The 'Obesity Epidemic'

rynner2

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Big is Beautiful!

Spock crosses art's final frontier with full-bodied approach
By Paul Bignell
Published: 03 June 2007

Best known for playing Mr Spock on the much-loved TV series Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy has become the unlikely champion of plus-sized women - by photographing them nude.

For eight years, the 76-year-old former actor, poet and musician has been turning what was a hobby into a crusading artistic statement, with a book and European exhibition scheduled for the end of this year.

The black and white photographs, exhibited in New York and LA, from a series entitled "The Full Body Project", started when a 20st woman askedNimoy to photograph her. Nimoy's wife, Susan, suggested she should model nude.

His fame has spread far. Internet sites such as the BigFatBlog, have lavished praise on him. "This is really interesting. Leonard Nimoy was already high in my esteem, now he's even higher," writes Eva.

He told The New York Times: "I do think they're beautiful. They're full-bodied, full-blooded human beings."

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 609312.ece
 

rynner2

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Meeting the world's heaviest man
By Duncan Kennedy
BBC News, Mexico City

To really appreciate Manuel Uribe's size, you have to do a bit of lateral thinking.

Picture in your mind an ordinary adult male.

Then another.

And another. And another. And another. And another.

And, finally, one more. Seven fully grown men in all, standing in a line.

Now, add up their weight. Only then would you be getting close to Manuel Uribe.

The raw statistics are breathtaking.

At his peak, he weighed 560kg, or 1234lb, or 88st. That's half a ton. Small Japanese cars come in lighter.


I got a shock when I first met Manuel. He'd agreed to meet us at his home in Monterrey, northern Mexico.

I had expected him to be closeted in an upstairs bedroom, out of sight. But no.

No longer depressed

I stepped out of our taxi in front of what appeared to be a shop. And there he was - in the window.

The whole world can walk past gazing incredulously at Manuel as he lies on his reinforced bed.

It is not a shop, of course, it's his home.

More remarkably, Manuel has no problem with all the staring, not any more.

A short while ago, Manuel tried to take his own life, so depressed was he by his size.

But these days you could not meet a more engaging, funny and contented man.

And the cause of his new found happiness? His weight loss.

From being billed as the heaviest man on the planet, he is now heading for a different record.

The human who has lost the most weight. Here, too, the numbers are eye-popping: in the past year, Manuel has shed 180kg or 400lb or 25st.

Put another way, it is as if two fully grown men have climbed off his body.


"I am happy, I am really happy," he says.

No-one knows for sure why Manuel joined the ranks of the hyper-obese, or morbidly obese, as his doctors call it.

He lived for 14 years in Dallas, Texas, and he himself blames an unending diet of burgers, pizzas and fizzy drinks.

But the doctors and other scientists are not so sure.

Naturally super-sized

They believe even the most gluttonous over-indulgence could not produce the kind of excess body weight Manuel has succumbed to. Instead, they think Manuel was super-sized by nature.

A fault in his genes which triggered the inflammation of his molecular structure.


Whatever the cause, the team of medics and nutritionists around him now have come up with a specialist diet that has produced remarkable results.


We arrived just as meal time was starting. One of five meals a day.

Manuel tucked into a delicious looking bowl of fish soup, complete with large chunks of fish. That was followed by a grapefruit and half an apple, rounded off with 18 peanuts. Yes, 18 peanuts.

Everything Manuel eats is calculated down to the last detail. Literally down to the last peanut.


"It's all about blocks," Manuel says. " My food is broken down into blocks. Every thing I eat has a value. A grapefruit is two blocks. Six peanuts are one block."

And so it goes on. By adding up the blocks he knows how much food he is allowed per meal.

All his food intake has been scientifically calculated to make sure he gets exactly what his body needs.

"It's about controlling his hormones," says Alejandra Garcia, one of Manuel's nutritionists.

"If he eats the right nutrients you control his hormones. If you control his hormones you determine his weight. It is not some outlandish fad diet. It is simple common sense refined by science."

That means they have worked out his exact intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. And, they say, this can be done for anyone.

As Manuel shuffles around the bed he has not left since 2002, he tells me he never gets hungry.

"I can eat chicken, kiwi fruit, even zero calorie cola drinks," he says.

'I chose life'

His mother Otilia agrees - she is the one who looks after all his needs, especially his food.

"I am so proud of him now," she says. "He is so much more at ease with life."

His new food programme has re-energised his life - he now has a girlfriend and wants children.

He has bought a giant massage machine to maintain the circulation in the legs he can no longer close or move.

He has his own website and has started the Manuel Uribe Foundation to spread the word that weight loss for obese people is possible - and permanent.

His own body mass has been heading south for more than a year now.

Manuel says his aim to get down to 120kg, or 264lb or 19st. It means losing a further 260kg, or 572lb, or 40st.

That is like another three men climbing off his body.


"I take one day at a time," he says, "the doctors told me I had a choice. To choose life or to choose death. I chose life."

A smile then appears on the face of this larger-than-life character.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/f ... 612719.stm
 

lupinwick

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Nobody seems to know :roll:

The microwave, the supermarket and the end of the Second World War are among the reasons being proposed for the obesity epidemic.

Experts will today debate these theories and determine when precisely the nation's waistline began to expand.
Telepgraphp
 

rynner2

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Full fat takes the cream
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 13/07/2007

For years full-fat milk has been vilified by the nutrition police - but a new study suggests that it can actually boost your health. Xanthe Clay welcomes the gold top's return to flavour

In our obsession with healthy living and weight loss, have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater? Did we chuck out the goodness when we got rid of the fat? Recent studies suggest that, far from being the evil that we've been led to believe, dairy products are positively good for you.

In particular, some of the fats, proteins and vitamins in full-fat milk have previously unrecognised benefits for the metabolism, which can help keep pounds off, according to scientists at Cardiff University.

Over the years, we've been hoodwinked by the nutrition police into thinking all fat in food is bad fat. Of course, being fat rarely goes hand in hand with good health but the emergence of omega-3 oils, particularly in fish, and the benefits of olive oil, have opened our eyes to good fats.

And now the Welsh study has found that regular consumption of medium chain fatty acids found in full-fat milk and dairy products (cheese and yoghurt) can have a positive effect on metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes and obesity while reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack by two thirds.

But enough of the science. Clotted cream with jam and scones, farmhouse cheese, rich whole milk, unctuous yogurts and butter, surely the finest toast topper of all, are jewels of our country's gastronomic heritage. They are also life-enhancingly delicious to eat. Caring about what we eat and how it tastes is surely the first step to healthy eating.

And of course worrying about milk fat is a new neurosis. Not so long ago, whole milk was considered the perfect food for children, invalids and just about anyone. A pint a day kept the doctor away, in fact, and school children were positively dosed up with it. [Pre Milk-snatcher Thatcher! 8) ]

Now it's all about semi-skimmed or, worse, skimmed milk, that blueish, watery, tasteless ingredient beloved of joyless skinny latte drinkers. As for soy milk, with its strange woody taste, surely it's a misnomer? Milk comes from mammals, not from beans.

Even so-called full-fat milk isn't what it used to be. My children don't dash downstairs in the morning to be the ones to get the top of the milk on their cereal in the way we did. :D Milk is all homogenised these days, smooth and characterless.

As for all the reduced-fat foods that crowd the chill cabinets in the supermarket, aren't they a slightly peculiar idea? We have evolved to eat food in its natural state, and if our lifestyles have become less active in the last century or two, eating less should be the natural answer. These tampered-with products are shadows of the real McCoy, anyway.

Just because the packet proclaims that the half-fat version tastes as good as full-fat does not make it true. With its weird plasticky texture and lacklustre flavour, reduced-fat cheese makes a miserable meal. And low-fat cheddar on toast is akin to eating grilled polystyrene.

Take half-fat crème fraiche. It's not a bad product in itself, to dollop on fruit or eat with honey. But it's no substitute for the real thing. It has a more tangy flavour, a runnier texture, a less satisfying feel in the mouth. And, crucially, it doesn't behave the same way when you cook with it. It needs to be treated as a completely different ingredient.

Cream cheese at its best is cool and creamy, melting on the tongue and flooding the palate with rich flavour. At its worst, it's called quark. Never has a food had a more onomatopoeic name: that's exactly the gagging sound you want to make upon eating a spoonful of this vile, throat-clogging non-fat cheese.

Butter, whether canary-coloured from summer grass-fed cows or palest straw colour from winter milk, is so delicious that a tiny dab turns a dish of boiled vegetables into a treat. Low-fat spreads, dyed virulent yellow in a cruel caricature of the butter, can be a successful part of weight control only because they taste so nasty that no one would want to put more than a moisturising smear on their toast.

I'm not convinced these products help dieters. There's the problem, which any weight watcher will recognise, that reduced-fat products just don't fill you up. So you end up eating two low-fat yogurts instead of one, with a combined calorie count that may be more than a single ordinary yoghurt, and less good for you to boot.

A list of vitamins on the side of the packet doesn't tell you anything. Nutrients work as a team, and fat is an important player. For example, calcium can't be properly absorbed without vitamin D, which is abundant in dairy products - except low-fat ones.

No one is suggesting that eating clotted cream for breakfast every day is life-prolonging, but a moderate amount of dairy fat in your diet is not only not going to do you harm, it's actually healthy, as well as life-enhancing.

http://tinyurl.com/2h6wgh

Is this article true, or is it the work of the Devil? :twisted:

Well, I'm off to the shop for some full fat milk and cheese

- I've been torturing myself too long!
:D
 

escargot

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S'crap. This bit, anyway -

Milk is all homogenised these days, smooth and characterless.
Homogenised milk is treated to distribute the fat evenly. Not all milk is processed in this way.

Also, what alternative to smooth milk is there? Lumpy milk? :shock:

Or unpasteurised milk, maybe? Complete with brucellosis? :D

When I read articles like this ('Things We Enjoy Aren't Bad For Us After All') I think, here's someone who's reached the age where they've realised how unhealthily they've been living, and have begun clutching at straws. :lol:
 

rynner2

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escargot1 said:
S'crap. This bit, anyway -

Milk is all homogenised these days, smooth and characterless.
Homogenised milk is treated to distribute the fat evenly. Not all milk is processed in this way.

Also, what alternative to smooth milk is there? Lumpy milk? :shock:
Hard to tell what modern milk is like, now it doesn't come in glass bottles.

But the top couple of inches in a bottle, when I were a lad, was rich and creamy, so nutritious that the birds used to peck the foil caps off to get at it! :D
 

rynner2

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A report of the scientific research:

Drinking milk cuts diabetes risk

Drinking a pint of milk a day may protect men against diabetes and heart disease, say UK researchers.
Eating dairy products reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome - a cluster of symptoms which increase likelihood of the conditions - the Welsh team found.

In the 20-year study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, metabolic syndrome increased the risk of death by 50%.

Experts recommended people only eat two or three portions of dairy a day.

The University of Cardiff study of 2,375 men aged between 45 and 59 classified metabolic syndrome as having two or more out of high blood glucose, insulin, blood fats, body fat, and blood pressure.

Over the 20-year period, food questionnaires and weekly food diaries were used to assess how much milk and dairy foods the men consumed.

At the start of the study 15% had metabolic syndrome and had almost double the risk of coronary artery heart disease and four times the risk of diabetes of those without the syndrome.

But the researchers found men were 62% less likely to have the syndrome if they drank a pint or more of milk every day, and 56% less likely to have it if they regularly ate other dairy produce.

The more dairy produce the men consumed, the less likely were they to have the syndrome.


Healthy diet

Study leader, Professor Peter Elwood, said milk consumption has plummeted in the UK over the past 25 years, amid concerns about its impact on health.

But dairy produce is part of a healthy diet and its consumption should be promoted, he concluded.

"The present data add further to the evidence that milk and dairy products fit well into a healthy eating pattern."

Jemma Edwards, care advisor at Diabetes UK, advised against consuming large amounts of full fat dairy products in a bid to prevent type 2 diabetes and stressed the importance of a balanced diet and physical activity.

"The results of this study are interesting.

"Dairy products are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet and we would recommend people aim to eat two to three servings of low fat dairy a day."

"One portion is equivalent to a third of a pint of milk, one small pot of yogurt or a matchbox-size piece of cheese.

"Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity are vital in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6898103.stm

(Equal and opposite experts again.. :roll: )

Anyhow, Mrs. Snail, these 'straws' seem more like servicable liferafts! ;)
 

rynner2

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I thought of posting this in Peak Oil, but probably here's more appropriate:

Rising petrol prices could force obese Americans to hit the street
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 13 September 2007

For overweight Americans relief is on the way, in the shape of ever-higher petrol prices. Getting out the car to drive downtown for a super-sized plate full of fatty fast-food is the highlight of the day for many Americans. The result is a public health crisis with four out of 10 American adults already overweight or heading that way.

After consuming mountains of chips, fried meat and baked goods all washed down with corn-sweetened soft drinks, overweight Americans then worry which best-selling diet book will help them see their toes again. It turns out that higher petrol prices can slim down more than the wallets of the overweight.

The ever-rising cost of filling up their cars is prompting millions of Americans to pack their own lunch and walk to the bus.

The statistics are dramatic: they show that when petrol prices have risen in the US, obesity has shown a corresponding fall of as much as 10 per cent according to a new study, A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity.

The study's author, Charles Courtemanche, from the University of Washington, St Louis, said his inspiration came when he was filling up his car: "I was pumping gas one day, thinking with gas prices so high I may have to take the Metro," he said.

After figuring out that he would get an extra 30 minutes of exercise per day by walking to and from the Metro, he correlated statistics for obesity and petrol prices in America.

American obesity rates began to rise sharply in the early 1980s. Part of this has been blamed on an overworked population demanding convenience foods – prepared, packaged products and restaurant meals that contain more calories than home-cooked meals.

According to Marion Nestle, of New York University, the arrival of the Reagan administration in 1980 brought government subsidies for farmers who grew more food. Fast-food companies reacted by serving larger portions and inventing snacks. The calories available per capita nearly doubled to 3,900 a day and a crisis was born.

But, to his shock, Mr Courtemanche found that 13 per cent of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 could be attributed to the falling price of petrol. "First, if a person uses public transportation, such as subways, buses, trolleys or rail services, the need to move to and from the public transit stops is likely to result in additional walking, again decreasing weight," he said.

"Second, since the opportunity cost of eating out at restaurants rises when the price of gas increases, people may substitute eating out to preparing their own meals at home, which tend to be healthier."

Now petrol prices are on the up again, reaching a record high of $3.22 (£1.60) per gallon in May 2007, and so according to the theory, obesity levels should now be falling. "The recent spike in gas prices may have the 'silver lining' of reducing obesity in the coming years," the study said. It calculated that an increase of $1 per gallon in real gasoline prices would reduce US obesity by 15 per cent after five years. That would save 16,000 lives and $17bn a year, according to the research.

Mr Courtemanche said he had already received hate mail for suggesting that high petrol prices are good for Americans. "One person yelled at me: 'So now I'm supposed to be happy about gas prices!'" he said.

Some 59 million Americans are overweight. Almost 65 per cent are either obese or overweight, 10-30lb over a healthy weight, with greater chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. And it is not just adults. Some obese children in the US knock back two or three bottles of cola a day, equivalent to 1,000 calories.

Most US cities do not have good public transport networks, although they are improving. As more people react to the "sticker shock" of paying more than $3 a gallon by opting to walk, take the bus, or even cycle, planners anticipate pressure for better public transport.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 956424.ece
 

escargot

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Rynner, I wasn't disputing the goodness of milk. I was mocking the inaccurate, sloppy writing.

As an example, using the term 'homogenised', which has a very precise meaning in relation to milk processing, to mean something like 'all the different types look and taste the same these days' makes the writer look sadly ignorant.
 

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New Zealand bars British man's 'fat' wife
By Paul Chapman in Wellington
Last Updated: 1:24am GMT 18/11/2007

A British man who moved to New Zealand has been told by officials that his wife is too fat to join him.

Richie Trezise, 35, a rugby-playing Welshman, lost weight to gain entry to New Zealand after being rejected for being overweight and a potential burden on the health care system.

His wife, Rowan, is now on a strict diet. However, she has been battling for months to shed the pounds so they can be reunited and live Down Under.

Mr Trezise moved to New Zealand in September after shedding two inches from his waist on a crash diet. He said that if his wife was not allowed to come out by Christmas they would abandon the idea of emigrating.

His employer-backed skills visa was initially rejected by immigration officials when they discovered that his body mass index, or BMI, was 42, making him morbidly obese.

BMI measures a person's weight in relation to their height. Anything over 25 is regarded as overweight, and 30 or above is obese.

But his wife Rowan, who planned to emigrate with him, has failed to overcome the obesity test.

Mr Trezise is a submarine cable specialist, who has also served in the Army.

He said yesterday: "My doctor laughed at me.

"He said he'd never seen anything more ridiculous in his whole life. He said not every overweight person is unhealthy or unfit.

"The idea was that we were going to change our lifestyle totally and get outdoors and on mountain bikes and all sorts of activities."

Robyn Toomath, a spokesman for Fight the Obesity Epidemic and an endocrinologist, said the BMI limit was valid in the vast majority of people.

She said she was opposed to obese people being stigmatised.

"However, the immigration department's focus is different," she said. "It cannot afford to import people into the country who are going to be a significant drain on our health resources.

"You can see the logic in assessing if there is a significant health cost associated with this individual and that would be a reason for them not coming in."

New Zealand is critically short of skilled workers, and many large firms are intensively recruiting in Britain.

Mr Trezise was recruited to supervise the Southern Cross Cable, which links New Zealand with Australia and the west coast of the United States.

He is one of only four highly qualified specialist technicians working on the improvement of the cable.

The New Zealand Immigration Service said it did not know how many people were denied entry to the country because of high BMI readings.

However, comments posted on the Emigrate New Zealand website reveal that many people have been turned down after medical tests revealed that they were obese.

Mr Trezise has private health care in New Zealand and his employer, Telecom, has a gym membership scheme.

http://tinyurl.com/2x7hlm
 

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It's only a matter of time before it's illegal to be overweight - at least I'd lose weight in jail if the food's as bad as it's supposed to be...
 

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If you listen to the news it's beginning to appear as if being overweight is akin to being a leper.
 

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hallybods said:
If you listen to the news it's beginning to appear as if being overweight is akin to being a leper.
But at least you don't have to ring a bell and call out "Unclean!" every time you meet someone - your obesity would be the first thing they'd notice! 8)
 

hallybods

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You wanna bet? ;) I often get a reaction that my fat is catching. I treat it the best way I know how, I just laugh at them and shake my head.
 

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hallybods said:
If you listen to the news it's beginning to appear as if being overweight is akin to being a leper.
It always has been. My sister has been treated like a leper for years. Every ailment she has is attributed to being fat and the doctors just keep shoving diet sheets at her instead of tackiling the real problems behind her overeating which is mental rather than physical.
 

ElishevaBarsabe

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elffriend said:
My sister has been treated like a leper for years. Every ailment she has is attributed to being fat and the doctors just keep shoving diet sheets at her instead of tackiling the real problems behind her overeating which is mental rather than physical.
Here, too. Of course, the mental problem you've suggested may have a physical basis: the doctors just aren't looking for it because that would be work on their part.

I read once (perhaps in "Our Bodies, Ourselves") about a woman who said that if she walked into her doctor's office with her head under her arm, he'd say that the cause was her excess weight.
 

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I too have been diagnosed most of my life with stopsmokingstopdrinkingloseweight. Turned out I had severe hypothyroidism which was responsible for at least a significant proportion of the depression and anxiety, the lethargy, the skin condition etc etc etc - and even some of the weight I dare say - that had been troubling me for years. I am now on the maximum dose of thyroxine and recovering slowly, just in time to die I expect. Doctors, wonderful people. I must have literally seen 20 before any of them even considered what, now I've read up on it, seems a perfectly bloody obvious explanation which went undiagnosed, according to my current quack, for probably at least 5 years and it's lucky I've not lost my marbles as a result.
My respect for the medical profession is right up there with the respect they, and a lot of other people, seem to have for me.
 

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*Sighs* It's hard to find a decent doctor who doesn't want to fob you off and get you out the door as soon as possible.

I think what makes me wonder is why compulsive eating due to a mental illness is not treated with the same sympathy as anorexics, they are both due to mental health issues yet people automatically think you are a greedy pig if you over eat.
 

rynner2

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Help is at hand - at a price!

Tesco expands into the fitness farm market
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Correspondent and Kerry Hopkins
Last Updated: 3:05am GMT 24/11/2007

First it was groceries, then it was travel insurance and divorces. Now, Tesco is moving into fitness farms. The retailer is starting Tesco Diets FitFarm in February next year.

The course in Tiverton, Devon, tells participants to expect to drop a dress size, lower blood pressure, improve fitness and lose inches from the waist and hips.

The brochure boasts: "Tesco Diets FitFarm is in between a weight-loss farm and health farm. We are not as strict and military as a boot camp, but to achieve high weight-loss targets we will need maximum effort from people!"

The week-long course, which costs up to £790, has already been tested. Participants have described the regime as "very hard work", involving long runs across Exmoor :shock: , aerobics classes, a ban on all caffeine, sugar and alcohol and very small meals.

Julie Rayment, 48, from west London, said: "I did feel incredibly fit at the end of the week, but it was very hard work." She is doubtful whether she dropped a dress size, but said she had lost two pounds.

Tesco's weight-busting project is another example of Britain's biggest supermarket spreading its wings into all areas of its shoppers' lives.

It runs baby and toddler clubs, offers home insurance, mobile phone contracts and legal services, on top of selling groceries to 15 million people a week. Its British profit amounted to £1.79 billion last year.

Nick Gladding at the retail consultancy Verdict, said: "This does seem a step beyond what they have done before, but Tesco is very good at moving into these non-food areas. It'll probably be popular with their customers."

Tesco has been keen to reject criticisms that it is responsible for shoppers' poor diet by regularly discounting calorific foods.

This weekend the supermarket is offering 2-for-£2 deals on many Mr Kipling cakes, for instance.

Sam Westcott, a spokesman for Tesco Diets, said: "There are people who want to eat doughnuts the whole time, and Tesco caters to them.

"But it is also putting a lot of work into the health agenda, which it takes very seriously. It has relaunched its Healthy Living range of food earlier this year, and these Fit Farms are all part of that."

She also pointed out that fruit and vegetables were frequently discounted by the chain. Mr Gladding added: "Health is one of the areas they have been very keen to push. They know it is moving up the political agenda."

http://tinyurl.com/2gko8v
 

hallybods

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That sounds like its extremely dangerous and more like starvation more than a diet. If you speak to a nutritionist they will tell you that it's not the size of the meals, it's what you eat that is important.
 

rynner2

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hallybods said:
That sounds like its extremely dangerous and more like starvation more than a diet. If you speak to a nutritionist they will tell you that it's not the size of the meals, it's what you eat that is important.
Well, never mind all that, just think of the points you'll get on your loyalty card! :D
 

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Something to think about before Christmas dinner...

A bad year to be fat
By Clare Murphy
Health reporter, BBC News

The year kicked off with the news that an overweight boy from North Tyneside could be taken from his mother by child protection officials.

Her apparent crime: overfeeding her son.

He was allowed to stay at home, but in the months to come various investigations - including one by the BBC - would uncover that obesity had been a factor in perhaps as many as two dozen child protection cases.

Some professionals said allowing a child to become obese had to be viewed as a form of neglect, given the potential health consequences.

Others believed that to treat childhood obesity as a parental crime was foraying into unchartered - and potentially rather sinister - territory.

Other obesity-related headlines rolled in thick and fast.

From fire chiefs considering charging to move large people from their homes to government equating obesity with climate change, fatness was never far away.

"When we first started talking about obesity as a problem, it was very hard to be heard," says Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern.

"Now the pendulum has swung too far the other way - we hear nothing but. And the net result is that the kind of moralising the obese and overweight have always suffered has somehow become institutionalised."

No room at the hospital

One of the recent developments that particularly concerns the National Obesity Forum (NOF) is the move towards what has been described as "rationing" healthcare for the obese.

According to one tally, there are at least eight NHS trusts which have introduced some form of restriction for non-urgent operations on the overweight.

Such measures, which range from patients having to prove they have tried to lose weight to straightforward refusal to refer those above a certain BMI (body mass index), received something of an endorsement from then health secretary Patricia Hewitt earlier this year.

The fact is, doctors say, there are sound clinical reasons to delay treatment until patients lose weight. The operation is likely to be more successful, the recovery time shorter.

But Dr Colin Waine, NOF chairman, believes that the obese are simply being used by hospitals as a convenient way to cut down on expenditure.

"This is really about resources. You can't argue that denying a hip-and-knee operation to an obese person is in their interests, as it may well be the inability to walk about and exercise which is making their problems worse."

Recently the British Fertility Society has joined in, arguing that the obese should be barred from IVF as extra weight put the health and welfare of both mother and baby at risk.

This, Dr Waine claims, is "discriminatory".

Switching seats

And the constant debate about the problems fat people pose can get very tiresome for those on the receiving end.

Fat Is he New Black

"There's always been prejudice," says Vicki Swinden, founder of Fat Is The New Black.

"But what's changed is that this now seems to be totally acceptable. It's perfectly legitimate now for a person standing in an airline queue to say: 'I'm not sitting next to that person, they're too fat.'"

Fat Is The New Black argues that being fat does not necessarily mean you are not fit, or prone to ill health, and indeed this stance has been backed up by several studies.

Most recently, a major US investigation found the overweight had no higher risk of dying of cancer or heart disease and overall lived longer than those of a "normal" weight.

Too much doom

Yet no-one seriously contends that obesity is not a problem - even if there is debate as to how great a risk it poses. But there is suggestion that perhaps we are harping on too much about it.

"It's got to a stage now where it's actually hard to get any useful messages across because people have heard so much, often contradictory, information, that they just think: obesity blah blah blah," says Mrs Swinden.

The Health Secretary Alan Johnson recently said obesity was a problem "on the scale of climate change".

Increasingly there are fears that we hear so much about the doom and gloom of global warming that we have started to switch off.

"We don't want this to happen with obesity. We know what the problem is. We don't need more reports, more studies, more talking," says Dr Waine.

"We just need to get with it now: the government, the food industry, the community and the individual - we need to get cracking."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7140844.stm
 

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I'm on a serious diet now, partly because of potential health problems, and partly to get in shape before I go on a cruise in May, so I will probably post more horror stories like this one as a reminder to myself, as well as a warning to other FTers!
(BTW, there are a few typos in the original piece.)


Will our diet be the death of us: How fat can kill the human body
By JANE CLARKE
Last updated at 00:48am on 15th January 2008

As a nutritionist I've seen plenty of shocking things and know exactly what a bad diet can do to the human body.

I've even witnessed major operations - from gall bladder removal to women being sterilised - and know how a body stores fat.

But nothing could have prepared me for the experience of watching an autopsy on an overweight man and seeing the full horror of what his diet had done to his body.

There was so much fat inside his body that the doctor performing the autopsy struggled to locate the man's heart.

It was one of the most sad and shocking things I have ever seen.

What's so horrifying is that our eating habits mean more and more Britons are going to end up the same way - on a mortuary slab in this terrible state.

The autopsy was part of a documentary I made for Channel 4 with Jamie Oliver to highlight just how bad the British diet is.

We asked a panel of ordinary people from across the country to join us as we looked at how much fat, sugar and salt Britons are now consuming.

These were all people who ate the typical British diet - high in processed foods and low in fruit and vegetables - and who wanted to improve their diets.

As well as showing them in practical terms how much fat they were consuming in a year (one girl was made to lie in a bath as she had gallons of oil poured over her to graphically demonstrate her fat consumption) the idea was to show these people - some of whom were overweight, some who weren't - just what kind of damage their diets were causing to their insides.

The most dramatic part of the programme was where Dr Gunther von Hagens - who is world-famous for his exhibitions of dissected human bodies - performed an autopsy on a 25-stone man to ascertain the cause of death.

This man had died from heart failure. He had also suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure in the years leading up to his death. Taking a look inside him, it wasn't difficult to see why.

There was fatty tissue everywhere, squashing and pushing his vital organs out of place. He had literally eaten himself to death.


Watching the autopsy was our panel of 18 members of the British public. They were visibly shocked and repulsed by what they saw.

It was fascinating seeing their reactions, especially as many of them have a similarly fatty diet to this man.

We explained that many of them faced the same fate as they were eating way over the recommended amount of salt, sugar and fat.

Many were living off ready meals and takeaways. Despite this, few of them realised just how bad their diet was or the implications it could have in the long-term.

After measuring all of them, many learnt they were officially "obese", much to their surprise.

The autopsy was a sight to behold - and not just because the human body is so fascinating.

The sheer volume of fat inside this man's body had distorted his organs so much that Drvon Hagens struggled to find the liver and heart because they'd been shunted so far out of place by fat.

When Dr von Hagens did locate the heart, it was twice the size it should have been - the size of two fists rather than one.

This was because it had to work so hard trying to pump blood around blood vessels narrowed by fatty deposits.

The man's liver was "fatty" - when you're overweight the liver struggles to deal with fat and starts to store it.

Instead of being spongey and soft the liver becomes hard and rigid.


His diaphragm - the set of muscles that lies across the chest cavity, helping to pull oxygen into the lungs - had also been pushed up by the excess fat, and his lungs were half the size they should have been, meaning it was harder for him to breathe.

We were also shown the lungs removed from a smoker - worryingly, a smoker with a normal weight had healthier lungs than this man, a reminder that obesity really can be worse for you than smoking.

His body was in such a mess that it would have been impossible for him to walk more than a few steps without getting out of breath.

It is no wonder that obese people are comfortable and have no energy when their organs are rearranged in such a way.

The tragedy is that this man could have lived on with his fatty liver, diabetes and various other ailments but for his ruined heart.

And you don't need to hit 25 stone for this to happen.

One of the fundamental things people fail to realise is how over-eating, even by a small amount can, over time, pile on the pounds.

So many people have failed to make the connection between that extra bag of crisps and the fact their weight is creeping up.

In the programme we met one 25-year-old woman who needs to lose weight.

Her daily treat of crisps and a latte coffee, combined with the rest her fatty diet, was pushing her over the recommended calorie intake for a woman of 2,000 a day by 300 calories.

That doesn't sound like much - but over 15 months, it adds up to three-and-a-half stone.

On the other hand, just because you're thin, it doesn't mean you're healthy - you could still be eating yourself to death.

Firstly, many people associate the term "obese" with somebody so overweight that they're waddling along or gasping for breath.

But the reality is many of us are obese and don't realise it - often because we don't look it or define ourselves as "curvy".

Take two of the panel, Sam and Dan. Sam was classed as only slightly overweight for his height, while Dan was classed as obese.

Despite this, when asked to perform fitness tests, Dan outperformed-Sam, as did another member of the panel ranked as morbidly obese.

A further investigation with an MRI scan found that Sam had 29 per cent body fat; "obese" Dan had just 15 per cent.

Sam's lifestyle of a high-fat, high-sugar diet, coupled with very little exercise, meant he was accumulating a lot of internal fat - and storing up problems for himself later in life.

So who's to blame? Over the past 50 years, the food we eat has changed dramatically - in many ways for the worse.

Fifty years ago, the average sausage contained around 70 per cent meat.

Today, you'd be lucky to find more than 35 per cent in many brands.

The shortfall is made up with extras such as dextrose, rusk and emulsifier, which have no nutritional value, more salt to add flavour to these "fillers", and often colourants.

Then there's products such as the cereal Special K, which contains double the amount of sugar it did 20 years ago.


Nothing is safe - there's more sugar in bread and soups than ever before and our sweet tooth is sweeter than ever - we're even opting for naturally sweeter versions of apples.

I believe the rise of the ready meal has had one of the most devastating effects on our health over the last 25 years.

When they first appeared in the 1980s, one in ten people was obese. Today it's one in four.

So many ready meals are loaded with salt, calories and fat - including many of the reduced-fat versions - and low in fibre, that they are a terrible longterm diet.

The problem is that fibre kills off the cancerous cells in the bowel - and in a nation where bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer, this is serious.

Despite being a wealthy, developed country, we only manage to pass an average of 110g of stools per day - less than half a block of butter in terms of size - compared with Ugandans, who pass a record 480g a day - nearly two whole blocks. [ :shock: Not sure I want to read that while eating breakfast!]

This is because their diet is healthy, highfibre and rich in nuts and fruit.

It's partly the manufacturers' fault.

Better labelling would help - "the British public aren't stupid," says Jamie, "but it needs to be clearer when one product contains more than 100 per cent of an average person's recommended daily fat intake."

It's also partly our own individual fault - as Jamie puts it, "we all know that fruit and veg are good for us but most of us choose to ignore it."

But the good news - and one of the reasons why I agreed to be involved in this programme - is that it really doesn't take much to start undoing the damage.

Most people think changing your diet and lifestyle involves spending a fortune on brown, unappetising food and weird and wonderful things only found in health food shops.

The reality couldn't be further from the truth.

As regular readers of my column will know, I'm adamant that eating your way to a longer life is all about making small but significant changes to your diet.

I am fed up with gimmicky, pseudoscience where people are first ridiculed for their diet and then told they must eat goji berries, cut out all alcohol and only drink herbal tea.

These diets are completely inaccessible and unappealing.

For far too long, healthy eating has been seen as an elitist thing to do, something that only the rich can afford.

But that simply isn't true. It's perfectly easy to live healthily on many mainstream foods - foods which other nutritionists often disparage.

White bread, tinned fruit and frozen vegetables are all OK - if you combine them with the right things.

So forget weighing your stools or eating sprouted greens and focus on what's actually achievable.

We explained this to our panel - and set them on a course of healthier eating that didn't demand a radical rethink of their diet or introducing them to mung beans.

If you only like white bread, fine - just try and eat it with something healthy. So swop your bacon buttie for an egg on toast.

Or eat white pasta but combine it with protein such as chicken or fish.

This will slow down the release of energy from the meal and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

If you can't - or don't want to - buy fresh fruit and veg, opt for tinned or frozen varieties.

They still count as part of your five portions of fruit and veg a day and sometimes, as in the case of frozen peas, they can contain just as many nutrients, especially vitamin C, than their fresh counterparts.

I think because we can't see the effects of excess salt, sugar and calories, we don't see - or appreciate - the catastrophic damage we are doing to ourselves.

There is something to be said for using images such as this autopsy as a shock tactic.

In a way, it's not dissimilar to showing smokers what happens to their lungs.

But at least with smoking it's purely just a case of quitting. Over-eating and obesity is not such a clear-cut matter.

It's not enough just to shock people - they have to be guided about how to change their lifestyle.

The human body is a wonderful thing; it is precious and we should look after it rather than thinking of it as a machine that can cope with anything we put in it.

JAMIE Oliver: Eat To Save Your Life, will be screened on Channel 4 on Wednesday, January 16 at 10pm.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/li...ain.html?in_article_id=508249&in_page_id=1774
 

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'Ban restaurants from serving obese people'
By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 1:52am GMT 04/02/2008

A new bill in Mississippi would make it illegal for restaurants to serve obese customers.

The legislation, introduced by three members of the state’s House of Representatives, would allow health inspectors to revoke the licence of any restaurant that "repeatedly" feeds extremely overweight people.

According to the bill, which has been referred to the judiciary and public health committees, the state’s health department would determine the criteria which would then be sent to all restaurants.

Mississippi usually comes top in surveys of America’s fattest states, just as its citizens come bottom in terms of taking physical exercise.

Two-thirds of adult Mississippians are overweight and 30 per cent obese, according to the latest federal figures.

The bill proposes that the state’s health department establishes weight criteria after consulting with Mississippi’s Council on Obesity. These criteria would then be supplied to all restaurants so they could decide who not to serve.

Although it is widely predicted that the bill will not become law, it illustrates the level of concern about an issue that is estimated to cost the state’s free medical care system more than $220 million each year.

Ted Mayhall, one of the politicians who proposed the bill, said he was hoping to "call attention to the problem".

He said: "No-one’s doing anything about it. They just keep on going to the buffets and eating."

J Justin Wilson, an analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a restaurant industry lobby group, said: "I’ve seen a lot of crazy laws but this one takes the cake. Literally." 8)

He added: "Maybe the state’s legislature should do something to help people burn more calories instead of pretending that eating out is a cardinal sin."

http://tinyurl.com/yrc3ww
 

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What a stupid concept.

I mean, apart from the comedy gold of a waiter in McDonalds cutting someone off when they've had too much.

Here's an idea, make fat people eat in restaurants, only. The better standard of cooking (in proper restaurants, not fast food chains), plus the expense of having to pay restaurant prices for all their meals would have more benefit than forcing them to eat at home, where the depression of being told by someone they're too fat will just force them to eat lots of comfort food.

Plus, what standards will they be applying? Will the Maitre d'Hotel measure body fat before seating people? Will they have a speak your weight machine at the door?
 

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Will it apply to takeaway food? Or Dial-a-Pizza? Will the pizza guy see you at the front door and say, waaaait a minute, buddy, I think you've had enough!
 

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'Firemen's lift is not for a 41-stone man'
By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent
Last Updated: 5:53pm GMT 22/02/2008

A crew of 10 firemen were called out four times in one week to lift a 41-stone man in his own home.

They travelled in two engines to Robert Marsden's council house and on one occasion were asked only to move him from one side of his bed to the other.

It led to a fire brigade union leader complaining yesterday that crews should not be dealing with obese people when they could be needed at real emergencies.

The call-outs were made to Mr Marsden's ground floor flat in Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, last week, where he receives daily visits from carers.

Gordon McQuade, of the Fire Brigades Union, said: "On one of the occasions it was simply to assist the council's Mobile Emergency Care Service to move him across his bed. That is not a medical emergency. Firefighters will always attend to help out in medical emergencies. We have no problem with that.

"But when you tie up two fire engines and 10 firefighters to move someone two feet across a bed you have to ask, should we be doing that in case other incidents come in?

"We don't have any special equipment or portable hoists to lift people like this. Even with 10 firefighters, if you're pushing someone who is more than 40 stone, you can put your back out."

Mr Marsden, 40, who is unemployed and spends much of his day in bed, said he did not understand "what the fuss was about".

He added: "The firemen came here and got on with their job, and once they were finished they went on to their next job. Sometimes I slide to the floor in my living room, and it's hard to get back up.

"I try not to make a regular habit of ringing for help, but sometimes there is nothing I can do. Of course I'm grateful to the fire service. There are people up and down the country just like me.

"My weight isn't something I like to discuss. It comes up in every conversation I have. I am tired of talking about it." The FBU said that with morbid obesity becoming more common, the NHS should provide on-call assistance and hoists to allow firemen to concentrate on their real duties.

Mr McQuade added: "We are seeing a large increase in this type of call where obese patients require to be moved within their house, but there is actually nothing medically wrong with them."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... fat122.xml

Since it seems Mr Marsden can hardly move, someone else must bring him food. If somebody was to overfeed a dog that way, they'd probably be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
 

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From a 41 stone man to a 52 stone man - and my previous comment still applies...

Obese hostel man is laid to rest

A 52-stone man who was found dead at a hostel for people with drug, drink or mental health problems will be buried on Friday.
John Christian Jeffrey, 29, was found dead in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton in Somerset, on 28 February.

The cost of the funeral is being borne by Taunton Deane Borough Council as Mr Jeffrey has no known relatives.

Funeral directors have had to order a custom-built extra large coffin for the occasion, which costs about £800.

Special coffin

Funeral director Nigel Ford will run the service and said he has a contract with the council for such circumstances.

"It does happen quite often. Taunton Deane take responsibility for funding the funeral because there are no family members. It's very sad," he said.

"The council pay for a minimal, basic service which includes pallbearers, funeral director and a coffin.

"We've had to make a coffin specially for the man, he was quite large. In countries where people are larger, like America, I expect it's not too unusual but we don't get many."

Taunton Deane Council solicitor Judith Jackson added: "We haven't been able to trace any relations, therefore we have accepted responsibility for his funeral under our statutory obligations."

An inquest has been opened.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7295234.stm

Sad case. But who feeds these people?
 

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http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2804541.html

The man with the bottomless stomach

A German has been dubbed "the man with the bottomless stomach" because of his massive appetite.

Heinz Asthoff binges on over 12,000 calories a day without gaining an ounce in weight, reports the Daily Telegraph.

He was struck with his incurable hunger following the death of his wife 22 years ago.

On any given day he will eat a 2.2lb chunk of leberkase meat loaf, 5lb of potatoes, a dozen eggs, a pint of mayonnaise, pizzas, chips and sometimes as many as 20 meat patties.

He has even been advised by his doctors not to give up his 40-a-day smoking habit because he would eat more.

The trouble is that Heinz, 68, from Offenbach, is spending more on food than he has pension money. "Something has to give," he said.

"I can't eat out anymore. Last time I went to a pub I ordered a potato pancake and ended up eating 100 of them. I can't afford it."

He is nearly six feet tall and weighs 15 stone. "My doctors say my stomach is like the mine I worked down for 36 years - black and bottomless," he said.

Doctors confess that they have no idea why his metabolism demands so much food.

He lost his devoted wife, Minna, 22 years ago to cancer - the event, he says, which triggered his bizarre eating syndrome.
We need to find out this guy's secret. Maybe it's psychosomatic?
 
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