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Old 07-05-2007, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland area
554 posts, read 2,280,252 times
Reputation: 523

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Not the total reason, but I do think it does contribute to the problem.

I'm not saying technology is bad (or I wouldn't be using my computer) but I am saying TOO much is bad. For example, sitting on your computer 6+ hours a day or staying home and playing video games while you could go and enjoy the summer with friends playing outside.

Technology has made life easier for many people, but it's also helping make them lazier IMO.

This sounds weird coming from me (I love new technological advances lol) but I thought about this on the way home. What do you think? Do you think technology is part of the reason America has a weight problem?
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,206,001 times
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I honestly think a much larger problem is our reliance upon the automobile.

If you think about it a large percentage of our population can go about their daily lives without exerting themselves in the least bit by taking a walk. This is largely due to our concept of the "American dream," which involves single use zoning and low-density housing developments, which usually tend not to be located to anything nearby.

In other parts of the world there is a much higher density to towns and cities than what we have here in the USA and as a result people walk more and take the train or bus more often. This results in people getting more exercise, which at the time might not seem like such a big thing, but it definitely adds up over the years.

This low density development results in a lot of people walking out of their door and immediately hopping into their car and driving wherever they want to go, with next to no walking involved.

I should note that this form of development is really more of an anamoly than anything else. Only 4 countries in the world really go along with this model of building and they are the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The reason that this has occurred is mostly a result of heavily subsidized highways, that dont' have tolls, and a plentiful supply of cheap gasoline.

Of course there are other issues causing America's weight problems, such as the size of the portions we serve in this country. If you compare the size of the meals we eat, they are much larger than what most of the rest of the world eats. In many Asian counties they generally eat meals that are only half or maybe 3/4's of the size of what we would eat over here.
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Old 07-06-2007, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Grafton, Ohio
286 posts, read 1,479,310 times
Reputation: 164
Default So many factors

Having transportation such as your own car, that you can park right next to your front door, and take anywhere you want... thats the start of the obesity. American's, minus New Yorkers, do not walk enough and it is beginning to show.

Next comes the wonderful invention of fast food. A good move is "Super Size Me," which was an experiment done by a NY media professional. He was factual and true on what happened over the course of 30 days of a fast food diet - and yes, we typically don't eat McD's 3 meals a day, but even 1 meal a week takes it's toll on your body, not to mention, several lunches per week. I'm guilty... I went a long time without consuming any fast food, but then 2 years ago things got hectic, and fast food was inexpensive and available. I think everyone can relate to that.

Then you start to factor in the invention of the television (aka, babysitter), video games, computers, etc, etc. It is too easy to get sucked in for hours on end... and before you know it, your day is gone. Children don't play outdoors as much as I remember playing outside, and I have personally noticed how many more younger children are becoming extremely obese from the lack of good eating habits, good exercise, and good entertainment habits. I can't believe how many 12 and 13 yr olds now outweight me, and I'm a little pudgey in my small 5' frame right now (but, am working on it! ). All these things have been a very leathal combination...
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Old 07-06-2007, 07:49 AM
 
5,641 posts, read 17,316,834 times
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I blame the american suburban lifestyle that requires you to drive everywhere. This country is sadly anti-bicycle. I wish they would put in more bike lanes here in Chicagoland. They do have trails, but people need to be able to use their bicycles more for commuting SAFELY.

AND people's lifestyles are so busy lately that fast food has become a staple meal. The companies work you like crazy, with tons of hours, it is easier to pick up fast food rather than cook because you are too burned out. And you are also too burned out to exercise as you should.

Kudos to mcdonald's though for giving us some low-fat choices like high quality salads and grilled chicken there now. You have to make a conscious choice and think about what you eat and that is very hard.
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Old 07-06-2007, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Colorado, Denver Metro Area
1,048 posts, read 3,986,443 times
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As you said, it is not the only issue, but part of it. All of the modern changes are all built around cars, no sidewalks.

I even visited mega area mall/stores are few years ago and even there, they had no sidewalks at all. How in the world can a brand new shopping plaza be built and not even put a sidewalk?

Even a new bank now has ONLY a drive up ATM, no walk up ATMs.

This is great news ... for the pharmaceutical market. They get to sell more and more pills for all the new complications.

When I go to a store/plaza I park almost at the farthest point away, so that I can get some walking etc. People stare at me as if I am crazy.
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Old 07-06-2007, 06:27 PM
 
Location: northern big wonderfull (Wyoming)
150 posts, read 480,898 times
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people have goten lazy as posted above allso people live to eat, People in the past ate to live. If you are a body builder or proathelete you can eat like that people just eat to much. twenty years ago it was realy something to get a piece of candy or a can of pop kids now expect it daily.
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Old 07-06-2007, 06:50 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33075
I just read a very brief article in a physical therapy magazine that a study showed that changes in the "built environment" (one of the latest buzzwords for sidewalks, etc) to encourage more acitvity are not effective in actually increasing activity. It's just one study, but I thought it was interesting.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,206,001 times
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Well I'd agree in a sense, you can't just throw up some sidewalks and hope to fix this problem. The issue of density is what causes this the most. People in this country want low-density development, which means that nothing is usually within walking distance. As a result, even if there are sidewalks, there is nothing to walk to and it is much easier to just hop into your car and drive somewhere.

In areas where you have lots of street activity and walking (I'm talking mainly about the Northeast here as that is what I know the best, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston) there is a higher ammount of density with a lower availability of parking. In addition there are usually not large lots of free parking like in the suburbs, but rather street side parking (which is a hassle to find) or garage parking (which is expensive) is used, and as a result cars are not used as much for simple little trips. So these both combine to basically force people to walk more than they would in a suburb.

In my neighborhood, for instance, if I need a small item from the store like the paper, a loaf of bread, or quart of milk, it makes more sense for me to walk 5 minutes to the end of my street to pick it up at the corner store, than it does to hop in my car and fight against traffic to drive to the nearest real grocery store. While it does cost more to purchase goods at the local store, the cost is negated to some degree by the fact that I'm not paying any money for gas to drive the car around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
I just read a very brief article in a physical therapy magazine that a study showed that changes in the "built environment" (one of the latest buzzwords for sidewalks, etc) to encourage more acitvity are not effective in actually increasing activity. It's just one study, but I thought it was interesting.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:22 AM
 
Location: Midwest
1,903 posts, read 7,283,363 times
Reputation: 464
I love my automobile, my computer, and my Pop-Tarts.* I don't love you, trying to take my things away from me. BAD!

*: I love my Oreos too: "Milk's favorite BAG of cookies"
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:31 AM
 
333 posts, read 1,332,205 times
Reputation: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
I just read a very brief article in a physical therapy magazine that a study showed that changes in the "built environment" (one of the latest buzzwords for sidewalks, etc) to encourage more acitvity are not effective in actually increasing activity. It's just one study, but I thought it was interesting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mead View Post
Well I'd agree in a sense, you can't just throw up some sidewalks and hope to fix this problem. The issue of density is what causes this the most. People in this country want low-density development, which means that nothing is usually within walking distance. As a result, even if there are sidewalks, there is nothing to walk to and it is much easier to just hop into your car and drive somewhere.

In areas where you have lots of street activity and walking (I'm talking mainly about the Northeast here as that is what I know the best, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston) there is a higher ammount of density with a lower availability of parking. In addition there are usually not large lots of free parking like in the suburbs, but rather street side parking (which is a hassle to find) or garage parking (which is expensive) is used, and as a result cars are not used as much for simple little trips. So these both combine to basically force people to walk more than they would in a suburb.

In my neighborhood, for instance, if I need a small item from the store like the paper, a loaf of bread, or quart of milk, it makes more sense for me to walk 5 minutes to the end of my street to pick it up at the corner store, than it does to hop in my car and fight against traffic to drive to the nearest real grocery store. While it does cost more to purchase goods at the local store, the cost is negated to some degree by the fact that I'm not paying any money for gas to drive the car around.
this is a concept that the "new urbanist" design principles try to address (though not necessarily for health reasons, but to create more thriving communities)--how to create built environments interesting enough that people will want to get out of the house and walk on the sidewalk. the principles include things like winding streets, porches in front of the house, parking in alleys behind houses (instead of driveways or in front of house), more intimate housing lot and street width scales, houses that are variations on basic design motiffs rather than cookie-cutter copies, etc.
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