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  #1  
Old 05-09-2012, 04:06 PM
Simon G Simon G is offline
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The environmental cost of chubbies

Hi Cecil & co,

A possible oversight on the environmental impact of the overweight.

Have you considered, that while the porkers might consume more, they will have a much shorter timescale to do it in given that their life expectancy is considerably less than average.

Overall, their excess consumption will be over a shorter period of time and it will all balance out....

Cheers

Simon Garrington
Cardiff
UK

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LINK TO COLUMNS: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3048/followup and possibly http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...nergy-resource

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 05-10-2012 at 06:47 AM.. Reason: Added link to columns -- CKDH
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2012, 04:54 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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"Okay, you know what you do? You buy yourself a tape recorder, you just record yourself for a whole day. I think you’re going to be surprised at some of your phrasing."

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  #3  
Old 05-09-2012, 04:55 PM
Super Heron Super Heron is offline
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Hey, Simon, did ya read the TOS before jumping on here to bleat about "porkers"?

Why don't you head on over to this thread and get a little schooling. If you have the stones, that is. (That's "balls" in American English, sweetie.)

Cecil, if you're so dedicated to "fighting ignorance", perhaps you ought to not be quite so quick to join in on the ignorant chorus currently getting louder in society. Damn right obesity is an issue. And yes, many obese people have poor excuses for getting or remaining that way. However, do you really think putting a "the charge by the pound concept is overdue" spin on your article is helpful? Sounds a lot more like you're pandering to that frantic human need to bash on the most fashionable target, which right now is the visibly overweight. If you've been "fighting ignorance since 1973", maybe getting out of your own way at times would speed things up. Just sayin'.
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  #4  
Old 05-09-2012, 06:05 PM
XT XT is online now
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Certainly chubbies have an environmental cost! I mean, you do know how babies are made, right?? Well, it's clear that allowing ones chubbie loose around a fertile females...

Oh...wait! Is that not the kind of chubbie you meant??

-XT
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2012, 10:53 PM
Nunzio Tavulari Nunzio Tavulari is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Heron View Post
Hey, Simon, did ya read the TOS before jumping on here to bleat about "porkers"?

Why don't you head on over to this thread and get a little schooling. If you have the stones, that is. (That's "balls" in American English, sweetie.)

Cecil, if you're so dedicated to "fighting ignorance", perhaps you ought to not be quite so quick to join in on the ignorant chorus currently getting louder in society. Damn right obesity is an issue. And yes, many obese people have poor excuses for getting or remaining that way. However, do you really think putting a "the charge by the pound concept is overdue" spin on your article is helpful? Sounds a lot more like you're pandering to that frantic human need to bash on the most fashionable target, which right now is the visibly overweight. If you've been "fighting ignorance since 1973", maybe getting out of your own way at times would speed things up. Just sayin'.
You may as well surrender to the void now. Your battle is already lost.

First it was drunk driving, them it was smoking. In 2000 it appeared that the anti-smoking zealots had gained the upper hand and I've been warning that the obese would be next in line. And when the obese have been sufficiently shamed they'll go after meat eaters (raising cattle contributes to greenhouse gases and excessive water use).
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2012, 12:31 AM
Super Heron Super Heron is offline
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You do have a point, Nunzio. I've believed the obese would be the next in line for a little while now. Doesn't mean I'm gonna go quietly. People will continue to be stupid whether or not I (and others) do so; that much has been proven throughout the various scourges you mentioned. Unfortunately, rampant idiocy never quite seems to make the "shame into oblivion" list. I wonder why?

You say the next group is meat-eaters. That's very likely, but it's my personal hope that it's the hobbyist-baby-makers who are targeted next. Seven billion and counting, with finite resources to be shared among the ever-increasing numbers? Oh, wait... I did just get done saying idiocy never quite makes the shaming list...

Last edited by Super Heron; 05-10-2012 at 12:32 AM..
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  #7  
Old 05-10-2012, 01:05 AM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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At my age and state of singlehood, I have to use up inordinate amounts of electricity to get a chubby.
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  #8  
Old 05-10-2012, 02:59 AM
Foggy Foggy is offline
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Just so that we know what the hell we are talking about here is the link to the column (I think):
Followup: How much energy is wasted hauling around U.S. body fat?
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2012, 06:48 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, Simon G, we're glad to have you here.

When you start a thread, it's helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column(s) you are commenting on. Helps keep us on the same page and saves searching time. No biggie, you'll know for next time, and I've added the link(s) that I thought were most likely. (Please let me know if you meant something different.) Anyhow, not a worry, you'll know for next time, and, as I said, welcome!

(Thanks, Foggy, for the link, but I thought it came too late in the thread; hence, I added it to the first post.)

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 05-10-2012 at 06:49 AM..
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2012, 09:05 PM
Michael63129 Michael63129 is offline
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I seriously doubt that overall consumption is reduced by the obese since the reduction in lifespan is far less than you imply - a few years off* of an average 80 or so year lifespan isn't going to offset the increased consumption that much; if the obese person ate twice as much as normal, they'd have to die in their 30s-40s just to offset the food consumption (never mind all of the other stuff).

*Here is some actual data:

Quote:
They found that obese male nonsmokers lose 5.8 years and obese female nonsmokers lose 7.1 years of life compared with normal-weight nonsmokers. Obese male and female smokers, respectively, lose 6.7 and 7.2 years of life relative to normal-weight smokers. In addition, overweight male nonsmokers (smokers) lose 3.1 (1.3) years and overweight female nonsmokers (smokers) lose 3.3 (0.2) years of life relative to their normal-weight counterparts.
That's less than a 10% reduction in lifespan at the high end (of course, it is higher for the super-obese, but not everybody is that fat; interesting also that for those who are just overweight, smoking appears to actually be beneficial; 0.2 years is just 10 weeks).

PS: if they are going to attack meat-eaters (like myself) for contributing to GHG pollution, they they should really be attacking fossil-fuel consumers, who produce staggeringly higher amounts of GHGs; also, here is something interesting:

Quote:
Overall, methane emissions from bison, elk, and deer in the pre-settlement period in the contiguous United States were about 70% (medium bison population size) of the current emissions from farmed ruminants in the U.S.
For the most part, famed animals have just replaced wild animals as a methane source (and a bit more, but methane isn't as important as CO2, and levels had actually stabilized until recent years, and the recent increase is probably due to permafrost melt).
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2012, 09:43 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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So, Dex, the OP can call the obese "porkers" with no, "Please confine language like that to the Pit?" Does that mean I can call him "Taffy?"

(a quick run through Google)

There honestly aren't any other bad names for the Welsh, and that one just isn't so bad? I mean, I could follow Tony Blair's lead with a generic, fill in the blank with a nationality or ethnicity, name, but I don't think I could use that ANYWHERE on this board.

Last edited by dropzone; 05-10-2012 at 09:43 PM..
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2012, 10:24 PM
NonrandomPerson NonrandomPerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael63129 View Post
For the most part, famed animals have just replaced wild animals as a methane source (and a bit more, but methane isn't as important as CO2, and levels had actually stabilized until recent years, and the recent increase is probably due to permafrost melt).
Methane is much more effective (twenty times according to http://www.epa.gov/methane/) as a greenhouse in comparison to carbon dioxide.
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  #13  
Old 05-12-2012, 02:24 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NonrandomPerson View Post
Methane is much more effective (twenty times according to http://www.epa.gov/methane/) as a greenhouse in comparison to carbon dioxide.
That doesn’t make it more important. Two different issues.
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Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
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  #14  
Old 05-12-2012, 02:56 PM
Michael63129 Michael63129 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy View Post
That doesn’t make it more important. Two different issues.
This discussion is getting off-topic, but more significant is that fossil fuels are effectively adding carbon to the system that wasn't there before (not for millions of years), sort of like saying that humans exhale CO2 (and also emit methane), so we should stop breathing. Also, I doubt the population of bison, elk, deer, etc is currently as high as it was a few centuries ago, which counterbalances some of the livestock emissions (it is far more important to stop feeding animals food crops, and more significantly, growing them the way we currently do (it requires something like 10 FF calories for each food calorie), regardless of whether people eat them directly or not).
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  #15  
Old 05-22-2012, 05:49 AM
mcfeisty mcfeisty is offline
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The quote from the 'paper' that's listed is factually inaccurate, due to the BMI change of 1998:
"A 2009 paper by the environmental research group Resources for the Future ... authors estimate that if overweight and obesity rates had stayed at 1980 levels — 20 percentage points lower than now ..."

The reason it looks like overweight and obesity rates are higher is because they changed the measurements, adding about 30 million Americans to the ranks of the overweight and obese - who had not gained a single ounce! It's like comparing apples and oranges. I'm surprised that no one ever points out the differences in scale. You can easily search for 'BMI change of 1998' and find plenty of reliable publications that reported on this revamping of the guidelines. And what would it look like if the guidelines had been left alone? "...by the standards of 1980 [we would calculate an] obesity percentage of 12.85 percent, an actual decrease in obesity percentage since 1980..." - found at http://econlog.econlib.org/GQE/gqe142.html.

If the shoe industry decided to change all the sizing to jive with European sizes (much like the BMI guides were changed to jive with WHO and other international guidelines), we'd all look like we were wearing shoes that are 4 times bigger (roughly) than we'd been wearing previously. The minute someone said something along the lines of 'your feet are 4 times bigger than they used to be!' you can bet that someone would mention the change in scale.

There were plenty of detractors to the BMI change, including C. Everett Koop. He even likened it to "...someone being in a race and saying they moved the goal line."
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  #16  
Old 05-22-2012, 10:52 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
So, Dex, the OP can call the obese "porkers" with no, "Please confine language like that to the Pit?" Does that mean I can call him "Taffy?"

(a quick run through Google)

There honestly aren't any other bad names for the Welsh, and that one just isn't so bad? I mean, I could follow Tony Blair's lead with a generic, fill in the blank with a nationality or ethnicity, name, but I don't think I could use that ANYWHERE on this board.
My apologies, I didn't see this (I can't be on top of every thing everywhere) and no one reported it until now.

Our rules prohibit personal insults to be directed at other posters, but we certainly allow insults to be directed at non-poster groups. Just consider the insults directed at Democrats/Republicans! Our line is drawn when the group in question involves gender, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc.

So, it is NOT a rules vioaltion to use "porkers" when referring to a group of overweight people. However, it WOULD be a rules violation to call another poster a name or to make derogatory comments about the Welsh (or any other nationality, ethnicity, etc).

Clear?
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  #17  
Old 05-23-2012, 12:28 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfeisty View Post
The quote from the 'paper' that's listed is factually inaccurate, due to the BMI change of 1998:
"A 2009 paper by the environmental research group Resources for the Future ... authors estimate that if overweight and obesity rates had stayed at 1980 levels — 20 percentage points lower than now ..."

The reason it looks like overweight and obesity rates are higher is because they changed the measurements, adding about 30 million Americans to the ranks of the overweight and obese - who had not gained a single ounce! It's like comparing apples and oranges. I'm surprised that no one ever points out the differences in scale. You can easily search for 'BMI change of 1998' and find plenty of reliable publications that reported on this revamping of the guidelines. And what would it look like if the guidelines had been left alone? "...by the standards of 1980 [we would calculate an] obesity percentage of 12.85 percent, an actual decrease in obesity percentage since 1980..." - found at http://econlog.econlib.org/GQE/gqe142.html.
Both primary links to the sources on your link go to dead pages.

(And no I don't need other links, I found enough information on what you're saying.)

Finally, in their paper Resources for the Future did not focus on "obesity" nor "overweight" as terms, but defined it thus:
Quote:
The overweight and obesity information are obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data published by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey is conducted at the individual level. The rates of overweight and obesity at the 48 counties under study are obtained based on individual observations. The range of overweight and obesity is determined by Body Mass Index (BMI) or Quetelet index. BMI is calculated
based on a person’s weight (W) and hight (H) following the formula: BMI = W/H2. An adult is considered overweight if he/she has a BMI between 25 and 29.9, and considered obese if the BMI is 30 or higher. For children and teens, BMI ranges are age and gender specific in order to account for normal differences in body fat between genders and across ages. Although BMI does not measure body fat directly, it has been shown to be a convenient and reliable indicator of obesity (Garrow and Webster (1985)). However,
it is worth noting that BMI is not a perfect measure of weight partly because it ignores heterogeneity due to age, gender, and athleticity for adults.
It is unclear however from re-reading the article if the BMI values were used directly in each year to calculate obesity and overweight rates, or not. So it may need some looking into.
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