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Fat Land, brief review

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Apr. 5th, 2003 | 08:25 pm

Today I stopped by borders to read a copy of Fat Land (since the copies at the local libraries have been checked out for some time).

I have a new exercise mantra--must not get type 2 diabetes. It's a pretty unpleasant way to shorten ones life expectency. (And since my mother has it, I'm both at a higher risk, and have some passing familiarity with some of the consequences).

The basic message of Fat Land, being able to stay thin in the face of american culture and food industry comes from being in a priviledged class. People making more than $50,000/year were far more frequently advised to loose weight than those earning less.

Though the writer did spend time lambasting peoples personal failings in setting up our culture of obesity. For instance television watching is positivily correlated with weight gain. The frequent complaint of not having enough time to exercise falls flat at the average 4 hours per day spent watching TV.

As for the idea of exercise, I wonder why using weird little electronic gadets to track my performance makes the whole experience less trying. Some how being able to measure that it's having an effect makes me more willing to exercise.

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Comments {6}

Usqueba

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from: usqueba
date: Apr. 5th, 2003 10:24 pm (UTC)
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People making more than $50,000/year were far more frequently advised to loose weight than those earning less.
They have more time and money to go eat fattening stuff. And more regularly.

The frequent complaint of not having enough time to exercise falls flat at the average 4 hours per day spent watching TV.
Do you know how much extra time I've got when I delete more of my email? LOTS. Plenty enough to go work out. I'm not much of a T.V. watcher.

As for the idea of exercise, I wonder why using weird little electronic gadets to track my performance makes the whole experience less trying. Some how being able to measure that it's having an effect makes me more willing to exercise.
Lots of lights, digital readouts and graphs and LOUD MUSIC make my workout go much quicker.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Apr. 6th, 2003 08:58 am (UTC)
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They have more time and money to go eat fattening stuff. And more regularly.
Actually I think it's that they probably have health insurance. Plenty of "minority" people, especially black and latina women, are overweight. Actually as you go east in LA (into poorer neighborhoods) the frequency of seeing overweight people (of all ethnicities) climbs.

At least that's what I observed, and Fat Land had some data to back up that hypothesis.

Do you know how much extra time I've got when I delete more of my email? LOTS. Plenty enough to go work out. I'm not much of a T.V. watcher.
[looks guilty] yes, I don't watch TV, but instead I spend they vast majority of my life staring at a monitor, which perhaps may be better intellectually, but is still not physically healthy. (When I was a kid I used to walk around the backyard for an hour or two daydreaming--which was probably good both physically and intellectually)

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Usqueba

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from: usqueba
date: Apr. 6th, 2003 11:39 pm (UTC)
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(I need to learn more LJ stuff ::sigh::)

They have more time and money to go eat fattening stuff.
Actually I think it's that they probably have health insurance.
From personal experience: That doesn't mean they listen to their doctors (if they actually GO to their doctor with any regularity). I understand there's a higher incidence of smoking in the poor and/or minorities. But there's also a high incidence of smoking in nurses!!

Plenty of "minority" people, especially black and latina women, are overweight. Actually as you go east in LA (into poorer neighborhoods) the frequency of seeing overweight people (of all ethnicities) climbs.
Another diet thing altogether. I can't remember the details, but poorer people eat cheaper, more processed (and more fattening) food. Like pasta, bread, mac N cheese.

Over all, America in general is "obese".

Do you know how much extra time I've got when I delete more of my email? LOTS. Plenty enough to go work out. I'm not much of a T.V. watcher. .
[looks guilty] yes, I don't watch TV, but instead I spend they vast majority of my life staring at a monitor, which perhaps may be better intellectually, but is still not physically healthy.
Most of what I read online lately is work related :/.

(When I was a kid I used to walk around the backyard for an hour or two daydreaming--which was probably good both physically and intellectually)
If I did half as much exercise now as I did when I was a kid, I'd be lean and buff. I biked to school 2 miles each way, p

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Apr. 6th, 2003 08:51 pm (UTC)
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But that's also true of the poor who might have to hold two jobs to make ends meet.

The thesis of fat land was that those who are in an upper class are much more likely to be able to do something about their weight gain if they choose. (They can afford medication, tend to live in nice neighborhoods where one can walk, can afford gym memberships etc.)

My interpretation of fat land was that unless you're making some kind of special effort and you live in America in the early 21st century you're probably overweight.

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Josh

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from: irilyth
date: Apr. 7th, 2003 10:12 am (UTC)
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I haven't read the book, but the part I take issue with is the idea that eating healthy requires a "special effort". If fast food chains, and other sources of unhealthy food, all magically disappeared, would it suddenly take less effort to cook healthy meals for yourself? The problem isn't that it's hard to be healthy, the problem is that it's easy not to be. There may be a McDonalds on every corner, but it doesn't take any special effort to eat somewhere else, any more than it would if the McDonaldses in the world were all replaced by parks and gardens and libraries.

Maybe I'm just quibbling, but I really see a difference between "healthy is hard" and "unhealthy is easy".

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Apr. 8th, 2003 12:18 am (UTC)
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I can see your point.

Though it does seem like many people at least think that eating healthy is harder. For instance it seems like a number of people have said that they don't have enough time to cook a dinner for themselves. (Though in this case I'm quibbling about peoples perceptions being the limiting factor.)

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