Commentary: Really, We Don’t Have a Problem in Davis?

Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

Stats Show Woodland and West Sac Need to Get on the Ball Too

Earlier this week one of our posters wrote, “Davis does not have a real problem with obesity nor diabetes.” When challenged by another poster to validate that claim, they offered no response.

The reality is that Davis has a huge problem with obesity and diabetes. The most recent available data from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy is from 2010, but it’s hard to imagine things have improved in the last five years. That data shows one in four Davis children are overweight or obese.

Obesity Rates

While Davis has a lower, in fact much lower, childhood obesity rate than the other communities in Yolo County – West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland, which all have over 40 percent overweight and obesity rates – that is more about bad news for those communities than good news for Davis.

If anything, it is a reminder to those communities that, instead of looking at Davis’ proposed soda tax with scorn and ridicule, they should be joining us in a countywide initiative.

As Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis told the Vanguard, “A quarter obese IS a problem.”

Dr. Harold Goldstein, Executive Director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy added that “there is no question that 25% of all school age children in Davis being overweight or obese is an epidemic. Childhood obesity rates in the US have gone up 4 fold in 40 years.”

The link between obesity and diabetes is unmistakable. Dr. Goldstein said, “What is even more frightening is this: Almost 25% of teens have either diabetes or prediabetes, twice the rate of just 10 years ago.”

“How could this be?” he asked. “To start with, 2/3 of all teens drink a soda or more a day! It’s as if they are injecting 16 tsp of sugar into their veins for every bottle of soda they drink!”

“So my question is this: How bad does it have to get before we all get serious about solving this problem?” he asked. “How bad does it have to get before we make our children’s health – our children’s future – more important than the profits of the Beverage Industry?”

He continued, “Think about it: Are restaurants in Davis REALLY going to go out of business because the price of soda goes up 20 cents, or is that a fear tactic brought to them by the Beverage Industry? I can tell you that those fears only started being expressed the day the beverage industry came to town last week.”

He noted, “Restaurants all over California claimed that they would go out of business if people could not smoke in them anymore. Did it happen? Of course not. Convenience stores said they’d go out of business before the first tobacco tax was passed in California. Did it happen? Of course not.”

What is interesting to me is how well those obesity and overweight rates track with Title I kids in Davis. They are roughly the same percentage.

There is no accident there. Studies have shown that living in poverty can double or triple the likelihood of developing the disease.

Dennis Raphael, one of the researchers in a public health study, states, “What we know about Type 2 diabetes is not only are low-income and poor people more likely to get it, but they’re also the ones that, once they get it, are much more likely to suffer complications. And the complications from Type 2 diabetes when they’re bad are really bad, whether it’s amputations, or blindness, or cardiovascular disease.”

“When you’re in a situation where 15 percent of kids and their families are living in poverty, and people are worried from day-to-day about their jobs and homelessness, and immigrants are not being provided with what they need to be healthy, and the evidence that suggests these are all things that contribute to the onset of Type 2 diabetes, there has to be more of a balance in how we understand the causes of illness,” Professor Raphael said.

Dr. Mark Hyman, an MD, wrote that diabetes is fueled as much by food scarcity and insecurity as it is by excess. He noted that the poorest areas have the highest rates of obesity and diabetes.

The Life Sciences Research Office says food insecurity exists “whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (e.g., without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies) is limited or uncertain.”

Dr. Hyman notes, “For a large portion of Americans floating on or sinking beneath the poverty line this means bingeing on cheap, sugary, starchy, fatty calories in order to avoid hunger.” He adds, “Many poor people in this country are consuming an excess of nutritionally depleted, cheap calories from sodas, processed foods, and junk food. These folks scarcely eat whole, fresh foods at all, and for good reason: We have made calories cheap, but real food expensive.”

Dr. Hyman adds, “Almost $300 billion of government subsidies support an agriculture industry that focuses on quantity not quality, on producing cheap sugar and fats from corn and soy that fuel both hunger and obesity. These calorie-rich, sugary, processed foods are what most people buy if they don’t have enough money. You can fill up on 1200 calories of cookies or potato chips for $1, but you’ll only get 250 calories from carrots for that same $1. If you were hungry, what would you buy?”

Bob Dunning in his column naively posits, “Davis does not lack for recreational options for overweight children … there are plenty of activities, organized and otherwise, for kids to get out and exercise.”

He adds, “All the soda taxes in the world can’t take the place of parental responsibility and oversight … let’s face it, kids shouldn’t be drinking soda pop … but unless they get that message from their parents or guardians, a tax won’t be the cure-all its proponents claim it will be …”

But Bob Dunning’s comments are misplaced. Unless we educate those parents and guardians on healthy eating options themselves, they are not going send that message to their kids. That means we must provide parents with education, families with food security and medical care.  A soda tax can provide some of the revenue for those programs.

A least one-quarter of our kids are not getting the same kind of access to recreational options and healthy eating. And as bad as it may be in Davis, it is far worse in the rest of the county. Countywide, nearly 37 percent of all children are overweight or obese, and in West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland that number exceeds 40 percent. Davis can lead the way to a better and healthier future, but the rest of the county needs to follow.

In his Sunday column Bob Dunning derisively told Dr. Tia Will, “Doctor, heal thyself.”

To which I now respond, Mr. Dunning, heal our kids.

—David M. Greenwald

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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102 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    That means we must provide parents with education, families with food security and medical care.

    First of all, anyone in poverty can already get free medical care through ACA.

    Secondly, do you really believe that parents don’t know that giving their children sugary food or drink  doesn’t contribute to their weight?

    Thirdly, the same answer as above, parents that buy sugary food can just as easily buy more healthy food.  For instance, are you going to tell me that a box of sugar cereal is less than a box of more nutritional cereal?

    1. David Greenwald

      “First of all, anyone in poverty can already get free medical care through ACA.”

      And before that MediCal. But have you ever tried to get use the care provided in health clinics?

      “Secondly, do you really believe that parents don’t know that giving their children sugary food or drink doesn’t contribute to their weight?”

      Read through all of the information I provided, part of the issue is expense of healthy food options versus the cheap, easy, quick and readily available unhealthy options. Have you ever worked with low income parents and children?

      “Thirdly, the same answer as above, parents that buy sugary food can just as easily buy more healthy food. For instance, are you going to tell me that a box of sugar cereal is less than a box of more nutritional cereal?”

      First of all, they don’t buy boxes of cereal because boxes of cereal are expensive. At best they may buy a bag of cereal. But more likely they don’t buy cereal at all.

      Dr. Hyman adds, “Almost $300 billion of government subsidies support an agriculture industry that focuses on quantity not quality, on producing cheap sugar and fats from corn and soy that fuel both hunger and obesity. These calorie-rich, sugary, processed foods are what most people buy if they don’t have enough money. You can fill up on 1200 calories of cookies or potato chips for $1, but you’ll only get 250 calories from carrots for that same $1. If you were hungry, what would you buy?”

      I think you need to do research here before making your arguments. And BTW, how do you account for the correlation between obesity and poverty?

      1. Barack Palin

        And before that MediCal. But have you ever tried to get use the care provided in health clinics?

        ACA doesn’t send you to a health clinic.  ACA offers many choices.

        First of all, they don’t buy boxes of cereal because boxes of cereal are expensive. At best they may buy a bag of cereal. But more likely they don’t buy cereal at all.

        Baloney.  For ex; at our two Safeway’s in town there’s always a few healthy cereal choices on sale for only $2 to $2.50 per box.  I know because that’s where I mostly shop and what cereals I always opt for.  I can hardly ever afford to buy filet mignons, so I often buy a frozen bag of chicken breasts instead.  There are healthy alternatives.

        There are plenty of healthy options that people can afford but what it comes down to is they’re lazy.  They take the fast cheap way out and hit up fast foods.  They can afford healthier options and take them home and cook.  It’s more of an issue of laziness and bad parenting.  What you’re doing is forming your arguments to fit your agenda, a beverage tax.

         

        1. Barack Palin

          Not saying that at all, at least that’s not what I meant, rich people, middle class people and poor people can all be lazy when it comes to buying and preparing a nutritional meal.  Heck, I often get lazy and stop and get fast food instead of cooking a good meal. I also can get lazy when I shop and not compare or buy nutritional products and just grab something fast off the shelves.

        2. Frankly

          Just give up BP.  The real “addiction” here is liberals and their ideology.  Liberals cling to their “people are suffering and we must save them with new taxes” narrative like an alcoholic clings to his bottle of vodka.

          It is never enough.  It will never be enough.

          Admiting that we have materially solved a problem or that the actual problem requires actual solutions outside the liberal progressive narrative, is something they cannot tolerate.

          Here is the way I see it.

          We have the ruling class.  They are the cognitive elite.  The people that post on this blog are part of that class.  That class is broken into two sub-classes: government-class and business-class.

          There is a leadership battle going on with these two titians of all things right and relevant.  But over the last few dacades, the government class has been winning.   It is not hard to see why this is happening.  It has been common throughout history.  Government power quickly becomes absolute.  A single government bureaucrat like Lois Lerner can punish people in the business-class for daring to challenge the power of her ilk.  We used to rely on Congress or maybe the media to help beat back the abuses  of power that so easily flow from the government class… but they have all become part of that same machine.

          What does this have to do with a soda tax?

          It is clear that obesity and diabetes is primarily a problem for those outside the cognitive-elite.  As David points out poor people are significantly over-represented in obesity and diabetes.  And poor people are over-represented in low cognitive development.

          Low cognitive skills = poor = more likely to be obese or to have diabetes.

          So the root cause of obesity and diabetes is low cognitive skills.  Basically ignorance.

          But to solve this problem at its root means that liberal progressives would start to lose control of the narrative that being poor is the root case and that the business class is as fault.

          Education is the solution and liberal progressives in the government class know it.  Yet, they cannot accept it as their addiction is too strong.

        3. Alan Miller

          have a high energy sugar laden caffeinated power drink and you’ll come back around.

          No way BP, I like my coffee black.

          Sorry, was that racist?  I just don’t know anymore . . .

    2. Tia Will

      BP

      do you really believe that parents don’t know that giving their children sugary food or drink  doesn’t contribute to their weight?”

      I have a few thoughts about this.

      1. My own mother did not appreciate it as a problem. My sister did develop a problem with her weight….I did not. So from her own direct experience, my mother did not have any consistent evidence of a cause and effect relationship.

      2.Many people who themselves have grown up in families where obesity is the norm, do not perceive it as a problem.

      3. As I stated previously, many people who do recognize obesity as an issue do not consider their drinking habits as a significant contributor.

      4. Finally, I believe that there are a significant number of people who do not think much about this issue at all.

       

  2. PhillipColeman

    I’m not at the point, just yet, to judge poor people as lazy, or indifferent to the nutritional needs of their children. More likely, poor folks have a “full plate” (pun intended) on greater issues along the lines of basic survival to occupy much of their time and thought.

    When it comes to feeding their children, poor parents may just the immediate need to fill their kid’s bellies. Take a look at the many fast food restaurants in a poverty area along West Capitol Boulevard in West Sacramento. Convenient, cheaply priced, tasty, and just a short walk away. That indisputable phenomenon may go a long ways to explain the relationship between our impoverished youth and diabetes.

    And if we want to act effectively as “our brother’s keeper” and fix this through some kind of social engineering, local governments can regulate by commercial zoning the number of fast food outlets in poverty areas. Increase property taxes on fast-food sites and allocate that extra revenue source to subsidize food outlets that offer healthy food exclusively such as vegetarian restaurants, or similar.

  3. Topcat

    I wonder if health and nutrition is still being taught in our schools?  When I was in school, many years ago, I remember we had health class.  Perhaps someone with kids in school can enlighten us on this? (I don’t have kids in School)

      1. hpierce

        Actually you start developing healthy habits the day after you are born, unless you have stupid parents who never should have bred…  pre-school/regular school is not (or should not) be the ‘gate-keeper’… maybe a safety net.

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          Actually you start developing healthy habits the day after you are born, unless you have stupid parents who never should have bred”

          You are certainly not alone in the use of this quality of judgment of others. So please do not feel that you are being singled out. Frankly and BP frequently use the strategy of name calling with regard to those who because of their background, or their lack of education, or their own inability or unwillingness to accept new information see the world differently.

          However, this one hits very close to home, as I would have been amongst those “not bred”  since my mother would not have qualified as a “breeder” in your assessment scheme. Each of us has value. When parents, are either absent ( through death or unwillingness to participate) or when one’s parents, whom as far as I can tell we do not get to choose, do not have all the appropriate skills sets, we must get those skills when and where we can. I believe it is up to our society to help those who are making a determined effort, not throw our hands up and question their right to exist.

      2. Topcat

        ….most poor kids don’t go to preschool.

        I thought that Head Start was available for poor people at no cost to them.  I do think that preschool can be important in a child’s life and I am a big supporter of universal preschool.

        1. Don Shor

          I think there’s a limited number of children served by Head Start in Yolo County. But I seem to recall there’s also a proposal being floated for a county-wide tax to fund universal preschool.

          1. David Greenwald

            Very limited number in Head Start. Jesse Ortiz is looking to put together a potential tax for universal preschool in the county

  4. wdf1

    Vanguard:  The reality is that Davis has a huge problem with obesity and diabetes. The most recent available data from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy is from 2010, but it’s hard to imagine things have improved in the last five years. That data shows one in four Davis children are overweight or obese.

    It would help to have more context for the data you post.  Is there a link?  What did CCPHA define as obese?  What was their sample size for determining obesity percentages?  What ages of children did they measure?  Pre-schoolers?  Elementary?  Secondary students?

    The closest thing I can find that might correlate to a statistic on obesity is the California Physical Fitness Report for students in the public schools.  Note the statistics for children in the Health Fitness Zone (HFZ) under Body Composition for 7th and 9th graders for Davis, Woodland, Winters, and West Sacramento.

     

    Most of the comments here have been about children becoming obese through a bad diet.  But another part of the equation is physical activity.  Physical education in the schools has been de-emphasized in recent years in favor of increased focus on improving scores on standardized tests.  Athletics is one of the goto programs to cut in the schools.

    Thus it comes down to the family’s ability to supplement children’s school activities with AYSO soccer (and select leagues), Little League, Aquadarts/Aquamonsters swimming, Davis Diamonds gymnastics, private league basketball and volleyball, Little Devils football, rugby, and the various dance/ballet studios.  All that costs money and time/resources to transport kids to activities.

    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t have a link – I requested the data from Dr. Goldstein and that’s what he provided. I think Tia told me she would have additional local data.

      1. Davis Progressive

        but do you have encounter bias?  in other words, who are you seeing?  the kids whose parents take them to farmer’s market, who go to north davis elementary?  or the title 1 kids whose parents are farm workers or janitors?  the kids who live around valley oak and go to montgomery?  22 percent of kids are title 1 kids in davis – are those the ones you see?

        1. hpierce

          yes, many are likely to be Title 1, but to be honest, not something I ask of folk… do you?  Was Title 1 kids that were “studied”… have not seen documentation of the methodology/population studied.

          Pretty sure my children’s BMI data was never part of any study… would be concerned if that data was collected without our knowledge…

          I do not offer data… I just want more info on the source of the “irrefutable facts” presented.

          You’re ‘spit-balling’.

        2. Davis Progressive

          “Pretty sure my children’s BMI data was never part of any study… would be concerned if that data was collected without our knowledge…”

          i see… no such thing as random sampling

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        the numbers cited just don’t jive with what I’ve seen in actual people/kids that I encounter.”

        I think that there may be other explanations for this perceived difference. We are living in a culture in which it has become the norm to see people whose BMIs are in the 25-35 range . This was not the case 30 years ago, but this has very gradually changed over time. You may not even perceive people at the lower to mid range as being “overweight” but that does not change the fact that they are at increased risk of all of the conditions associated with obesity.

        Another reason is that one cannot always tell by looking. There is a condition called “normal weight obesity”. It refers to that population, of which I am one, whose weight is well within the BMI range of normal weight, but whose body physiologically responds to sugar as though I were obese. Thus the need for me to maintain tight control of diet and exercise as though I were attempting to lose weight in order to maintain my blood sugars within the desired range.

        As I have stated on a number of occasions, this is not about how we look. Yes, it is more common for a Type II diabetic have the appearance of being fat. But part of my point in my presentation to the CC was to point out, dramatically, that one does not have to appear fat to have this particular set of biochemical issues.

    2. hpierce

      Re-reading… also very good point about physical activity… we were very active as kids… perhaps a high UUT would be more on point, to decrease the internet/TV/phone use and get kids (and adults) out more to play/exercise…  maybe have a ‘life-line’ credit for gas and basic electric (which also solves the purported ‘solar inequity’)…

    3. Frankly

      Good post.

      Lacking other health problems, obesity is simply caused by calorie consumption in excess of what is burned off from metabolism.

      Maybe we should tax video games.

       

      1. hpierce

        Frankly, Frankly (because you are), your statement that “obesity is simply caused by calorie consumption” is simply, stupid/ignorant… yeah, if you consume absolutely no calories, you won’t be obese… you’d also be dead.  Maybe a physician can further elaborate…

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Bingo. Kids go from the TV to the computer to laying on their bed with the iPhone.

        I told a modern liberal Mom that when I was a child, in the summer, after breakfast, our Mom would say “Outside, I don’t want to see you in the house until lunch time.” Same thing after lunch. My liberal friend thought this was mean or hurtful. Only 1 person in our extended pack of 10 had a weight problem, and this was one of the girls that was given a pass from the “go outside and play” scenario. Humm, sexism.

  5. Misanthrop

    2010 data is probably too old. I heard recently on the radio that we have started to turn the corner on childhood obesity through education, exercise  and reduced access after Arnold signed a bill getting soda out of public schools. Probably his second best bill after his global warming bill. Cause and effect? As with anything dealing with complexity its hard to tell.

    What I find bothersome is it seems that when we talk about percentages of obese children we forget that percentages are made up of aggregated individuals. Some percentage may have issues but when your child is one with issues around food it can be a struggle.

    While I think a soda tax is a good deterrent I think there is a different conversation that the community needs to have around obesity.

    I don’t think my kids have ever had an entire coke or pepsi. At most they might have had a sip of Pelligrino. So soda is not an issue we simply don’t ever give it to the kids. The thing I find truly exasperating however requires only a community discussion and no action at all by government. Wherever we go socially in Davis it seems kids are being offered too many calories from treats. At  party’s or at school parents will often bring treats to celebrate their child’s birthday with the class. At soccer games there are always treats. And so it goes on that socially we are offering other people’s children extra calories while those parents might be struggling to keep their kids caloric intake down. Also they might be exposing kids with ADHD or at risk for diabetes  to food that their metabolism has a hard time dealing with. It seems that parents who have kids who don’t have these issues don’t think about how their actions might be impacting other kids. I wish people would be more thoughtful about what food they are offering to kids who are not their own. Doing so would make it easier for others in the village whose kids you are helping to raise.

    1. Alan Miller

      Bingo Thrope.  This is not only true of parents and children, but office co-workers as well.  We have a culture where bringing in crap food for fellow workers to consume is acceptable/encouraged.  This is cultural sickness.

  6. Michelle Millet

    I’ll go back to my old gripe here and point out the crap our school district provides to our Title I kids for free breakfast, which consists of sugared cereal, pop tarts, chocolate milk, chocolate graham cracker cookies, and cinnamon buns.

    I don’t understand why the public health people aren’t all over this. On one hand we tell kids and families not to eat junk food, then we give it to them in schools for free. When I questioned someone from the district about the menu I was told it was all kids would eat.

    If our goal is to educate low income  kids and families about healthy eating it seems like not feeding junk food to them at schools is a good place to start.

     

     

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          So much for the Left which has run the school system for 4 or 5 decades.

          I also witnessed from afar a middle school class take their PE class. They walked to the field, stood and talked for 5 minutes, teacher finally arrived. Then they did a non-rigorous form of stretching. Then they did some kind of uptempo routine for 5 minutes, then there one group rested while another went for 5 minutes. More standing around. Then a freeform exercise, then one more “uptempo” drill, then they “fast walked” back to the gym door.

          It looked pathetic to me, but I’m not a certified PE coach.

    1. wdf1

      M.M.:  I’ll go back to my old gripe here and point out the crap our school district provides to our Title I kids for free breakfast, which consists of sugared cereal, pop tarts, chocolate milk, chocolate graham cracker cookies, and cinnamon buns.

      David Greenwald also has raised that issue before.  It’s a good one to keep out there.

  7. Tia Will

    Don

    Great post regarding the program in Berkeley. How about it BP ? This isn’t infrastructure but is a healthy educational program aimed at the easiest population to target, namely the kids who are not yet as rigidly set in their behavior patterns.

  8. Tia Will

    Frankly

    That class is broken into two sub-classes: government-class and business-class.”

    Once again your tendency to dichotomize trips up the point you want to make. Their are clearly not just two classes. There are people who do not belong to either class. I have no dealings with the government, nor do I have any interest in making the government either smaller nor larger. What I want the government to be is effective in dealing with issues that we are otherwise not addressing.  As for a business class, again I don’t care what proportion of our economy this “class” represents. I do care that they provide quality products, that they advertise those products honestly, that they do not price gouge, that they do not target vulnerable populations such as children with their cute characters or misrepresentations of what the product will do.

    I do not consider myself a member of either class. I consider myself an individual who has had a foot in poverty at one point in my life, a time when I became solidly middle class and a time amongst the affluent. From these experiences that there are not just two classes, or two ways of seeing the world, there are a myriad of different ways, and that simplification down to only two invariable will miss out on the richness and complexity of views that actually exist, but which belies the “good guy, bad guy” dichotomy that you promote.

     

  9. Tia Will

    Michelle

    According to her Fruit Loops, cinnamon rolls, chocolate graham cracker cookies, and chocolate milk are still on the menu:-/.”

    I am sorry that I made no headway on this issue. My projects with the county were severely negatively affected when I made my major job transition during the last few months.

    I will give another run at it in January now that my work transition has settled down.

    1. Michelle Millet

      While I appreciate your willingness to take this on Tia, I’m left wondering why you have to. Where is the rest of public health community ? While they push to take soda off  kids menu at restaurants they seem to be do nothing about the fact that schools are feeding are most vulnerable children sugar filled junk food on a daily basis. Not only is it dangerous for their bodies, it’s sending a message to these kids and their families that it is ok to eat this way. Focusing efforts in the schools seems much effective then removing soda from menus or taxing it in stores. It’s hard for me to get behind the public health comminity when they spend their energy on these types of intitiatives while they sit back and ignore that schools are providing out kids Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts for breakfast.

      1. David Greenwald

        What school does your friends kid go to. Earlier this year to the school board members went to Montgomery and gave me a good report on the status of the breakfast. So if that’s not universally the case I’d like to know about it so we canfollow up with the district.

          1. David Greenwald

            As far as I know when I raised the issue in the spring, two of them went out with the head food person to Montgomery and toured the breakfast facilities. They came back encouraged. But if you have evidence that elsewhere there are problems or this was anomaly, I’m sure they would be interested in following up.

      2. Topcat

        Focusing efforts in the schools seems much effective then removing soda from menus or taxing it in stores.

        Yes, that would seem to be a much better area to focus on.  What do the school board members have to say about this?

      3. Tia Will

        Michelle

        It’s hard for me to get behind the public health comminity when they spend their energy on these types of intitiatives while they sit back and ignore that schools are providing out kids Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts for breakfast.”

        Well then, do it for Robb and me. Robb has the public health creds and I have the medical creds – taking care of gestational diabetics for 25 years. In and of itself, the tax is not iis not a solution, but it can be part of the solution, just like getting the junk out of the school breakfasts and lunches is part of the solution. Just because our favorite piece of the puzzle is not in place, doesn’t mean would should not support another piece.

  10. Barack Palin

    You liberals crack me up.  A few of you implied that I said poorer people were too lazy to purchase and prepare nutritious food.  But what are all you social engineering liberals insinuating here, that poorer people are too naive to know that sugary drinks aren’t healthy and need to be educated on what foods are nutritious.   Liberal elitism rears its ugly head.

    1. Davis Progressive

      did you actually read the article where the expert was quoted explaining what is going on?

      Dr. Hyman notes, “For a large portion of Americans floating on or sinking beneath the poverty line this means bingeing on cheap, sugary, starchy, fatty calories in order to avoid hunger.” He adds, “Many poor people in this country are consuming an excess of nutritionally depleted, cheap calories from sodas, processed foods, and junk food. These folks scarcely eat whole, fresh foods at all, and for good reason: We have made calories cheap, but real food expensive.”

      are you denying the correlation between poverty and obesity?

      1. hpierce

        Are you denying the correlation between parental neglect/ignorance/stupidity and obesity?

        Are you equating poverty with parental neglect/ignorance/stupidity?

        Oh… we have another “inconvenient truth”… the role of genetics… or are you a “denier” of that?

         

    2. Alan Miller

      A few of you implied that I said poorer people were too lazy to purchase and prepare nutritious food.  But what are all you social engineering liberals insinuating here, that poorer people are too naive to know that sugary drinks aren’t healthy and need to be educated on what foods are nutritious.

      I had the exact same thought.  Thanks for doing the typing BP.

  11. Eric Gelber

    Low cognitive skills = poor = more likely to be obese or to have diabetes.

    So the root cause of obesity and diabetes is low cognitive skills.  Basically ignorance.

    Frankly – Do you even pay attention to what you write? “Cognitive skills” refers to perception, reasoning, understanding, intelligence, awareness, insight, comprehension, apprehension, discernment. By your equation (“poor = low cognitive skills.”), poor people are deficient in these attributes–i.e., they are unintelligent, and lack insight, comprehension, reasoning ability, etc. Your characterizations are highly insulting and false, or, one might say, bigoted. Further, if the root cause of obesity and diabetes is, as you assert, low cognitive skills (i.e., “basically ignorance”), here is a small sampling of people you would characterize as outside the cognitive elite (i.e., ignorant): Winston Churchill, Pavarotti, B.B. King, Oprah Winfrey, Rush Limbaugh (I’ll give you this one), Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Barbara Bush, Alfred Hitchcock, Chris Christie, Ben Franklin, Aretha Franklin, John Madden.

    Your fundamental arguments are almost always based on, or prefaced with, generalized stereotypes (e.g., liberals are like alcoholics; all liberals are [insert your favorite insult here]) rather than facts or reason. Donald Trump uses similar reasoning; anyone who disagrees with his views is stupid or a loser. It’s really quite tiresome. Worse yet, you may lose your membership in the cognitive elite.

    1. Alan Miller

      Your characterizations are highly insulting and false, or, one might say, bigoted. Further, if the root cause of obesity and diabetes is, as you assert, low cognitive skills . . . #snip#

      One could say that Frank Lee’s logic shows . . . low cognitive skills.

    2. Frankly

      You have listed exceptions Eric.  Bravo!

      But you can find a list of exceptions to everything.  I have some of them in my family… cognitively advanced, but unable to control their consumption relative to their metabolism.

      Do these people have health issues (something I used as a qualifier)?

      Do you want to take a stand on this opposition to my point that poor people are less educated, less knowledgeable and more ignorant?  It is already confirmed that the poor are more obese and more prone to diabetes… so all that is left is the cognitive development levels. I am focusing on the facts and the stats.   Come on… please go for it.  I need a spirited and strong debate on this topic because so far the opposition is really, really weak.

      1. David Greenwald

        “You have listed exceptions”

        Do you actually have any research or evidence to support your claim because right now it seems to be an assertion on your part just as it was an assertion proven wrong that there was no obesity problem in Davis.

        1. Frankly

          A somewhat dubious challenge given the lack of reliable and unbiased research available.  In terms of evidence, there is not a single obese person living in my entire neighborhood that I can think of.   Out of the large group of Davis schoolmate friends that my two sons had and has, not one of them was or is obese.

          I work downtown.  I bet if I sat on a bench next to a busy corner to keep track of the number of visually obese people I would be challenged to find 5%… and most of those identified would likely be from out of town.

          I am not arguing that only the poor and ignorant become obese, just that Davis has a very low percentage of poor, ignorant and obese.

          I am seeing a pattern here with Davis social justice liberals.  They manufacture the severity of their favorite causes from the comfort of their Davis armchair.  They demand fluoride be put in the drinking water for all those residents with tooth decay. They demand plastic bag bans because of all those acquired by Davis residents end up fouling the landscape and water.  They claim racism is rampant with the larger percentage of white Davis residents and demand safe places and speech restrictions.  They claim Davis has a large number of poor people that require more social services.  And now they claim that Davis has a problem with obesity and diabetes and we need to tax soda.

          Meanwhile Rome is burning.

        2. Barack Palin

          I am seeing a pattern here with Davis social justice liberals.  They manufacture the severity of their favorite causes from the comfort of their Davis armchair. 

          So true.

        3. wdf1

          Frankly:  I bet if I sat on a bench next to a busy corner to keep track of the number of visually obese people I would be challenged to find 5%… and most of those identified would likely be from out of town.

          Seems that you like a “go with your gut” way of assessment.  (pun intended)  I don’t think sitting on a busy corner downtown will give you a representative sample.

          I think the dataquest statistics on 2014-15 body composition (which includes assessment of BMI) for DJUSD students are probably the most informative.  For 7th and 9th graders, they show about 14% “needs improvement” and ~11% “needs improvement, health risk”.  If you look at the demographic breakdown, it is Latinos that have the highest percentages of health risk.  As one who interacts with the Latino community, I can tell you that you would not likely see Spanish-speaking (i.e., limited English) hanging out downtown.

        4. Barack Palin

          I hardly ever drink sugary cola.  I’m 6’2″ tall and weigh 260 lbs.  I’m considered obese by the BMI charts, but by no means am I obese.  I’m not a skinny guy either, but I consider myself to be slightly overweight but in fairly good shape.  Those BMI charts are really slanted to classify more people as obese than is reality.

          For my height I’m supposed to weigh 144 to 194 pounds.  I haven’t weighed that since 10th grade.  If I was ever able to get down to 194 I’d be as thin as a rail as I’m somewhat muscular.  The BMI charts needs to get an overhaul.

        5. Frankly

          BP – You are a big dude!  6’3″ 205 lbs for me.  I got to 215 at one point and felt like crap.  It was during a time in my career when I was doing a lot of traveling and was eating out a lot.  Once the travel calmed down I got back to better eating habits and regular exercise again.

          I developed a wheat/gluten intolerance and I would recommend a gluten-free and low-sugar diet to anyone that wants to maintain a lower BMI.  Although sugar can certainly be the culprit for obesity and diabetes, carbs from wheat products also plays a larger role these days.

          I agree that the BMI charts are not accurate for many people.  Some people just come from thicker stock.

        6. Frankly

          If you look at the demographic breakdown, it is Latinos that have the highest percentages of health risk.  As one who interacts with the Latino community, I can tell you that you would not likely see Spanish-speaking (i.e., limited English) hanging out downtown.

          Are these people hanging out in the shadows afraid to be seen in public?

          Seriously, why does this demographic have such a problem when others do not?

        7. wdf1

          Frankly:  Are these people hanging out in the shadows afraid to be seen in public?

          More frequently you will see people who are connected to what you like to call the “cognitive elite” hanging out downtown.  People who work at UCD, go to school at UCD, family members of those people, or other people doing business with the “cognitive elite”.

          There are business and places in Davis that tend to attract Spanish speaking (limited English) residents, but they aren’t downtown.  One obvious place is the Spanish language mass at St. James Catholic Church.

          Hanging out in the shadows?  In your Franklycentric world it probably looks that way.  But it’s because you don’t hang out in the same places they do.
          Frankly:  Seriously, why does this demographic have such a problem when others do not?

          Don Shor’s link touches on most of the issues I might have raised.  The only thing that I would add is that undocumented/illegal residents usually don’t sign up for SNAP or “food stamps” (or most welfare programs for that matter) because they’re often distrustful that the federal government might use that information (address, contact info, family members) as a way to deport them.  So that means they are living on a tighter budget than you might imagine.  I’ve said this before, but the key equation is that a Twinkie is cheaper (at least in a bulk purchase) than a fresh apple at Trader Joe’s.  And a Twinkie has more calories.

          Also, younger children may not show signs of obesity, but there is plenty of diabetes going around in elementary grades.  But you don’t have to worry as much that your tax dollars are subsidizing their home diet.

          Food Inc. is a good documentary for getting an idea for how this works.

          As for the crappy subsidized school breakfasts, a lot of lower income families feel like they don’t deserve any better than Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts.  Or are stressed enough with other issues in their lives, like making rent or utility bills.  Or don’t realize that you can actually ask public officials about this and maybe get a positive response (Someone from Mexico or Central America is likelier to expect that public officials are corrupt in some way.)  So it takes one of those damn “Davis social justice liberals” to raise the issue.  Thankfully, someone is asking questions on this one, whether it be David Greewald or Michelle Millet.

        8. Frankly

          So your point is that Davis has a material population of poor, stressed, insecure and food-unsophisticated Latino immigrants that don’t appear in public except in places that the primarily white affluent people don’t frequent.

          I think this is some BS.

          First, Davis is only 10 square miles with its primary retail shopping options constrained to just a few.  The “places that I don’t frequent” don’t exist in this town at a level that would support a material population of these people you claim exist.  You only mention St. James Catholic church.  You will need to do better than that.

          I think Davis has a small number of these people… a very small number.  But because this fact does not support the social justice cause for taxing sugary drinks, the numbers are inflated.  This was the same tactic attempted with the fluoride in the drinking water social justice crusade.  I offered to contribute $10k to support alternatives for getting fluoride to all those poor and needy kids claimed to exist.  I tried.  Nobody would return my calls. My end analysis was that those making the claims significantly over-stated the problem, and knew it and didn’t want others involved in helping to solve the problem because the truth would be exposed. The same tactic is being attempted here.  I call out the BS.

        9. wdf1

          Frankly:  First, Davis is only 10 square miles with its primary retail shopping options constrained to just a few.  The “places that I don’t frequent” don’t exist in this town at a level that would support a material population of these people you claim exist.  You only mention St. James Catholic church.  You will need to do better than that.

          They don’t exist in your Franklycentric world, because you don’t think outside your cultural box.

          If you’re genuinely curious, go visit St. James’ Spanish language mass and figure out how to talk to the parishioners to find out where they hang out.  If the Davis Spanish speaking population were as small and insignificant as you want to argue, St. James wouldn’t be catering to a Spanish speaking population.

          Merry Christmas!

        10. Frankly

          First..  Merry Christmas to you too!

          They don’t exist in your Franklycentric world, because you don’t think outside your cultural box.

          I don’t know what you mean by this.  My box is just reality.  Is it possible that you and others pushing this soda tax are just too close to certain people in this category to be objective about reality?  Say for example you know a family or two that fit this narrative and it compels you to agitate for their cause.  I think that also might explain the fluoride push.  In both cases the reality is a very small number of people with the “problem” so that number is inflated to get others on-board with the new “tax”.

          1. Don Shor

            In both cases the reality is a very small number of people

            Please be specific. What is a small number? What is a reasonable number? You’ve said you think the numbers are being inflated. By whom?

        11. Frankly

          I wonder if you are aware that MM Elementary is now 54% Hispanic or Latino. 250 students there are eligible for free/reduced lunch meals.

          250 students out of how many Davis school district students?

          And what percentage of these Latino kids are obese or have diabetes?

          And lastly, I am getting very uncomfortable with the direction of this discussion to infer that we are only talking about Latinos… that Latinos are somehow a special class of people unable to prevent themselves from getting overweight and diabetic without taxes applied to everyone.  It sounds to me that ya’ll are advocating for a “fat Latino” tax.  The many Latinos I know (of many sizes) would be POed to learn this.

          1. Don Shor

            Ok, let’s broaden the topic. We were mostly responding to your comments as to ethnicity.
            In 2013-14, 21% of DJUSD students districtwide participated in the school lunch program. 11% of those are eligible for free (9%) or reduced cost (2%).
            56% of those eligible for free lunch participate. 45% of those eligible for reduced cost lunch participate.
            Overall 21% of students participate in the district lunch program. A little less than half of those pay full rate.
            Note that participation has been declining.
            Here’s what determines eligibility: http://www.djusd.k12.ca.us/Student_Nutrition_Services
            Total enrollment, at least in 2012-13, was about 8,600.

        12. wdf1

          Frankly:  250 students out of how many Davis school district students?

          That’s at one elementary campus, the one with the highest concentration.  Those students presumably matriculate to JH and then to HS.

           

        13. Frankly

          Thanks for the stats.

          First – I assume that the percentage of school lunch kids in Davis is lower than any surrounding community and probably lower than many comparable communities.

          Second – Just because a student participates in the school lunch program does not mean that he/she is obese or has diabetes.

          Third – Since the inference here is that these are the kids representing the “problem” it would seem that we have a real good situation where we can target providing them better diets with education for healthier eating.  I mean, if the government already controls the menu then why the _ _ _ _ does the government need to increase taxes because of the “problem”?

      2. Eric Gelber

        There is plenty of ignorance to go around, as evidenced by the prevalence of climate-change deniers, birthers, creationists, racists, and religious bigots among the middle and upper socioeconomic classes.

  12. Frankly

    This is interesting…

    http://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-some-mexican-young-adults-carry-obesity-risk-gene-052913

    “Staying fit is a struggle for many, but it becomes especially difficult when your genes predispose you to obesity, a higher Body Mass Index (BMI), and a bigger waistline. Research published in the <a href=”http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojgen/” rel=”nofollow”>Open Journal of Genetics</a> suggests that about 35 percent of Mexican young adults are predisposed to obesity, thanks to the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene.”

    It seems that a lot of the “problems” that are a call-to-action for social justice liberals related to the massive immigration from Mexico.  And ironically, social justice liberals tend to support massive immigration from Mexico.  Which then again backs my point that social justice liberals seem to like to manufacture the “problems” that they then use to agitate for public policy “solutions”… usually bans and new taxes.

    1. Don Shor

      It seems to me that if any sub-group among our neighbors has a predisposition to a health-threatening condition, and that can be reduced by outreach and education, then we have good reasons to make that effort. Not just because they’re our neighbors and friends, but because it can help reduce overall long-term health costs. People of Mexican ancestry are here by birth as well as by immigration. In fact, a majority are native-born. Many who are not citizens are permanent legal residents. If there are impediments to better health, and there is a low-cost way to help them achieve better access, that seems like a reasonable thing to consider.
      Personally, I would only support this tax if the funds were dedicated by statute to education, health outreach, preventive health care, etc., and were specifically barred from commingling in the general fund. It is possible that the benefits would accrue proportionally more to some groups than others. Personally I wouldn’t care what the ancestry, ethnicity, or immigration status was of those who benefit, because they are our neighbors, employees, customers, friends, and fellow residents.

      1. Frankly

        I agree with you.  I would support a tax on soda and other crap food if ALL…and I mean ALL of the tax revenue derived was designated for ONLY spending on the problems caused by soda and other crap food.

        1. Tia Will

          I agree with you.  I would support a tax on soda and other crap food if ALL…and I mean ALL of the tax revenue derived was designated for ONLY spending on the problems caused by soda and other crap food.”

          I would be fine with this stipulation. And then I trust that you will also be supporting me when, given that I am a pacifist, I agree to increased taxes if and only if they are never spent on weaponry, but only spent on diplomatic solutions to problems ?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          OK, tax the heck out of fast food places and taquerias (cheese, lard, flour, beans). Also tax the heck out of products which are used to grow marijuana, if we are dreaming up new sin taxes.

          Other sin taxes:

          donuts

          coffee creamer

          churros

          potato chips & french fries

          peanut butter & nutella

          cheese, incl. gourmet cheeses

          Starbucks & Costco & Whole Foods pastries

          Nuts (high in fat, they can easily be overdone)

          Salad dressing

          Or we could close the Southern border, which would restrict the flow of low-skilled workers (supply curve), which would lower supply, increase wages, which would increase the cost of fast food which would reduce it’s business.

          We could also outlaw fast food places and bakeries from giving free food to their workers.

           

  13. Tia Will

    Because I have previously put forward information that was not reflective of local or current data , but represented the entire Kaiser North Valley, I decided to do a quick survey of our current local information.

    Methods

    The data was complied from the Davis Women’s Health Department EMR. It was compiled exclusively by me. It consisted only of pregnant patients since this is my area of expertise and I believe has the most relevance for the current discussion. I am including only the numbers counted without any commentary about what it may mean and have included at the end some of the limitations that I see from the way in which I collected the data. I will respond to any posted comments or questions.

    The collection was limited to unique visits by any prenatal patient to three of the five providers in the Davis medical office building. I did not include visits to any provider who does not see both low and high risk patients so as to represent the full spectrum of our practice. I included all unique prenatal visits to any of the three full service providers during the relevant month, which for reasons of confidentiality, I will only state was one of the last three completed months of 2015.

    To further protect patient identities and privacy, I looked at only two pieces of information. The type of visit ( prenatal ) , and the BMI recorded at that visit. I did not sort the information by patient age, number of pregnancies the patient has had, nor by trimester. I did not control for pre pregnancy weight. I did not take into account pre- existing diagnoses, nor any co-morbidities during the current pregnancy. I did not take into account any previous pregnancy outcomes. I did not look at any other identifying information since my chart reviews are done on a need to know basis but do include data collection for public health purposes.

    I used the following standard definitions.

    Normal weight – BMI of less than 25 ( Note that during this month there were no “underweight” patients)

    Overweight – BMI of 25-29.99

    Obese – BMI of 30 + ( I did not subcategorize into the morbidly obese )

    The data is as follows by provider :

    Provider # 1

    Total unique prenatal visits –  61

    Normal weight – 11 patients

    Overweight – 22 patients

    Obese – 28 patients

    Provider # 2

    Total number of unique visits – 49

    Normal weight – 12 patients

    Overweight – 14 patients

    Obese – 23 patients

    Provider # 3

    Total number of unique visits – 66

    Normal weight – 14 patients

    Overweight – 23 patients

    Obese – 29 patients

    The overall percentages for the weight distribution by BMI in our prenatal population for one month were ( rounded to the nearest percentage ):

    Normal weight – 21 %

    Overweight – 34 %

    Obese – 45 %

    One limitation of my approach  is that not every patient that gets prenatal care in the Davis clinic lives in Davis. We see some patients from Woodland, although this number has decreased since Vacaville opened their delivery unit. We also see small numbers of patients from West Sacramento and from the rural portions of Yolo County, but the vast majority either live and/or work in Davis thus making their health issues relevant to the current conversation.

     

  14. Paul Thober

    ” I’m 6’2″ tall and weigh 260 lbs.  I’m considered obese by the BMI charts, but by no means am I obese.  I’m not a skinny guy either, but I consider myself to be slightly overweight but in fairly good shape.  Those BMI charts are really slanted to classify more people as obese than is reality.”

    This type of statement and the thinking behind it is a root cause of the problem of the overweight/obese population. It is called denial. A “sugary beverage tax” is not going to fix it.
     

    1. Barack Palin

      You know nothing about me.  I’ve worked out most of my life and had a very physical job.  I don’t consider myself obese nor do I think anyone else would.  The BMI charts don’t take things like muscle mass into consideration.

      But thanks anyway, you just showed everyone what’s the root cause of the problem with our population.  There are too many know-it-all liberals who think they know what’s best for everyone who have a need to social engineer and tell others how they must live, and no “sugary beverage tax” is going to fix it.

      1. Paul Thober

        I do know quite a bit about you, but that’s not my point. Indeed you may not be obese or even overweight, but the vast majority of people whose BMI is in the range of your’s (33.4) are overweight and most are obese. Many of these same people will claim, like you, to be “heavily muscled”, “big boned” or some other euphemism to rationalize there size and consequently do nothing about it. That’s their choice.

        I oppose the “sugary beverage tax” mainly because it’s yet another regressive tax like the sales tax and the various parcel taxes we pay, but also because I feel that it would have near zero effect on the huge (?) obesity problem.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          BP: Have you ever tested to see your percent body fat, BMI is in fact a very gross measure, but getting your body fat percentage testing while more time intensive will determine the accuracy of your claim.

  15. Tia Will

    Paul and BP

    Those BMI charts are really slanted to classify more people as obese than is reality.””

    No, the BMI charts are a reflection of a specific ratio that has significance across populations. It does not mean that an individual who has a normal BMI cannot be pre diabetic or diabetic as in my case. It also does not mean that an individual who is overweight will have any particular metabolic problem.

    This is not a flaw of the BMI system. It is a flaw in the interpretation of what the BMI actually indicates. It is an indicator of relative risk, not a diagnosis. I have posted many times that this is not about what we look like. It is about a metabolic problem that anyone can have. The use of the BMI is solely so that we can assess risk with a convenient an easy to obtain measure and so that we can be assured that we are describing a set of circumstances in the same way. I use it only so that hpierce, and others who have asked will know what criteria I am using to assign risk.

    There are many other factors that doctors actually do use, such as family history, dietary history, exercise history, presence or absence of a history of gestational diabetes and birth weight of largest child to determine individual patient risks and how best to address them. Obviously for reasons of HIPPA as well as cost and time involved in obtaining data, we do not address all of these factors in public discussions of the problem, but that does not mean that those of us with medical or public health backgrounds are not taking all of these into account when making attempts to address the issue.

    1. Barack Palin

      The problem is we have people pushing the sugary beverage tax based on the BMI charts and supposed obese people in Davis.  The BMI charts are not an accurate measure of obesity.

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