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The skinny on fat – we’re the biggest losers

By Kim Fischer 17 August 2015 60

fat man measuring tape

In Canberra, just over 50 per cent of us are overweight and 20 per cent of us are obese. The prevalence of obesity is now so high that the ACT Government has set up an obesity management service for very obese people.

We all know the potential consequences of being obese, including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease, as well as breathing and digestive disorders. All of these problems put a strain on the ACT’s health system. But nothing more vividly illustrates the problem of obesity than Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a preventable but serious disease, highly correlated with obesity. Symptoms of diabetes are subtle but over time can lead to much more serious consequences including kidney failure, blindness, heart attacks, and limb amputations.

Over 40 per cent of Type 2 diabetes cases would disappear if obesity were also eliminated from the population. Costs of managing the disease in Australia have been estimated at $14 billion per year.

Canberra has an incidence of Type 2 diabetes slightly above the national average. With at least 13,000 people suffering the disease, Type 2 diabetes costs $190 million per year in the ACT alone.

The personal impacts and productivity impacts on the workforce are also significant, with estimates that over 10,000 people across Australia have had to quit work due to ill health caused by Type 2 diabetes. Of this group, nearly 7 out 10 live in poverty.

While establishing nutritional cause and effect is difficult, there are two big reasons which can be shown to have a big effect: portion size and sugar.

A CHOICE study showed that people ate 20-50% more if large portions were placed in front of them, whether in larger plates at restaurants or in larger portions like a bag of chips. Additionally, the study found many examples of food outlets encouraging consumers to “supersize”, spending a little more to get a lot more food, even if this exceeded their necessary dietary intake.

Similarly, while grains are an important part of healthy eating, the new Australian dietary guidelines halves the recommended serving size for grains as part of controlling portion intake.

The Australian Government doesn’t specify what a “serving size” should be, and so consumers are often confused about how much they should be eating. Foods made from grains are often very energy dense, particularly pasta, and it can be easy for people to overeat without realising it.

Sugar is also a major concern for weight control. Australia consumes the fifth-largest amount of sugar per person in the world. With increasing recognition that sugar affects our bodies in very similar ways to other drugs, the medical profession is calling for sugar to be regulated in a similar way to alcohol and tobacco.

For example, a 10 per cent tax on soft drinks in Mexico cut sales by 6 per cent nationally, and by up to 17 per cent in the lower income groups who are also more likely to be obese. This shows that either people will consume less sugar and our obesity levels will drop, or we will at least have the money to treat the results of these poor choices later.

What do you think?

Should we tax sugar to cover the costs of obesity?

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60 Responses to
The skinny on fat – we’re the biggest losers
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cbrmale 2:21 pm 20 Aug 15

Ezy said :

cbrmale said :

Coffee alone puts on weight, it takes 20 minutes of exercise to compensate for a simple cappucino.

I just want to add – it’s more the milk that contains calories rather than the coffee itself. Drink black!

I know about the milk, but at 65kg that milk doesn’t matter for me as long as I don’t stuff myself with food at the same time. If you have a weight problem then drink black; every little bit helps.

Ezy 1:56 pm 20 Aug 15

cbrmale said :

Coffee alone puts on weight, it takes 20 minutes of exercise to compensate for a simple cappucino.

I just want to add – it’s more the milk that contains calories rather than the coffee itself. Drink black!

cbrmale 12:39 pm 20 Aug 15

At 65kg weight and I eat as much as I want 3 times a day, but not between meal and no sugar drinks, I don’t have a weight problem. But why is it at age 57 that I can eat as much as I like and only weight 5kg more than when I was 17? I exercise of course, but only half an hour a day of moderate exercise.

Apparently we have evolved to store weight. For the majority it’s easy to pack on the kilograms and very, very hard to lose them. Once individuals get beyond a certain weight point and begin to create more fat cells, those fat cells will stay with them for the rest of their lives. The best they can hope for is modest reductions in weight to minimise the potential for cardio-vascular disease and for diabetes.

Conversely I can go to a cafe and order a coffee, I like coffee at cafes, and I’m quite happy with my cup of coffee. However everyone else in that cafe, especially the overweight and the obese, have to have cake or something else to eat with their coffee. Coffee alone puts on weight, it takes 20 minutes of exercise to compensate for a simple cappucino, so I cannot understand why they have to stuff their faces whenever food is around. If I am only 5kg heavier 40 years later then that may be why. I eat what I eat and no more until my next meal.

Those who have different metabolisms are few and far between. I have been measured and I am not one of them. The reason I am slim is because I manage what I eat and I exercise moderately every day, but primarily because I manage what I eat and I think of the consequences of not managing what I eat.

That may be the answer, unless it’s too late and you’re already overweight or obese, because by that stage it’s very, very difficult to make any lasting impression.

And one final thing. Because of an illness many, many decades ago I am an insulin dependant diabetic. Theoretically that should make it harder for me to manage my weight, but it hasn’t because I use more self-control. One thing I do know is that I wouldn’t wish diabetes on my worst enemy, and if those who are overweight or obese knew what I know then they would stop eating and exercise more today.

Dragonflyangel 7:43 pm 19 Aug 15

Please watch “That Sugar Film & The Truth About Sugar”

When companies promote Fat Free it’s simply changed for sugar. This is a major cause for the obesity problem that we are facing.

We all need to eat real foods and remove as much processed foods as possible from our diets.

dungfungus 12:55 pm 19 Aug 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

” the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.”

Unless said family was into lots of home baked cakes and biscuits, and morning and afternoon teas…and suppers.

I did say “average” didn’t I?
Even with the cakes etc. there were chores involving physical activity to burn off calories. I’ll let you list them for me.

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

The average family was not served good wholesome food. The food for most Australians was boring, baked, fried or boiled, fatty and lacking in vegetables.

What has changed has been the lifestyle of sitting enormous hours in cars and in front of computers and TVs, PLUS the extra calories from processed food.

People in the NY subways are probably not on different diets to the rest of the population just getting a substantial amount of daily exercise just getting around, and it shows.

I don’t know how NY subways got into this thread but it is always good to have the views of international experts for us humblebums to consider.

rubaiyat 11:20 am 19 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

” the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.”

Unless said family was into lots of home baked cakes and biscuits, and morning and afternoon teas…and suppers.

I did say “average” didn’t I?
Even with the cakes etc. there were chores involving physical activity to burn off calories. I’ll let you list them for me.

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

The average family was not served good wholesome food. The food for most Australians was boring, baked, fried or boiled, fatty and lacking in vegetables.

What has changed has been the lifestyle of sitting enormous hours in cars and in front of computers and TVs, PLUS the extra calories from processed food.

People in the NY subways are probably not on different diets to the rest of the population just getting a substantial amount of daily exercise just getting around, and it shows.

dungfungus 10:56 am 19 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

” the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.”

Unless said family was into lots of home baked cakes and biscuits, and morning and afternoon teas…and suppers.

I did say “average” didn’t I?
Even with the cakes etc. there were chores involving physical activity to burn off calories. I’ll let you list them for me.

rubaiyat 10:28 am 19 Aug 15

Nilrem said :

rosscoact said :

switch said :

rosscoact said :

Yin Yang, Shiva Shatki, Normal Reaction Force, Jekll and Hyde, Bruce Wayne and Batman, Statler and Waldorf, Dungfungus and Rubaiyat.

I can’t see why I haven’t noticed it before.

Well have you seen them both in the same room at the same time? I bet you haven’t!

By golly, you are spot on, there’s no denying that fact.

I bet ‘both’ of them would deny it, but they would, wouldn’t they?

if so it’s an elaborate ruse. Both personalities are complex and intricate. And diametrically opposed.

One which the rubaiyat one could maintain having a good insight of the dungfungus. The dungfungus struggles with elementary science, maths and logic. 😉

Maya123 10:16 am 19 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

” the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.”

Unless said family was into lots of home baked cakes and biscuits, and morning and afternoon teas…and suppers.

dungfungus 9:55 am 19 Aug 15

zllauh said :

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

More importantly, eat less.
Before the advent of fast food outlets and regulated shopping hours, there was only one source of food for the average family and that was the family kitchen which was under the control of the woman of the house.
Accordingly, the family was served good, wholesome food with no snacks in between.
It’s all about control.

Nilrem 9:06 am 19 Aug 15

rosscoact said :

switch said :

rosscoact said :

Yin Yang, Shiva Shatki, Normal Reaction Force, Jekll and Hyde, Bruce Wayne and Batman, Statler and Waldorf, Dungfungus and Rubaiyat.

I can’t see why I haven’t noticed it before.

Well have you seen them both in the same room at the same time? I bet you haven’t!

By golly, you are spot on, there’s no denying that fact.

I bet ‘both’ of them would deny it, but they would, wouldn’t they?

if so it’s an elaborate ruse. Both personalities are complex and intricate. And diametrically opposed.

rosscoact 8:24 am 19 Aug 15

switch said :

rosscoact said :

Yin Yang, Shiva Shatki, Normal Reaction Force, Jekll and Hyde, Bruce Wayne and Batman, Statler and Waldorf, Dungfungus and Rubaiyat.

I can’t see why I haven’t noticed it before.

Well have you seen them both in the same room at the same time? I bet you haven’t!

By golly, you are spot on, there’s no denying that fact.

I bet ‘both’ of them would deny it, but they would, wouldn’t they?

zllauh 8:21 pm 18 Aug 15

People have stopped working out and think that by just having a little walk around they can get fit.
Eat well and workout and stay fit . easy as that

dungfungus 6:28 pm 18 Aug 15

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

Re water, I would equate bottled water with laziness and don’t care less (a milder expression than I would like to use, but don’t want to be censured) about disposal, carbon miles in transporting it, etc. I do volunteer work and there is a tap (choice of tap water or chilled water on tap) and glasses, or neighbouring bottled water. Nearly everyone bypasses the tap and takes the bottle water, even when a tap is available. Same with plates. Supply disposable plates or china washable plates, most will push the china washable (they are not doing the washing up) aside and take the disposable. I have seen this in places like McCafe too. They are drinking in, but still chose the disposable cup.

Canberra has the best tap water in the world and to not drink it in favour of that bottled stuff is stupid.
Our water is drawn from rivers that flow into our reservoirs after the shortest journey from mountain tops with no human effluent added on the way. It is like the “first crush” olive oil that people will pay a premium for.
After we use it is is passed on to the inland rivers and eventually reaches Adelaide homes by which time it has accumulated lots of drug residues and other nasties that can’t be removed.
It is “Iconic” indeed.

Dungers, I see you and Rubaiyat are increasingly fishing from the same side of the stream. I think it’s really nice to see, especially if you two are the same person.

I deal in facts, the other person alludes to fantasies.
I hope that clears up your confusion.

Yin Yang, Shiva Shatki, Normal Reaction Force, Jekll and Hyde, Bruce Wayne and Batman, Statler and Waldorf, Dungfungus and Rubaiyat.

I can’t see why I haven’t noticed it before.

And here I was thinking being bi-polar was something to do with that other fantasy called climate change.
Keep reading your comic books.

switch 5:26 pm 18 Aug 15

rosscoact said :

Yin Yang, Shiva Shatki, Normal Reaction Force, Jekll and Hyde, Bruce Wayne and Batman, Statler and Waldorf, Dungfungus and Rubaiyat.

I can’t see why I haven’t noticed it before.

Well have you seen them both in the same room at the same time? I bet you haven’t!

rosscoact 5:04 pm 18 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

Re water, I would equate bottled water with laziness and don’t care less (a milder expression than I would like to use, but don’t want to be censured) about disposal, carbon miles in transporting it, etc. I do volunteer work and there is a tap (choice of tap water or chilled water on tap) and glasses, or neighbouring bottled water. Nearly everyone bypasses the tap and takes the bottle water, even when a tap is available. Same with plates. Supply disposable plates or china washable plates, most will push the china washable (they are not doing the washing up) aside and take the disposable. I have seen this in places like McCafe too. They are drinking in, but still chose the disposable cup.

Canberra has the best tap water in the world and to not drink it in favour of that bottled stuff is stupid.
Our water is drawn from rivers that flow into our reservoirs after the shortest journey from mountain tops with no human effluent added on the way. It is like the “first crush” olive oil that people will pay a premium for.
After we use it is is passed on to the inland rivers and eventually reaches Adelaide homes by which time it has accumulated lots of drug residues and other nasties that can’t be removed.
It is “Iconic” indeed.

Dungers, I see you and Rubaiyat are increasingly fishing from the same side of the stream. I think it’s really nice to see, especially if you two are the same person.

I deal in facts, the other person alludes to fantasies.
I hope that clears up your confusion.

Yin Yang, Shiva Shatki, Normal Reaction Force, Jekll and Hyde, Bruce Wayne and Batman, Statler and Waldorf, Dungfungus and Rubaiyat.

I can’t see why I haven’t noticed it before.

madelini 3:44 pm 18 Aug 15

rubaiyat said :

The mental twists and turns consumers put themselves into to justify their “choices” is exposed by a simple observation of the “convenience” argument.

The Manly Council has placed a prominent well sign posted water column at the entrance to the Corso on the way to the beach, with both a water fountain and water bottle filler. I stopped and watched just how many people walk right past this and go into a small 7/11 operation to the right, to queue to pay for bottled water, to meet their “independently derived need” to consume something immediately available in their face with no delay or expense.

I would walk past the bubbler in Manly too… I’ve been spoiled by how good Canberra water is and find whatever passes for H2O in Sydney to taste absolutely foul.

madelini 3:38 pm 18 Aug 15

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

My wife and I even managed to lose weight in America.

I cooked.

We walked.

I usually lose weight on holidays too. Earlier this year I went away for six weeks overseas and came back two to three kilos lighter. It’s the lack of available snacks at hand I think that does it, and the price of eating away from home, which helps keep eating to a minimum.

For us it was very much the awful food.

Others who disagreed with us however, were packing it on.

Also, if you think the food in the US is awful, you’re not looking hard enough. That’s an issue for a travel column though, not this one. Remembering that although there are a lot of obese people in America (as in Australia), there are also a lot of slim, athletic and average bodies over there.

dungfungus 3:36 pm 18 Aug 15

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

Re water, I would equate bottled water with laziness and don’t care less (a milder expression than I would like to use, but don’t want to be censured) about disposal, carbon miles in transporting it, etc. I do volunteer work and there is a tap (choice of tap water or chilled water on tap) and glasses, or neighbouring bottled water. Nearly everyone bypasses the tap and takes the bottle water, even when a tap is available. Same with plates. Supply disposable plates or china washable plates, most will push the china washable (they are not doing the washing up) aside and take the disposable. I have seen this in places like McCafe too. They are drinking in, but still chose the disposable cup.

Canberra has the best tap water in the world and to not drink it in favour of that bottled stuff is stupid.
Our water is drawn from rivers that flow into our reservoirs after the shortest journey from mountain tops with no human effluent added on the way. It is like the “first crush” olive oil that people will pay a premium for.
After we use it is is passed on to the inland rivers and eventually reaches Adelaide homes by which time it has accumulated lots of drug residues and other nasties that can’t be removed.
It is “Iconic” indeed.

Dungers, I see you and Rubaiyat are increasingly fishing from the same side of the stream. I think it’s really nice to see, especially if you two are the same person.

I deal in facts, the other person alludes to fantasies.
I hope that clears up your confusion.

madelini 3:31 pm 18 Aug 15

rubaiyat said :

My wife and I even managed to lose weight in America.

I cooked.

We walked.

I also lost weight in America, and I didn’t cook once.

Obesity is as much a mental health issue as it is a physical one. Claiming that everyone is “conditioned” to buy certain products or thinking that taxing and regulation will fix problems is short-sighted and comes from the superior view that people who struggle with weight issues are lazy with no ability to think for themselves. If we want people to make lifestyle changes, it can’t only be based around their bodies.

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