Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

August 4, 2010 -

Do you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia or Mississippi? If you do, odds are you need to go on a diet and, according to one “expert,” cut back on playing videogames.

The population of the states listed above had obesity rates in excess of 30 percent, according to statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An article on Florida’s TCPalm.com, where the obesity rate clocked in at 25.2 percent, discussed the fattening trend with Dr. Jefferson Vaughan, a surgeon based in Jupiter, Florida. Vaughan on the obesity epidemic:

There has been a generational change. When I was a kid, there were three TV channels and they all played Watergate tapes.

Today it's much more convenient to go through the drive-through while your kid plays his Game Boy in the back seat.

Mississippi clocked in with the highest obesity rate of any state, 34.4 percent, while Colorado came in with the lowest figure, 18.6 percent. It was also noted that the statistics are probably on the low side as people are generally not amenable to being totally transparent, or honest, when discussing their weight.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, noted that, “Less than a decade ago, in 2000, not a single state had an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or higher.” He offered six ways to reducing obesity:

• Increase physical activity.
• Promote breast-feeding of infants, which is beneficial to both mother and child.
• Increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
• Cut down on screen time - TVs, video games, computers.
• Slash consumption of sugary drinks and high-calorie foods, and drink more water.
• Promote programs at work and school to make healthy food and fitness choices easier.


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Comments

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

I don't see how breastfeeding is beneficial in any way to the mother.

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Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

Mothers burn a surprising number of calories producing breast milk.  There are also various hormones produced which generally make mothers feel better.

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Chris Kimberley

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Chris Kimberley

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

I seem to remember there were places called "playgrounds", where children could play certain "blacktop games" like "Dodgeball" and "Hopscotch", and they could exercise during a period of time during school called "recess", or so the legend goes.

But alas, this time was long ago, when people WEREN'T so fucking paranoid about their kid falling off the monkey bars and breaking his ankle, or skinning their knee. It was during a time before schools started saying "let's close down our playground and remove recess so kids will spend more time in class improving their grades, which is certainly not MY responsibility."

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

eh, those things in cases seem to be fallinginto disrepair due ot city councils not caring, orthem beign al ltoo willign to letit be bulldozed for a shopping center.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

Exactly it's fear from Stranger Danger,Lawsuits,Every one gets a trophy,and it seems most parents these days won't let kids out in the sun.

 

Yet these same parents are all pro tanning booth/spray on tans.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

Look, if you eat more calories than you burn, you're going to gain weight. It has nothing to do with videogames. I can exercise all day and still put on fat if I'm eating fats and sugars all day. On the other hand, I can play videogames all day and if I eat the right foods I can lose weight. It's not rocket science. If you want to maintain or lose weight and you're getting little or no physical workout, then you must eat no fats or sugars. It's as simple as that because unless you spend your day immobile in bed, you're going to burn calories.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"When I was a kid, there were three TV channels and they all played Watergate tapes."

Ahh, so all we have to do is make entertainment more boring again.  I'll give EA a ring and let them know they can slack off with the next Madden game -- oh, wait.

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Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

Any sedentary activity is a risk, and there is some point in limiting screen-time, but then, personally, I'd say films, where the hands are inactive and tend to reach for things like Popcorn would be more of a risk than things like First Person Shooter games, where all concentration tends to be focussed on the game itself.

Games like MMO's though, I can also understand, plenty of 'munchy-time' in most of those games too, so it's not really a question of 'screen time' and more a question of being aware of your own actions when in front of a screen.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

Meaning if yo uare going ot be in frotn fo a screen for a while, limit your munching.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

• Cut down on screen time - TVs, video games, computers.

Sorry mate, but that won't do anything at all to reduse obesity.  Your other tips are fine though (don't know about the breast feeding thing but but that doesn't do a goodly portion of the population much good even if true).

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"Sorry mate, but that won't do anything at all to reduse obesity."

Well, it will if you replace it with physical activity, which I'm pretty sure is implied here.

I don't see why we need to be defensive on this one -- there's nothing wrong with games in moderation, but if you're playing them INSTEAD of exercising, you're not going to burn as many calories.  It's not an attack on games so much as a statement of fact.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

I can follow that advice easily, even to the extreme, and drop TV, video games and computer use altogether without losing a single pound. Or I can change none of that and still massively lose weight. I can do that, because the advice is completely missing the point, and that's why we're getting defensive.
Of course it's implied, that people should replace it with physical activity, but that should be the advice itself, not some implied subtext: Exercise more.

Dropping video games and sitting on your ass reading books isn't going to lose you a single gram of excessive weight, and that's why this is shitty advice.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"Of course it's implied, that people should replace it with physical activity, but that should be the advice itself, not some implied subtext: Exercise more."

If by "implied subtext" you mean "the very first bullet point".

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

By "implied subtext" I mean "implied subtext". Replace the text after the "but" in your quote with "but that is redundant, because it's the very first bullet point anyway, and therefore "reducing screen time" adds nothing to the list" in your mind, if that helps in getting the point of my comment.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

I'd prefer Frieden not single out a specific leisure activity that "must" be limited.  Beyond that, I simply don't agree with the advice.  Combating obesity absolutely does not necessitate limiting whatever it is you do to relax unless that something takes up your entire day and prevents physical activity or healthy eating, something screen time does not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"I'd prefer Frieden not single out a specific leisure activity that "must" be limited."

I'd argue that TV/computers/games aren't a single activity, but if he'd referred more generally to activities where you're sitting and not exercising, I think the point would stand.

"Combating obesity absolutely does not necessitate limiting whatever it is you do to relax unless that something takes up your entire day and prevents physical activity or healthy eating"

Well, no kidding; it doesn't interfere with being fit unless it does.

"something screen time does not."

Maybe not for you, and (I should hope) not for me, but saying it doesn't for anybody is just tunnel vision.  Of course there are people who play games at the expense of other, healthier activities.

Hell, I can't blame people not wanting to go outside here.  It's currently 97 degrees out where I am, with a forecast high of 109.  I'd rather play a game than go out in that myself.

But if that game's not Wii Fit, I'm not burning a whole lot of calories playing it.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"I'd argue that TV/computers/games aren't a single activity..."

I didn't say they were.

[Screen time does not prevent physical activity or healthy eating.]

"Maybe not for you, and (I should hope) not for me, but saying it doesn't for anybody is just tunnel vision."

Can you give an example of screen time preventing physical activity or healthy eating?

Again, here's my point: Freiden listed six things that "must" be done to combat obesity.  One of those is cutting down on screen time.  I feel that doesn't belong on the list because screen time does not contribute to obesity and cutting down on it isn't going to help anything.  That's it.

EDIT: To be clear.  I'm not angry at Freiden and I don't think he's a horrible person who deserves to burn in the fiery pits of hell.  That's why my original post was worded the way it was.  I'm not offended but I admit that I do take exception to the continued implication that "screen time" is contributing to obesity when it does no such thing.

Additionally, the lack of "programs at work and school [that] make healthy food and fitness choices easier" does not contribute to obesity either.  However, I think the introductions of such programs could impact obesity in a positive way so I don't object to its inclusion on the list.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"Can you give an example of screen time preventing physical activity or healthy eating?"

You already did -- if it's done to excess and takes up all your time, it prevents physical activity (and, potentially, healthy eating; if you don't take the time to fix your own meals, odds are you're eating something unhealthy -- not necessarily, of course, but in general).

"Again, here's my point: Freiden listed six things that "must" be done to combat obesity.  One of those is cutting down on screen time."

Hm, perhaps the phrase "cut down" is the problem.  If he'd said "limit" then it would be correct -- "limit" simply means not to spend too much time, while "cut down" implies you already are.  I'll concede that "you must cut down on screen time" is an inaccurate generalization.

I still think "Don't let games/TV/computers get in the way of taking time to exercise" is good, commonsense advice, but you're right, what he's saying is more aggressive and judgemental than that, even if it's unintentional.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

"You already did -- if it's done to excess and takes up all your time, it prevents physical activity) and, potentially, healthy eating..."

Here's what I said: "Combating obesity absolutely does not necessitate limiting whatever it is you do to relax unless that something takes up your entire day and prevents physical activity or healthy eating, something screen time does not."

"...if you don't take the time to fix your own meals, odds are you're eating something unhealthy..."

Sure but that still has zero to do with screen time.

"If he'd said "limit" then it would be correct..."

I'd still take issue with it as you simply don't need to limit your screen time in order to combat obesity.

"I still think "Don't let games/TV/computers get in the way of taking time to exercise" is good, commonsense advice..."

Sure, but I'd prefer "don't let your leisure time get in the way of taking time to exercise and eating healthy."  It's just more fair and more accurate.  Of course, I'm not going to lose sleep over it either way.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

The trick is finding an excercise you'll stick with and od more than once. Games that get you up and moving are a nice start.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

A more systemic problem is that there are vanishingly few unstructured activities available to children lately.   Parents have increasingly pushed children into compeditive 'leagues' instead of 'hey, let us go out and play', public spaces are increasingly cracking down on 'loitering', parents fear pedophiles around every corner so they don't want children playing unsupervised,.... so all in all even if they put down the video games thier (free, unsupervised) options are getting pretty minimal.

I would actually say, if we really wanted to fight obeasity, we need to attack those issues.... give them places to play again and kids will fill them up pretty quickly.  Though that involves things like taking on several simmering moral panics, which tend not to be in public figure's interests to do.

Re: Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

Not ot mention another symptom is that public places ot play are becoming ignored and dilapidated. I know last time I saw the palyground i nthe trailer park I once lived the structures were all covered in grafitti and a dome was shattered. And some punks had taken bolt cutters to the swingset chains.

 
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