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Senior Contributor

National Obesity problem

I was reading an article this morning about how the obesity problem has affected the military recruitment. It said that 75% of the 18-24 adults cannot join because they are overweight or have other disqualifying issues. There will always be a certain percentage that cannot qualify, mentally, emotionally, or physically, but this great of a percentage is a sign of future weakness in national security. Also saw the percentage of people with Alzheimer's (sp?) is going up. I hope that this country of past greatness will not become the country of the diseased. The younger generation, affected by heart disease and diabetes, taking care of the seniors with Alz., or vice versa is even scarier.

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

I agree it is alarming.  It does make one wonder what types are applying for the military with those numbers.

I can personally attest to the condition of our youth though.  We can hardly find kids to bale anymore.  It is hard work but those we get we notice cannot keep up like the youth of say, ten yrs. ago.  They can work out in an air conditioned weight room for football but put them out in the elements of heat, etc. and they can't cut it.  Some we never see again after the first day.

I also noticed when I was teaching dance how so many of the girls, even those who were athletic, had so little flexibility as far as stretching, etc.  They seemed to be able to work only certain muscles; not their whole bodies.  I'm so glad that dance is now getting it's glory with Glee, Dancing with the Stars, etc.  It is so good for the kids in so many ways.

As far as other diseases, DS has diabetes which concerns me as he refuses to really acknowledge it.

Hope he never has a serious problem with it. 

 

When DH's aunt/uncle were here we got into a discusion of how many in the family have thyroid disease & are on synthroid.  (10, 8 of which are blood relatives)  Wondered if it is a heredity or a regional thing.

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

I take thyroid medication so I just did a little research.  An under active thyroid which can contribute to weight gain can apparently be affected by a lack of iodine in the diet.  So perhaps the push for everyone to get the salt (which in America has iodine added) has contributed to the increase in hypothyroidism.

Hyper thyroid can be cause by many things including possibly a virus and stress.

 

Interestingly enough I read there is a real problem for some women with hyper thyroid during pregnancy which I found interesting because I had trouble not gaining weight during all of my pregnancies,  With the first one I actually left the hospital weighing less than I weighed when I got pregnant.  During my 5th pregnancy I used to eat at McDonald's just before I went to the doctors office because they were complaining about me not gaining weight.  Yet after each pregnancy my weight always stabilized at 5 to 10 pounds heavier than I started out.   Unfortunately I developed some pretty bad eating habits trying to gain the weight they thought I should gain and now struggle to get it off.  Man could I put away the food.  I ate enormous meals and snacked all the time.  The exception was the last pregnancy when I had this weird Indian (India) doctor who thought all Americans were fat and didn't want me to gain any weight at all.  She said women all over the world have healthy babies eating 1200 calories a day and kept me on a very restricted diet.  I think she knew what she was talking about because I had less physical discomfort and limb swelling with that pregnancy than with any of the others. 

 

Thyroid conditions are considered an autoimmune condition.

Myself I think they just find it more often now when women complain of aches, weight gain, depression and generally just not feeling good.  They probably didn't use to check for it as much as they do today.  I know when I went to the doctor complaining of being tired all the time and feeling blue, the first thing he did was check my thyroid function.

 

As far as kids working hay.  We've gone almost completely to large round bales because it was impossible to find kids to work.  Either they couldn't keep up or the didn't like getting dirty, or it itched and most just worked one day and then never showed up again.  We hire Amish kids to help with the few thousand small squares we do now.

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

Ditto for the hay.  We do bagged haylage, large rounds mostly but still need some small squares for the sheep & calves.  We have one guy that's older who isn't really a great worker that always wants some work so he does come.   A friend's boy wants to earn some money this summer so we'll give him some time - IF he wants to work.

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Honored Advisor

Re: National Obesity problem

It's really not fair to blame kids for being too soft, when we haven't conditioned them to heat and heavy work.  You cannot sit in front of a TV screen and play video games for recreation, eat the junk that passes for nutrition today, and be able to step out into a hayfield in June and toss bales up onto a trailer. 

At the same time, athletes are reaching levels of performance that are astounding, compared to our generation's best...it's an interesting contrast.  To say that we were faster/stronger/fitter is too much of a simplification. 

Ironically, just in the past couple of days, the Nintendo Wii just got an American Heart Association stamp of approval...which has a lot of people saying that was a sellout on the part of the organization.  In TKD, I train hard physically in the same lineup with teens who are either very impressive in their own efforts, or woefully lacking in stamina and strength.  It is a psychological thing, I think...some people are simply tough, but most are not.  Then again, as Mike watched "The Pacific," he frequently commented that our generation couldn't have fought the war in that theater of WWII and won. 

Obesity is the greatest obstacle and opportunity of our time.  If you are cursed with the tendency to gain weight, especially under stress, you are playing out the genetic code that kept our species alive and thriving for eons.  It's just an evolutionary fact.  If you have even a marginal manner for people to gain some control over their weight, however ridiculous or temporary, you can make a fortune. 

Sadly, virtually every weight loss strategy is destined to failure...recidivism for weight gain is nearly universal.  What we are doing as a nation simply isn't working. 

I was a superbly fit young person, but have struggled with weight, at least to some extent,  since the birth of my third child.  No matter how hard I work at it, if I have a stressful situation hanging over me, I am hardpressed to keep from gaining pounds.  And, when I say "work at it," I mean eating very little and exercising very hard.  Still, I admit that the math is the math, and if you want to lose weight, you have to eat less and move around more. 

I have messed with my metabolism to the point now that nothing about it is anywhere near normal.  My idea of a "normal" meal is seriously skewed.  I think this is fairly typical of anyone who's tried "everything," and for whom "nothing" works. 

Truly, if I can avoid stress at the severe levels I have experienced in peaks and valleys in the last couple of decades,  I can shed pounds fairly readily.  (I can literally put my finger on the place in my abdomen - about two inches above my bellybutton  - where I feel stress, gnawing like a mouse at a piece of cheese.  It's taken me decades to recognize the difference.)  Getting the rest of the world to accommodate my needs in that respect is not too easy. 

Suze Orman has a new theory that weight gain and financial stress go hand in hand, and for many people, they obviously do.  That hasn't been my pattern, but I can easily see where it could be the case. 

Our national health crisis with weight has arisen alongside the national debt crisis.  We have reared children with no relationship to fiscal or physical discipline, by our overall example.  You cannot eat everything you want to eat, and buy everything you want to buy, and have a fit body or a balanced bank account...but we can tell children that until we are blue in the face, as they watch we do, far more than listening to what we say. 

I don't think you can be really happy unless you are fairly healthy, and I don't think you can get really healthy unless you are fairly happy.  The two are hand-in-glove. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

I rarely notice commercials but someone is buying these 'gadgets' that do everything without any effort. The gadget to separate eggs and also scramble them, the thing with a handle that holds something to clean with so you don't exert yourself or touch the dust or liquid...the list goes on and on. Muscles are meant to be used while doing normal activities. I suspect it is the low income people doing the purchasing. Did you see the story on tv about how some families find it cheaper to go through the drive-though fast food places for dinner as opposed to buying products for dinner at the supermarket? The costs of the two dinners was compared with the fast food winning? It is depressing.

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Honored Advisor

Re: National Obesity problem

Sure, you can buy a couple of hamburgers and fries cheaper than you can buy a gallon of vegetable oil that will fry twenty batches, and an eight-pack of rolls, etc.   If you buy in bulk (not even on the scale that fast food restaurants do, but at Sam's), you can make a cheeseburger for far less than a dollar, and fries for way under that.  A boss bottle of soft drink is often on sale for a dollar, but at regular price, is still under two. 

Given those prices, you can serve a typical fast food "meal" at home, with their "moneysaver" serving sizes, for half or even far less than what they charge for it.  If you upsize to what most peopel buy, you are dropping five to seven bucks.  

If I order the meal I want at Chik-fil-A - a salad with grilled chicken breast - I pay over seven dollars.  Mike's preferred meal there is over six bucks.  With restaurant tax added, it costs us about fifteen dollars to eat a fast food meal out.  We have done this once all year, and it is May.  If we want that food, I can make the same things at home for $3-4 for both of us, and do not even pay regular sales tax on the ingredients in our state for food.  

So, if you do the real math, and factor costs like ingredients that make far more than one meal that get added into the cost of the first one, then you have  a more realistic cost figure.  When we go out for a meal, we pay usually $100 for the two of us.  That is about once a month, if that often.  It's a special occasion for us, and we'd rather eat that once every four weeks than have a fast food meal even once a week.  

We look forward to that dinner outl as a fun event,  talk about going ahead of time, and can recall specifics about the dishes we ate and who we dined with for months or years afterward.  Can you even remember what you ate at McDonald's the last time you wolfed down a quick lunch? 

 If you factor in twice a week fast food as being fairly average for many people, we actually come out cheaper to have one truly great meal, prepared by a chef, served with craft beers on a white tablecloth and with great companionship and service in the bargain.   The rest of the month, we eat at home, using good ingredients, drinking Mike's homemade wine adn beer, and are much healthier and happier. 

 

We have said for years that we don't see how anyone can sell a pizza for five bucks and make money...but, they are usually selling a crust with very little on it at that price.  Those places do not even have tables to sit down at to eat.   A "real" pizza in a sit-down place is still twenty bucks, plus beverages.  You are right back at $6-7 per serving minimum. 

I can make a pretty fancy meal at home for seven bucks a plate, can't you?  Even great, stinky cheese that costs me $20 a pound and artisan bread at $7 a loaf is inexpensive by comparison to takeout, when we make four meals for two off of the two of them. 

"Convenience" always comes at a cost.  Money isn't the only way to calculate what something is taking out of you.  

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

This is such a tough issue. I have struggled with my own weight most of my adult life, but am working on it. I am very careful about the food I bring into the house, because I don't want my boys to have the same problem I do. It's not that I never let them have candy (although my oldest doesn't like it, bless his heart). I make cookies or desserts fairly often, but try to make them healthier whenever I can, and they certainly aren't chuck-full of preservatives. But I don't keep candy and chips and stuff in the house. We have a fruit bowl on the table and when they want a snack, they go for that or a cheese stick.

 

We finally broke down and got them a Wii for Christmas, but the rule in our house is that if it's nice outside, the kids have to play outside. Not enough kids just go out and play anymore.

 

And my husband would agree with you on the hay! He grew up baling and stacking hay for his dad and neighboring farmers, and he always said that got him in good shape for football season. He has a really high tolerance for working in the heat, and that's probably why. I'm not so good in the heat, LOL.

 

I don't know what the answer is. I am a cheapskate when it comes to shopping, but will pay more for healthier choices. And I know how to cook, so I can make my dollars go farther by making things from scratch. Not everyone has those skills. I think teaching people to shop smartly and cook healthy would go a long way.

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

We eat very well out of our garden and freezer even though there is a high start up cost for the seeds. Food does not take much of our income but gas does since we live in the middle of nowhere. The family in the tv segment would not have the money to stock up at Sams.They had a limited amount of cash and they were all able to eat something if they went for fast food sandwiches. They were people who at the end of the week may not have had a meal. It takes a chunk of money just to stock a pantry with the basics.

I was just pointing out that for those with very limited resources eating fast food is a meal and we know what that does to a person's health in the long run.

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Senior Contributor

Re: National Obesity problem

Time does play a role in the meal decision planning too. Who has the time for preparation and cooking that women had in the 50's? More families are short on time because of multiple jobs and children's extracurricular activities than then. They figure in their wages as part of the eat at home cost. It is much harder to compare prices when some of their costs, such as obesity related diseases, of the choices are unknown.

Today's kids have many more opportunities in sports than I did. Even so, their bodies are trained for those specific acts, running, jumping, strength, etc. Do you think many of the same kids that excel in sports could do the same in farmwork when different muscles and techniques are used? If you saw the last DWTS elimination, a great football player has a hard time competing with people with some dance background.


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