huge topic:Americans keep getting fatter

User Forum Topic
Submitted by desmond on June 29, 2010 - 3:37pm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20100629/hl_...

Easy access to fast, cheap food, to busy to cook, many reasons why, and it is getting worse.

Submitted by CardiffBaseball on January 1, 2011 - 12:21am.

Absolutely a food supply issue.

Too many sold a bill of goods about too much "fat" so we splurged on "low-fat" crap food which is generally manufactured/packaged and not in the perimeter of the grocery store. Just buy what's on the outside and don't go down the isles (he-he I am admonishing myself at this point).

Just cut sugars, and as much grain as you can without having withdrawals (maybe dairy too). Eat eggs, steak, chicken, fish, pork, and whatever veggies you can stomach (as much broccoli as you can handle) and you'll feel great. If you love bacon and need it daily better to get the nitrate free stuff. Thrown in a piece of fruit if you like. (only 1 per day if trying to lose weight) The fat just melts away, energy levels rise. If you absolutely can't eliminate pasta just keep it to 1-2 times a week and go easy on the carbs on a pasta day.

If you really get on a roll change all eggs to Omega-3 free range chickens (the chicken itself too) as well as free range beef. Both help get the Omega-3/Omega 6 fats in better balance. Or just take a bunch of Fish Oils if getting grass-fed meats are a big pain.

Now, having said all that. How can a poor family possibly eat that way?? Might be ok for me and most piggs, but it can get costly, so I do sympathize that most affordable things seem pricey. I'd say to a poor person that the higher fat beef is fine and better than eating low-fat snack-wells, with far greater nutritional value (plus a 5-lb. tube can make chili, sloppy joe's, burgers, spaghetti sauce). Grab some packaged spinach and broccoli and rice/beans won't kill you either. Low-Carb wraps might be asking too much, but they have good fiber and aren't sugary.

Submitted by CA renter on January 1, 2011 - 4:43am.

bearishgurl wrote:
ocrenter wrote:
. . . Something happened within the last 50 years that led to the dramatic weight issue. And especially over the last 20 years. The quality of the food got A LOT worse and the BAD food got A LOT cheaper. . .

I'll tell you what the has happened in the last 50 years.

First of all, when I hear on this blog of an $8 tomato at "Whole Foods," THAT is part of the problem (I don't shop there).

Produce got a LOT more expensive.

Lean meat got a LOT more expensive.

Dairy products and eggs got a LOT more expensive.

Junk food got a LOT cheaper at fast food outlets (i.e. 99 cent offerings).

Today's workers do not purchase enough groceries or are too lazy or unorganized to prepare a nutritious lunch for their workday, or both.

Many people spend a LOT of time sitting and "texting."

Many people (myself included) spend a LOT of time on the internet.

You can sit in a car on the internet now (up to 3 hrs. before needing charging) whereas in the past (before "computing era"), you might have gotten out and walked around while waiting.

Households are now smaller so it doesn't make sense to buy exorbitant amounts of fresh food that will spoil.

Kids DO NOT habitually play outside anymore. They are too busy texting, playing video games and watching u-tube.

Most adults don't stay with their workout/programs at a gym.

Kids don't run and play outside with neighborhood kids until dark anymore, ie. tag, hide & seek, kick the can, bicycling, etc.

Kids don't build forts anymore.

Kids don't want to physically go to each other to talk or play because they can virtually send each other photos as to what they're doing that day. So they don't visit and engage in activities together as much anymore.

Adults have such smart vehicles that are so comfortable that they don't need to get out of them (100% have A/C, etc).

Workers can now sit at their computers and transmit messages and files that I had to walk a minimum of a 1-1/2 blocks and up/down one or more elevators and even across the street to hand-deliver in a large rolling basket with heavy metal dividers, going to each department separately and handing to the bailiff in 3+ lb "packages."

PE in schools is no longer mandatory every year.

Individual sports "prone to injury" (i.e. gymnastics, tumbling, wrestling, etc,) and, as a byproduct, cheerleading, have now been "dumbed down" to much lesser skill levels to compete, due to potential lawsuits.

Instrumental music has all but been done away with in most schools, due to instructor budget cuts and high cost of renting/owning instruments. This leaves more time for texting and watching u-tube.

Low income adults (esp in "food desert" parts of the US) are choosing to purchase cheaper highly-refined prepared food over fresh food they have to prepare at home.

The multitude of cable/satellite channels (in high-def no less) is keeping many glued to the TV (and couch).

The minimum wage is so low in most parts of the country that fast food outlets can afford to make the high-fat/calorie 99 cent offerings. 30-40 years ago, today's .99 FF offering was about .79 (basic hamburger was .39 to .49) and the minimum wage was +-$2.00 hr.

BINGO, BG!!!!

Back when Mr. CAR and I were growing up (we were the last generation of kids before the "obesity epidemic" came to pass), our TVs had dial knobs, where you had to get up off the couch and turn the dial whenever you wanted to change the channel...and we only had a handful of channels, so there was a higher likelihood we wouldn't find anything "fun" to watch. Oh no! That meant we had to go outside and play with our friends, sans parents, of course. So, we played all day long, until the street lights turned on.

I look at the difference between the way we grew up, and how kids (including our own) grow up today. the differences are striking. We ate at least as much junk food back then -- bologna sandwiches with pasteurized, processed cheese food substitute (American cheese) and gobs of mayo on white Wonder bread, anyone? But we were active!

Our kids today have too much homework, and too much TV, computer, and video game time. They do NOT **play** nearly enough to stay healthy, IMHO.

If you look at when the "obesity epidemic" began, it correlates with the widespread introduction of cable TV and video games into middle-class homes.

One more thing...when we wanted to go somewhere, we walked or rode our bikes. Kids today get chauffeured everywhere, even around the corner.

We're raising a generation of overweight wussies who are completely unable to entertain themselves without electronic devices or without having someone dictate their every move via "helicopter parenting."

Submitted by ocrenter on January 1, 2011 - 7:08am.

All complex issues of the day involve multiple factors. Such was the case with the housing bubble. We blamed the realtors, we blamed the ignorant buyers, we blamed George Chamberlin, we blamed the builders. But ultimately it was the toxic mortgage that were EVERYWHERE. Toxic mortgages that everybody could get cheaply (as in zero down). That was the driver of the bubble. When the ultimate source of the toxic mortgages died, everything did as well.

Same thing here, you can blame cars, video games, increase of single parent families, air condition, and TVs that have more than one knob. But ultimately one key issue is still the food. Food and drinks are packed in with so much calories and at such a cheap price that I would imagine if someone graphs a $/cal graph it would probably look like the reverse of the housing bubble graph of yesteryears.

The perfect example is Chili's, where a couple can literally go in, spend $20, and get 4500 cal per person out of that $20. (btw, the food industry of course fought tooth and nails to prevent mandatory calorie information in restaurants. now that they are mandated, they hide the calorie info in small prints at the back of the drinks menu. Bottom line, they DONT want you to know what you are really getting. And while Piggs WILL ask and find that calorie info, the vast majority of WE THE PEOPLE would not).

There is absolutely no way the energy saving from having TV remote, using AC, and sitting all day in front of TVs and video games can begin to compare to the fact that someone in this society can obtain 450 calories with a single dollar. To put into better prospective, that Chili's meal that only cost $10 per person but yield 4500 calories needed 45 miles of fast paced walking to burn off. I dont care how your parents walked uphill in the snow to go to school and back and now your kids are now chauffeured to the corner elementary school. None of the other factors account for the obesity crisis as much as the food factor.

Bottom line, it is the food supply, people.

Submitted by ocrenter on January 1, 2011 - 7:17am.

CA renter wrote:

Our kids today have too much homework, and too much TV, computer, and video game time. They do NOT **play** nearly enough to stay healthy, IMHO.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/2010...

a third of 9 month olds are now overwieght or obese. 9 month olds just crawl around. they do not make choices to stay home to play video game vs go biking.

a typical kid would have to bike at over 20 miles per hour for an hour to burn off a big mac. (how many parents buy their kids big mac? A lot. how many kids of yesteryears were enrolled in spin classes? Zero.)

ultimately, it is still THE FOOD!

Submitted by bearishgurl on January 1, 2011 - 11:51am.

ocrenter, I agree that there are many more fast food offerings now than in times past. The ff "combos" in particular are very large helpings and a big "profit center" for ff chains. In the past, the business model at the 3 or 4 existing ff chains was like "In & Out Burger." There were only a handful of choices a-la-carte and no "combos."

I, too, believe that most chain-restaurant offerings are laden with fat, sugar and calories, in order to pass the majority "taste test." There's nothing the individual consumer can do about this.

But I also believe that everyone has the ability to control themselves in this "land of abundance."

The obesity epidemic in children is mostly the fault of lazy and too-indulgent parents who do not set good examples themselves.

Just because when you sit down at Chili's with your group of people, there is always a 5000-calorie pile of onion rings in the middle of the table, doesn't mean you have to avail yourself of them.

You can also walk around a house party or public happy hour with a wine cooler or highball glass in your hand with seltzer water and lime in it. No one would be the wiser. You don't have to drink 100+ calorie per oz shots all night with sweet mixer(s) just because they're "two for one" or you're going to stay the night, anyway. You have to know what to stay away from and what not to eat if put on your plate by a host (i.e. poultry skin, etc).

Whenever I was taken out to fast food as a kid (abt 10x per yr), we were only allowed to order a reg hamburger. Sometimes, my parent(s) could get five for $1. French fries were about .25. OCCASIONALLY, we could get a shake. On the menu, there were 3 sizes of hamburgers, a fish sandwich, french fries, shakes, colas, lemonade and apple pie and that was the end of the menu. No "happy meals," no toys and no combos.

CAR mentioned getting up to turn a knob to turn on the TV and change the channel. We had 4-5 stations to choose from. "Rabbit ears," sitting on top of the TV, frequently had to be turned or adjusted to eliminate "snow" and allow the "independent" channel to come in. When I was 12-13 years old, we got our first "color TV." It was a 250-lb "Zenith" console with a 25" square green screen, mahogany cabinet and a red/green color-adjustment panel. Of course, "remote controls" didn't exist back then. This set my dad back $500 (about half a months pay) :=]

Submitted by ocrenter on January 1, 2011 - 12:34pm.

of course we can all do our best to limit consumption.

but that's also like telling buyers during the peak of the bubble not to buy. of course it was personal responsibility ultimately, but how many exercised personal responsibility and how many actually thought it through and resisted the urge to buy?

same thing here, of course ultimately it boils down to personal responsibility. but how many are listening about the need to fight and resist the cheap food?

What is scary here we have the additional element of chemical dependency. The cheap food and high calorie does create a cheap HIGH followed by emotional LOW. This is the perfect set up for addiction pattern. So if someone learns this pattern at childhood, you are looking at an addictive pattern that will be extremely hard to correct. even if that person knows full well of the need to make changes.

The pattern of obesity and food addiction is very similar compared to other addictions. Just like addicts moving in and out of rehabs, most people with weight issues move in and out of diets. And the only explaination here is the food is now a lot more potent at activating the pleasure pathway and it is also a whole lot cheaper. Like I said before, cocaine was much less of an issue before some guy figured out how to make it into cheap crack.

As to your price comparison to before, there were no remotes in the 70's, so I'll assume 25 cent fries were 70's prices as well. Adjusted for inflation you are looking at $1.5 which is pricier compared to today. Plus the amount of fries per serving has increased dramatically as well. Remember, child size hamburger of today was the regular sized hamburger of yesteryears.

I understand what you are trying to say about children being less active and how folks are glued to the TV. Fitness and an active lifestyle is extremely important. But again, while there are a lot of other important issues that promote the obesity crisis, the number one issue that dramatically altered the landscape is still the change in food.

Submitted by briansd1 on January 1, 2011 - 1:30pm.

ocrenter makes a great point about food and addiction.

But I would hate for food to be more expensive and take up a larger portion of people's incomes. That would be a step in the wrong direction.

Still, the government needs to step in and and regulate consumer goods for our overall benefit. There's a lot of false marketing and brand differentiation out there but the chemical ingredients are the same.

I think that education is part of the solution. But the problem with education is that there is a lot of contradictory information and people are totally confused.

Another thing that people don't get is that you can be thin but fat at the same time. For example, an otherwise thin person with a round belly and high body fat is going on obese.

I believe that there's been a culture shift also. If you read the novels of the past, or watch old movies, sad and depressed characters would always lose appetite.

Now, culture tells us that when we are sad, we should gorge ourselves with junk.

Submitted by ocrenter on January 1, 2011 - 2:05pm.

briansd1 wrote:

But I would hate for food to be more expensive and take up a larger portion of people's incomes. That would be a step in the wrong direction.

Still, the government needs to step in and and regulate consumer goods for our overall benefit. There's a lot of false marketing and brand differentiation out there but the chemical ingredients are the same.

Rise in food cost is a necessity. simply because there are current government interferance in place that artificially suppress food cost. we need to remove them as they are not necessary and quite frankly we can't afford them. This is $35 billion we can save annually.

The marketing to children need to be heavily regulated. We now have very good understanding of the chemical dependency feedback loop of sugar. Therefore, marketing campaign of food to children need to be regulated just like alcohol and tobacco ads are regulated.

The calorie info regulation need to be expanded. We can't have the restaurants simply print out calorie info and then hide it under the condiments. I say regulation that forces calorie info to appear directly next to the price. (ie Big Mac combo, $4.99, 1250 calorie) Or best yet, when restaurants advertise, they need to have the calorie next to it too. (ie Domino Pizza, when advertising their deep dish pizza for $9.99, need to show it packs in 2600 calorie).

Food packaging and terminology is another hot button issue. Use of whole wheat and organic and low fat or low calorie are simply completely random and way too liberal to the point that none of it prove to be helpful.

lastly, consider processing tax. So as whole wheat is processed into white flour, there is enough taxes to make the white flour more expensive than the non-refined flour alternative.

just some thoughts. maybe very nanny state to some people, but a lot of it is really just more and better info.

Submitted by bearishgurl on January 1, 2011 - 7:50pm.

ocrenter wrote:
...As to your price comparison to before, there were no remotes in the 70's, so I'll assume 25 cent fries were 70's prices as well. Adjusted for inflation you are looking at $1.5 which is pricier compared to today. Plus the amount of fries per serving has increased dramatically as well. Remember, child size hamburger of today was the regular sized hamburger of yesteryears...

Change the "70's" to the "60's." But agree that there were no remote-controls during most of the "70's" either. Yes, there was only one-size of fries, which came in a small paper bag. Yes, you are correct in that the "Happy Meal hamburger" of today was the "Reg. adult hamburger" of yesteryear, often on special 5 for $1. The BK "Whopper" and McD "Big Mac" became available in the early 70's. In the 60's, there was Hamb, Chsburg, dbl chsburg (2 reg hamb) and Fish Sand. When "Jack" came on board, it introduced the "Chicken Sand," lol.

Purely anecdotal from memory, the min wage (per hr) was approx:

1968: 1.60
1970: 1.80
1972: 2.00
1974: 2.10
1976: 2.30
1978: 2.40

ocrenter, I understand that "calories" are mainly in the fine print on chain-restaurant menus today but I feel that even if this info was on the front of menus in LARGE PRINT, it wouldn't matter. Consumers will just order what they're used to having and what makes them and their party "feel good."

I don't think "nanny state" regulations mandating disclaimers and disclosures to consumers on restaurant menus will do anything to combat obesity of its customers.

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 1, 2011 - 8:08pm.

On the otherside of the coin I see overprogrammed kids all around me not kids sitting on video games all day. Most kids I see are involved in at least 1 formal sports league and many are involved in 2 or 3 different sports at a time. Throw in dance classes, art classes, karate classes, music lessons and more. Yes they spend alot of time on video games also but I dont see kids sitting on their rears all day. To the contrary I think alot of them could use some more sedentary time.

Submitted by ocrenter on January 1, 2011 - 10:10pm.

bearishgurl wrote:

I don't think "nanny state" regulations mandating disclaimers and disclosures to consumers on restaurant menus will do anything to combat obesity of its customers.

so since we are so sure mandated calorie info next to pricing won't work, then the food and restaurant industry should be perfectly fine with it then. but they do all they can to fight the mandate. and I know restaurants actively cheat by hiding it, and instruct their employees to hide it by telling them patrons are there to "enjoy" and "indulge" and they would not mind that the mandated calorie sheets are hidden.

so why bother being so secretive and spend so much energy blocking information. If Domino's Pizza is so proud of the fact that they are able to offer a pizza for $10, they should be equally as proud that such pizza packs in 2600 calories. right?

Hey, pop quiz, what other industry fought the government for decades about truthful disclosure of the product they sell?

Submitted by bearishgurl on January 1, 2011 - 10:18pm.

ocrenter wrote:
. . . Hey, pop quiz, what other industry fought the government for decades about truthful disclosure of the product they sell?

Do it have it right, ocrenter, that it was the "tobacco industry?"

Submitted by briansd1 on January 2, 2011 - 12:51am.

Yes, the tobacco industry fought regulations decades.

I can't imagine smoking in restaurants anymore. That's on a state level as some states still allow indoor smoking. There should be federal law.

Glad there's not a smoking section on planes anymore.

Submitted by CA renter on January 2, 2011 - 1:33am.

ocrenter wrote:
of course we can all do our best to limit consumption.

but that's also like telling buyers during the peak of the bubble not to buy. of course it was personal responsibility ultimately, but how many exercised personal responsibility and how many actually thought it through and resisted the urge to buy?

same thing here, of course ultimately it boils down to personal responsibility. but how many are listening about the need to fight and resist the cheap food?

What is scary here we have the additional element of chemical dependency. The cheap food and high calorie does create a cheap HIGH followed by emotional LOW. This is the perfect set up for addiction pattern. So if someone learns this pattern at childhood, you are looking at an addictive pattern that will be extremely hard to correct. even if that person knows full well of the need to make changes.

The pattern of obesity and food addiction is very similar compared to other addictions. Just like addicts moving in and out of rehabs, most people with weight issues move in and out of diets. And the only explaination here is the food is now a lot more potent at activating the pleasure pathway and it is also a whole lot cheaper. Like I said before, cocaine was much less of an issue before some guy figured out how to make it into cheap crack.

As to your price comparison to before, there were no remotes in the 70's, so I'll assume 25 cent fries were 70's prices as well. Adjusted for inflation you are looking at $1.5 which is pricier compared to today. Plus the amount of fries per serving has increased dramatically as well. Remember, child size hamburger of today was the regular sized hamburger of yesteryears.

I understand what you are trying to say about children being less active and how folks are glued to the TV. Fitness and an active lifestyle is extremely important. But again, while there are a lot of other important issues that promote the obesity crisis, the number one issue that dramatically altered the landscape is still the change in food.

Though I think a sedentary lifestyle is very much a part of our "obesity epidemic," I do agree with you about the food supply problem as well.

Like another poster pointed out above, healthy food is expensive, and junk food is cheap. Not sure what could be done to rectify that, though. Not sure higher taxes on the cheap stuff is the way to go; poor people are having a difficult enough time as it is. We need to reduce the cost of healthy food, instead.

Though I don't think any particular kind of food should be banned (unless it contains actual carcinogens or toxic substances), it would be great to get some truthful disclosure about what is in our foods. You're exactly right about them not wanting to give their customers that information, and that's a big problem.

Submitted by ocrenter on January 2, 2011 - 7:48am.

bearishgurl wrote:
ocrenter wrote:
. . . Hey, pop quiz, what other industry fought the government for decades about truthful disclosure of the product they sell?

Do it have it right, ocrenter, that it was the "tobacco industry?"

most definitely! =)

now remember, the food industry grew up in the last 30-40 years, completely unregulated. now it is this huge powerful force that is frankly throwing its weight around. government is always lagging when it comes to controlling new monsters. this is no different.

Submitted by jpinpb on January 2, 2011 - 9:43am.

Folks, all of you are right on this. It is food supply AND sedentary lifestyle. Bad food as been around a long time. But as stated, people were more active.

I have not gone back to the beginning of this thread, so I don't remember everything. I just want to mention, if I haven't already, that people need to be aware of HFCS. This was added in our foods in the late '70's, I believe, to replace sugar which was more expensive.

I honestly believe that the HFCS is the poison that changed our foods. It is in just about everything. If you are all looking for what changed things, add HFCS to the list. People have a hard time digesting it. Add it to all foods, then live a sedentary, overworked lifestyle. Voila'. You have overweight people w/diabetes.

The advent of HFCS is what changed the course of our diet.

Submitted by blahblahblah on January 2, 2011 - 11:40am.

Obesity is good for our system. People eat unhealthy food made out of the cheapest possible ingredients, earning a big markup for big ag/food concerns. Unhealthy people die early, which saves money on pensions/SS payouts, etc... And while they are alive they rack up tons in pharmaceutical and medical charges, again, good business! It's a win-win-win all around. So do your part America and eat some high-fat mad cow infected garbage burger meat from Albertsons, wash it down with some HFCS-sweetened soda from Costco and some salty snacks made from GMO corn. To do anything else is bad for the economy! And don't worry, when you get sick our health care will be there to send you off to the great beyond with a MRSA infection when you go in for your quadruple-bypass surgery or insulin pump implant.

Submitted by jpinpb on January 2, 2011 - 11:53am.

CONCHO wrote:
Obesity is good for our system. People eat unhealthy food made out of the cheapest possible ingredients, earning a big markup for big ag/food concerns. Unhealthy people die early, which saves money on pensions/SS payouts, etc... And while they are alive they rack up tons in pharmaceutical and medical charges, again, good business! It's a win-win-win all around. So do your part America and eat some high-fat mad cow infected garbage burger meat from Albertsons, wash it down with some HFCS-sweetened soda from Costco and some salty snacks made from GMO corn. To do anything else is bad for the economy! And don't worry, when you get sick our health care will be there to send you off to the great beyond with a MRSA infection when you go in for your quadruple-bypass surgery or insulin pump implant.

LOL! And don't forget to also help our economy and buy an overpriced home you can't afford. ;)

Submitted by NotCranky on January 2, 2011 - 6:13pm.

I do agree that the problem is complex. I think it is more of a matter of the "perfect storm". We can get on soap boxes and say it is the supply or individual choice, but they go hand in hand. Profit motive is part of it. Being more sedentary is an issue. So is the fact that Americans make a big food event out of everything. You have to be practically counter culture to be healthy and deal with overindulgence.

It's not only cheap processed food. It's not only poor people.Maybe that's where the most desperate cases have the highest incidence.Bulimia and anorexia tend to be higher in social order. So are the suicides due to these disorders. I think most of us have to mitigate against forces in our own families if we are to protect our food health as well as that of our children...and we don't live in a food desert, on food stamps.

Submitted by njtosd on January 3, 2011 - 9:55am.

briansd1 wrote:

If we force fat people to pay proportionately more for their health care, maybe people would make adjustments to their eating habits.

Do you mean they should pay more for the care, or for the insurance?

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 3, 2011 - 10:21am.

Just got an email from friend the world traveling physician and he's coming to visit me this week. I cant wait to get his perspective on healthcare around the world. He's at ground zero and is constantly on the road in modern countries and third world countries consulting on delivery of health care for the WHO and the Clinton Foundation. He is one of the most interesting people you could ever meet. I wish I could have a few of you over to meet him but I havent seen him in several years and we have too much catching up to do. I let you all know what I learn from him.

Submitted by CA renter on January 3, 2011 - 6:19pm.

sdrealtor wrote:
Just got an email from friend the world traveling physician and he's coming to visit me this week. I cant wait to get his perspective on healthcare around the world. He's at ground zero and is constantly on the road in modern countries and third world countries consulting on delivery of health care for the WHO and the Clinton Foundation. He is one of the most interesting people you could ever meet. I wish I could have a few of you over to meet him but I havent seen him in several years and we have too much catching up to do. I let you all know what I learn from him.

Looking forward to hearing his perspective.

Also, remember that a physician might have a different perspective than a patient would. We have a doctor friend who's opposed to "socialized medicine" because she's concerned about how it might affect physician pay.

IMHO, healthcare should be about the patients' health, first and foremost. In my "ideal world," doctors would be some of the most highly paid people, but their pay, or desire to drive fancy cars and live in fancy houses, should not be what drives healthcare.

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 3, 2011 - 8:38pm.

My friend is driven by helping people not money. I'll send you a link to his personal travel website and you can see for yourself. You will be awestruck and enjoy it immensely. As long as he can travel, educate people and make their lives better he is happy. Well he likes to party like few people I have ever met but that is another matter;)

Submitted by briansd1 on January 3, 2011 - 10:22pm.

sdrealtor wrote:
He's at ground zero and is constantly on the road in modern countries and third world countries consulting on delivery of health care for the WHO and the Clinton Foundation.

Since he lives in Thailand, ask him about the Thai health care system, not for the very poor that the Clinton Foundation is wanting to help, but for the middle-class who can afford to pay out of pocket.

Professionals in Thailand can pay out of pocket because the costs the costs are reasonable when compared their incomes. In America, someone without health insurance is pretty much SOL if something bad happens.

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 3, 2011 - 11:34pm.

i will

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 5, 2011 - 11:52pm.

OK Brian and CAR
My friend is spending the the night here and while most of what we did was talk about our kids and life in general I squeezed in some health care questions for you. Here is what I got from him:

1. We have undeniably the absolute finest medical care available anywhere on the planet in the US.

2. Nowhere elese in the world can you walk into a hospital without money or insurance and get open heart surgery. In the US they have to treat you. In other countries with socialized medicine they put you on a list. Unfortunately it is a list you will very likely never see the top of. The idea that in America, someone without health insurance is pretty much SOL if something bad happens is a myth. Walk into an ER and you will get taken care of. Anywhere else in the world you are SOL if you dont have money unless you have the time to wait on a list you most likely will never reach the top of and get lucky.

3. If you are in Indonesia and get sick. Try to swim to to Singapore. If they give you an antibiotic, look up what they gave you on wikipedia because that is what your doctor probably did.

4. In Thailand there is good quality care available at very reasonable prices as long as you need the care for a procedure they are good at. What they are good at is limited and if its one of the things they arent good at you are SOL. If it is something they are good at, the hospitals are like resorts and the more you can afford to pay the nicer accomodations you can get up to 5 star treatment. If you have a complex case or complications they dont know how to deal with it. They will just pass you onto to someone else. Doctors in most other countries dont have the ingenuity and ability to think outside the box and come up with ways to deal with anything beyond what they have been trained to do.

5. Again, the US has the absolute best medical care available and the best trained physicians in the world. It is not even close.

Submitted by CA renter on January 6, 2011 - 2:43am.

Thanks for posting his thoughts, sdr.

This "list" thing is not what I've heard about from relatives who live in "socialist" countries; though it's been a few years since discussing it with them. Maybe it's changed in the past few years. If it's not imperative to get treatment right away, you might have to wait a bit, but if it's an emergency, they are treated in the same manner/timeframe as patients treated here. Of course, there are variations between countries.

In the U.S., the hospitals are only obligated to treat people (for free) in the ER if it's a life-or-death situation, or if they are seriously injured or sick; they only have to "stabilize" them. Trying to get follow-up care is the tricky part, and if an expensive procedure or treatment is needed, good luck with that.

Nonetheless, your friend's input is very much appreciated. Enjoy your visit!

Submitted by ocrenter on January 6, 2011 - 7:47am.

CA renter wrote:

In the U.S., the hospitals are only obligated to treat people (for free) in the ER if it's a life-or-death situation, or if they are seriously injured or sick; they only have to "stabilize" them. Trying to get follow-up care is the tricky part, and if an expensive procedure or treatment is needed, good luck with that.

this is a system that emphasize emergent heroics, but let millions lapse in fundamental preventives. in essence, we won't let you die, but we'll make you live in misery.

I wonder what your friend's take is in regard to Big Pharma's ability to lobby doctors relentlessly on the latest (therefore most expensive) treatments available, and the full force of sharply dressed and fully "enhanced" drug reps that can follow up their lobbying efforts with full data regarding targeted doctor's prescribing habits. (yes, I'm referring to D-cupped drug reps sitting next to nerdy docs asking, "But Dr. Smith, why didn't you prescribe more Lipitor last month??? You Promised!!!")

Submitted by jpinpb on January 6, 2011 - 8:17am.

ocr - you mean double D.

If only it were an exaggeration. I've lost track of how many times I've gone to a doctor who wanted to prescribe me meds -- without even a confirmed diagnosis.

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 6, 2011 - 8:33am.

He is still here and sleeping. I try a few f/u questions so fire away asap if you can.

He did say emergent care did not matter in socialized medicine. If you need open heart surgery and will die if you dont get it in a week, well....you will die. Regarding the drug reps, if he was in the US he would likely be taking full advantage of their assets. However, in many countries diagnoses and drugs are often determined by wikipedia which while a vast improvement over the past is still very lacking and a major downgrade from what we have here. I'm sure he will laugh about it. But still the fact is as problematic, expensive and imperfect as our system is, it remains far and away the best in the world. In many countries seeing a doctor is something most people simply have no access to.

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