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Unhealthy by choice

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June 12th, 2012, 12:06 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I posted something like this in the soda thread, but then thought that it needed it's own.

We know that obesity is an epidemic in this country, and sometimes it can be very difficult to help. Children often can choose what they are fed, those from low income families may not be able to afford the healthy food because it is expensive, and some may be uneducated. Then you have those that just do not care. Should we allow those people to live as they want with no regard for their health?

As an example, my uncle has diabetes and he makes no effort to control it. He refuses to exercise because he thinks it's boring and it tires him out. He never watches what he eats because he doesn't like healthy food and he wants to eat what he wants. He's over weight and continues to smoke. He almost wants a miracle pill to cure himself and I wouldn't be surprised if he died within the next five years.

When I worked as an OT at the hospital, many patients has simular problems. We'd educate them on diabetes management, exercise, eating healthy, and still, many would refuse to make any effort to treat their diabetes. Some would give the excuse that they are sixty/seventy years old and that they are going to die soon anyways and are going to enjoy the time they have left.

I have a few friends who still binge drink every weekend, they have soda for nearly every meal, they eat fast food junk food nearly every day and make no effort to go to something more healthy. They know that they are overweight but they don't care. Most engage in sedentary activities (TV video games,) and some complain when they have to get up and get something. One of them did want to lose weight but instead of changing diet and starting exercise, she wanted to just take pills which is not exactly safe. When I ask why they aren't concerned about their health, most respond that life is short and they want to have fun. None of the ones who live this lifestyle have kids.... yet. I do have a feeling tha they will be complaining years down the line when they do run into health issues.

So should we allow this attitude? Should there be any control over what/how much people consume or should we let them live short "fun" lives as long as they know the consequences? How do you fight an obesity epidemic when you have people who don't care about their own health?
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June 12th, 2012, 03:54 AM
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I think people should be able to eat whatever they want. If they want to kill themselves with food, well, that is their own choice. I dont think it is anyone's business to nanny another adult's food consumption.
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June 12th, 2012, 05:18 AM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Originally Posted by Rinchan View Post
So should we allow this attitude? Should there be any control over what/how much people consume or should we let them live short "fun" lives as long as they know the consequences? How do you fight an obesity epidemic when you have people who don't care about their own health?
To the bold, trying to control the "attitude" of other people is way beyond controlling if you ask me.

To the rest, I'm for freedom of choice.
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June 12th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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To actually answer the question properly (sorry, I got called away before on spider in bedroom catching duty) I think we really need to have a huge overhaul of the way we treat diet, nutrition, and food availability.

Above all, I really do think there is a huge benefit in proper nutrition education in schools, both my younger kid's and older kid's two schools have farming classes in place, the older ones as an actual elective subject, the younger ones as part of a national "kitchen garden program" (info about that here) where they learn how to grow their own produce and cook it. I do think it is sad that we have gotten to a point where "this food is good and this food is not" needs to be taught in schools, but the truth is that for many kids this isnt coming from home anymore. As a parent of children who go to one of the few schools that offer a program such as this, I really can see the benefit in it.

In regards to school lunches in America, admittedly, I dont know much about that, other than what that lunch consists of needs to change, that will probably require more funding, or, should I say, adequate funding, because if the kids are not being given proper, whole meals, than it isnt adequately funded in my eyes. "Near enough is good enough" shouldnt be good enough when we are talking about lifelong health (for example, that wonderful vegetable we have come to know as pizza, or that wonderful protein we have come to know as pink slime)

Small community events can also help. The area I live in has a 'produce swap' once a month. You bring along stuff you grow, or bake, or craft, or whatever, put it in a big room and help yourself to everything else. Everyone benefits.

I think once you get those bases right, proper food education from a young age, having only the right foods available to kids in a school environment and ensuring some kind of availbility of fresh produce, you can only grow from there. Unfortunately, all three will cost money and it is just a question on whether the issue is seen as important enough to have that money invested in it. Given where we currently are with it, I think it is safe to say that it isnt seen as a high enough priority.

(Which then, this makes me think of that Jamie Oliver show a few years back, Jamie's School Dinners or something like that, where he managed to make healthy, nutritious food within the budget restrictions the school had in place, and he got the kids eating it. So there is a glimpse of proof that it is achievable, it is just the effort that isnt going in)

In the end, I stand by what I said earlier, it is one's choice, however, heres hoping that we can do something so future generations wont want to make that choice.

Last edited by cybele; June 12th, 2012 at 06:26 AM.
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June 12th, 2012, 09:43 AM
*Jennifer*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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While I would love for all families to be given access to affordable healthy food, I am 100% against anyone telling families what they should eat. To me, it falls along the lines of banning toys in Happy Meals or banning large sodas.
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June 12th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Kalia20's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I'll never understand why people think it's so expensive to eat healthy, it's not. It costs way less to fill your fridge and freezer with fruits, vegetables and meat than it is premade convenience foods that doesnt fill you. Organic food costs more but still less than premade food. (Produce anyways) Families I know that live off of premade foods spends $200-$300 more a week than we do on groceries. Like I've been told my whole life, it's a lot cheaper to actually cook...this is true. Actual cooking doesnt take hours and hours, I've heard that excuse many times from people IRL. I can make healthy meals in 20mins or less depending on what it is.

To the OP if people want to let themselves go, that's their choice, but dont expect any sympathy from me when health problems arise. I guess I'm just bitter at constantly hearing from people how they want to lose weight, they want to improve their health, talk about changes to make, ask me advice, then dont listen to it or get off the couch.

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June 12th, 2012, 11:01 AM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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Originally Posted by *Jennifer* View Post
While I would love for all families to be given access to affordable healthy food, I am 100% against anyone telling families what they should eat. To me, it falls along the lines of banning toys in Happy Meals or banning large sodas.

I'm usually a little more on the liberal side of stuff like this.. but really if people started telling DH what we could eat, we'd either die or starve. I try as much as I can, but it's like trying to train a marble statue to do tricks.
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June 12th, 2012, 11:18 AM
AtomicMama's Avatar CopperBoom!
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Originally Posted by Rinchan View Post
So should we allow this attitude? Should there be any control over what/how much people consume or should we let them live short "fun" lives as long as they know the consequences? How do you fight an obesity epidemic when you have people who don't care about their own health?
I'm not sure how we can disallow a certain attitude. Banning attitudes crosses way too many basic rights, including those in the Bill of Rights, like freedom of speech.

As far as the rest, all "we" (the government, schools, individuals as friends or family members) can do is offer education and guidance. After that, I think we are crossing way too many lines of freedom of choice. If a person wants to live a certain lifestyle and is only hurting themselves, that's on them. If they KNOW the risks associated with their lifestyle and continue to do so because, as you said earlier, life is short, then you have your answer right there. They don't want to fight for their own healthy, so no one else can make them.

Do I agree that there is a problem with weight in the US? Yes. Do I think proper health education should be increased in schools and for WIC and/or food stamp recipients? Maybe. It would depend on what is in place now. I know the WIC program in my old area required a great deal of education, so in that case, I'm not sure adding more is the answer. Do I think we are facing a large, cultural issue? Absolutely. But the government coming in and telling people what they can and can't do, can and can't eat, etc. is not the answer, especially when people know the risks and are continuing on the same path.

I have a co-worker who had an issue that made it very dangerous for him to keep running (he is a marathoner). His doctor told him the risks and explained that he needed to stop running. Despite these risks, he continues to run. Should it be illegal for him to run? It could kill him and he knows, but he does it anyway. It's similar logic.
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Last edited by AtomicMama; June 12th, 2012 at 11:49 AM.
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June 12th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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If your gonna choose to eat unhealthy, and it negatively affects your health, the consequence should be you have more for health insurance.
Actions and choices have consequences.
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June 12th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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I've always disagreed that people who are poor can't afford to eat healthy. Then I saw Extreme Weight Loss Edition where the guy lost over 100lbs while HOMELESS. He even said that he had believed it wasn't possible to eat healthy cheaply but he learned how to do it & did!

So to me that's a bit of bs & an excuse for people to eat what they want. I do agree that weight is an issue for many people. But I struggle with things being shoved at me when I am NOT overweight, my dh isn't overweight & my kids aren't overweight. So if my kids eat McDonald's once a week & I drink a few glasses of wine, it's nobody's business. I shouldn't be punished for other peoples issues.
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June 12th, 2012, 03:16 PM
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I also disagree that it is more expensive to eat healthy.

Convenience meals are so expensive, I was eyeing off a bag of potato wedges in the shop the other day, my household would have eaten 2 bags due to the number of us, and that would have set me back around $10. Well, potatoes were going for $1.50 a kilo. So for the sake of standing there and slicing for about 5 minutes and sprinkling my own herbs and oil, I am now down a whole lot of preservatives and have saved a whole lot of money.

Again goes for fast food, the average large McDonalds meal, here at least, goes for between $8-$12 you feed a family of (lets say, 4) on that, youre almost up to $50, and it would be pretty difficult, I have to say, for me to cook a meal for my household of 8 that cost that much.

But then its just knowledge of cooking. I understand the other side of it, I didnt grow up in a family that enjoyed cooking, so no one put the effort in, my Dad thoroughly believed that it was womens work, so he did nothing, and my mother despised it, so she would buy frozen pre cut veggies, frozen potato things and pre made meals, throw them all on a tray and there was dinner every single night. Funnily enough if I think back to when she used to send me to the store in the 70's, I actually think we spent more then, when everything was so much cheaper, to feed the three of us some nights than I do now to feed 8 of us.
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June 12th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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I don't disagree for one second that it's more expensive to eat healthy. That doesn't necessarily mean those with less income can't possibly eat healthy, or eat anything healthy anyway, millions do. But to say it's as costly to eat unhealthy(or at least less healthy), as it is to eat healthy, is pure bs. Assuming you're not just talking about all fast foods, and all prepared foods. Not all packaged food falls under that category, while still may fall under the "not so healthy" category.

Fresh fruits and veggies is a prime example. It costs us a HELL of a lot more to fill the fridge with them than it does just about anything else. This week alone I spent more than $100 just on fresh fruits and veggies. That was on Friday and most of them are already gone.
Just look at what they cost in some places. Now compare them to their less healthy counterparts, and you can see why so many(especially people who are on any sort of food assistance) might just have to go that route. Yes there are tons who simply choose to eat that way, because they just want to. There really isn't any way to stop that. They put forth little to no effort to even try. But I won't discount everyone, or even the majority just because of those people.

Cost of living isn't the same everywhere, and that's a huge thing people seem to forget. What's cheap where you are, is probably not that cheap everywhere else. What I pay for some foods is about half of what others pay, yet still double what someone else might pay. There isn't a one size fits all sort of price on that kind of food. Milk is another example like veggies. The cost of milk varies greatly from state to state. Meat...the same. Packaged foods are one of the only things that really stay a bit more consistent, though even that's not always the same, it's closer that other foods.

There have been many years when $30-$40 was all I had for the week to feed five people(and I am quite certain I am not alone in that one). Doable? Yeah, of course it is. Is everything we get going to be the healthiest option? Probably not. That doesn't mean I didn't/don't try. Not because I can't just buy basics and make do, or because I lack the cooking skills. It's because the healthiest options are the most expensive. It's much, much cheaper to buy packaged, than fresh. I can't buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies without paying an arm and a leg. Occasionally they go on sale-that's usually when I'll get more. I try my hardest to get every penny to stretch, but they only stretch so far. When I had food stamps, I was even more frugal with every penny. It's not exactly my money to be tossing about on things when I should be trying to get the most food possible for my kids. Sometimes that most, doesn't include the healthiest options. Doesn't mean it all has to be crap either though.

If I've got $30 to feed my kids for a week, I'm not opting for the fresh fruits and veggies that will take most of that and leave me with barely anything to go with them. I'll opt for maybe one or two, if I can, and the rest will likely be their less healthy counterpart. Even frozen fruits and veggies are expensive some places. Those are my 2nd go to-especially if on sale because then I can stock up. Canned is my last resort, but I'd be totally lying if I said I didn't buy them every week, because I do. They only cost me anywhere from $0.49-$0.75 each. So which one is better, the one I can buy more of and therefore have it last all week and buy enough for multiple meals, or the one that will run out the very first day leaving me with nothing the rest of the week? That seems like common sense to me. Though I do realize I'm not everyone, like I said, I won't paint everyone with the "you can, you just don't want to" brush. It's not fair, imo.

Avocado is a huge hit here, but they're $2.50-$3 each, sometimes even more. That's utterly ridiculous for something that I need to buy many of just to use in one dish, that will hopefully last one meal. I buy them when they go on sale, a few times a year for $1.59 each. I do try and grow our own fruits and veggies but some years mother nature just sucks and the garden doesn't do as well as I'd like. When it does, I can, freeze, whatever needed to save as much as I can to last as long as it can. I've never been able to grow enough and preserve enough to last us more than a couple months, at best. That leaves at least 10 more months to worry about.

I do manage feeding my kids super healthy probably 85% of the time. But I'm not going to lie and say it's easy to do so, or cheap for that matter, because it's not. Sometimes I wonder if the folks who think people are lying when they say it's cheaper to eat the less healthy option, have ever really had to scrape by on grocery money. I am willing to bet that at least some people, if given $30-$50 to feed five for a week, would really struggle. It's not as easy as it might seem. Personally I take a "until you've walked a mile" approach on that one.
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June 12th, 2012, 04:54 PM
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I think if you are going to live an unhealthy lifestyle such as bad choices in food, you are going to be more of a drain on the health care and insurance system because you will indeed end up with a preventable disease such as high blood pressure and diabetis. So what happens when you are too tired or lazy or too disabled from one of these prevetable health condidtion to work and now doesn't have health insurance? So with Obama care that the tax payers will be paying for, for those that can't work becuase they chose an unhealthy lifestyle and now have a very preventable disease, who will be burdened to pay for their medical prescriptions that they have to take for cholestoral and high blood pressure and diabetis and back pain due to over weight and on and on and on! And the numerous docotor visits? Not only poor choices in food, but smoking too? A smokers premium should be higher than mine and even if they ask that question on a form, peopole lie. I know when my sister gets her bronchitis she won't go to the allergist and get help becuase she doesn't want the doctor to lecture her about quiting smoking becuase she knows she isn't going to and doesn't want to hear it! How dumb is that? So she suffers!

Last edited by Mom of One; June 12th, 2012 at 05:01 PM.
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June 12th, 2012, 08:45 PM
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I find it sad that most of the choices on the average US grocery shelf are filled with a million and 1 artificial/chemical "ingredient". I read the back of a frozen pizza once and counted the ingredients. The crust had 20, the sauce 50 and cheese 10 ingredients. It's a cheese pizza for crying out loud, you can make a home made crust, sauce and use cheese with less than 20 healthy ingredients, and it shouldn't break your bank. I use to do breastfeeding education for WIC and the things people would tell me would almost make me cry. Many people are indeed uneducated about healthy meal choices, they don't know what majority of the ingredients even are and so are unable to make a good informed choice on what to buy. My friend use to host a weekly organic grocery shopping event where people would meet at the grocery store and she'd show you how to shop on a tight budget, all organic and meals to prepare that take a short time and are cheap. Then we have the school lunches, yuck. Fake mashed potatos, pizza that is considered a vegtable, corn normally for the veggie side if not having pizza, slop the rest of the time (that's what I remember anyways). Some schools even have a McDonals in the school.

I remember watching the news maybe a year ago, where it showed that in a lot of poor communities there was a McDonals on every block. It was cheaper to feed a family of 4 for $10 and keep them full on McDonalds then it was to try to buy a healthy meal at the grocery store and have smaller portions so they were still hungry. It's really sad, it really is.

I just find the majority of food in the US to be awful, and it seems like many people just don't care. They don't care that the food is subpar and filled with artificial ingredients. US is suppose to be this awesome country, yet they can't even feed the American people with real wholesome foods. Pasta doesn't need 10, 20, 50 ingredients. It needs 3 ingredients (flour, oil, egg). If people in other countries can feed families of 4+ on a fresh healthy diet daily, then other people can too. We still have 2 working parents in many of the homes here, and yet when we go to the markets you won't find foods filled with artificial ingredients, just real ingredients. It can be done, it doesn't have to break the bank, and it doesn't have to take hours to make a meal that doesn't come from a box.

Food debates are real sticklers for me. I feel everyone should have the right to healthy real food. Now if they don't want that, ok, that is on them. But everyone should have the right to it. If they have kids I don't think they should have the right to deteriarate (sp) their health just because they don't care what they eat.
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June 13th, 2012, 11:51 AM
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I guess I'm lucky that I live in an area where I can get fresh fruit & veggies super cheap - I just know where to go. No Safeway or any other chain market. You have to go the the ethnic grocery stores. We get tons of cool, yummy stuff megga cheap there. Even Rasberries (my favorite & super pricey) are 1/2 the price at the ethnic grocery stores than they are at the traditional chains.

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