Thursday, June 16, 2016

To consume less is not American!

In a commentary that was published back in 2007, I wrote about a strange way of life here in the US, which I referred to as "an American solution to an American problem."  I wrote then:
Well, a few weeks after I came to this country for graduate studies, it was nearing Thanksgiving and the television ad for Alka-Seltzer that I watched then is what I refer to as American solutions to American problems. In this ad, the audio commentary and the pictures presented all the wonderful foods that the viewer would end up eating at Thanksgiving, which then resulted in stomach aches and heartburn. And, presto, Alka-Seltzer to the rescue! My reflexive thought was simple: if the problems came from overeating, then why not simply advise the viewer to eat less? Of course, as I have come to realize, to consume less is not American. (Yes, I, too, am an American!) Instead, the American way is to consume more, and then when problems develop savvy entrepreneurs provide solutions to facilitate further consumption.
I never imagined savvy entrepreneurs devising something that is bizarre, and maybe my visceral reaction is also why I even subconsciously filtered out the news.  But then the friend made sure I read about it :(
A new weight loss device offers a novel approach to cutting calories: draining them from the stomach before they are fully digested.
The AspireAssist system consists of a thin tube implanted in the stomach, connecting to an outside port on the skin of the belly. About 20 minutes after finishing a meal, users connect the port to an external device, which drains some of the recently consumed food into the toilet.
The manufacturer — Aspire Bariatrics based in King of Prussia, Pa. — says its system removes about 30 percent of food stored in the stomach before it ­begins causing weight gain.
People eat and then 20 minutes later they drain the recently consumed food into the toilet.  What the heck?  Weren't we worried about people who engaged in such behaviors?
It undoubtedly sounds gross, and even a bit like assisted bulimia, but this device may be a long-term solution for patients struggling with obesity, characterized as having a body mass index between 35 and 50. “With this device, you only remove about a third of the food, and that’s because the device sits primarily in the upper portion of the stomach,” Kathy Crothall, the CEO and founder of Aspire Bariatrics, told Quartz.
It certainly sounds gross :(

Who ever thought that this gross device will be the way to fight the obesity epidemic in the US!
 The two reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that efforts to encourage Americans to lose weight — at least to stop putting on more weight — are having little effect.
Overall, 38 percent of U.S. adults are obese and 17 percent of teenagers are, the two reports find.
 A couple of weeks ago, a student was chatting with me about life, and talked about his weight issues--he was slightly overweight.  He talked about his plans to lose weight, and to win the competition against his mother who had already shed quite a few pounds.  I love my work especially in contexts like this where I get more evidence that teaching is not merely about what goes on in the classroom.  The fact that he was at ease with me to talk about such issues says a lot.

I encouraged him in his summer plans.  I reminded him about the three things that I usually tell anybody who talks with me about weight issues:
It is about calories in versus calories out.
It is about what kind of calories that go in.
It is about when those calories go in.
Seriously, draining the calories from one's stomach?

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