Monday, June 15, 2015

Fat Stats... Who is Lying?

There was a little news release last week that revealed a startling number. Per a survey, the average woman in America weighs the same as the average man in 1960. It was one of those undeniable, smack-you-in-the-face things that confirms what your eyes see. The problem with the story is the nice chart that goes with it. See that steady rise from women weighing 140 in 1960 to 166 today? Does anything feel odd about those rising numbers throughout the last five decades? They should since for decades the press has said that the average American woman weighs 140 pounds. How can we have any type of policy discussion if the numbers we are told are either altered or do not match when methodology is changed. This is a problem of scale and truth.

Skeptics might say, "Bah, the press has discussed our weight gain for yeeeeears, gimme a break Sherman". No, look back at their own articles. Here is a NY Times article from 2004 discussing the average American woman weighing 144 pounds now compared to 140 pounds in 1994. You can also search for pictures where the media even into the 2000s would show the average woman with bold letering of 5'4" and 140 lbs and then show how that looks on different body types. The Wapo study is from the CDC, while the NY Times survey is not CDC but coordinated with the CDC to line up their sample. The 140 pounds number should ring a bell though because that was the number cited through the years for the average American woman. That was a lie. That was the average American woman in 1960. Per the CDC survey cited in the Wapo story, the average American woman crossed 150 in the late '80s and then 160 around the year 2000. To put this in perpsective, the 140 number was last seen before the Beatles.

Some weight gain makes sense as the average age of Americans has risen by almost a full decade since 1970. Older people are usually heavier. If you believe in different groups of people looking different, then looking at America's increasingly Mexican population, is part of the answer. Mexico actually beats America for obese citizens. Now that you know this though, do you even trust the number the CDC gives for today? Do you trust other surveys? When I am out in public, I do not think the average weight has stabilized as the CDC graph shows. It looks like it has become worse. I would go to the zoo now more to observe homo hippopotamus than the animals in exhibits. Think of these fat stats... do you believe a single sex survey that says Americans are having more and better sex than ever? Me neither.

The obesity epidemic has no silve bullet solution. Human bodies work differently, but we're also too massive of a nation with too ethnically diverse of a population to attack the problem without mentioning unmentionables. At its core, how many people are stuffing their face because secular prog-land leaves them feeling or because we removed all shaming techniques and the underclass has no goal they are trying to aspire to or betters worthy of imitating. The other problem is that food delivery, production and whatnot all skew in favor of the low cost provider who can leverage their access to governments. "Don't worry about upset plebians, just make EBT accepted at fast food and we'll put a franchise right in the worst neighborhoods and rural towns. You'll help the Big Pharma diabetes racket too!" Before we even approach the problem, we need to make sure that our policy makers, our opinion shapers and the public are armed with reliable and truthful numbers.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

We ban cigarettes and obesity skyrockets.

Anonymous said...

Food is just too cheap. We should allow everything to go up in price, particularly starches and simple carbs (corn, wheat, potatoes).

magus janus said...

surely part of the issue is the increase in height over past 50 years. Not all of it of course, but some part of it.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Since 1960, American have not grown in height all that much.

DCThrowback said...

Award of the year for dumbest comment goes to "food is too cheap guy". Cheap foods has allowed the food and cooking revolution to take flight, allowing Americans more choices in dining than ever.

Our own govt is massively responsible for this weight gain by demonizing the kinds of foods Americans used to eat (eggs, red meat) that kept them thin and satiated, replacing them w/ low fat, high sugar messes that promised to lower their cholesterol - an empty threat that has left Americans more at risk for diabetes and heart disease than ever before.

Joël Cuerrier said...

It's not cheap food, it's access to food everywhere you look. You go almost anywhere, they are trying to sell you food. The markets were certainly very different in 1960. I wasn't there, but I'm almost certain your pharmacist wasn't in the business of selling soft drinks, potato chips and chocolates as a side-order for your prescription drugs. They use to sell cigarettes too.

peterike said...

Nearly every Mexican woman I see around here (and there's plenty) is fat, and she's usually totting two or three fat kids. They are surely pushing the obesity numbers, while the Asian invasion is probably doing a bit to lower it. But just a bit. (Lotta flappy Indian women out there.)

I don't think it's that much of a mystery. Food has turned into Franken-food, and the supermarkets are chock-a-block with easy-to-make poison. Industrial oils, ubiquitous Franken-wheat, corn syrup everywhere -- it's wreaking havoc on our bodies. (Irony: those delicious McDonald's fries cooked in lard and long-banned were healthier than the ones they have now!) Add in our sedentary life styles and kids who don't spend all day running around the streets anymore, and there you go. Oh, and gut biome decimation thanks to our "little Manuel sniffled twice, give him antibiotics!" insanity.

Needless to say the NY Times will never notice a racial component for anything, unless the words "white" and "privilege" can be appended to it.

Portlander said...

We ban cigarettes and obesity skyrockets.

Really, the only thing standing between us and obesity are cigarettes?

Suburban_elk said...

Think of these fat stats... do you believe a single sex survey that says Americans are having more and better sex than ever?

My imaginary sex-life has been going downhill since awhile. Sex life is a funny phrase. Passing by the casino today, i asked a young man in the truck how much the prostitutes there cost, and he didn't know the answer … fucking Millennials … so i told him, it's two-hundred dollars for a middle-class prostitute. If you are good-looking and have a big clean white penis that is for two hours, or however long it takes (to do it twice).

Speaking of casinos, that is a topic-and-a-half. The finances of those things must be a maze. And then the Indian angle. People hear a lot about how some Indians are getting rich, but the reality is that … if you are born into the right tribe, holy shit, the Mdewakanton here pull in 70 grand per month. Yeah. Of course many of those people have problems. It would be a great long-form article, though, the money from those places and its effect on the "community". I have heard that it is corrupt and protected information, and that one quickly runs into active discouragement. The Native Mob is no joke.

So that is off topic, but the quote above is pretty funny, and worth a lot of commentary. What can you say? of course people's sex lives are not better, sex is an expression of health. That book Albion's Seed has an entire section on the Quakers, and principle to their folkways was to abstain from sex. But that principle reflects its inverse counter-intuitive, which is that they enjoyed sex oh so much that it had to be restrained. The Quackers had religious services where they went to church and everyone took a seat as they came in and no one said a thing … for the whole service. So they were something else.

Anonymous said...

I know a guy who lost 40lbs by starting smoking. He now smokes instead of snacking and usually doesn't eat lunch any more.

Portlander said...

Since Nixon is never off-topic at SoBL's Place… hey, did anyone catch the new NYT-NPR take down? (For those coming in late, the broadcast date is June 15.)

As might be expected it had some pretty damning Caesar Nixon claims. On the other hand, the one or two things I happen to know a little something about, such as it being completely settled the NVA were, in fact, operating out of Cambodia and Laos for example, they made sound like just another case of imperial over-reach and paranoia. Kind of makes one wonder how "fair and balanced" it was. But supposedly it was all based on the original source memos and, of course, audio tapes.

Unmentioned was, well, at least we have original source docs, unlike with our current Democratic partisans that wholesale delete mail servers in explicit, black-letter violation of Federal law. They got tangentially close though. The age-old question was asked, "Why weren't the tapes destroyed?" The writer replied, the half-joke/half-serious answer at the time was, "Who would strike the match?" Contrast to now. As everyone who's job depends on knowing, knows: the female's psyche can always be counted on to protect the in-group at all costs.

Anonymous said...

As an under 30 year old man I can explain why many of us don't need to know the price of prostitutes.

Using Tinder or just going to a bar I can rendezvous with an attractive middle class girl and after no more than two hours chat I can take her back to my place. I don't even buy her drinks.

It is a bit of effort but the effort is fun.

I do benefit from living in London, but though tall, well-spoken and in decent shape, I am not particularly good looking.

Anonymous said...

When I quit smoking, as I have a few times, I usually put on five kgs before I get my weight back under control and it takes about 6 months to return to where I was.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Anon on easy lays - Yeah my cousin says Tinder makes things super easy. My single friends kill it in cities. It's pretty easy to get sex now especially if decent looking and having any conversation skills. I just dont think the obese are having sex as much and they make up a greater proportion of our population than 1990, 1980, 1970.