the article on pub med is cited by another one which does say stress is the mediating factor making poor people at risk for obesity (they call it something like durkheim's 'anomie' or a community level malaise---in such a situation everyone reaches for the comfort and conveniant foods---'self-discipline' dissapears in such contexts).
as for the general rise in obesity, to me this is like the general rise in incomes with inequality either remaining constant or increasing. another case is some test scores. the book 'supersize this' explains it---all bloats rise together.
i'm not sure the 'at risk' group will be the ones to attend protests about gaza. also, like the iraq war, i'm not sure how effective protests are---though for lebanon they may have had some effect. i wonder how war in general affects obesity rates---maybe its a final solution?
--- On Tue, 1/6/09, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Obesity and povery (was: Liposunctioning our fuel)
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Tuesday, January 6, 2009, 12:34 AM
> One thing that any "theory of obesity" has to
> explain is why the rate of
> obesity has risen so sharply over the past few decades,
> most notably in the
> United States although many other countries are now doing
> their best to
> catch up. This cannot be explained by the factors mentioned
> below by Michael
> G., even if--which I agree--these factors are likely
> playing a role. Thus
> poverty levels have stayed pretty much steady over this
> same period of time,
> there is no evidence of massive genetic shifts, etc. I
> don't know about
> sleep deprivation, which may indeed have increased, but
> then we would need
> to see scientific evidence that there is a correlation with
> obesity. Perhaps
> Michael G. can point us to such. Another hypothesis, which
> could be related
> to sleep deprivation, is stress levels, which seems
> plausible but again we
> would need evidence.
> But again, and not to belabor the point, no matter what the
> causes of the
> obesity epidemic, it can only be ended by individuals
> losing weight. I
> recommend regularly attending marches against Israel's
> invasion of Gaza.
> On Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 12:05 AM, Michael H Goldhaber
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> > I don't believe any obese poor people have entered
> into our discussion to
> > "blame the system." Being neither obese nor
> poor, I did blame "the system"
> > in part for their problems, and I am far from alone
> with this assertion.
> > The causes of "overweight" or obesity
> involve many factors, including
> > material conditions, personal coping capacity and
> willpower, culture,
> > (sometimes in complex ways) physiology (also in
> complex ways) and possibly
> > genetic inheritance. Data from many cities suggest
> that the poor are often
> > isolated from good means of reaching a variety of
> > of nutritious foods at affordable prices, or are
> relative to the better
> > off. That has to make a difference, and the study MB
> cites does not refute
> > that conclusion.
> > Eric suggests frozen vegetables. If you have a
> chance to shop for
> > a family only occasionally and do not have a large and
> reliable freezer
> > section in your refrigerator this is not too helpful.
> > Another cause of obesity that may affect the poor is
> sleep deprivation.
> > I leave it to your imagination to come up with reasons
> why this might be
> > prevalent. According to my friend Gayle Greene's
> excellent and exhaustive
> > study of science and science policy and other factors
> related to sleep
> > , entitled "Insomniac", studies show that
> sleep deprivation leads to
> > increased appetite for fats, salt, and sweets. So
> might cultural factors or
> > genetic ones.
> > In addition, the idea that "you can never be too
> thin or too rich" is a
> > very recent one. (Much debate continues, among
> epidemiologists, in fact,
> > about what counts as dangerous obesity. Certainly at
> the start of the 20th
> > c., the well-off in America mostly took pride in ample
> girth, which
> > distinguished them from most of the poor at the time.
> It may be that that
> > attitude was until recently still prevalent in
> minority communities where
> > malnutrition in more extreme forms lasted longer than
> among the majority.
> > My conclusion is that it is wrong to argue simply that
> the problem is that
> > the obese don't take responsibility for their
> status, in a society that
> > eagerly produces huge amounts of fatty, salty and
> sweet foods, advertises
> > and promotes them non-stop, makes them more readily
> available than other
> > sources of foods, etc.
> > Best,
> > Michael
> > On Jan 5, 2009, at 11:36 AM, Michael Balter wrote:
> > I would hope that mart would take a look at the study
> I cited to see if it
> > was properly controlled for the factors he mentions,
> otherwise I "might
> > suspect" that he is relying too much on his own
> hunches as well as anecdotal
> > material like the MSNBC report he linked to. He is
> also, I am sure,
> > perfectly capable of finding actual studies where
> these issues are explored,
> > which is what I tried to do. I could be wrong about
> all this, of course, and
> > there might be studies that completely contradict
> those that I cited. If so,
> > it "might be interesting" to see them (as I
> pointed out, the one Michael G.
> > cited was not on point.) Even a science for the people
> needs to be based on
> > science.
> > Taking personal responsibility is not the same thing
> as "just saying no."
> > Eg, there is no contradiction between taking personal
> responsibility and
> > getting support from a larger group, and many folks
> who try to lose weight
> > do so together with other people, friends, etc. In one
> of my earlier
> > messages I cited a program, a partnership between
> government and NGOs,
> > designed to help Black women eat better and lose
> weight. If those trying to
> > lose weight want to blame the system for their
> obesity, fine, but that won't
> > shed pounds unless they spend quite a few hours each
> day on a picket line
> > somewhere (and run rather than walk.) And they will be
> dead of diabetes or
> > heart disease long before the system tumbles.
> > MB
> > On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 8:19 PM, mart
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >> it might be interesting to know the demographics
> (age distribution) for
> >> black women. i might suspect the lower income
> thinner women may be older
> >> and also from a different tradition / generation
> than the younger group.
> >> i have no dought 'culture' is involved,
> but culture is real general.
> >> also, when dealing with 'personal
> responsibility' it takes 2 to tango---its
> >> difficult being a pacifist in a war zone. alot
> of people who promote the
> >> 'just say no' bootstraps doctrine seem
> ignorant of the 'scientific research'
> >> on 'rationality' and decisionmaking. (eg
> the bystander effect). there is
> >> also a huge industry in fake 'just say no'
> interventions which are
> >> guaranteed to fail, yet profitable and conveniant.
> > --
> > ******************************************
> > Michael Balter
> > Contributing Correspondent, Science
> > Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> > Boston University
> > Email: [log in to unmask]
> > Website: michaelbalter.com
> > Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
> > ******************************************
> Michael Balter
> Contributing Correspondent, Science
> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> Boston University
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> Website: michaelbalter.com
> Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com