Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 46450
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2019/04/18 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2007/4/25-29 [Health, Health/Disease/General] UID:46450 Activity:nil
4/25    Why the media sucks: (Scroll down to april 24th entry)
        \_ Great timing, especially as the Dow breaks 13,000.
        \_ Huh?  I can't see anything earlier than April 10th.
           \_ April 24th is after April 10th
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The basic idea is that weight and height are relational: the taller you are, the higher your weight. The criticism of the BMI is that very muscular or stout people end up with a high BMI number even though they are fit. There is a weakness in any simple metric, of course, but the BMI is a generally accurate assessment of "healthy weight." As expected, developing nations like Egypt and Asian nations with low-fat, low protein cuisines like Japan have few obese adults. The surprise is that European nations with high-fat diets rich in chocolate and cheeses like France are relatively low. Now please don't take this entry personally if you are overweight. By the NIH standards of what constitutes "normal weight," some 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese. Since this wasn't the case 40 years ago, we have to ask what's different now. While immigration has brought an influx of Hispanic and Asian peoples into the US in those 40 years, there is no evidence to support the notion that an influx of obese people or people tending toward obesity has skewed the genetic pool to the point that fully 1/3 of the adult population is unhealthily heavy. Here are the usual suspects: declining physical activity, growth of fast food, hurry-up meals and harried parents who have given up control of their children's diets. There is of course some truth in each of these assertions, but the elephant in the room nobody seems to talk about is this: Consuming the American food industry's products inevitably lead to obesity and poor health. Now before you freak out and start emailing me about "personal responsibility" and related issues, allow me to relate my own struggle to find food products which aren't basically deadly. Yes, we are each responsible for our own food purchases and intake. But to narrow the diseases of obesity down to an individual failure to control caloric intake is to miss this point: There is virtually no healthy food available in any American supermarket beyond the produce, bread, dairy/soy and fresh meat/fish aisles. As you may recall from earlier posts, I discovered I have high blood pressure last year--not super-dangerous like 180/100, but readings in the 130-140 / 90 range. My doctor explained that if there is anything we know for sure, it's that high blood pressure greatly increases the risks of stroke and heart disease. He recommended that I start taking medications to lower my blood pressure. As long-time readers know from Zombiestra and other drug parodies I've created here, I am not a big fan of medications, especially those with side-effects and those whose interactions with other meds have been poorly studied, ie all of them. Though my doctor cited genes as the primary cause, I suspected lifestyle might have some wee effect as well. Thanks to polymath contributor U Doran, who sent me some links on salt and blood pressure, I discovered that just as we've been told for decades, salt is the key factor (along with weight) in controlling blood pressure. Stress and diet are of course also factors, but it's harder to measure the impacts of these complex metrics. "Eating less salt reduces the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, the first long-term study of salts impact on health confirms today." The usual image of a high-salt diet is someone shaking loads of salt on their steak or veggies. A careful study of standard American manufactured foods has led me to conclude that even if you don't add a single grain of salt to a single morsel of food, you are eating far more salt than is healthy. And by manufactured foods I don't mean just frozen dinners; I mean canned beans, prepared salads, packaged noodles, sausage, snacks, etc. dairy/soy or fresh meat/fish, ie foods which require some preparation. The "recommended salt intake per day" is about 2300 mg (milligrams), which in terms of limiting your risk of dying prematurely should be viewed as a maximum best avoided--about half that would be a better target. Put simply: it will very likely take years off your life. So next time you're in a fast food outlet or a supermarket, try to find something you can eat that won't kill you. I have lowered my blood pressure to 117-128 / 72-81 by following a modest regime of stress reduction, salt reduction, slightly increased exercise and substituting fresh ginger tea for caffeinated black or green tea (which I still drink in small quantities). To reduce my salt intake, here's a short list of what I no longer eat: chips: out, too much salt fries: out, too much salt sausage: out, too much salt fast food in general: out, too much salt salted nuts: out, too much salt canned goods: out, too much salt most cereals: out, too much salt bottled salad dressings: out, too much salt sports drinks: out, too much salt pre-packaged salads: out, too much salt in the dressing frozen meals: out, too much salt packaged snacks: out, too much salt packaged noodles: out, too much salt In other words, literally everything in the supermarket except the fresh produce and the meat counter (with rare exceptions like frozen blueberries, which are essentially produce anyway). If you want to locate the cause of American obesity and poor health, look no further than the label on virtually every item in the American supermarket. The "organic" peanut butter was loaded with hydrogenated palm oil. Is this dollop of goop also "organic" and therefore "good for you"? If this isn't deceptive, shall we call it misleading, or purposefully confusing? Whatever label you choose, it's clear that the American food products industry neither manufactures healthy products nor enables consumers to make healthy choices. Thank you RH ($25) for your generous donation in support of this advertisement / marketing garbage-free website. All contributors are listed below in acknowledgement of my gratitude. This Week's Theme: Disconnect from Reality Media Disconnect April 24, 2007 What are the odds of you seeing an honest headline like these in a major US publication: Real Inflation 75% a year, Phony "Core" Rate 25% or Gov't Beancounters Create 80,000 Phantom "Jobs" Last Month or Analyst: Stats Guarantee Recession in '07 The odds of blunt honesty in a major media outlet are near zero. As newspapers shrink in readership and viewers leave network television in droves, the media is desperate for ways to stem the losses. One heavily hyped idea in the print media (newspapers) is to focus on "local coverage" which is unavailable on the Web. Another heavily hyped "solution" is to focus on "new media" such as the newspapers' free websites and podcasts as a way of building Web ad revenue. But what virtually no one identifies as the problem is lack of credibility. Maybe young people are abandoning newspapers because they think YouTube and Yahoo are "news." Perhaps--or maybe the idea of paying $200 a year for a "delivered daily" hard-copy newspaper doesn't seem worth it. Or perhaps the reality is much uglier: the major media can no longer be trusted as a source of non-corporatized, non-government-massaged information. As a free-lance contributor to major media (newspapers) for 20 years, I am far from the centers of decision-making within the industry; nonetheless, I retain a feel for the tenor of what editors are seeking and pick up various signals on the issues and directions being explored. The advent of free online classified sites like craigslist has gutted what was once the mainstay of print media advertising. Now the print media is rushing into the online "new media" world, hoping to build an audience large enough and stable enough to support charging high rates for Web ads. Ad Growth Online Slows as Sources For News Burgeon: One major issue for many newspapers online: Roughly 70% to 80% of their online revenue is tied to a classified ad sold in the print edition -- known as an "upsell," says Paul Ginocchio, a newspaper analyst at Deutsche Bank. And as newspapers see a sharp erosion in classified advertising for real estate and jobs, their Web sites are being hit as well. Underlining this pressure is a shift under way within Internet advertising. The ad formats that have so far proved strongest for newspa...