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Thread: Obesity and sprawl?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Obesity and sprawl?

    OK, I know that this is going to bother some people so I am going to mention that this is in no way directed to anyone here and is just a general comment and is not meant to be taken personally.

    What is it with so many obese people? The other day I was at the store to pick up a few things, and I weighed far, far less than anyone in the store. So I started to notice the amount of people that are significantly obese in almost every place I go. Even the at the gym!

    What is it about our culture that causes so many people to be significantly obese, and having an unhealthy lifestyle is normal?

    Further more, what are your thoughts on the whole correlation between obesity and sprawl?

    I apologize if I offended anyone.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
          Downtown's avatar
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    A few months ago I went to a Walkable Communities workshop and was really stunned at the figures they've got, and their state map of obesity rates. I was reading that the Amer. Society of Pediatricians (or whatever the nat'l group is) has officially said that the childhood obesity problem isn't really about calories consumed, its about the lack of calories being expended. Kids are spending so much more time in front of the tv, and MUCH more time in front of the computer/video games than before. I really do think that the lack of "accidental exercise" (walking to school, the store, work, etc) plays a big role in this.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Wasn't there a recent study which found a correlation between the distance of your daily commute and your weight? More specifically, the longer you spend in a car, the more you weigh...kinda makes sense. Although, the longer I sit in my car (which, at most, is 20 mins) the quicker I get my running gear on and take to the streets...or gym, dependent on whether or not I have class.

  4. #4

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    There is a great book called Fat Land. The author's last name is Critser, I believe. It will scare you. It also points out that the obesity epidemic is accompanied by an epidemic of diabetes.

    After spending a summer in the wilderness, where everyone is kind of gaunt, then a winter in affluent 'burbs in California, coming to Vermont was really a shock. Every one is heavy.

  5. #5
          Downtown's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    After spending a summer in the wilderness, where everyone is kind of gaunt, then a winter in affluent 'burbs in California, coming to Vermont was really a shock. Every one is heavy.
    I feel that way when I go home to rural central NY to visit my parents, after being in an affluent suburb - I just can't believe how many MORBIDLY obese people there are at the IGA.

  6. #6

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    Well, I am way too heavy because I have no self control (in anything-but particularly sweets) But, on the other had, I took a day off to go bicycling and stuff (but I still can't stay away from Cyburbia) because night meetings this week were making me depressed because I wasn't getting enough exercise. So, at least I get some movement going. Most people don't.

    I think part of it is just that food is so darn CHEAP in this country-particularly the kind of processed food that makes you fat.

    Plus, suburbia is a symptom of the overall culture dedicated to making us not have to lift a finger.

    I know that I am unhealthily heavy, but when I go the grocery store or a public event in my "working class" town, its amazing how darn fat people are-especially in the stores frequented by the poorer residents. Part of that-and I'm not being offensive because a big part of my avoirdupois comes from the same cuisine-is how HEAVY Americanized-enrichened Mexican food can be. If you go to San Francisco, there just doesn't seem to be the overwhelming obesity you see out here.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    There's probably a link between sprawl and obesity, but I think lifestyle is the big factor. I work in a dense, walkable, small city and there plenty of poor heavy folk to go around. You see many of them walking a lot, probably with no cars - its more poverty and bad health choices. Fat Albert didn't live in the suburbs right? If you dropped a fit metrosexual in the suburbs he'd still maintain himself.

  8. #8
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I'm in pretty good shape, but I'm having difficulties maintaining my workout regimine with all of the night meetings plus grad school. That leaves me only two nights during the week to get my reps in. The only gym close to my home closes at 8pm (I don't know what's up with that). I had a pretty severe bike mishap, so it is no longer a viable exercise option. I'm looking at maybe buying one of those bowflex things and cancelling my gym membership, but I like going there to see my firends. Of course, if my City Council would learn to read their info packets, then I wouldn't need to attend those meetings! ARRRGGGHHHH!!! :-C :-C :-C

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Mr Zone's Politically Incorrect Answer:

    We have defeated Nature's Wisdom and eliminated "survival of the fittest".

    My rebuttal: yeah, that means defective people like me can live, even though I cannot be an olympic athlete.


    Seriously, I think the fact that we can keep people alive who would have died 100 years ago means you will inevitably have more people who are not in th best of shape. But I also think that people who could be in good shape aren't because of the white starch and white sugar American diet (my understanding is that obesity occurs in part because "empty calories" fail to satisfy the body's need for actual nutrients and one continues to eat in a vain attempt to get a few nutrients) and there is no doubt that people live less physically active lives these days.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Scarier than all the big adults are all the big kids. Seriously fat by first grade, what are their parents thinking??

    Even if kids were not hooked on t.v. and video games, where would they play? All these beige subdivisions provide no yard space or open areas big enough for kids to play. Even if they do (around here, the "open space" is usually a retention pond) they're so antiseptically manicured that there's nothing to do. No trees to climb, no bugs to play with, no flat place to play ball, etc.

    And when you have little teeny yards and yard services, there is no real strenuous work around the home for the parents. Just in the few days after Hurricane Charley, I lost several pounds from all the yard cleanup I had to do.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    ...All these beige subdivisions provide no yard space or open areas big enough for kids to play. Even if they do (around here, the "open space" is usually a retention pond) they're so antiseptically manicured that there's nothing to do. No trees to climb, no bugs to play with, no flat place to play ball, etc.
    As far as room to play its a toss up to me. Typical urban areas don't have many areas to play in either. Picture the typical 1950's scene of kids playing stickball on a Brooklyn street. I used to be impressed at how much room my suburban cousins had to play in with their big interconnected backyards and traffic-free streets. But I would walk more places in the city than they would. Now all kids just spend less time actually playing and more time playing video games and watching Nelly videos no matter what their surroundings are.

  12. #12
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    It's not sprawl alone, it's our jobs people. More people are obese because most of us sit in or comfy swivel chairs and stare at computer screens all day. Also when Americans work more hours per year than most other developed countries just to get by, who has time to exercise. Even if everyone lived near a bike trail most would not use them.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I think that it is a combination of what society will accept life style, and location. A woman who weighs 150-170 for the most part is still considered average. Why is it like that? At what point did our society stop caring about health and weight?

    I guess that it is a bit frustrating for me because I work very hard to maintain my body image. Now that I am single again, I have been thinking about what qualities I would like in a GF. As I look around the society that I live in I quickly realize that the number of single, attractive, fit women who also have a good personality is more and more limited. (I have a thing for petite women who are a bit on the girly side)


    What’s a guy to do?

    And I notice that the ladies do not have it all that much better.

    *Maybe something could happen where people could not drive cars to work, the store, and other similar places!
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I guess that it is a bit frustrating for me because I work very hard to maintain my body image.
    Why are you telling us this? Aren't you afraid of coming across as the most narcissistic Cyburbian out there? All those goofy avatars should be telling you something.


    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    (I have a thing for petite women who are a bit on the girly side)
    You and every other hot-blooded horny American male. As an aside, do you ever think about why it's so difficult to find a single, attractive, fit woman who also has a good personality? Maybe they are tired because they constantly have to listen to narcissistic, self-indulgent, boring, same-old same-old dudes that have mediocre personalities.

    P. S. What's so wrong with a cute girl on the plumpy side? What are you afraid of, cooties?


    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    What’s a guy to do?
    Ever try masturbation?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Ever try masturbation?
    Come on Wanigas?, he would get hairy palms if he did that (runs for the hills)

    BOT: Genetics, and lifestyle sums it up. I remember something about people being skinnier in the 70's because they ate oats instead of wheat, or the other way around, and know we eat wheat instead of oats, or the other way around.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    Come on Wanigas?, he would get hairy palms if he did that
    He would be lucky, then. I went blind, fer crissakes!

  17. #17
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    It's a combo.

    First, In the suburbs, everyone drives everywhere -- even one block between Target and Costco in a shop center.

    Second, people eat out a lot. All eat out places have high calorie combos. You are a fool (cost wise) to eat less than 1,500 calories a meal. The upper scale fast foods like Chevy's are likely to have typical 2,500 calorie meals.

    Third. Two jobs. Two job families are likely to eat out (see Second above).

    Finally, soft drinks. Humans don't perceive soft drinks as food. It's easy to put down 500-1,000 calories a day of soft drinks. Most restaurants push soft drinks as a beverage because of the profit margins (see Third above).


    I think the suburban life style is a key element in all of the above.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I guess that it is a bit frustrating for me because I work very hard to maintain my body image. Now that I am single again, I have been thinking about what qualities I would like in a GF. As I look around the society that I live in I quickly realize that the number of single, attractive, fit women who also have a good personality is more and more limited. (I have a thing for petite women who are a bit on the girly side)


    What’s a guy to do?

    And I notice that the ladies do not have it all that much better.
    I don't know what you are talking about: I have no trouble meeting guys who are fit, intelligent, and very interested in me. However, finding a guy who does not treat women like just a puzzle piece to fit into their lives and not human beings in their own right...THAT seems like an impossible task. :rolleyes:

  19. #19
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    You and every other hot-blooded horny American male. As an aside, do you ever think about why it's so difficult to find a single, attractive, fit woman who also has a good personality? Maybe they are tired because they constantly have to listen to narcissistic, self-indulgent, boring, same-old same-old dudes that have mediocre personalities.
    I'm going to come to the defense of michaelskis, even though I'm really sympathetic to your defense.

    Take a look at the couples around you. Rate the physical attractiveness of the man and the woman in couples you see on a scale of 0-10. You'll notice that, in almost every couple you see, each of the partners is within a point or so of each other. Sure, there's the rare exception -- the average-looking CEO with the trophy wife, or the skinny geek guy with the fat geek girl -- but in 95% of the couples you see, folks are with others that are "in their league."

    MS is probably in the higher percentile of physical attractiveness for a guy -- maybe an 8 or 8.5 or so -- so he can afford to be picky when it comes to selecting a partner. There's probably no shortage of potential 8.5-rated female partners, but like anything in a higher percentile group there are fewer of them overall. Likewise, very attractive women can afford to hold out for a great looking, affluent guy, because more likely than not they'll find him.

    Guys like me -- picked-last-for-the-team klutzes, maybe a 6.0, carrying ten more pounds than I'd like to -- can't be as picky as MS, but then again we would still feel like a couple is a bit off if one partner is significantly better looking than the other. I won't date a woman who could shop at the big-girl stores or who otherwise seems larger than me, but I don't run away from a little bit of baby fat.

    Basically, when it comes to daing, most of us play in our league, not above or below it (although I think most women are pickier than men, and try to "date up"), and we can't fault MS for his preferences.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    (although I think most women are pickier than men, and try to "date up"), and we can't fault MS for his preferences.
    I believe women are much more able to accept a slightly lower level of physical attraction for a guy with a good personality that treats them well. However, men can be with the nicest woman but not commit because they have had, or feel they could still get, someone hotter.

  21. #21
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    I think the suburban life style is a key element in all of the above.

    You had me till the last line. What, inner city and rural folk do not eat fast food, drink soda/pop/coke and need two jobs? Explain what makes surburban lifestyle key in those things.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by valhallan
    Off-topic:


    I believe women are much more able to accept a slightly lower level of physical attraction for a guy with a good personality that treats them well. However, men can be with the nicest woman but not commit because they have had, or feel they could still get, someone hotter.
    There is plenty of evidence that what men find attractive and what women find attractive are two different things. Excuse the stereotypes, but the short description is that men want pin-up girls if they can get them and women want good providers for the future kids. Some component of that involves "money" but there is a lot to be said for someone who won't beat you, etc. Domestic violence is a very real concern for women and something men rarely have to worry about.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Take a look at the couples around you. Rate the physical attractiveness of the man and the woman in couples you see on a scale of 0-10...

    MS is probably in the higher percentile of physical attractiveness for a guy -- maybe an 8 or 8.5 or so -- so he can afford to be picky when it comes to selecting a partner. There's probably no shortage of potential 8.5-rated female partners...

    Guys like me -- picked-last-for-the-team klutzes, maybe a 6.0...
    You are way too focused on rating the relative attractiveness of other people. It's almost... innate.


    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Basically, when it comes to daing, most of us play in our league, not above or below it (although I think most women are pickier than men, and try to "date up")
    What "league" are you talking about?

    The "money"league?
    The "looks" league?
    The "career" league?
    The "how hot are you in bed" league?
    The "intelligence" league?
    The "how I treat my partner" league?

    If the only "league" you are playing in is the "looks" league, then you are falling short, my friend.


    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    and we can't fault MS for his preferences.
    But we can fault him for constantly airing his dirty laundry, can't we? It's always the same story, "I'm hot, but I don't get no action. Please help me tell me what's wrong with society!"

  24. #24
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Domestic violence is a very real concern for women and something men rarely have to worry about.
    Puh-lease.

    The perception that all men are potential rapists, wife-beaters, child molesters and perverts has really changed the face of dating in recent years. Forget about a date where you pick her up in your car until your fourth or fifth date, for instance; after all, you could drive off to the woods and kill her with an axe. :rolleyes:

    Of course, it's not as if we don't have to fear false accusations of rape, false accusations of molesting her kids, or a nasty divorce that drains the wealth we accumulated before we got married.

    Call me cynical, but one prerequisite in a mate is that she's at least as educated and financially stable as me. If the worst case scenario happens, at least there wonb't be a massive redistribution of wealth.

    And no, I've never abused a woman, physically or mentally. Never have, and never will.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Off-topic:


    Puh-lease.

    The perception that all men are potential rapists, wife-beaters, child molesters and perverts has really changed the face of dating in recent years. Forget about a date where you pick her up in your car until your fourth or fifth date, for instance; after all, you could drive off to the woods and kill her with an axe. :rolleyes:

    Of course, it's not as if we don't have to fear false accusations of rape, false accusations of molesting her kids, or a nasty divorce that drains the wealth we accumulated before we got married.

    Call me cynical, but one prerequisite in a mate is that she's at least as educated and financially stable as me. If the worst case scenario happens, at least there wonb't be a massive redistribution of wealth.
    I never said men don't have valid concerns of their own. And you just confirmed what I was saying: women do worry about being beaten by their lover/spouse but men generally do not. You are worried that she will rake you over the coals financially, not that she will maim or kill you with repeated physical assaults. My point was that each side has its own concerns and I really see no merit in getting into a pissing contest about "which gender is right" or "which gender is more virtuous in its attempts at mate selection". Women usually are somewhat less concerned with how "gorgeous" a date is than men are. That is changing somewhat as women have fewer kids and make more money and can begin doing what men have long done: look upon the opposite sex as a means to experience sexual pleasure for its own sake, without worrying about whether he can support her and any kids that result.

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