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Speaker: The system's pretty good, the expectations are crazy

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  • Islander,

    Thanks Dyan-
    curiously, by trial & error, most of my family eat the suggested dietary (altho' I'm the only one who doesnt eat mammalian meat - except for a bit of wild venison or wild goat (2/3 times a year.) ) We're big fish eaters; prefer kumara & potatoes (and taro when we can get it) to any refined product, and titi to chicken; grow a lot of our own vegetables and all our own herbs; collect wild veges , especially seaweed, and enjoy whole grains...

    Now, if only we could diminish the whisky & wine component...!

    Back on thread: Bart Jansen raises a very important point. One of my family is a big advocate of more input into health-decision making by health practitioners (they are a senior GP, and not especially supportive
    of the current management structures.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Could you imagine the 'nanny state' backlash if taxing poor quality foods was raised?

    It's probably more effective to impose any penalties on the manufacturer as highly processed foods are the problem.

    The "built environment" is the most important factor in this whole thing. Cities and buildings must be built with an intention of producing the greatest positive effect on the people that use them. Also we need to move away from the confused notion that sports in any way deliver significant amounts of exercise to people, especially children.

    There are ways to incorporate movement and play into just about any subject in a curriculum. And it's now backed up by research that cardiovascular fitness enhances brain function, so all the more reason to take the three Rs outside, at least for some of the conceptual part of the lesson.

    Obesity rates can be affected by: transportation, food regulations, cultural traditions, architecture, perceived safety. Many people don't exercise because they don't feel safe going out alone, even in daytime. Actually I've been assaulted more than once while running - never seriously enough to put me in the hospital, but certainly enough to scare me out of the habit of running alone, even in daytime.

    But addressing any of the above issues is a big a remedy as any dietary change. You can create a cultural habit of exercising - walking, cycling whatever.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    What I meant by getting over the nanny state conversation is that we (as an electorate) have already spurned some relatively minor measures to counter obesity.

    Spurned minor measures ? Sorry I'm not following you.
    Was a trial program ended because of lax participant involvement?
    Or have blanket campaigns had no appreciable effect?

    Could you imagine the 'nanny state' backlash if taxing poor quality foods was raised?

    Where would the backlash come?
    On the producer/manufacturer, consumer or the whole conga line?
    I take it fresh foods will be cheaper?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Also we need to move away from the confused notion that sports in any way deliver significant amounts of exercise to people, especially children.

    Dyan: I'm curious as to why you make this point so strongly.

    I do disagree with you, but not from the perspective of Sport is good for all (panacea). Rather that Sport as a means to exercise has been hijacked and presented to kids in the wrong context.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I can attest that my choice of sport as a teenager, waterpolo, contributed to my skin troubles. Cardiovascular health is not everything. Not to mention injuries, both instantaneous and through the muscular imbalance can can result from training to particular tasks. Then there's the fact that your entire metabolism adjusts to expect training at that level, which isn't so good when you stop playing competitively.

    Competition does give motivation to train, but it's often not motivation to train in a healthy way. I met so many people over in Australia who had been pushed in their sports as children (and some continued to push themselves as adults) that they had undergone quite horrendous operations to treat injuries, just so that they could carry on with something in which they were only amateur anyway. The most bizarre of all was the lengths one colleague of mine who went in Iron Man comps went to. He did seriously screwy things to his diet, like massive loading on sugar, huge boom and bust cycles in his consumption, etc. This was on the advice of his personal trainer, and various other famous Iron Men's accounts of their methods. I was actually happy when I heard his knees had given out and he had stopped taking it so seriously.

    We think we're a bit nuts about sport. But in Australia, I met a guy who had a Masters in Waterpolo. It pretty much summed up why they cane us at sport in most arenas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Now, if only we could diminish the whisky & wine component...!

    Never!

    Some things are too important to exclude just to get another year of life - besides I'm sure I can find a study that says Pinot Noir is good for you :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Also we need to move away from the confused notion that sports in any way deliver significant amounts of exercise to people, especially children.

    I'm curious about this too Dyan. Can you explain more?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Also we need to move away from the confused notion that sports in any way deliver significant amounts of exercise to people, especially children.


    Dyan: I'm curious as to why you make this point so strongly.
    I do disagree with you, but not from the perspective of Sport is good for all (panacea). Rather that Sport as a means to exercise has been hijacked and presented to kids in the wrong context.

    Well, I've attended many sci/med conferences devoted to the study of obesity, and been involved in the planning of a few of them.

    Also I taught gymnastics for a long, long time, so I have seen first hand the difficulty of relying on a sport to deliver physical fitness, and the difficulty of teaching a sport to children who are not fit: it can't be done, You can't really teach much to a kid who isn't already strong and flexible with good balance and excellent proprioception. They'll just break their necks.

    The silly mania for "competitive" sports is undermining the ability to do well at sports. I have written about this - at length and many times to various people at SPARC (who met with me several times) and was both delighted and infuriated (as I was not even credited, let alone paid) to see several of my ideas (including whole intact phrases) cited in some of their material. The great soccer players of all time - South Americans I mean - played soccer for joy and without keeping score much of the time when growing up. The latitude play gives an individual to develop bicycle kicks for instance - or that indefinable sense of "music" that lets a player predict where the ball is going to be can't be developed during a serious competitive sporting game. Physical fitness is a comprehensive set of biomechanical, proprioceptive and cardiovascular skills. Sport is the hobby you take up with your fitness - fitness is developed over time and through many different activities.

    In Canada and the USA where baseball is huge and little-league can get serious as young as 8 - 9 years old, it's finally been recognised that getting kids to pitch overarm - like the big kids - instead of that girly side-arm flick tiny kids do - will cause long term injury to the elbow, shoulder and sometimes neck. The musculature, joint and ligament development is sometimes not mature enough for the movement that the kids are told they should be doing. That side-arm flick might look like a pretty crappy pitch, but the kid's body is right, and that is the most biomechanically sound and efficient way for them to pitch until they are ready to do otherwise.

    Also competitive sports eliminates those who need exercise the most and introduces a tiresome element that sucks all the joy out of physical activity.


    Sports are fine for kids over 8 or 9 who have some other form of training that focusses specifically on all muscle groups, core strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance, proprioception, flexibility and mental concentration. But thinking something like soccer, netball or cricket is going to provide much in the way of fitness is silly. It's like going skiing to get fit. You go skiing to have fun and you are wasting your time unless you're fit before you go skiing. Same with sport.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    I take it fresh foods will be cheaper?

    Fresh foods are always more expensive, because they have such a limited shelf life compared to processed.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Dyan: I'm relieved that you meant sports in the sense of organised sports for little ones. The idea that sports in itself doesn't encourage fitness had my head very close to the desk there while I awaited the clarification.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Competition does give motivation to train, but it's often not motivation to train in a healthy way. I met so many people over in Australia who had been pushed in their sports as children (and some continued to push themselves as adults) that they had undergone quite horrendous operations to treat injuries, just so that they could carry on with something in which they were only amateur anyway.

    If emotional injury counts too, then you can include "Lay Down Sally" Robinson.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    <edit/post fail>

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    A lot of my reluctance to exercise comes from competitive sports at school. I was shit and therefore discouraged from participating which meant I both stayed shit and became increasingly self-conscious about my physical abilities.

    I also wonder about the role of modern medications in the "obesity epidemic". Weight gain is a pretty common side effect of a fair few commonly prescribed substances. I know I gained a lot of (near impossible to shift) weight on the oral contraceptive pill and again on prozac but the consequences of not using those medications could have been a whole bunch worse than a few kilos.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Isabel - o good point! I was really good at cricket (AHS/1960-62) - I couldnt bowl but, when I could see the ball, I could whack it to hell and gone. Then, 5th form, girls werent allowed to play cricket...

    I was never noted as absent from PE (which I loathed)until late in my 2nd year...hey! this is someone who could row 3 miles out to sea by that time! And back to shore(and then fillet the fish.)And haul a flounder net at Purakaunui as left stake for nearly an hour...try it some time. I still have the upper body strength & musculature (enhanced by 40+ plus years of 'baiting) that was able to haul my inert (nearly) 90kg plus body off the ground and arm-drag myself up 4 stairs and indoors (this was when I stupidly fell off my upstairs balcony - nearly my first post on PAS! ) and broke 2 rather essential bones in my pelvis...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    that was, "after breaking 2 rather essential bones in my pelvis."

    Edit function = good
    Brain-edit function = still being established

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    When school sports play to children's strengths and sense of fun as well as sense of competiveness, school sports will be a goodie.
    I dont think they ever have in ANZ-it's been adults' directing what adults' think sports should be for young'uns-

    educators among us: have any people seriously studied children's games? (I mean, the Opies were world-famous for this kind of stuff.) Or the peculiar child traditions that hang on for centuries - among children? (I've made a point of studying them in a lowkey fashion since the Opie's work alerted me to this - 40 years ago.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Iona & Peter Opie if anyone wants to follow up...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    A lot of my reluctance to exercise comes from competitive sports at school. I was shit and therefore discouraged from participating which meant I both stayed shit and became increasingly self-conscious about my physical abilities.

    I had the same bad experiences at school: a couple years ago when I decided to lose weight for my wedding I got up at 5:30 in the morning to go running, the only time of day the streets were dark and deserted enough for me to exercise in public. I was so unfit I could only run for 2-3 minutes before I had to stagger back home gasping for breath.
    Eight months later I was managing two hour runs; I dropped about 25kg (although part of this was due to a change in diet). The first six weeks were pretty awful, but it was worth it.

    (I do know it's PAS heresy to suggest that I was overweight because I ate badly and didn't exercise and lost weight by changing that, but it does happen to be true.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Fresh foods are always more expensive, because they have such a limited shelf life compared to processed.

    See this is a more practical reason as to why the monetary incentive/disincentive wont work when it comes to dietary choices. Quite apart from everything else.

    So

    Could you imagine the 'nanny state' backlash if taxing poor quality foods was raised?

    Well even if you tax the crap in it heinously, not going to work.
    Unless you change things completely and local produce is sold directly to residents in an area.
    That means........ oh nevermind.

    It was such a foul night I went home.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    it's PAS heresy to suggest that I was overweight because I ate badly and didn't exercise and lost weight by changing that, but it does happen to be true

    Sigh. That's such an annoying mischaracterisation of my 'side' of the debate. Of course that happens. (I'm actually married to someone who lost significant, permanent [I think, probably, it's been over five years] weight by changing diet and exercising.) But the point is that it's fantasy to assume that bootstraps-ism will 'make everyone thin' and 'cure obesity', because it won't.

    Weight gain is a pretty common side effect of a fair few commonly prescribed substances. I know I gained a lot of (near impossible to shift) weight on the oral contraceptive pill

    That's so true. I not only went up two bra sizes but two everything-else sizes as well, and it never went away.

    Fresh foods are always more expensive, because they have such a limited shelf life compared to processed.

    Canned and frozen things (beans and vegetables, say) can be quite nutritious, though, right? And they're reasonably affordable. (Of course, they require some work to make into a meal, which is why people who are time-poor as well as money-poor don't necessarily use them.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    t's PAS heresy to suggest that I was overweight because I ate badly and didn't exercise and lost weight by changing that, but it does happen to be true

    Nobody I think is denying that 'eat less and exercise' is good advice - well, the Listener did once, in the penultimate issue of our subscription if I recall correctly, but I digress - and that it shouldn't have to be competing with so much conflicting advice from the food industry, and pressures to work long hours in sedentary jobs, and the commutes in our badly designed cities... but I think you'll find that in past discussions on these very boards it has too often devolved into absolutism - what Danielle said above* - or worse, puritanical crap all-too-easily morphing into the implication that it's your moral duty to be healthy and thin. I think that's where the resistance to the 'look at me, I run for miles every day and eat only celery' line comes from.

    *I think T-Shirt One in the PAS merchandising line should read What Danielle Said on one side and What Stephen Judd said on the other. I'll take one in beige, size M (for I eat little and exercise).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    Dyan is right about conventional sport alone not making you fit. I gave up playing soccer at 14 (I was the goalkeeper btw) partly because I was clearly the fittest member of the team. When at training the coach would say '3times round the field to warm up', I would be finished and only puffing slightly while the rest were still on lap 2 (I don't exaggerate) with my fullbacks at the back of the pack. Then i would repeatedly find myself in 1 on 1 or even 2/3 on 1 situations because said backs couldn't be arsed to run AND I would be blamed for not saving those goals.

    Which is why I threw it in and took up running.

    I take it fresh foods will be cheaper?

    Food doesn't have to be fresh to be good for you. Frozen veg are often more full of nutrients than their fresh equivalents as they are frozen very soon after harvest. You have to go to home grown veg to match it. Also tinned chick peas and beans in water are both cheap and good for you*. I do a mean, and fruity, chicky pea curry even when there's no (low fat) coconut milk available.

    *not as cheap as dried versions of course, but they are more convenient and require less advance preparation. I eat both sorts.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    I take it fresh foods will be cheaper?
    Food doesn't have to be fresh to be good for you.

    Thanks Peter. I know this
    But what I was trying to point out is taxes on low nutrition value foodstuffs would seem to be a pointless exercise if, even when it is slammed with tax, an important part of a healthy diet(fresh food) will still be more expensive than it.
    Even before it could be nannystated.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Ah, but the problem there is that even if you taxed junk food, it would be very hard to put the money into subsidising the purchase of fresh foods, unless you decided to *gasp* reintroduce agricultural subsidies.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Preventative healthcare would seem to be in danger of shooting itself in the foot.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

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