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People should eat to live, not live to eat

Readers' Letters
by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Dr. Bob O'Rourke consults with Sharon Rollins about her upcoming gastric bypass surgery at OHSU. O'Rourke says most of his patients cannot address their obesity through diet and exercise – no matter how hard they try.

Trying to make obesity a complex and difficult issue only disempowers people from making responsible and informed choices about what and how much they choose to put into their mouths (Health issues need solutions, not blame, My View, Aug. 11).

It is very simple: Eating more than is burned off in energy expenditures results in fat deposits.

People need to understand that the power to be fit and healthy is at the end of their fingertips. They need to be educated in simple ways with simple sound bites rather than confused with complex plans to save the "helpless idiots" from themselves.

Even small children can be taught that if they eat more than they burn off, they will eventually become fat. Suggesting that large sums of money, tax proposals and methods to protect them from their own indulgence in food is simply exploiting fat people to satisfy other agendas.

We don't have fat people. We have people with fat heads. In other words, it is their thinking about food that makes them fat. We are designed to eat to live, not live to eat.

Ann Friday

Southwest Portland

Obesity related to income, employment

While "Obesity wars hit PDX" (July 28) makes some very good points, it leaves out some important things. Obesity is directly related to income; with high unemployment comes the need to buy cheap food, which we all know is the worst to eat. Healthy, nutrient-dense food is very expensive. Until the issue of economic inequity is addressed, people will buy what they can afford.

The other point is that the USDA and the medical and diet professions have led us down the wrong direction for the last 30 years. With the introduction of the Food Pyramid, Americans were put on a low-fat, high-sugar diet and told this was the healthiest way to eat. It is no coincidence that obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension rates have skyrocketed during this same 30 years.

Our bodies were designed for traditional fats like coconut oil, olive oil, homemade tallow and butter. Man-made oils such as safflower and canola are disasters, as is the overemphasis on starch and carbohydrates.

We need to look at eating the way our great-grandmothers did and stop eating industrial fake food. Combining this with exercise and improving access to real food is a good beginning toward reversing 30 years of ill health.

Emily Calkins

Beaverton

Incentives would promote healthy options

Regarding 'Obesity wars hit PDX' (July 28), instead of a sugar tax, why not provide tax incentives to fast-food chains to put healthier alternatives on their menus and promote the hell out of them, while greatly reducing and eventually eliminating the number of unhealthy choices?

Larry D. Strawn

Milwaukie

Taxes won't alter soda consumption

Taxing soft drinks just puts money in some pockets and doesn't change the soft drink consumption (Obesity wars hit PDX, July 28). School systems have always offered cheap lunch programs pushing hot dogs and pasta casseroles.

Give rewards to children for the best-chosen lunch or lunch brought from home. I recall being all alone while going to buy my carton of milk. Families will shop differently if the child wants to win the prize at school. Everywhere you turn there is food offered, and it takes willpower to choose the right snacks.

Educate all children in nutrition every year if you want to have lean children.

Noreen Thomas

Appleton, Wisc.

Advertisers work on population control

It can be argued that advertising activity to promote the consumption of unhealthy foods is a natural drive to eliminate from the human population those specimens whose desirability is very low (Obesity wars hit PDX, July 28).

With seven billion people on earth, the planet cannot support them all. So when the population approaches maximum, inbuilt incentives come into play to eliminate the undesirable types - the mean, the nasty and the greedy. The advertisers who promote fast foods, fattening foods and other unhealthy habits are merely responding to an inbuilt need to preserve the species.

Keep up the good work.

Geoffrey A. Gass

Southwest Portland