The rich-poor obesity gap in kids is widening

Originally published at:


Get it? Widening?


Shouldn’t be long before someone pops in to tell us that the poor kids are to blame.


Raven Sable, slim and bearded and dressed all in black, sat in the back of his slimline black limousine, talking on his slimline black telephone to his West Coast base.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“Looking good, chief,” said his marketing head. “I’m doing breakfast with the buyers from all the leading supermarket chains tomorrow. No problem. We’ll have MEALS™ in all the stores this time next month.”
“Good work, Nick.”
“No problem. No problem. It’s knowing you’re behind us, Rave. You give great leadership, guy. Works for me every time.”
“Thank you,” said Sable, and he broke the connection.
He was particularly proud of MEALS™.
The Newtrition corporation had started small, eleven years ago. A small team of food scientists, a huge team of marketing and public relations personnel, and a neat logo.
Two years of Newtrition investment and research had produced CHOW™. CHOW™ contained spun, plaited, and woven protein molecules, capped and coded, carefully designed to be ignored by even the most ravenous digestive tract enzymes; no-cal sweeteners; mineral oils replacing vegetable oils; fibrous materials, colorings, and flavorings. The end result was a foodstuff almost indistinguishable from any other except for two things. Firstly, the price, which was slightly higher, and secondly the nutritional content, which was roughly equivalent to that of a Sony Walkman. It didn’t matter how much you ate, you lost weight. [And hair. And skin tone. And, if you ate enough of it long enough, vital signs.]
Fat people had bought it. Thin people who didn’t want to get fat had bought it. CHOW® was the ultimate diet food—carefully spun, woven, textured, and pounded to imitate anything, from potatoes to venison, although the chicken sold best.
Sable sat back and watched the money roll in. He watched CHOW™ gradually fill the ecological niche that used to be filled by the old, untrademarked food.
He followed CHOW™ with SNACKS™ ―junk food made from real junk.
MEALS™ was Sable’s latest brainwave.
MEALS™ was CHOW™ with added sugar and fat. The theory was that if you ate enough MEALS™ you would a) get very fat, and b) die of malnutrition.
The paradox delighted Sable.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - Good Omens


Don’t forget: the more miserable your life is, the more likely you are to self-medicate with comfort foods, which are the most sugary and fattening foods.

After my father died, I binged heavily on pancakes and French toast with maple syrup for a few years and my waistline suffered quite a bit.


You got to wonder if Raven Sable was responsible for Soylent.

also, I can’t wait to see the Good Omen’s mini-series.


The greedy little fuckers are eating all the poor rich kids food! Shut down food banks and put all the food in public school* tuck shops! :wink:

*(over here in the UK Public School are Private Schools).


this explains how trump voters see him as one of their own


Not coincidentally, solving the gross inequity problem would also solve many of society’s other problems.


the rich get richer and Leon’s getting laaaarger


Is that where Trump got this idea? No, wait. He can’t read.


In the US, the dear old Farm Bill gives bazillions to the carb-centric farmers (corn, wheat, etc.), and all but zero to fruit and veggie farmers.

But BAYER [cue the trumpets] will save humanity from imminent starvation, thanks to better living through chemicals, and then Big Pharma will take care of us as we slowly die.

Mr. Optimizm


You realize that the calories in fruit and vegetables are also primarily from carbohydrates, don’t you? They’re usually not packed as densely as in grain-type products (diluted by water and fibre), but they’re “carbs” all the same. In fruit, there are also a lot of fairly simple sugars that aren’t present in grains. The demonisation of the complex carbohydrates in grains as an evil food has gone way too far.


So I should go all meat then? Sounds OK to me.


Some while back, a group of school nurses from expensive westside private schools here in LA had a regular monthly social meetup. They began noticing an odd and increasingly common syndrome they couldn’t diagnose, until a new member, fresh from a Peace Corps stint, recognized it as malnutrition.

Seems health-conscious wealthy parents had taken to feeding their youngsters so many “healthy” low-fat, sugar-free, fat-free, reduced-calorie food products that the children simply weren’t getting enough calories.

It was an odd presentation for malnutrition, since most malnutrition includes protein deficiencies. These kids got tons of protein, but very little else. (Plus fiber. Lots of fiber.)

And most health workers at high-end schools had never seen it before, because malnutrition isn’t traditionally a common problem at tony private schools.


Congratulations for your succinct articulation of The Fundamental Causes of Disease theory!

Here’s a cookie: :cookie:


Citation(s)? Want to read about this.

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What? No. I’m just saying that someone who eats a salad because they are avoiding carbs is using the wrong terminology. Someone who eats a cheeseburger, but leaves the buns, to “cut back on carbs” is also missing the point. To be fair, much bread has so much added sugar it makes my teeth hurt. We really notice it when we come to the US. The bread there is like sweet cakes. And don’t get me started on the insane amount of added sugar in even “healthy” breakfast cereals. Again the US is worse than anywhere else I know of. And it shows. Also don’t get me started on US portion sizes.


Reminds me of this story from a few years back. It seems that these parents tend to respond to corporate America’s undeniable tendency to put put health after profits by going overboard and embracing dangerous fads and woo.

Then there’s HFCS. While it hasn’t been proven to be special contributor to obesity in and of itself, American kids and adults drink a lot of soda (fortunately the amount is steadily dropping, but it’s still high).


Yeah I noticed that too, when I was in the US some years back.

For me, the obesity problem is because the poor kids are eating cheap, carbohydrate rich food, like from McDonalds.