lived in Canada for 21 years of my adult life ... and no, it's definitely not the same there. And their health care system has nothing to do with it.

JAL said...

Off to look up a Canadian / American deomgraphics comparison.

My bet is YES there is a significant difference in demographics.

Remember -- the northern states of the US have better numbers than the southern and midwestern and east coast states.

JAL said...

Interesting -- on Wikipedia there is not a simple way to compare demographics.

But here goes:

Canada Pop - 31 to 33 million (<---latest)
Visible Minorities
South Asian 1233275 4.00%
Chinese 1168485 3.70%
Black 783795 2.50%
Filipino 389550 1.30%
Latin American 304245 1.00%
Arab 265550 0.90%
Southeast Asian 231425 0.70%
West Asian 156700 0.50%
Korean 138425 0.40%
Japanese 60415 0.20%
Multiple visible minorities 104215 0.30%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 71420 0.20%
Total visible minority population 5068095 16.20%
Non-Visible Minority Population 26172935 83.78%
Total Population 31241030 100.00%

US Pop ~ 306 million

White alone
(Not including the 23.2 million
White Hispanic and Latino Americans: 66% or 198.1 million) 74% 221.3 million
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, of any race 14.8% 44.3 million
Black or African American alone 13.4% 40.9 million
Some other race alone 6.5% 19 million
Asian alone 4.4% 13.1 million
Two or more races 2.0% 6.1 million
American Indian or Alaska Native alone 0.68% 2.0 million
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander alone 0.14% 0.43 million


Or - short form:
2008
Non-Hispanic whites 66%
Hispanic 15%
African Americans 14%
Asian American 5%

So yeah -- there's a considerable difference, in percentages as well as magnitude. Of course, income would figure in here too. But this is complicated enough.

Apples and oranges spring to mind.

John Lynch said...

To use another animal metaphor, government health care is the nose of the camel in the tent. Once they get that, they can dictate your life.

Freeman Hunt said...

? I don't think it's healthy to consume french fries every day.

I never order fries unless it's a planned treat. Fries are basically deep fried sugar. That is not a lunch item. That is dessert.

You can go to Wendy's and get a double stack for 360 calories. You could even get value fries for 210 calories. Or a five piece order of chicken nuggets for 230 calories. Each costs one dollar.

If you look up the nutrition info for fast food places, you can find some great choices. And being able to swing by for fast food that fits into the plan is a great way to stay sane on a diet.

jr565 said...

"We are couch potatoes. It's pretty simple. TV has seduced most of us and led to bigger butts and bigger guts."

So in addition to taxing Coke, we should also be taxing Jennifer Convertibles.

rnmr said...

As a Canadian living with socialized medicine, which is truly wonderful, I don't think bringing in healthcare reform will change people's diets. Here in Canada, we still have a lot of obesity and high fructose corn syrup in our foods. In fact, Canadian ketchup is sweeter than American ketchup.

It is education and lifestyle choices that will ultimately change people's health outcomes.

I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma and started to look at how pervasive corn is in our ‘natural’ bath and body products.

My company makes castile soap and I have created a video called ” Are You Washing With Corn”- view http://mountainskysoap.com/corn.php

People have to make choices as to what they buy, as that will drive the market, their health and the planet's overall sustainability.