Obesity around the World

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Charlotte Howard, health care correspondent for The Economist, talks about the magazine’s special report on global obesity and ways to address it around the world.


Charlotte Howard

Comments [19]

margaret a graham

Wow--this reporter should stick to writing (if her writing is better than her speaking, that is). Hemming, hawing, hedging, and using bad grammar all added up to one big-time non-story. Hard job, Leonard--must be frustrating sometimes.

Jan. 02 2013 09:01 PM

The real problems are corn syrup and the way we process our foods. Things have not changed that much. There has been a give and take. We used to eat lard and no longer do. We used to drink cream and no longer do. Everything we had was fried and that is not the case any longer. I personally feel corn syrup is a major contributor to diabetes. Look at when it when on the rise it was around the same time corn syrup came on the scene.
I also feel it is not anyone’s business if someone is overweight that is a personal issue just as being too skinny. I tried for years to gain weight and I know many who worked just as hard to lose it.
I am not sure why this is even a discussion. We do not need science to determine what the issues are all we need is common sense.

Jan. 02 2013 04:08 PM
Christine from Westchester

And have you seen the movie "Food Inc?" Wow- there's an eye opener. Including the family that is "too busy" to cook anything healthy and daily goes through the drive through. It's not just the cost of food (you can get produce in season at reasonable rates) it's the education and behavior. Here's the overview:,_Inc.

Jan. 02 2013 12:40 PM
sophie from poughkeepsie, ny

This conversation is nonsense! The big problem is all the nonstop food advertising marketed to adults as well as children. The schools will have minimal impact on obesity.

Jan. 02 2013 12:40 PM
J Mack from Ridgewood, NY

I recently watched Darryl Roberts' "America the Beautiful: The Thin Commandments," and I had no idea about all the problems with using the BMI as a way of determining obesity.

The use of BMI was only implemented in the 80s. People who might have been at a "healthy" weight were suddenly overweight according to the BMI measurement.

The movie is excellent and I strongly recommend it as a supplement to this conversation.

Jan. 02 2013 12:37 PM
Daniel Kurz from New Brunswick, NJ

Did I hear her say that you and smoke everyday and be healthy?

Jan. 02 2013 12:37 PM

Why is no one focusing on the drugs related to obesity?
100 years ago, Coca cola had sugar in it, but also had cocaine.
Cigarette smoking provides nicotine and decreases appetite.
Coffee provides caffeine and dehydrates.
The thinnest people I know in current society drink gallons of coffee, eat salads and smoke. They are the modern drug addicts using legal drugs as appetite suppressants and metabolism accellerants.

Jan. 02 2013 12:35 PM
Christine from Westchester

The best thing NY has done is to have calories listed. I don't need anyone to limit the size of beverage cup but it's great to have the insight about how many calories are in that bagel I'm thinking about. Since obesity rate has gone down in NY, I'd guess this listing is part of that result.

Jan. 02 2013 12:33 PM
Kate from Was

It is a LOT easier to exercise more than to eat less. I'm always baffled by why people focus so much more on food than exercise. Also, did you see Michael Moore's Facebook post last night about going for a walk? Interesting and relevant (especially the responses) to this conversation.

Jan. 02 2013 12:31 PM
Sarah from CT

Lenny, "Shoveling the food in?" Really??

Jan. 02 2013 12:30 PM
John A

Her quick brush-off of the concept "willpower" suggests to me she doesn't fully appreciate the value of well maintained willpower. It could save the nation billions in healthcare costs, for one thing.

Jan. 02 2013 12:30 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Higher meat and dairy consumption is far more an environmental supply pressure than people just eating more per se.

Jan. 02 2013 12:29 PM

What about looking at obesity as the result of compulsive eating, as the expert is now suggesting? Sugar or other "foods" can be an addictive substance just like alcohol.

Jan. 02 2013 12:29 PM
jackie giel

I am a lunch aide in an elementry school
the food we give the children has inproved
But the way the children are rushed to eat is
still a concern to me..
by the time they have gotten severd and sit down
they only have 6-5-mins to eat...
I wonder if shoving food down the thoats of our kids is adding

Jan. 02 2013 12:26 PM
Joseph Cavalieri from east village, manhattan

Are there any studies between cultures gaining weight and the introduction of computers or the
gain in time used on computers.

thank you - great show!

Jan. 02 2013 12:23 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Sure...texting burns less calories than meeting your friends at the malt shop and dancing...Being picked up or dropped off by a bus takes less calories than walking to school...Empty calories - snacks, cakes, pies and chips...are too easily acquired...and our portion control is way out of wack.

Add to that the bad supply of micronutrients in processed foods and we have the perfect recipe for overeating behaviors.

Jan. 02 2013 12:21 PM
Christine from Westchester

John: Interesting point. I assume you mean simply "gluttony." Portion sizing might help but I agree: if you say anything about such behavior it's not politically correct.

Jan. 02 2013 12:20 PM
John A

"A big shift in humanity's Genetics" (as stated) ...try this one:
"A big shift in humanity's Morality". Amoral eating practices are not and frequently cannot be frowned on.

Jan. 02 2013 12:16 PM
KATE from Washington Heights

Hi Leonard - When I spent four months in El Salvador, I lost a lot of weight because the so much of the food was generally of such poor quality that I had no desire to eat it - except the fruit which was fantastic - so I ate mostly fruit. And I didn't find the food unappetizing just because I was from the US - people who have grown up in El Salvador also get sick from the food there. They have greater immunity to foodborne illness, but it doesn't mean they don't get sick from it. Obviously, the ability for people to pay for food is a huge factor as well. I worried about the locals who were continually getting stomach illnesses from the food available to them. Is obesity a worse problem?

Jan. 02 2013 12:15 PM

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