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Author Topic: Verity the spice of ill health?  (Read 6955 times)

Offline Hadrian

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Verity the spice of ill health?
« on: 10/07/2006 14:01:31 »
Years ago we eat a lot of what was available to us at the time and then changed to another set of foods as they became in session. Now we eat a huge verity of foods from all over the planet everyday. Do we put ourselves and our health under enormous strain to cope with this endless changing?

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.


 

another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #1 on: 10/07/2006 14:56:13 »
I am not sure what you mean by changing – the seasonal changes we used to have, of the minute by minute changes we have today.

Are you saying that we would be better off if we simply had roast beef and two veg every day (and the same two veg at that), since it avoids any change?

The changes we do today are actually less change than we had in the past, because the changes are so fast that most of them will quickly be evened out by the body.  You might even argue the converse, that the modern diet does not put enough stress on our systems, and thus makes our bodies lazy (that is part of the justification by many religions for having an annual fast of one sort or another).



George
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #2 on: 10/07/2006 19:50:13 »
Interesting take on it George.  Tell me do you remember when you and I were children? When you went to the local shop you bought what was in session. You bought treats for just that, not like today. Today what we would have called special is part of the daily calorie intake of most people.  Exotic foods were very rare indeed. What we have gained is a vast increase in processed foods and bewildering choice of supposedly fresh produce (which never seams to go off any more). Or think of breads that stay fresh longer that are full of gluten and little goodness. I make bread that is as free of additives as I can make it. It has no mould inhibitors in it yet it doesn't go mouldy it goes hard. The slice pan with the inhibitors stays moist much longer and always gets mouldy. What’s going on?

I was watching a program on TV last week on liver failure in children due to high fat diets. It was truly freighting.  It concluded with the doctors saying that we simply won't have enough livers to do all the transplants we are going to need. All these kids are eating themselves to death and nothing seams to in place to combat the pushing of these high fat foods on our societies. This is just one aspect of the fall out of our present diet. You know that there are many others. Nearly every family in the west world has someone who has had or has an illness that has if not being caused by then at least it has been complicated by these problems.  

I believe that we lost much more then we realise. more then we have gained at the hands of the global food industry.  On the one hand we have farmers that can produce good wholesome food but are prevented supplying by laws that seek to standardise produce in the name of hygiene. On the other a supermarket buyer can pick up the phone and order million heads lettuce to be picked, dipped in vats of concreted chlorine, packed and air freighted across the globe to be on your table tomorrow. It all looks bit mad to me.  It cheep labour (and sometimes slave labour) and mass production that makes this possible.

I was an organic market and as I was looking around I was struck by fact that even this is 90% imported. Go what you might save the environment on in one direction is negated by the air miles taken in getting there. We got so hooked on having what we want when we want it we have virtually push out the small local producer from being able to supply us anything. Forgive my rambling George it just I can't avoid seeing the unnecessary suffering all this brings us. The sad part is the illusion of choice. We think we have it but only those who have money can afford a way out of this. Families stuck in low income housing have little option but to give into the worst aspect of this food chain and they are often the ones who need a good diet most.  


What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
« Last Edit: 10/07/2006 19:51:47 by Hadrian »
 

another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #3 on: 10/07/2006 22:11:25 »
There is much in the above that I agree with, but much that I do not.

I do agree that it is a great shame that we so underutilise the farming capabilities we still have (having lost so much already).

I do not agree that this is because of low wages abroad, but because of high wages at home (I am not saying that the domestic farmers are uniquely highly paid – far from it – but they live in a society where everyone is relatively highly paid, and few could live within our society with much less).  The problem is not only that we expect food available, but that we expect it cheaper than ever before, in other words, we expect to get paid far more in salary in relation to the price we pay for our food than ever before.

As you say, we rely on cheap labour, but that is only relatively cheap labour because we have such expensive labour here.

I cannot see that food imports has anything to do with fat intake; or at least, insofar as the import would rather diminish rather than increase fat intake.  In past generations, our fat intake was probably quite a bit higher than it is today, because our farmers were always much better at growing meat than growing fruit (an inevitable consequence of the British climate).  The difference of past generations (apart from the fact that they did anyway die younger) was that they actually burnt off more calories, so they needed a higher calorie intake.

As for modern bread, I simply don't eat it.

I agree we have lost much, but we also often have too rose tinted a view of the lives our ancestors lived.  For all the warnings we receive, we still live longer than any generation before us, and even if the most dire warning that are given were to come true, and the next generation live a little less long than we or our parents do, they will still be living longer lives than our forefathers did.

Beyond that, one also has be careful to look at the complexities of the larger picture.  While I do, like you, bemoan the loss of locally farmed produce, and the livelihood it brought our local farmers; I would not wish to begrudge the farmers of Kenya, or other third world countries, the right to make their own living selling to our markets.  I care not for the profits of supermarkets as they transport food around the globe, but why should not the farmers of the third world make a living themselves?



George
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #4 on: 10/07/2006 22:44:03 »
As I said George it was a bit of a ramble. You are right I never meant to make link about fat and food imports per say. It whole ethos of selling a fat rich diet to an uneducated (nutrition wise) population for small money and expecting our respective health systems funded by hard pressed tax payers to pay the real price for the outcome seams madness.

My point about low wages was fuelled by the sky story on
The Government is investigating claims that fruit pickers at a UK farm are being paid as little as £1 per hour.

http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1227092,00.html


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another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #5 on: 10/07/2006 23:55:58 »
quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian
It whole ethos of selling a fat rich diet to an uneducated (nutrition wise) population for small money



Given the enormous amount of 'information' that is thrown at the public about nutrition – what makes you thing that the population is uneducated about nutrition – illeducated, because much of the information is of low quality, and full of sound bite, but not uneducated.

The problem is not that we are being sold high fat foods – the problem is that we have obesity and anorexia side by side, because the information assumes that everyone has the same nutritional needs.  You have girls who are dieting when they already  weight as little as 7st, and these girls could well do with a high fat diet.

There is a separate problem about the overall fitness for purpose (in terms of additives and high water content, etc.) of much of our food – but this is separate from issues such as calories and fat.  To my mind, the same amount of fat on a steak is far less harmful than that amount of fat on a burger (although even then, one should not compare a home made burger with that bought as pre-made), if for no other reason than the solid bulk of a steak requires more work to masticate and digest.

quote:

 and expecting our respective health systems funded by hard pressed tax payers to pay the real price for the outcome seams madness.



Again, another fallacy.

Even if one took the worst case scenario and accepted without question that the food we eat is as harmful as some would claim, it would not cost the health service a penny more, and in fact may even save the health service money.

It is a different matter if you are talking about tax revenue, since foreshortening a persons life so that they die before reaching retirement age may mean that the exchequer may not obtain as much tax revenue from them as it may if they died when they reached retirement age.  Once someone reaches retirement age (this will ofcourse change as retirement age changes), then the person can only become a tax liability, and the sooner they die the better placed the exchequer is financially.

With regard to health services, the cost to the health service is largely increased as a person gets older, so having people die young actually reduces the cost to the health service (excepting if there is a commensurate increase in birth rate).  The argument that it costs the health service money when someone becomes seriously, and ultimately terminally, ill is true; but we will all become terminally ill some time or another, so increasing or reducing life expectancy in no way influences the inevitability of death.

I accept that the above only addresses the financial aspects of early death, and not the social aspects; but then the comments are only to be taken with regard to your comment that the price of these high fat diets will be taken up by the health services – this comment is untrue.

quote:

My point about low wages was fuelled by the sky story on
The Government is investigating claims that fruit pickers at a UK farm are being paid as little as £1 per hour.
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1227092,00.html



I accept your point, but the fact is that what these people are earning is illegal, and is being investigated by both the Government and by the retailer involved; so it cannot be held up as an example of expected practice.

The problem is, who is to blame for that situation?

The retailer clearly finds the situation embarrassing, and so is taking the matter seriously.  It is clear that it is not the retailers intent that the farmer pay illegal wages to his workforce, but it is also clear that the retailer leaves the farmer with so little profit that the farmer feels he has no option but to pay illegal rates to his employees.

One could blame the retailer for keeping prices low (or even the consumer for demanding low prices), but just as much one could blame the high cost of doing business, and particularly agribusiness, in the UK.



George
« Last Edit: 11/07/2006 00:02:05 by another_someone »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #6 on: 11/07/2006 11:31:55 »
quote:
Again, another fallacy.

Even if one took the worst case scenario and accepted without question that the food we eat is as harmful as some would claim, it would not cost the health service a penny more, and in fact may even save the health service money.

It is a different matter if you are talking about tax revenue, since foreshortening a persons life so that they die before reaching retirement age may mean that the exchequer may not obtain as much tax revenue from them as it may if they died when they reached retirement age. Once someone reaches retirement age (this will ofcourse change as retirement age changes), then the person can only become a tax liability, and the sooner they die the better placed the exchequer is financially.

With regard to health services, the cost to the health service is largely increased as a person gets older, so having people die young actually reduces the cost to the health service (excepting if there is a commensurate increase in birth rate). The argument that it costs the health service money when someone becomes seriously, and ultimately terminally, ill is true; but we will all become terminally ill some time or another, so increasing or reducing life expectancy in no way influences the inevitability of death.

I accept that the above only addresses the financial aspects of early death, and not the social aspects; but then the comments are only to be taken with regard to your comment that the price of these high fat diets will be taken up by the health services – this comment is untrue.


Are you saying the operations and treatments for illnesses and organ failures that are if not caused by, then at least are made worse by, a bad diet of fatty foods, don’t cost us money that could be used for other things. If so can't you say the same thing about smoking and drop the extra tax on it.

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
 

another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #7 on: 11/07/2006 13:18:07 »
quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian
Are you saying the operations and treatments for illnesses and organ failures that are if not caused by, then at least are made worse by, a bad diet of fatty foods, don’t cost us money that could be used for other things. If so can't you say the same thing about smoking and drop the extra tax on it.



No, that is not what I am saying.

What I am saying is that illnesses and organ failures will happen whether or not you are fat or smoke.  The only difference between whether you live a 'healthy' or 'unhealthy' lifestyle is when it will happen, not whether it will happen.  Human mortality dictates that sooner or later illness will get the better of us, unless we happen to die by a traumatic death before reaching the point in our life when we die through illness.

Unhealthy living does not cause illness or death, it merely causes early illness and death.  It costs the health services the same if you die early or if you die late.

Dying from a car accident at aged 50 is the cheapest death we can have, as far as the health service costs go; and certainly much cheaper than living until aged 85.  There is much more money spent per person on geriatric care than on the costs of early death.  I grant you that some of the costs of geriatric care are not directly out of health service budgets, but the health services themselves also have to spend a fair amount of money towards that as well.



George
« Last Edit: 11/07/2006 13:26:23 by another_someone »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #8 on: 11/07/2006 13:25:46 »
So these Kids who are getting liver failure at 15 and 16 due to there liver being saturated with fat are going to get liver disease anyway sometime in the future?

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another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #9 on: 11/07/2006 13:30:44 »
quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian
So these Kids who are getting liver failure at 15 and 16 due to there liver being saturated with fat are going to get liver disease anyway sometime in the future?



I don't actually see large numbers of kids dying of liver failure – that I think is melodramatic.  In most cases, the issue is more what the risks to these people are as the reach their 50's, not what the risks in their adolescent years are.

But, even aside from that, I am not saying that these kids would necessarily die of liver disease; I am saying they would die of something (maybe something else), because we all die of something.  What you have yet to demonstrate is that the death, and the illnesses they would otherwise have, would cost any less than the liver disease you believe they will have.



George
« Last Edit: 11/07/2006 13:31:56 by another_someone »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #10 on: 11/07/2006 14:14:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by another_someone

quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian
So these Kids who are getting liver failure at 15 and 16 due to there liver being saturated with fat are going to get liver disease anyway sometime in the future?



I don't actually see large numbers of kids dying of liver failure – that I think is melodramatic.  In most cases, the issue is more what the risks to these people are as the reach their 50's, not what the risks in their adolescent years are.

But, even aside from that, I am not saying that these kids would necessarily die of liver disease; I am saying they would die of something (maybe something else), because we all die of something.  What you have yet to demonstrate is that the death, and the illnesses they would otherwise have, would cost any less than the liver disease you believe they will have.




That too much George melodramatic! Just put your self in the shoes of a parent who being given the new that their child has this condition and you see your melodramatic in action.

I watched the programme and I am only going on what the doctors involved were saying. Is it melodramatic to say that we won't have enough livers in the near future to cope with all demand the bad fatty diet will make. Or is complacent to the extreme in par with smoking won't do you any harm to ignore what is happening.


Ariel E. Feldstein, M.D
Marsha H. Kay, M.D, FACG
From the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition1
and Department of Cell Biology2, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

“Most people with NAFLD, especially those with simple fatty liver with no inflammation, have little or no problems from the condition. In contrast, about a quarter of people with NASH may have scarring of the liver that gets worse with time. In general, the progression of scarring is slow and can take years and even decades to occur. In some patients the scarring can stabilize and in persons who have lost significant amounts of weight there are cases where scarring has been shown to reverse. In others, the progression continues with scar tissue accumulating in the liver, leading to cirrhosis. NASH is an increasingly common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.”

“Obese adolescents followed for 30 years have more disease and
die sooner than adolescents of normal weight”*
*
Sonne-Holm et.al. Risk of early death in extremely overweight
young men. Br Med J 1983
* Must et.al. Long-term morbidity and mortality of overweight
adolescents. A follow-up of the Harvard Growth Study of 1922
to 1935. N Engl J Med 1992; 327:1350-5.
* Hoffmans et.al. Body Mass Index at the age of 18 and its
effects on 32-year-mortality from coronary heart disease and
cancer. J Clin Epidemiol 1989; 42:513-20
* Mossberg HO. 40-year follow-up of overweight children.
Lancet 1989; 2:491-3



Mayo Clinic researchers
“ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Obesity is the number one cause of chronic liver disease in the United States. Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered the mechanism that causes liver damage in many obese children and adults: excess fatty acids cause a protein reaction that kills liver cells, causing scarring and liver damage.”

Known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - NAFLD - the condition was first identified and named by a Mayo Clinic research team in 1980. It affects up to a quarter of the population in western countries. The latest Mayo Clinic discovery on NAFLD appears in today’s version of the journal Hepatology online. “

As a pediatrician, I feel we are dealing with a big epidemic — NAFLD is certainly surpassing Hepatitis C, in terms of potential damage to the liver," says Ariel Feldstein, M.D., Mayo Clinic pediatric gastroenterologist and principal investigator. "NAFLD is a growing worldwide problem related to affluence and the diet and lifestyle associated with it. It's as true in the U.S. as it is in Europe, Japan, and my native country Argentina." See how NAFLD occurs “  
http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2004-rst/2308.html

Is all this and its only jus the tip of what is out there melodramatic too?


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another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #11 on: 11/07/2006 15:13:53 »
quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian
“Obese adolescents followed for 30 years have more disease and
die sooner than adolescents of normal weight”



If you can follow someone's life for 30 years, that implies they have at least 30 years life in them.

What I was saying is that there may be an increased risk that these people will die in their 50's; but to suggest that 15 and 16 year olds are dying of liver disease is melodramatic.  They are not dying as 15 or 16 year olds, and have yet at least another 30 years to go.






George
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #12 on: 11/07/2006 15:47:51 »
Death By Junk Food
This is a tabloid special - but apparently 20 year old Briton Scott Martin died from "bad diet and malnutrition."


He was told a transplant could save him but he was too frightened to have the operation and carried on eating his favourite McDonald's French fries, sliced white bread and tinned beans, all high in salt.

Scott had cirrhosis of the liver, and had also contracted auto-immune hepatitis.


"The specialist found he had cirrhosis of the liver. We were baffled because Scott was not a drinker. He did not go to pubs, he was a real home boy. But we found out cirrhosis could be caused by bad diet and malnutrition.
Even British nutrition expert Patrick Holford added his opinion saying: "Scott's diet was 'recipe for death'


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Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #13 on: 11/07/2006 15:57:17 »
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE SPRING 2004
Craig McClain MD professor of medicine, who in addition to his research is on the liver transplantation team at Jewish Hospital, warns that the number of people awaiting liver transplants already exceeds the number of organs available. If the problem continues to grow over the next few decades, it could lead to a medical crisis.
“For NASH to advance to full-blown cirrhosis is normally a slow process that probably takes 20 to 30 years, so for someone to get it at my age is less of a problem,” he remarks. “Something else will kill me first.
“But for a 10-year-old, it’s major. There will be a whole population of obese kids growing up who will need liver transplants in their 40s, and we won’t have the medical resources to handle them.”
Some kids, Louthan adds, are experiencing serious problems now. “We were referred a teenager for a liver transplant evaluation a few weeks ago,” she says. “He was overweight and had diabetes. He also had cirrhosis that was likely caused by NASH.”


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another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #14 on: 11/07/2006 16:07:55 »
And you can balance this against the deaths of people like Karen Carpenter, who may have lived longer had she eater more fat.



George
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #15 on: 11/07/2006 16:11:10 »
Doctors have reported the first cases of teenagers with signs of cirrhosis caused by overeating, as the epidemic of childhood obesity in Britain becomes clear.

One leading expert in childhood liver diseases said the number of teenagers suffering from the disease that most commonly leads to cirrhosis, a condition normally associated with chronic alcoholism, had risen by between 12 and 20 times in the past decade.
And Prof Roger Williams, the doctor who treated George Best for his fatal liver condition, said he found the increased incidence of cases "frightening"

The reports came on the same day that an all-party parliamentary group began a campaign for extra funding on obesity research.

Prof Georgina Mieli-Vergani, a consultant paediatric hepatologist at King's College Hospital in London, said: "I have seen a 15-year-old boy, hugely overweight, who was suffering from cirrhosis and a great increase in other liver problems caused by obesity."

She said that there had been an extraordinary rise in the number of cases of the severe liver condition known as non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH), which preceeds the onset of cirrhosis.

"Ten years ago, I might see one child every two years with NASH, but now it is anywhere from six to 10," she said.

"These are not children with psychological conditions, just what I call Ronald McDonald children who eat too many burgers."

Prof Williams does not treat children often, but said: "Recently, I saw a 13-year-old boy who was in the stage before the full onset of cirrhosis and it was frightening.

"It's an awful thought that children are running this kind of risk, but some may now no longer seem to exercise or even walk to school."

Cirrhosis, or irreparable scarring, of the liver is normally the last stage of liver disease before death, although swift action can prevent fatal results.

The existence of these cases was described by one expert as "the pinnacle of the tip of the iceberg" of childhood obesity in Britain, which has the fastest growing rate of the condition in the developed world. Dr David Haslam, the clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said: "Childhood obesity is not an epidemic in the making, it is an epidemic that is already existing and these reports show that very clearly.

"It is incredibly important that this information is out there both for members of my profession and also for parents, to let them know what are the risks of not educating children about their diets."

Exposed to a high-fat, high-sugar diet, the liver can become surrounded by fat and expanding fat cells within the organ damage its tissues.

In the process of repairing itself, scars are left on the liver that eventually interfere with its ability to perform the dozens of vital functions that are so crucial to health.

In France, farmers force-feed geese using a funnel so that their livers become saturated with fat and produce the delicacy foie gras.

Dr Haslam said: "Without the funnel, that is in effect what is happening to some children today." He said it was vital that the Government paid attention to this new and -worrying trend in public health.


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Offline rosy

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #16 on: 11/07/2006 16:22:01 »
Hmm... I think I'm with George about the NHS expenditure thing.
Organ failure is entirely likely to happen at some point and whilst it's tragic if it happens to someone who ought to have another 30, 40 or 50 years of life it doesn't necessarily cost the NHS more.. if there are transplant organs available it might, since that's a pretty expensive procedure and less likely to be carried out for an 80 year old, but if not then I'm not convinced by the expenditure argument.
Tho' I guess if stem-cell based livers can be grown more transplant operations will be possible... but will have fewer rejection issues so be likely to cost somewhat less.
Diabetes on the other hand is likely to be very expensive since it's a chronic condition which can be managed, after a fashion, but leads to a whole set of treatable (at a cost) complications.
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #17 on: 11/07/2006 16:23:25 »
MEDCEU
Currently, 14% of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight and 20% are at risk for overweight (above the 95th and 85th percentiles for age and gender, respectively, based on the new CDC standards). Since the 1960s, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has tripled. Similar but more gradual trends are seen worldwide. African American and Mexican American children are disproportionately affected (See the sidebar, "Managing Overweight in Underserved Pediatric Populations.") Recent estimates suggest that obesity and physical inactivity are responsible for 400,000 deaths annually in the United States; thus, it is close to overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death.


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another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #18 on: 11/07/2006 18:02:38 »
Firstly, merely classifying someone as overweight, obese, or whatever else, does not prove they are ill, it merely proves something about the classification system you are using.

Secondly, yes, I too have seen in the past headline grabbing stories about a child that has died from obesity related illness, but looking behind the story, one finds that the child actually had a genetic disorder that caused both the obesity and contributed to the death.

I am not saying that it is impossible to push someone into illness by overfeeding the – ofcourse it is possible, just as possible as starving someone to death; but this is different from suggesting that everyone who is overweight must be ill, or on the brink of illness.

That the present population may be heavier than the previous generation may also be due to factors other than simply increased food intake.  It is well known that smoking can reduce weight, so any reduction in the number of people smoking can also cause an increase in the number of people who are overweight.  Does this mean that people who give up smoking, and consequently put on weight, are more or less likely to die early than if they had not given up smoking?  Or could it be that neither the obesity nor the smoking really made that large a difference to life expectancy (this is not the same as saying that it made no difference to the cause of death, only that it made little difference to the age at death)?

Incidentally, not only do we have an 'epidemic' of obesity, we also have an 'epidemic' of taller children; yet no-one comments upon this matter.  Height is also a function of food intake.



George
 

another_someone

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #19 on: 11/07/2006 18:41:47 »
On a broader context, talking about the mixed messages we get from our Governments: we are on the one hand till that because we are all living to an older age, that we are not putting aside enough money for our pensions; while at the same time we are also told that we are living such an unhealthy lifestyle that few of us will see old age.  These statements cannot both be true – so which is it?



George
 

Offline iko

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #20 on: 09/08/2006 22:18:26 »
That's a good point indeed. I would put it like this: the average life-expectancy is increasing, no doubt about that...but the number of sick people that in the old days where just leaving this world quitely and cheaply now require expensive procedures and treatments to survive some more time.  A relatively small number of patients might make the NH system go bankrupt.
iko
 

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Re: Verity the spice of ill health?
« Reply #20 on: 09/08/2006 22:18:26 »

 

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