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Are we REALLY that fat?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I saw a couple interesting tidbits on my local evening news last night.

First, scientists have isolated a "fat gene" in lab rats. In one set they turned off the fat gene and left the other set alone. The two sets of rats ate the same amount of food and exercized the same amount, but the set with the gene turned off was significantly slimmer. If it's proven that genetics play a significant role in obesity, how long can insurance companies deny coverage for weight reduction?

The other thing was regarding the much tauted BMI (Body Mass Index) scale for determining obesity. According to the BMI, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford are all obese. Since this is the measurement that has been telling us that over 60% of Americans are grossly overweight and obese, is it possible that that this is very overstated and we, as a country, are not as fat as thought?
post #2 of 21
I am considered obese at my weight and my BMI. I think that BMI thing is flawed - what about people who have good muscle tone - we all know that muscle is heavier than fat.

Also, I had some concerns - the news the other day were talking about obesity and low income families - how it was expensive to lose weight - good, healthy food costs more than the food that is so easy, cheap and convenient - and not to mention, gyms are so expensive. Basically, its too expensive to lose weight.
post #3 of 21
You got that right, Kellye! I watched a news clip awhile back on these weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, and was appalled. According to their calculations, it cost nearly a thousand dollars to lose 20 pounds, that usually come back and bring more with it. As far as eating healthy foods, the prices ARE outrageous. The last time I bought a head of lettuce, it was nearly 2 dollars, and lean meat is way out of line. Chicken is nearly as expensive as beef now. It is no wonder that families on a budget eat macaroni and cheese and hamburger! I know a woman that just had gastric by-pass surgery, courtesy of the state. She is diabetic and on Medicaid, so they decided it would be more cost effective to do this surgery to control the diabetes. I am glad she is able to lose all her weight, but have mixed feelings about if the taxpayers should fund it. She would not work when she was able, and she actually was always able to work in her yard, chase after her kid, and do anything I can do. I am considered obese by medical standards, and cannot even get medical insurance, or any help at all because I have no kids at home.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
That is so true! We notice it about every time we go to the grocery. Even the quick TV-type dinners...the "healthy" ones with smaller serving sizes are more expensive than the ones filled with bad-for-you stuff! And we won't even talk about lean meat and produce! It is very hard living on a pretty tight budget and eating healthy, even semi-healthy.

So what is the incentive for people to lose weight, really? None of it is covered by insurance, it is EXPENSIVE to do it right no matter if you are just trying by yourself to eat better and exercise or if you join a program of some sort, but yet all of the end results are covered by insurance. (That's the part I don't get - wouldn't it be cheaper for them in the long run to nip it in the bud rather than paying for heart surgeries, diabetes control, and the host of other health related problems associated with obesity...)
post #5 of 21
I'm not trying to nit-pick, but the saying that "muscle weighs more than fat" is incorrect. One pound of anything weighs as much as a pound of anything else. The idea is more correct... A pound of muscle comes in a smaller package than does a pound of fat. So, if you picture a, ugh, I don't know... for example's sake, let's say an apple that weighs one pound, that would represent fat. In comparison, a grape weighing one pound would represent muscle. Does that make sense or does everyone already know this and am I just sounding like a jerk trying to verbalize it? (=
post #6 of 21
There is an old joke here that says "What weights more: A ton of cotton, or a ton of lead?"

That's how it can best be verbalized.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Of course, you are both absolutely correct, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. Of course, a pound of muscle is more dense than fat....

But the BMI does not take that into account. I'm sure we can agree that someone who is muscular and in shape may weigh the same as a flabby person of the same height, but one is overweight and one isn't. But because the BMI only accounts for height and weight, they are both classified as overweight or obese for the national statistic of 60%.
post #8 of 21
About that costing to much, you are completely right. My mother and I are considered obese, but I have had weight problems from going up and down way to much. We aren't considered low income, my mom makes wonderful money for a single woman, but everything goes to pay off debt and our house which is quite large for 2 women...but we also have the pets. We have been wanting to lose weight but it just costs so darn much to buy such good quality food, and then if you forget about it it goes bad and you wasted money...but we will never give up!
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by krazy kat2
I know a woman that just had gastric by-pass surgery, courtesy of the state. She is diabetic and on Medicaid, so they decided it would be more cost effective to do this surgery to control the diabetes. I am glad she is able to lose all her weight, but have mixed feelings about if the taxpayers should fund it. She would not work when she was able, and she actually was always able to work in her yard, chase after her kid, and do anything I can do. I am considered obese by medical standards, and cannot even get medical insurance, or any help at all because I have no kids at home.
Our system frustrates me to no end! (The woman on medicaid that had bypass surgery.) I knew that medicaid covered gastric bypass. Here I am, a working stiff and I can not have the surgery. Even though I have several co-morbidities (Sleep Apnea, daibetes, high blood presure, gastric reflux) my insurance refuses to cover it. They'd rather pay for a CPAP machine every couple of years, the masks and tubing, a glucose monitor and diabetic supplies and tons of medication monthly.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by mzjazz2u
Our system frustrates me to no end! (The woman on medicaid that had bypass surgery.) I knew that medicaid covered gastric bypass. Here I am, a working stiff and I can not have the surgery. Even though I have several co-morbidities (Sleep Apnea, daibetes, high blood presure, gastric reflux) my insurance refuses to cover it. They'd rather pay for a CPAP machine every couple of years, the masks and tubing, a glucose monitor and diabetic supplies and tons of medication monthly.
Ive known ppl on Medicaid that have had this operation but it was because they were declared disabled which under the law and income guidelines set by the law entitled them to have the operation , I can also hear what your saying and its terribly unfair
post #11 of 21
I've seen a note on BMI related websites which indicates that it may overestimate the body fat in atheletes & other people with a muscular build. I don't know if that nixes the BMI concept: people generally know if they are 'muscular' or not. I'm 5' 6" and the BMI range for that height goes from 118 to 155 pounds. A 37 pound range seems to me to be flexible enough to account for variations in build etc. (The ranges do seem tighter to me as the height increases; the top healthy weight for a 6'4" person is 205 pounds). Having been at all the weights in the range at one point or another, they seem pretty reasonable to me, at least on the higher end.
post #12 of 21
I think that we, as Americans are fat (and that coming from an overweight american)! I think it is the conveinence foods, pre-packaged, pre-processed, fried, etc. When you go to the grocery store, you are bombarded with pre-packaged junk food... seriously! I don't think that living healthier costs more... I've found just the opposite. A bag of carrots costs less than a bag of chips, however, when you are hungry what do you reach for? During mealtime do you bring out a healthy lunch or do you go buy some fast food or a fat, salt, and preservative laden microwave meal? Yes, gym memberships are expensive. I used to belong to a gym, but in all honestly I get more exercise doing yardwork (which is free!) and walking which costs nothing. I was looking at a magazine at the doctors office one day ( I think it was Time Magazine) and they had pictures of what people had in their kitchen to eat from all different countries. In one of the Middle East countries, there were fresh nuts, fruits, and all of the pictures looked appealing.. until I saw what the american family has in their kitchen... everything was in a box!
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucia
I've seen a note on BMI related websites which indicates that it may overestimate the body fat in atheletes & other people with a muscular build. I don't know if that nixes the BMI concept: people generally know if they are 'muscular' or not. I'm 5' 6" and the BMI range for that height goes from 118 to 155 pounds. A 37 pound range seems to me to be flexible enough to account for variations in build etc. (The ranges do seem tighter to me as the height increases; the top healthy weight for a 6'4" person is 205 pounds). Having been at all the weights in the range at one point or another, they seem pretty reasonable to me, at least on the higher end.
Lucia, you just made my day! I'm 5'6", too, and over the past twenty years my weight has ranged from 120 lbs. to 140 lbs. Ideal, though, is about 130 lbs. for me (medium to "heavy-boned").
IMO, one of the biggest problems in industrialized countries is the amount of "processed food" ingested, with far too much salt, sugar, and fats.
post #14 of 21
Woodsygirl,

I'm with you. I've recently taken on a whole new outlook on eating and nutrition and although I'm realatively new at this and am still learning alot; I have found that eating FRESH food is much less expensive. You can buy a huge bag of chicken breasts, fresh veggies and fruits for much less than you can the pre-packaged dinners that include the same ingriedents. The thing is....you have to do the work to prepare the food.

Another thing.....we eat WAYYYYY too much. Okay, now I'm generalizing, but when I say we, I mean, my family, friends and most people that I know. Think about the sizes of the meals that they serve in restaurants now. They are enormous!! It's out of control.

Karen
post #15 of 21
Karen, so what you are basically saying is, its more of laziness than not being able to afford it?
post #16 of 21
Ive always thought that BMI things was bad. Im 5'11" and at 160lbs. right now, so Im pretty much average on the BMI. The problem is I have to stuff my face to maintain this weight Been stuck at 160 for a while now, Im shooting for 175@11%
Kind of off topic I guess

Peace,
Brandon
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Kiwideus
Karen, so what you are basically saying is, its more of laziness than not being able to afford it?
Yes and No....this is only MY opinion.

I do think that we have become lazy in terms of what we prepare, but I also think that we have so much more to do that it makes it extremly difficult to spend the time preparing meals. I also think that we have less time to shop for the deals that will make food more affordable to prepare at home.

I think that since the world have come up with convenience foods for us to eat (frozen meals, etc), we have filled our "cooking time" with other things and it would be hard to give those things up and go back to cooking meals. I know, I'm doing it and it's hard.

Karen
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by fostermom28


I do think that we have become lazy in terms of what we prepare, but I also think that we have so much more to do that it makes it extremly difficult to spend the time preparing meals. I also think that we have less time to shop for the deals that will make food more affordable to prepare at home.

Karen
I think this is very true. It just appears to be more expensive to eat healthier and better but when you look into it isnt (discounting organic stuff that is) As a generation I think we have more leisure time, but we fill it,more labour saving devices that are'nt. Most women go to work through necessity and the thought of buying, preparing and cooking after a long day is pretty off putting. So many take aways, so little time!
post #19 of 21
It isn't just in the U.S. that obesity is a problem. In Britain, there has been some recent discussion of imposing a higher VAT (value added tax) on fatty foods. The government has denied any concrete plans. I don't know - this seems like a little too much "paternalism".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3502053.stm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by valanhb
Of course, you are both absolutely correct, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. Of course, a pound of muscle is more dense than fat....
But there would only still be one pound of fat and one pound of muscle. However the amount of space, (ie volume), that the muscle would take up would be less than that of the fat.

And just recently joining a gym and working in a physically demanding job, I have noticed a loss in weight and toning starting to take place in my arms. So the weight loss will probably slow down and muscle development starts.

So if your personal trainer/gym/health guru says to turn that fat to muscle to lose weight and look great, you may want to think about it a little first.
post #21 of 21
I am a firm believer in the saying "its not what you eat but how you eat it". I eat "cheap foods" meaning the not lean or healthy foods, but I eat in very small amounts. I eat enough to stop my stomach from growling and thats it. I dont eat until I feel full because then I know I have eaten too much. Last time I was at the Dr, my BMI was -4. I am 5'7" and weigh around 105. I still am not sure what the fuss was about that, I tend to tune out the "you need to gain weight" speech. I dont weigh myself with a scale, but I judge how tight my jeans are fitting as a sign that I have eaten too much somewhere. I feel that weight gain in most cases is a matter of control or its inherited.

My mom is constantly battling with her weight and eats the more expensive good-for-you foods. She also wrestles herself into knots doing pilates and walks miles a day but still is considered overweight.....I had a point here that I was trying to make, but as usual, its long gone
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