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https://twitter.com/LucasOfSunshine/status/1542730625102356482

Lowest obesity spots in the US look to be Aspen, Vail, Boulder, Telluride, Santa Fe, Jackson Hole, Park City, Big Sky, and Sun Valley: i.e., the private jet uber-class and the off-season ski-bums who build them their 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) homes.

I rode on a bus back to Aspen from Glenwood Springs once with 3 white water rafting guides who got by in summer in costly Aspen doing strenuous outdoor jobs such as hot-air ballooning. One of the whitewater rafting guides had done construction work installing for Prince Bandar, the legendarily insidious Saudi ambassador, a dead man’s switch to blow up any suicide truck bombers out to assassinate him.

They spent 30 minutes discussing how long & wide were the strips of bacon on various Denny’s-type diners’ breakfast deals.

These guys were not in danger of obesity. Unusual in modern America, they were, for good reason, hungry all the time.

Workers in Aspen need all the protein they can afford.

I’d be interested if there are obesity differences among, say, wheat farmers on the Great Plains living at 1,000 feet of altitude versus 5,000 feet of altitude. That would be a good apples to apples comparison to see if the difference in obesity is environmental rather than cultural.

 
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  1. Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    These are correlations, not absolute causal forces, but you know that.

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
    @Graham

    Those hillbillies in Appalachia appear to be highly intelligent.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter

    , @Brutusale
    @Graham


    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat.
     
    Note the state that comes in behind Colorado has an elevation that tops out at 3,500 feet.

    The test scores, on the other hand, are pretty good.
    , @Stan Adams
    @Graham

    On behalf of the Fatties of Unz, I thank you for the disclaimer.

    I live a few feet above sea level.

    Replies: @Graham

    , @AnotherDad
    @Graham


    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.
     
    You nailed the gist of it Graham.

    I think there probably is some direct metabolic effect of your body working hard at altitude.

    But what pops out of the map is race and class. Visible:
    -- Colorado, obvious mecca for folks interested in the mountain lifestyle amenities
    -- the Black Belt
    -- the "Blue Ridge Parkway" corridor--from metro Atlanta, through Upcountry SC, Ashland, (spur to NC triangle), Blacksburg and Charlottesville to D.C. (And on up to NYC and Boston.) Less black than the coastal South, more college educated/higher income than the ridge+valley province full of the Scots-Irish hillbillies to the West
    -- New England urbanity ... then rural Maine.
    -- Urban areas--you can literally see Nashville, Fayetteville, Overland Park KS in a sea of brown sludge.
    -- Germanics seem to do just slightly better than Scots-Irish or Anglos in general. Iowa/MN,WI better than Missouri and you can literally see the outline of Texas. But still really bad.
    -- Indians; The Navajo capital, Window Rock is at 6800 ft (just looked it up) but easy to see where the Indians live.
    -- California's central valley ... our fat and happy Hispanic future (at least if we can stave off Steve's "World's Most Important Graph")

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Colin Wright
    @Graham

    'Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.'

    There is also -- to say the least -- a genetic component.

    This is particularly visible in Spain, where the more Germanic North is noticeably meatier than the more Moorish/Berber South. Would you argue that Berbers are more intelligent, etc than Germans?

  2. What about obesity in McDowell County, West Virginia? While not having elevations found in some population centers of the Rockies, it ain’t exactly Houston either.

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    This was sort of the point of my other comment you replied to.

    , @Faraday's Bobcat
    @Jim Bob Lassiter


    What about obesity in McDowell County, West Virginia? While not having elevations found in some population centers of the Rockies, it ain’t exactly Houston either.
     
    McDowell is in the Appalachian Plateau, west of the mountains themselves. The Plateau is mostly around 2000 feet but is carved into deep hollows by streams. It's extremely rugged but not technically mountainous.

    I'm not familiar with settlement patterns in the mountains, but in the Plateau, almost everyone lives in the bottoms along the streams, because that's where the roads are and they can't afford to build a driveway up the typically very steep hillsides. I would guess the average elevation of a residence in McDowell is around 1500 feet above sea level.
  3. I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    • Disagree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    @WJ

    Denver is different for various reasons. Denver has has changed significantly in the last 10-12 years. Denver is a bedroom community for the mountains. Denver has, despite being a Western city and perhaps because of its airport hub (?), a leftist core and a fat, red state suburban culture.

    , @Jon
    @WJ

    You need to travel around the country more, you obviously don't understand just how bad it has gotten.

    Replies: @WJ

    , @George Taylor
    @WJ

    It's all relative. Of course there are fat people in Denver however compared to other cities/states, Denver and Colorado have some of the lowest obesity percentages in the nation. https://www.outtherecolorado.com/news/two-colorado-cities-rank-among-skinniest-in-nation/article_7a4e4444-7c40-11eb-b7d2-77eda1a66b40.html

    , @Hangnail Hans
    @WJ

    That's just because there are plenty of fat people everywhere now. It's all relative, and Colorado is indeed less full of fatties than most states.

    The preponderance of fatties everywhere is yet another reason I'm somewhat loath to mix with the masses nowadays. I can't stand even to look at them, much less get close and personal.

    Ten or 15 years ago there was a popular thread on FlyerTalk called "Why is there no shame in America about being fat?" What's changed since then is that nowadays no such thread would be allowed. Progress!

    Replies: @Nico

    , @fish
    @WJ

    Reno NV. as well....

    , @Jay Fink
    @WJ

    It's not a BS theory. Denver has the lowest obesity of major cities. The thing to remember is that obesity has exploded in America. To put this in perspective, 30 years ago Colorado would have been the most obese state at their current obesity levels instead of the lowest.

    Replies: @WJ

    , @SunBakedSuburb
    @WJ

    "I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here."

    Denver is the weed capital of the Intermountain West. Thus the fatties.

    , @Boo Alcindor
    @WJ

    The Aztecs that have invaded this once great city are, after the age of eighteen, almost all morbidly obese.
    It seems like ski town living has more to do with the low obesity rate.

  4. The lower rates of obesity in the Mid- and Southern Appalachians is due to a propensity of Scots-Irish toward low BMIs, presumably a genetically based propensity.

    The following quote is from a Tory militiaman at the Battle of Kings Mountain describing the typically spare stature of his Scots-Irish enemies:

    A South Carolina loyalist named Drury Mathis was severely wounded. As he lay flat against the rough slope the balls from the patriot rifles fell around him like hail while the shots from his fellow loyalists consistently passed above the heads of their targets. Playing possum, he hugged the ground while watching the mountaineers swarm up the ridge: men “not over-burdened with fat, but tall, raw-boned, and sinewy.”

    The passage is from “The Battle of Kings Mountain 1780: With Fire and Sword”
    by Wilma Dykeman

    • Replies: @SFG
    @Bert

    In 1780, environment trumped genetics by far when it came to who got fat. They were poor mountain men, they didn’t get enough calories to get fat, and they got plenty of exercise.

    Replies: @Bert

  5. Obesity also seems to correlate to race, IYKWIM.

    • Replies: @kpkinsunnyphiladelphia
    @The Alarmist

    Yep.

    Look at those dark dark colors on the map south of the Mason Dixon line.

    Mama’s biscuits and gravy. Yum yum yum!!

  6. Percentage of negro females in the population might have more influence as this is the most obese population in the USA. Ski resorts don’t have much total population and housing is so expensive they do not have employment for cubicle or factory workers. Even the service jobs that are available can be more selective in who they employ. \$500 per night and up luxury hotels have better looking front desk people than a Motel Six. Even maids and bell hops depend on tips for much of their pay and its no secret that the better looking you are the more you will make in tips.

  7. @Graham
    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    These are correlations, not absolute causal forces, but you know that.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Brutusale, @Stan Adams, @AnotherDad, @Colin Wright

    Those hillbillies in Appalachia appear to be highly intelligent.

    • LOL: Right_On
    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @Mike Tre

    Why don't you go there then and try to find their stills and take their moonshine?

    Replies: @Mike Tre

  8. Raz says:

    My Colorado and Utah relatives are not private jet rich but they are the type to be doing active outdoors stuff and are not obese. So think it’s a combination of activity and lifestyle. And maybe age is younger in these areas. Wondering if there were black white diffs when looking at the high obesity south but figured obesity probably high in both groups. And obesity also high in rural white predominant areas like West Virginia, northern Maine.

    Overall a poor picture. And getting worse. Present day Colorado is least obese now but has much higher obesity rates than it had 20 or 30 yrs ago.

    • Replies: @JohnnyUinta
    @Raz

    Raz,
    I'm in Utah, 13 years now and simply astounded at the number of morbidly obese people you see when you go out and about....it seems far worse than when I arrived here from NJ in 2009.

    You see these whales everywhere you go...big box stores, restaurants....anywhere and everywhere. I call them the "scooter piggies" and their ambulatory friends "walking whales."

    I think the 2+ year of COVID lockdowns and 'working from home' BS had a deleterious effect. People were angry, fearful and uncertain of the future.... being locked up at home, people ate themselves into oblivion. People are stuffing themselves with really bad junk masquerading as food.

    That said, the obesity explosion in the US predates COVID by a few decades.

  9. well, in higher altitudes you do spend a lot of time walking up hills, so there’s that.

  10. When I used to shuttle somewhat between Colorado and Connecticut, I noticed that I lost weight whenever I was in the former for any extended length of time. Not only that, when my wife and her parents came one time and stayed for a month with me they lost weight too.

    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder, but I also know that the natural environment in places like that is conducive to more outdoor activity. There are simply more places to go take a hike.

    Boulder, for example, is a fitness mecca and a rock-climber hangout. Not everybody is building stuff for Saudis. (It also has the highest per capita of Ph.D.s working in restaurants, and they make better hash browns than East Coast diner cooks, I can tell you.)

    Moreover, this subject probably includes more than one variable, like most things. Not just physical exercise and direct environmental factors like oxygen levels, but also the genetic makeup of the types of people who live in certain kinds of places.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Right, Buzz, and specifically on your last paragraph, one COULD probably find a correlation if he studied the whole world and looked all the serious high spots in the world where there is a real physiological difference in people due to that significantly lower O2 level. Maybe it's obvious that people there would have to be in better cardiovascular shape anyway. (Wouldn't that imply less obesity? I think.)

    Most of the terrain differences in the populated areas of the US are not enough to change human physiology.

    This freaking guy thinks he can pull out one map and look at lighter-colored areas in the 3 mountain ranges (The Ozarks don't count, but they don't help his cause anyway.) and make a tweet but he doesn't know the land. Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can't blame 'em.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Jim Bob Lassiter

    , @Corn
    @Buzz Mohawk


    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder
     
    I think this it. Obesity or body weight was briefly mentioned in another of Steve’s posts quite awhile back and someone (maybe Steve himself) noted that with air being thinner at higher altitudes the heart and lungs have to work harder to bring in enough oxygen. It’s as if even when at rest your body is doing mild cardio exercise.

    https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

    I’d recommend anyone read the SlimeMoldTimeMold blog’s long series on obesity if they have time. It provides many theories for why obesity rates have exploded, but ultimately, I think the fault is within ourselves. Sugar and simple carbs and processed foods are more accessible than ever. They taste good, we eat too much.

    Replies: @AnotherDad

    , @epebble
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Ph.D.s working in restaurants

    Why is that? What do they have Doctorates in?

    Dr. Smith, I would like to order a Hashbrown

    has a cinematic ring to it.

  11. @Graham
    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    These are correlations, not absolute causal forces, but you know that.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Brutusale, @Stan Adams, @AnotherDad, @Colin Wright

    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat.

    Note the state that comes in behind Colorado has an elevation that tops out at 3,500 feet.

    The test scores, on the other hand, are pretty good.

  12. Altitude may be a proxy for something more relevant, such as affluence.

  13. Nah, the guy Lucas tweeted is reaching (high) here. Your last paragraph is excellent. I’d also thought that lots of people living in the Aspens and Truckees, etc. are very well off, and I’d bet a lot more on there being a high inverse correlation between that and obesity.

    Look at the great plains yourself right there on the bottom map. The land slopes up a few feet per mile E-W across Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc. There is no trend I see there in the obesity map. Look at West Virginia, byt God! (Or was that supposed to be “West by God, Virginia!”) All the eastern part of it has the colors for an over 27% obesity rate. Eastern KY is the Cumberland Plateau, but it’s all heavily red.

    Then, there’s that very light county in the NW of Wyoming that must be 1/2 into Yellowstone Park. There may be skinny people there, but that’s because they are lost in the wilderness and haven’t eaten anything in days and buffalo, who, yes, are not obese by definition but shouldn’t be counted, IMO.

    Then, there’s Nassau County, Long Island, NY. It’s relatively light. Let’s ask John Derbyshire, who could use to GAIN a few pounds if anything: “Done any high country hiking lately over there, Mr. D?” How about eastern Mass? It’s not high. The Massholes stay slim by just the sheer effort of being Massholes to everyone.

    The San Joaquin Valley there in Central California is heavy dark red because it’s chock full of beaners. They don’t eat the most healthful diets in the world, even they would admit.

    I don’t know what the deal is with that ring of suburban counties around the city of Atlanta, but they are not any higher. Until you get well north of the city, Atlanta is just as high or higher (near 1,000′) than anything around.

    Shall I go on? Balderdash! The originating budding sociologist tweeter is full of shit. Not only is he wrong, but he doesn’t know the geography of this country. I don’t need a GSS, just a look at the bottom map, to see he’s wrong right away.

    .

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Oops, GIS, not GSS.

  14. Reduced oxygen reducing metabolism?

    Though people get cranky about it due to global warming denialism, the atmospheric content of the Earth has changed significantly over time due to life on Earth, out current era no exception.

    The oxygen availability crisis was one of the most crucial moments in life’s evolutionary history on Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event

    This is why there is such a vast array of iron chelating structures known as siderophores among micro-organisms. Typically something like that would be basal and the same essential structure but the process of the iron becoming oxidised over time led life to adapt en masse to it with huge amounts of simultaneous parallel evolution.

    https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1038/s41559-017-0138

    And in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren’t possible now for their modern descendants such as most famously dragonflies.

    • Replies: @Altai
    @Altai

    Here is an interesting paper discussing metabolism in humans and altitude.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6282065/

    , @Chrisnonymous
    @Altai


    in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren’t possible now
     
    Even bigger than John Holmes?
    , @Muggles
    @Altai

    Thanks.

    Who sez you can't learn things here on iSteve?

    Practically grad level earth science.

    And here I always thought this blog was mainly a huge time sink...

    , @profnasty
    @Altai

    Some people think too much.
    Dragonfly
    Check out Spanish Castle Magic by The Jimi Hendrix Experience on Amazon Music
    https://music.amazon.com/albums/B003BG4KHE?trackAsin=B003BG9Y1Q&ref=dm_sh_9gYn2VhFWe7CgB9ay4xd5DYUW

    Replies: @profnasty

  15. Hmmm…to the extent topography matters, I think it would be that if you live in an area with a lot of interesting natural features you are more inclined to spend spare time outdoors enjoying your geographical good fortune and exploring. If you live in an area with little in the way of natural interest, you have to work harder at reasons to roam around. Anyway, that’s my theory after half a cup of coffee.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @Arclight

    Weather, weather, and weather.

    Also, climate.

  16. Living at 8000 feet plus in the Andes, I note almost zero morbidly obese men or children, but quite a few tub-shaped middle-aged women.

    Bacon in the US is mostly fat. A rasher of good Danish back bacon is nearly all meat.

    People who move to Colorado are often eccentric, faddy Americans who are vegans or vegetarians who ride bikes wearing helmets.

    It is possible that people who live at higher altitudes use more calories in the process of breathing more rapidly to process oxygen intake.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @Jonathan Mason

    Walking up steep driveways and sidewalks to the front door with the groceries will burn off the fat too. So will shoveling snow and doing spring house repairs and yard work, provided there's no Mexican labor around.

    , @Mike Tre
    @Jonathan Mason

    "Bacon in the US is mostly fat. A rasher of good Danish back bacon is nearly all meat."

    And your point is? I mean, other than you have no idea what the relationship between nutrition and the human body is.

    , @JohnnyUinta
    @Jonathan Mason

    Who doesn't love bacon?

    But I stopped buying it as it went over $5.00/lb...Now it is around $10.00/lb. FBJ.

  17. TWS says:

    I live at 4k feet. I lost a chunk of weight since moving here and before that I was cattle ranching but at 300 feet. I live a couple miles from where my grandfather was born. It’s A thousand feet lower than where my grandmother was born and kids used to freeze in the winter going to school.

    My family used to migrate from up here in the summer down to a deep river valley in winter. They were big strong men and women but you give us a modern diet and we gain weight unless we work hard. Carbs are not our friends.

    • Thanks: Chrisnonymous
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @TWS


    It’s A thousand feet lower than where my grandmother was born and kids used to freeze in the winter going to school.
     
    How awful! Did they thaw them out in the springtime?

    Replies: @TWS

  18. @Buzz Mohawk
    When I used to shuttle somewhat between Colorado and Connecticut, I noticed that I lost weight whenever I was in the former for any extended length of time. Not only that, when my wife and her parents came one time and stayed for a month with me they lost weight too.

    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder, but I also know that the natural environment in places like that is conducive to more outdoor activity. There are simply more places to go take a hike.

    Boulder, for example, is a fitness mecca and a rock-climber hangout. Not everybody is building stuff for Saudis. (It also has the highest per capita of Ph.D.s working in restaurants, and they make better hash browns than East Coast diner cooks, I can tell you.)

    Moreover, this subject probably includes more than one variable, like most things. Not just physical exercise and direct environmental factors like oxygen levels, but also the genetic makeup of the types of people who live in certain kinds of places.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Corn, @epebble

    Right, Buzz, and specifically on your last paragraph, one COULD probably find a correlation if he studied the whole world and looked all the serious high spots in the world where there is a real physiological difference in people due to that significantly lower O2 level. Maybe it’s obvious that people there would have to be in better cardiovascular shape anyway. (Wouldn’t that imply less obesity? I think.)

    Most of the terrain differences in the populated areas of the US are not enough to change human physiology.

    This freaking guy thinks he can pull out one map and look at lighter-colored areas in the 3 mountain ranges (The Ozarks don’t count, but they don’t help his cause anyway.) and make a tweet but he doesn’t know the land. Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can’t blame ’em.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @Achmed E. Newman

    When I zoom in, I notice that my part of Connecticut has low obesity like Colorado.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @Achmed E. Newman

    "Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can’t blame ’em."

    I beg to disagree, especially the "not many people live there" part of the yellow Appalachian counties. For the most part, the yellow counties are the relatively most populated parts of the southern and middle Appalachian region. Think Asheville-Hendersonville, NC, Blacksburg-Christiansburg, VA, Roanoke, VA, Bristol, TN-VA, Tri-Cities TN, Boone-Blowing Rock, NC, most of the Shenandoah Valley etc. Unfortunately, a large part of the population are undesirable outsiders.

    This from someone who lives close to the region in question and has travelled it extensively as a tourist and a businessperson.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  19. @Achmed E. Newman
    Nah, the guy Lucas tweeted is reaching (high) here. Your last paragraph is excellent. I'd also thought that lots of people living in the Aspens and Truckees, etc. are very well off, and I'd bet a lot more on there being a high inverse correlation between that and obesity.

    Look at the great plains yourself right there on the bottom map. The land slopes up a few feet per mile E-W across Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc. There is no trend I see there in the obesity map. Look at West Virginia, byt God! (Or was that supposed to be "West by God, Virginia!") All the eastern part of it has the colors for an over 27% obesity rate. Eastern KY is the Cumberland Plateau, but it's all heavily red.

    Then, there's that very light county in the NW of Wyoming that must be 1/2 into Yellowstone Park. There may be skinny people there, but that's because they are lost in the wilderness and haven't eaten anything in days and buffalo, who, yes, are not obese by definition but shouldn't be counted, IMO.

    Then, there's Nassau County, Long Island, NY. It's relatively light. Let's ask John Derbyshire, who could use to GAIN a few pounds if anything: "Done any high country hiking lately over there, Mr. D?" How about eastern Mass? It's not high. The Massholes stay slim by just the sheer effort of being Massholes to everyone.

    The San Joaquin Valley there in Central California is heavy dark red because it's chock full of beaners. They don't eat the most healthful diets in the world, even they would admit.

    I don't know what the deal is with that ring of suburban counties around the city of Atlanta, but they are not any higher. Until you get well north of the city, Atlanta is just as high or higher (near 1,000') than anything around.

    Shall I go on? Balderdash! The originating budding sociologist tweeter is full of shit. Not only is he wrong, but he doesn't know the geography of this country. I don't need a GSS, just a look at the bottom map, to see he's wrong right away.

    .

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Oops, GIS, not GSS.

  20. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Right, Buzz, and specifically on your last paragraph, one COULD probably find a correlation if he studied the whole world and looked all the serious high spots in the world where there is a real physiological difference in people due to that significantly lower O2 level. Maybe it's obvious that people there would have to be in better cardiovascular shape anyway. (Wouldn't that imply less obesity? I think.)

    Most of the terrain differences in the populated areas of the US are not enough to change human physiology.

    This freaking guy thinks he can pull out one map and look at lighter-colored areas in the 3 mountain ranges (The Ozarks don't count, but they don't help his cause anyway.) and make a tweet but he doesn't know the land. Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can't blame 'em.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Jim Bob Lassiter

    When I zoom in, I notice that my part of Connecticut has low obesity like Colorado.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Yikes! Run for the hills!

  21. @Altai
    Reduced oxygen reducing metabolism?

    Though people get cranky about it due to global warming denialism, the atmospheric content of the Earth has changed significantly over time due to life on Earth, out current era no exception.

    The oxygen availability crisis was one of the most crucial moments in life's evolutionary history on Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event

    This is why there is such a vast array of iron chelating structures known as siderophores among micro-organisms. Typically something like that would be basal and the same essential structure but the process of the iron becoming oxidised over time led life to adapt en masse to it with huge amounts of simultaneous parallel evolution.

    https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1038/s41559-017-0138

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ilqooLhz2QM/WWrvECOT1MI/AAAAAAAACls/4009E2-pN3MgXO9a9C9pvbrhHQ9CjaCDQCLcBGAs/s1600/energy%2Band%2Bevolution.jpg

    And in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren't possible now for their modern descendants such as most famously dragonflies.

    Replies: @Altai, @Chrisnonymous, @Muggles, @profnasty

    Here is an interesting paper discussing metabolism in humans and altitude.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6282065/

  22. @TWS
    I live at 4k feet. I lost a chunk of weight since moving here and before that I was cattle ranching but at 300 feet. I live a couple miles from where my grandfather was born. It's A thousand feet lower than where my grandmother was born and kids used to freeze in the winter going to school.

    My family used to migrate from up here in the summer down to a deep river valley in winter. They were big strong men and women but you give us a modern diet and we gain weight unless we work hard. Carbs are not our friends.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    It’s A thousand feet lower than where my grandmother was born and kids used to freeze in the winter going to school.

    How awful! Did they thaw them out in the springtime?

    • LOL: fish
    • Replies: @TWS
    @Jonathan Mason

    No they were dead. Boy that is hilarious, small children dying in a sudden storm walking to school.

    Replies: @Bubba

  23. Traditionally, hillbilly folk tended to be poorer than people on the plains, as things don’t grow well in the mountains than in fertile valleys. e.g. In Sergeant York, Gary Cooper’s lead character is a hillbilly crackshot who is obsessed with getting some money to buy a piece of “bottom land” (i.e. land in the local valley that grows food well as opposed to his family’s rocky dirt farm). Of course, hillbilly folk also tend to be rougher and quicker to random violence and desiring of solitude, because they have less and therefore have to be on guard against thieves taking it, and have also become acclimated to the less-dense hill land.

    Of course, successful plains-living folk tend to be very good at large, organized armies that can kick out raiders and invaders and thus protect the wealth, but tend to have mountainous neighbors that give them headaches. What hill living taketh away in land fertility it giveth in defensibility.

    E.g. The Roman Army got very good at protecting its farms on the plains, but had a debil of a time when it tried to take the hillbilly Samnite lands in the mountains of Eastern Italy; it took three wars, some humiliating losses, and a major reorganization of the Roman army from the phalanx to the maniple system.

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Maniple_(military_unit)

    And in Britain, the Romans never could conquer the hillbilly Picts in Scotland. Similarly, England, with a great plain-fighting army, had hundreds of years of difficulty with the hillbilly Scots.

    Anyway, the mountain regions in those areas tend to have fewer blacks, and blacks are a big reason for American fatness.

    • Replies: @Raz
    @R.G. Camara

    Anyway, the mountain regions in those areas tend to have fewer blacks, and blacks are a big reason for American fatness.


    Do not think that’s the main reason. While easy to blame on stereotypically heavy black women think this is mostly not a black/white thing. Visited Disneyworld with my kids years ago and actually remarked to someone then about how many obese families were walking around and was told that’s because Louisiana schools were off that week and that’s what you get with Louisiana families. Black and white. Interestingly, I now have family in both Louisiana and Colorado (none of whom are obese) but you def see obesity differences when you visit each. And there are not many blacks in less obese CO, but obesity prevalent in both black and white when I visit LA. Think differences in attitude towards physical activity and less interest/sophistication in eating well are main causes.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara

  24. Anonymous[419] • Disclaimer says:

    There is a lengthy series of articles at the *Slime Mold Time Mold* blog, rejecting conventional explanations for the obesity epidemic and examining stranger ones. Looking at the correlation with elevation makes them think that there’s something in the water, concentrating the further downstream one goes, possibly lithium from deep farm wells.

    https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

    The theories they end up with are plausible but uncertain; the arguments contra mainstream theories are very compelling.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
    @Anonymous

    Came here to say the same thing, but linking to the "A Chemical Hunger" site itself (http://achemicalhunger.com/).

    The people who put that stuff together, put in some seriously hard yards in collating and organising their data - and then presented it with non-trivial amounts of cheery witticisms.

  25. @Buzz Mohawk
    @Achmed E. Newman

    When I zoom in, I notice that my part of Connecticut has low obesity like Colorado.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Yikes! Run for the hills!

  26. The most obvious way to check this is, what does it look like in Europe?

    In Europe this relationship does not exist at all.

    Here is an elevation map of Europe:

    https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/elevation-map-of-europe/image_large

    And here is an obesity map of Europe:

    If anything we see the opposite: Spain and Turkey, both high on plains have higher rates of elevation with high altitude Turkey having the highest obesity rate.

    The low countries have low rates of obesity.

    I suspect the American phenomenon is an artifact of recent migration. The Mountain West had a low population until in recent years when a self-selecting (probably higher SES) group began to move there. Colorado’s population has tripled since 1960.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
    @DanHessinMD

    Turkish immigrants in Austria are also noticeably heavier than the indigenous population. But obesity in Austria seems to have an even stronger class bias than in the US. Upper class Austrian men are often almost anorexic by American standards. Rural and working class Austrians may not be obese but are certainly on the fat side, and look worse than people did 40 years ago.

  27. Heat and humidity have a lot to do with it. High elevation towns aren’t as hot and humid, so spending a lot of time outdoors is actually enjoyable. It’s even noticeable if you just drive a few miles up one of the canyons from the Salt Lake Valley. A hot, 90 degree day down in the valley turns into a not-too-bad day up in the mountains, where an exhausting 2-4 hour hike on a hot summer day suddenly seems realistic.

    High density cities with good mass transit keep people thin by keeping them walking. In cities like New York and London you can easily get your 10,000 steps in just walking to and from your subway stops or running errands.

    Oceanside cities are one exception to the idea that heat and humidity keep people indoors. Many (but not all) oceanside cities draw people outside because being near the ocean is just so invigorating.

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    • Agree: Hangnail Hans
    • Replies: @OFWHAP
    @Wilkey


    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.
     
    I worked a few years in a meat department and lost a good deal of weight due to being on the go for 8+ hours each shift. Working at a busy meat department is basically having a built-in gym membership because you spend a lot of time walking around and carrying heavy things. When you're receiving meat shipments, some of those boxes can weigh up to 80-90 pounds. I also ate a ton, but the weight still melted off me. Part of what helped is that I was constantly in colder temperatures, which causes you to burn more calories.

    On the flip side, a lot of guys you see in working-class jobs tend to be alcoholics or drug users. Our head butcher (Nicaraguan) came in high as a kite every day. Another guy (Salvadoran) got violently drunk every day of the week; he would often show up and vomit in the trash cans and wash his mouth out with a hose. This job can also wreck your sleep if you work the opening shift, which starts at 4 or 5 am, or if you have an inconsistent schedule such as I had in which I would sometimes work until 7 or 8 pm and then have to come back at 5 am.

    I have since moved on from being a butcher and am quite happy with the move. While I have put on a little weight, I am much less stressed in general. Working-class jobs suck (I worked nights, weekends, and holidays in hazardous working conditions for low pay), and people who work in an office or especially those who work from home should appreciate how good they have it.
    , @prosa123
    @Wilkey

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    I'd say it's very much the opposite. If you don't like your job at the supermarket/trucking company/restaurant/machine shop, in most places and at most times you can just get a job with another employer easily enough. If you don't like your office job, you can go look for another one but you're going to be one of 500 fully qualified applicants.

    , @Philip Neal
    @Wilkey

    If physical exertion was the main factor, you would expect to see a difference between flat and hilly cities at low altitude. In my part of the world, Edinburgh is hilly and Glasgow is flat, Leeds is hilly and Manchester is flat, but I never noticed much difference in people's weight from one to another.

  28. Do the folks living at high altitudes have the purest water supplies? Maybe water picks up some type of obesity-causing contaminant as it flows from higher to lower altitudes?

  29. @Mike Tre
    @Graham

    Those hillbillies in Appalachia appear to be highly intelligent.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Why don’t you go there then and try to find their stills and take their moonshine?

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Because I like living.

  30. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    Denver is different for various reasons. Denver has has changed significantly in the last 10-12 years. Denver is a bedroom community for the mountains. Denver has, despite being a Western city and perhaps because of its airport hub (?), a leftist core and a fat, red state suburban culture.

  31. @Jonathan Mason
    Living at 8000 feet plus in the Andes, I note almost zero morbidly obese men or children, but quite a few tub-shaped middle-aged women.

    Bacon in the US is mostly fat. A rasher of good Danish back bacon is nearly all meat.

    People who move to Colorado are often eccentric, faddy Americans who are vegans or vegetarians who ride bikes wearing helmets.

    It is possible that people who live at higher altitudes use more calories in the process of breathing more rapidly to process oxygen intake.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Mike Tre, @JohnnyUinta

    Walking up steep driveways and sidewalks to the front door with the groceries will burn off the fat too. So will shoveling snow and doing spring house repairs and yard work, provided there’s no Mexican labor around.

  32. Steve,
    A lot of wheat farmers working at 5000 ft?

  33. @Bert
    The lower rates of obesity in the Mid- and Southern Appalachians is due to a propensity of Scots-Irish toward low BMIs, presumably a genetically based propensity.

    The following quote is from a Tory militiaman at the Battle of Kings Mountain describing the typically spare stature of his Scots-Irish enemies:


    A South Carolina loyalist named Drury Mathis was severely wounded. As he lay flat against the rough slope the balls from the patriot rifles fell around him like hail while the shots from his fellow loyalists consistently passed above the heads of their targets. Playing possum, he hugged the ground while watching the mountaineers swarm up the ridge: men "not over-burdened with fat, but tall, raw-boned, and sinewy."
     
    The passage is from "The Battle of Kings Mountain 1780: With Fire and Sword"
    by Wilma Dykeman

    Replies: @SFG

    In 1780, environment trumped genetics by far when it came to who got fat. They were poor mountain men, they didn’t get enough calories to get fat, and they got plenty of exercise.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @SFG

    You don't know much. These fighters lived in the southwestern Great Valley
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Appalachian_Valley
    and in the bottomlands of the Broad River, the Catawba River, the Pacolet River, and the upper Tennessee drainage. For example, the first settlement in East Tennessee was on Long Island in the Holston River. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/colonials-patriots/sitec54.htm

    They had fields of wheat, corn, squash, and potatoes. They had cattle and sheep. The woods were full of turkey, deer, and bear. They had plenty of food.

    They weren't mountain men. They crossed the Smokies multiple times to whack the British, who had only a vague understanding of where these men lived. The British were derelict in not sending out dozens of travelers to gather information before they tried to conquer the Southern backcountry. You are derelict in advancing such an ignorant argument. Actually, the British name for these people was more knowledgeable and accurate than yours. The British called them "Backwater Men," meaning they lived along rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Atlantic. "Mountain Men" they were not. As population size rose, their descendants settled coves and hollows in the mountains, and today on average they are still not as fat as the typical American. Evidence trumps bullshit.

  34. @Altai
    Reduced oxygen reducing metabolism?

    Though people get cranky about it due to global warming denialism, the atmospheric content of the Earth has changed significantly over time due to life on Earth, out current era no exception.

    The oxygen availability crisis was one of the most crucial moments in life's evolutionary history on Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event

    This is why there is such a vast array of iron chelating structures known as siderophores among micro-organisms. Typically something like that would be basal and the same essential structure but the process of the iron becoming oxidised over time led life to adapt en masse to it with huge amounts of simultaneous parallel evolution.

    https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1038/s41559-017-0138

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ilqooLhz2QM/WWrvECOT1MI/AAAAAAAACls/4009E2-pN3MgXO9a9C9pvbrhHQ9CjaCDQCLcBGAs/s1600/energy%2Band%2Bevolution.jpg

    And in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren't possible now for their modern descendants such as most famously dragonflies.

    Replies: @Altai, @Chrisnonymous, @Muggles, @profnasty

    in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren’t possible now

    Even bigger than John Holmes?

  35. Can anyone explain the Kansas-Colorado border? East of the border is maximum-obesity, but cross the line into Colorado, and apparently obesity becomes markedly less common.

    My first guess would be “the data is bogus,” but I’m not familiar with the region.

    • Replies: @Indiana Jack
    @MKW

    I think that the sharp difference along the Kansas-Colorado border is probably a result of differing methods of collecting data or making estimates in different states, which illustrates one of the difficulties in using statistics such as this. It would be different if there was a gradual change as one crossed the great plains toward the Rocky Mountains, but dramatic changes that neatly map state lines indicate that there may be differences in how these estimates are made in different states.

    This is not to say that the trend illustrated on the map is wrong. I do not doubt that the differences are real. But while the map may illustrate a real trend, limitations such as this should be kept in mind. The fact that the borders between Colorado and Kansas, between Texas and Louisiana, and between Texas and Oklahoma are so clearly visible even though the counties immediately on the border share many similarities indicates that some of the differences that we are seeing is simply the result of different data collection methods in different states.

  36. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Right, Buzz, and specifically on your last paragraph, one COULD probably find a correlation if he studied the whole world and looked all the serious high spots in the world where there is a real physiological difference in people due to that significantly lower O2 level. Maybe it's obvious that people there would have to be in better cardiovascular shape anyway. (Wouldn't that imply less obesity? I think.)

    Most of the terrain differences in the populated areas of the US are not enough to change human physiology.

    This freaking guy thinks he can pull out one map and look at lighter-colored areas in the 3 mountain ranges (The Ozarks don't count, but they don't help his cause anyway.) and make a tweet but he doesn't know the land. Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can't blame 'em.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Jim Bob Lassiter

    “Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can’t blame ’em.”

    I beg to disagree, especially the “not many people live there” part of the yellow Appalachian counties. For the most part, the yellow counties are the relatively most populated parts of the southern and middle Appalachian region. Think Asheville-Hendersonville, NC, Blacksburg-Christiansburg, VA, Roanoke, VA, Bristol, TN-VA, Tri-Cities TN, Boone-Blowing Rock, NC, most of the Shenandoah Valley etc. Unfortunately, a large part of the population are undesirable outsiders.

    This from someone who lives close to the region in question and has travelled it extensively as a tourist and a businessperson.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    I'm sorry to have this late a reply, Jim Bob. I read your reply. but I had looked through numerous maps of all kinds. When I zoom in, I see that there's not enough resolution in this map to make out the counties I'm interested in very well. (I went to the original tweet, but that's as far as I'm going into the tweet world.)

    I've been to all the places you mentioned in the last 5-10 years except for Blacksburg (been 30 or so). Of course, the Shenandoah Valley is low. The cities in question - been to the Tri-Cities very recently (Johnson City is at 1,600 ft., Kingsport is at 1,200 ft. and Bristol is at 1,700 ft) - are not at the highest of elevations compared to, say, most of eastern W. Virginia*. The city of Ashville itself is at 2,100 ft. The exception you mentioned is Boone/Blowing Rock which is Appalachian State U. and tourism.

    I'd try to compare counties but, again, that map is too blury.


    .

    * Much of the living area - what there is TO it - is at 3-4,000 ft. Not many people are there either, but it's all deep red on that map.

  37. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    You need to travel around the country more, you obviously don’t understand just how bad it has gotten.

    • Replies: @WJ
    @Jon

    I know how bad it has gotten. I lived near San Antonio for a year. It's demographics. Denver and SA increasingly share the same demographic.

  38. I believe that shivering from the cold is helpful for weight loss! I read once about a married couple who managed a remote Arctic Station somewhere and they couldn’t keep weight on and were hungry all the time. I love the buffet scene in the original movie, “Fargo”.

  39. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    It’s all relative. Of course there are fat people in Denver however compared to other cities/states, Denver and Colorado have some of the lowest obesity percentages in the nation. https://www.outtherecolorado.com/news/two-colorado-cities-rank-among-skinniest-in-nation/article_7a4e4444-7c40-11eb-b7d2-77eda1a66b40.html

  40. Scott Alexander explored this theory some back in 2016
    https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/12/05/thin-air/

  41. @Graham
    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    These are correlations, not absolute causal forces, but you know that.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Brutusale, @Stan Adams, @AnotherDad, @Colin Wright

    On behalf of the Fatties of Unz, I thank you for the disclaimer.

    I live a few feet above sea level.

    • Replies: @Graham
    @Stan Adams

    Well I’m a counter-example, I suppose. I am now quite slim (thank you, low carb diet) and live at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England. But Steve’s point is about the USA, not here, and I think things are different in the UK; although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jim Don Bob, @Stan Adams

  42. @Wilkey
    Heat and humidity have a lot to do with it. High elevation towns aren’t as hot and humid, so spending a lot of time outdoors is actually enjoyable. It’s even noticeable if you just drive a few miles up one of the canyons from the Salt Lake Valley. A hot, 90 degree day down in the valley turns into a not-too-bad day up in the mountains, where an exhausting 2-4 hour hike on a hot summer day suddenly seems realistic.

    High density cities with good mass transit keep people thin by keeping them walking. In cities like New York and London you can easily get your 10,000 steps in just walking to and from your subway stops or running errands.

    Oceanside cities are one exception to the idea that heat and humidity keep people indoors. Many (but not all) oceanside cities draw people outside because being near the ocean is just so invigorating.

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    Replies: @OFWHAP, @prosa123, @Philip Neal

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    I worked a few years in a meat department and lost a good deal of weight due to being on the go for 8+ hours each shift. Working at a busy meat department is basically having a built-in gym membership because you spend a lot of time walking around and carrying heavy things. When you’re receiving meat shipments, some of those boxes can weigh up to 80-90 pounds. I also ate a ton, but the weight still melted off me. Part of what helped is that I was constantly in colder temperatures, which causes you to burn more calories.

    On the flip side, a lot of guys you see in working-class jobs tend to be alcoholics or drug users. Our head butcher (Nicaraguan) came in high as a kite every day. Another guy (Salvadoran) got violently drunk every day of the week; he would often show up and vomit in the trash cans and wash his mouth out with a hose. This job can also wreck your sleep if you work the opening shift, which starts at 4 or 5 am, or if you have an inconsistent schedule such as I had in which I would sometimes work until 7 or 8 pm and then have to come back at 5 am.

    I have since moved on from being a butcher and am quite happy with the move. While I have put on a little weight, I am much less stressed in general. Working-class jobs suck (I worked nights, weekends, and holidays in hazardous working conditions for low pay), and people who work in an office or especially those who work from home should appreciate how good they have it.

    • Agree: Wilkey
  43. I may sound like a Negative Newman here. I gave nothing but lots of examples of low and light and high and heavy*. That helps my point, but the main deal is this: The real physiological effects wouldn’t kick in until you reach seriously high territory, and the US has almost no areas like that that are seriously populated.

    Rather than the 20.9% O2 we get at sea level, at 5,000 ft. it’s at 17.2%, so it’s still at 82% of the best we get (other than those obese Death Valley residents). Does that matter? Let’s draw a limit of 6,000 ft, where the O2 level is 16.6% of the atmospheric gas or 79.4% of what we get at sea level. Does 20% less than normal Oxygen intake make our bodies use that much more energy? I’m no doctor, but I can walk (not run) around at 6,000 ft and not notice anything.

    How many Americans live above 6,000 ft.? That’s higher than the cities (in general) of Denver, Boulder even, Albuquerque, Caspar, way higher than Missoula or Bend, OR, but not higher than Flagstaff, Cheyenne, or Laramie, and yes Aspen. What else you got? Asheville, pssshaaaw! 2,100 or so.

    We are traveling and visiting, otherwise, I’d go look for maps of US population above 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 ft, etc. That’d be cool to see, in fact. It’s only at these really high places where this guy’s speculation might mean something (other than, as written, it being due to other factors like affluence, class, race), but it doesn’t matter, as almost NOBODY LIVES THERE! Yet, in the sea level to 4,000 ft range, I see plenty of inverse correlation examples.

    You see why I get tired of people like the original tweeter? I LUV LUV LUV geography. I’ve been everywhere, man, in this whole land…

    .

    * It’s clean, slow and heavy that you REALLY have to worry about… for wake turbulence, at least.

    • Replies: @Kgaard
    @Achmed E. Newman

    How about Bogota Colombia? That's about 2600 meters, or a bit over 8,000+ feet. People are pretty thin there. You get a wicked headache every time you roll in though. Same with Cusco.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    , @Jay Fink
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Montana and Wyoming have lower obesity than North and South Dakota even if they are neighboring states at the same latitude. All 4 states are mostly white too. The only difference is elevation. There could be something cultural too with the West being more health conscious than the Midwest.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Achmed E. Newman

  44. Corn says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    When I used to shuttle somewhat between Colorado and Connecticut, I noticed that I lost weight whenever I was in the former for any extended length of time. Not only that, when my wife and her parents came one time and stayed for a month with me they lost weight too.

    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder, but I also know that the natural environment in places like that is conducive to more outdoor activity. There are simply more places to go take a hike.

    Boulder, for example, is a fitness mecca and a rock-climber hangout. Not everybody is building stuff for Saudis. (It also has the highest per capita of Ph.D.s working in restaurants, and they make better hash browns than East Coast diner cooks, I can tell you.)

    Moreover, this subject probably includes more than one variable, like most things. Not just physical exercise and direct environmental factors like oxygen levels, but also the genetic makeup of the types of people who live in certain kinds of places.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Corn, @epebble

    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder

    I think this it. Obesity or body weight was briefly mentioned in another of Steve’s posts quite awhile back and someone (maybe Steve himself) noted that with air being thinner at higher altitudes the heart and lungs have to work harder to bring in enough oxygen. It’s as if even when at rest your body is doing mild cardio exercise.

    https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

    I’d recommend anyone read the SlimeMoldTimeMold blog’s long series on obesity if they have time. It provides many theories for why obesity rates have exploded, but ultimately, I think the fault is within ourselves. Sugar and simple carbs and processed foods are more accessible than ever. They taste good, we eat too much.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    @Corn


    I’d recommend anyone read the SlimeMoldTimeMold blog’s long series on obesity if they have time. It provides many theories for why obesity rates have exploded, but ultimately, I think the fault is within ourselves. Sugar and simple carbs and processed foods are more accessible than ever. They taste good, we eat too much.
     
    People--the "dissident"thinkers--want to come up with these triple bank shot theories of why suddenly people are getting fat. But there is zero mystery to it--they eat too much, especially simple carbs--and don't do anything to burn them up.

    We've had lots of adaptations to diet since the neolithic, but we did not evolve a brand new carbohydrate metabolism. Simple carbs used to be rare--"let's go back over to the lake area, the apples be ripening now". Now there are ubiquitous. And if your blood sugar doesn't get worked off, your insulin responds, the carbs are converted into fat ... and your blood sugar falls and makes you hungry--again.

    People's metabolisms vary. But almost everyone can lose some weight with a keto-ish diet. No perfection required, just dialing back the carbs in favor of fats/protein and giving yourself a decent "no eat" interval overnight and through the morning.
  45. Oh, and Larry Walters got up to 16,000 ft, in his lawn chair borne by 43 weather balloons over Long Beach, California 40 years ago yesterday with no weight gain or other ill effects. Peak Stupidity (but of course!) memorialized this effort yesterday. However our legal department told us not to say great things about the America of the day that had guys like he and D.B. Cooper.

    Steve, did you live in LA then? I remember hearing about this guy, and that really made my day.

    • Agree: Carol
  46. People also move to places like Colorado specifically for the outdoors, so interstate migrants are selected for health and activity. A lot of fit, outdoorsy people from places like Texas or New Jersey come here to ski, and are frequently more enthusiastic skiers/hikers than a lot of natives.

  47. I’d like to know how much of the increase in obesity was caused by an older population and less smoking.

  48. Map is very misleading. Huge swaths of the deep South are so red because of the proportionally larger black population than in the whiter mountainous areas of the South. Also a lot of the reddest areas don’t even have many people.

    Northeast coastal areas and Florida are quite non-obese and also quite flat. That’s a considerable chunk of the population east of the Mississippi.

    Map would be more revealing if it controlled for race and income. Only area of the country where there is possibly a trend at work is interior Mountain West vs. Great Plains, which have similar demographics but with the plains people being fatter.

  49. I recently saw a potential weight loss spa opportunity for some entrepreneur: logging.
    A logging museum I visited described one of the economic challenges for the pre-steam-powered logging companies was how to feed lumberjacks who need 8,000 calories a day, three times the normal human requirement, without hurting the slim profit margins.
    Someone could run a camp producing lumber for firewood and promote it as a way of losing weight fast and getting fit while still being carbon-neutral. Bonus: the Monty Python lumberjack song is trans-people friendly.

    • Replies: @Carol
    @Alfa158

    The sad thing about active, outdoor blue collar jobs is that a guy can really get hurt.

  50. @Wilkey
    Heat and humidity have a lot to do with it. High elevation towns aren’t as hot and humid, so spending a lot of time outdoors is actually enjoyable. It’s even noticeable if you just drive a few miles up one of the canyons from the Salt Lake Valley. A hot, 90 degree day down in the valley turns into a not-too-bad day up in the mountains, where an exhausting 2-4 hour hike on a hot summer day suddenly seems realistic.

    High density cities with good mass transit keep people thin by keeping them walking. In cities like New York and London you can easily get your 10,000 steps in just walking to and from your subway stops or running errands.

    Oceanside cities are one exception to the idea that heat and humidity keep people indoors. Many (but not all) oceanside cities draw people outside because being near the ocean is just so invigorating.

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    Replies: @OFWHAP, @prosa123, @Philip Neal

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    I’d say it’s very much the opposite. If you don’t like your job at the supermarket/trucking company/restaurant/machine shop, in most places and at most times you can just get a job with another employer easily enough. If you don’t like your office job, you can go look for another one but you’re going to be one of 500 fully qualified applicants.

  51. Two brains in the morphology, brain and gut.
    Challenge is one of balance.
    Brain says: I need more.
    Gut says: I am sated.
    Obesity is a manifestation of unconsciousness.
    Q: Am I aware of myself? Am I aware of creation? Am I aware of others?
    Gluttony defines it:
    An unconscious disregard of self. A shameful contempt of self.
    My admonition:
    Eat yourself to hell.

  52. @Stan Adams
    @Graham

    On behalf of the Fatties of Unz, I thank you for the disclaimer.

    I live a few feet above sea level.

    Replies: @Graham

    Well I’m a counter-example, I suppose. I am now quite slim (thank you, low carb diet) and live at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England. But Steve’s point is about the USA, not here, and I think things are different in the UK; although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Graham


    ...at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England.
     
    You call that high? That's about the elevation of Louisiana's Driskill "Mountain", which ranks #48 in state high points. Only Delaware and Florida and, among Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island, have lower top peaks. (Then again, Louisiana is about the size of all of England.)

    Mount Lukens in Steve's city reaches five thousand feet, Mount San Antonio in his county over ten thousand.


    United States State/Territory High Points

    Replies: @AKAHorace

    , @Jim Don Bob
    @Graham


    . . . although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.
     
    That's true of the elite in the USA too. Being fat is considered low class.
    , @Stan Adams
    @Graham

    Quite true.

    I have known the bitterness of obesity and the exultation of leanness (not necessarily in that order), and from both I have learned there can be no turning back.

    In the first picture, I have a semi-aristocratic bearing; in the second, I look like just another schlubby prole:



    https://i.ibb.co/MGNzzzF/F802564-E-E580-4-A1-E-8-EE0-7-F16788-CB9-A3.jpg

    https://i.ibb.co/q7x4thJ/CB7-D4601-462-E-48-E6-B2-D5-6-EC02-EE3-D466.jpg

  53. Elevation and Obesity

    Cue Sir Paul and Stevie:

    Elevation and Obesity
    live together in inverse harmony
    Side-by-side in the Mississippi Valley
    Oh Lord, so do we…

    I’d be interested if there are obesity differences among, say, wheat farmers on the Great Plains living at 1,000 feet of altitude versus 5,000 feet of altitude. That would be a good apples to apples comparison to see if the difference in obesity is environmental rather than cultural.

    In Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, Paul Fussell quotes a scathing Jonathan Raban about the crowds at the Minnesota State Fair. (The equally scathing cartoon gracing Fussell’s previous page dresses nothing like the plain(s) people in “the triangle of Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas” which Raban calls the “flab capital”.)

    That was over forty years ago. Flab has shifted to other states’ fairs. Minnesota has slimmed down– or holding the fair in a trendy, health-obsessed big city makes a difference.

    Though Paul Barbato of the Geography Now channel on YouTube praises Wisconsin for having the best-looking fat people in America. “They own it and they flaunt it.”

  54. Any studies on high v low Germans?

  55. @Graham
    @Stan Adams

    Well I’m a counter-example, I suppose. I am now quite slim (thank you, low carb diet) and live at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England. But Steve’s point is about the USA, not here, and I think things are different in the UK; although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jim Don Bob, @Stan Adams

    …at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England.

    You call that high? That’s about the elevation of Louisiana’s Driskill “Mountain”, which ranks #48 in state high points. Only Delaware and Florida and, among Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island, have lower top peaks. (Then again, Louisiana is about the size of all of England.)

    Mount Lukens in Steve’s city reaches five thousand feet, Mount San Antonio in his county over ten thousand.

    United States State/Territory High Points

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
    @Reg Cæsar


    …at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England.
     
    You call that high? That’s about the elevation of Louisiana’s Driskill “Mountain”, which ranks #48 in state high points. Only Delaware and Florida and, among Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island, have lower top peaks.


    I think that you have missed his point, he was saying that he lives quite close to sea level and is slim.

    (Although this is about twice the average elevation of England, so probably lives at a higher altitude than most Englishmen)
  56. @Jonathan Mason
    @TWS


    It’s A thousand feet lower than where my grandmother was born and kids used to freeze in the winter going to school.
     
    How awful! Did they thaw them out in the springtime?

    Replies: @TWS

    No they were dead. Boy that is hilarious, small children dying in a sudden storm walking to school.

    • Replies: @Bubba
    @TWS

    This is an excellent, non-fiction book about just one of those blizzards that happened in 1888. 235 dead.

    After reading it you realize that children in elementary school were much smarter and tougher than today's woke, "adult-children" college graduates.

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/616e76YeHOL.jpg

  57. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    That’s just because there are plenty of fat people everywhere now. It’s all relative, and Colorado is indeed less full of fatties than most states.

    The preponderance of fatties everywhere is yet another reason I’m somewhat loath to mix with the masses nowadays. I can’t stand even to look at them, much less get close and personal.

    Ten or 15 years ago there was a popular thread on FlyerTalk called “Why is there no shame in America about being fat?” What’s changed since then is that nowadays no such thread would be allowed. Progress!

    • Replies: @Nico
    @Hangnail Hans


    The preponderance of fatties everywhere is yet another reason I’m somewhat loath to mix with the masses nowadays. I can’t stand even to look at them, much less get close and personal.
     
    This was actually a not-unimportant factor in my decision to move from the United States to France in early adulthood, and a major reason why I’m loath to consider ever living in North America or Britain again.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

  58. Acclimatization
    Fluid loss

    The hormones produced by your body in response to lower oxygen pressure include several which cause increased urine production. The effect is to lower your blood volume, so that you will have more oxygen-carrying red blood cells in every drop of blood. Thus, mild diarrhea and increase in urination are common annoyances in the first few weeks at altitude. Urine production gradually decreases, but it never returns all the way to normal.

    Vulnerability to Cold

    The increase in concentration of blood cells makes it more difficult for blood to get through constricted capillaries in your extremities. At the same time, the hormones produced by low blood oxygen make those blood vessels constrict more easily. Cold hands and feet are the result.

    Lower blood sugar and reduced appetite

    Burning sugar for fuel stimulates you to inhale more oxygen than burning fats or proteins. Therefore, the body shifts towards burning sugar preferentially at high altitude. Diabetics often find their glucose control is better and their doctors may reduce their medications accordingly. People in general tend to crave sweets, especially at first. This is why, if you move to Cuenca, you will notice people sucking on sweets, popsicles, and ice cream everywhere you look. On the other hand, greasy foods tend to lose their appeal. The loose bowels and vascular headache also come with some nausea, which lowers the appetite even more.

    Greater effort to achieve the same physical work

    Even after acclimatizing to living at high altitude, the body’s muscles do not get as much oxygen at maximal uptake, so they don’t produce as much power in low-oxygen conditions as they do at sea level. Therefore, the amount of energy burned to perform a given task, like walk a mile at a set speed, is greater at higher altitude than it is at sea level.

    Men lose more weight than women

    The overall result of these changes, especially weight loss, is stronger in men than in women, because of the effect of estrogen and progesterone. This is why the typical lowland man who moves to high altitude loses 7-12 pounds and the typical woman loses 4-6 pounds.

    Men and women, incidentally, both tend to have higher levels of both testosterone and thyroid hormone at altitude.

    Cache of documents regarding altitude here: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B3hXveu1hq-pWDl6MF82Y2tCNEE&usp=sharing

    Article this post is extracted from here: https://goodbyeusahelloecuador.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/losing-adaptation-to-moderate-altitude/

    • Thanks: Muggles
  59. @Arclight
    Hmmm...to the extent topography matters, I think it would be that if you live in an area with a lot of interesting natural features you are more inclined to spend spare time outdoors enjoying your geographical good fortune and exploring. If you live in an area with little in the way of natural interest, you have to work harder at reasons to roam around. Anyway, that's my theory after half a cup of coffee.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

    Weather, weather, and weather.

    Also, climate.

  60. One of the really really weird facts to me is that when you look at what coorelates with obesity, what would you guess the biggest favor is? Poverty? Calorie intake? Exercise? No.

    It’s living in the Central Time Zone.

    • Agree: Charon
    • Replies: @West reanimator
    @AnotherDad

    ...which is mostly mountainous, yes..

  61. How is it that this guy isn’t widely recognized as an idiot?

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    @Hangnail Hans

    How is it that this guy isn’t widely recognized as an idiot?

    Jewish privilege.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

  62. two graduate students recently wrote a paper arguing that obesity is due to some chemicals that collect in the watershed, thus explaining obesity rampant at lower elevations…pretty interesting paper…
    see here: https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

  63. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    Reno NV. as well….

  64. @Graham
    @Stan Adams

    Well I’m a counter-example, I suppose. I am now quite slim (thank you, low carb diet) and live at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England. But Steve’s point is about the USA, not here, and I think things are different in the UK; although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jim Don Bob, @Stan Adams

    . . . although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.

    That’s true of the elite in the USA too. Being fat is considered low class.

  65. @Buzz Mohawk
    When I used to shuttle somewhat between Colorado and Connecticut, I noticed that I lost weight whenever I was in the former for any extended length of time. Not only that, when my wife and her parents came one time and stayed for a month with me they lost weight too.

    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder, but I also know that the natural environment in places like that is conducive to more outdoor activity. There are simply more places to go take a hike.

    Boulder, for example, is a fitness mecca and a rock-climber hangout. Not everybody is building stuff for Saudis. (It also has the highest per capita of Ph.D.s working in restaurants, and they make better hash browns than East Coast diner cooks, I can tell you.)

    Moreover, this subject probably includes more than one variable, like most things. Not just physical exercise and direct environmental factors like oxygen levels, but also the genetic makeup of the types of people who live in certain kinds of places.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Corn, @epebble

    Ph.D.s working in restaurants

    Why is that? What do they have Doctorates in?

    Dr. Smith, I would like to order a Hashbrown

    has a cinematic ring to it.

  66. not sure about obesity and elevation – could be peripherally related to oxygen levels, and fat people need more to breathe – but it’s probably just due to Colorado not historically being a normal place for average people to move and live. as mentioned a few times, my brother runs his business in Colorado, so i’m there from time to time, and Colorado is getting fatter every decade, just like any other state.

    but in CO it’s because an endless amount of assholes from CA are moving there and some of them are fat like a general population of americans. and the mexicans, who were always chubby, continuing to move up north. i never see the mexicans at actual elevation – in the national parks, in the mountains proper, skiing. but there’s tons of them in the range towns. Pueblo is majority mexicans.

    however, suicide correlates pretty strongly with elevation, and that is where i suspect the lower amount of oxygen matters. people just kill themselves more at elevation.

    • Replies: @Muggles
    @prime noticer


    people just kill themselves more at elevation.
     
    Yes. Mt. Everest proves your point.
  67. @Graham
    @Stan Adams

    Well I’m a counter-example, I suppose. I am now quite slim (thank you, low carb diet) and live at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England. But Steve’s point is about the USA, not here, and I think things are different in the UK; although the higher up the class and wealth scale you are, the thinner you are, in general.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jim Don Bob, @Stan Adams

    Quite true.

    I have known the bitterness of obesity and the exultation of leanness (not necessarily in that order), and from both I have learned there can be no turning back.

    In the first picture, I have a semi-aristocratic bearing; in the second, I look like just another schlubby prole:

    [MORE]

    • LOL: William Badwhite
  68. I live in a deep Blue, techish Whitopia, and I’m amazed at how many of the other 40-something dads are gaunt. Not fit or in shape but just gaunt looking. It’s the naturally skinny man’s version of letting yourself go. By contrast, at Legoland Florida I was maybe in the 5-10% of dads under 20% bodyfat. ‘Fit’ dads were even rarer. The vast majority of dads were just plain fat. Both places seem to represent the negative extremes in mens’ health for Red states v Blue states.

    The fat dads in Red suburban America seem easy enough to explain. But I’m at a loss to explain all the anemic tech/engineer dads. Maybe it’s a combination of hyper-conscientiousness and Blue state anti-masculinity (ie lifting is for right wing toxic Trumpers or something).

    • Replies: @S. Anonyia
    @Anonymous Jew

    Nobody is “gaunt” unless they have ribs protruding at rest. I have traveled all over and do not see gaunt Americans aside from homeless people and high school cross-country runners. You are just so used to seeing fat guys and chubby gym bros who take steroids that you forgot what a normal BMI guy who doesn’t exercise a lot looks like.

    Replies: @Anonymous Jew

    , @Corn
    @Anonymous Jew


    But I’m at a loss to explain all the anemic tech/engineer dads.
     
    Poorly balanced vegetarians/vegans?
  69. fat people can’t survive much beyond 5000 feet, which is the elevation of the front range towns in CO.

    View post on imgur.com

  70. @The Alarmist
    Obesity also seems to correlate to race, IYKWIM.

    Replies: @kpkinsunnyphiladelphia

    Yep.

    Look at those dark dark colors on the map south of the Mason Dixon line.

    Mama’s biscuits and gravy. Yum yum yum!!

  71. @AnotherDad

    One of the really really weird facts to me is that when you look at what coorelates with obesity, what would you guess the biggest favor is? Poverty? Calorie intake? Exercise? No.
     
    It's living in the Central Time Zone.

    Replies: @West reanimator

    …which is mostly mountainous, yes..

    • Disagree: Hangnail Hans
  72. I wonder what obesity is like in Lesotho, which has the highest lowest elevation of any country.

  73. a. Higher elevations are quite cold. You burn more calories where it is cold.

    b. Higher elevations are usually low population, and skew very young. Not much indoor work or office sitting infrastructure. So more of the paid work is outdoors: logging, mining, ski resort, road maintenance/building, snow removal, transport (rail/truck).

    c. Higher proportion of Nordic Whites. Lower proportion of welfare TV snacking non Whites. Nordics tend to be more outdoors people.

    Obviously there are many exceptions. In very large places (as Denver, noted above) you get a more generic population/work mix.

    Living at high altitudes is a self selection process done for recreational reasons (unless native born there) so fitter people move in.

    • Agree: AnotherDad
  74. @Alfa158
    I recently saw a potential weight loss spa opportunity for some entrepreneur: logging.
    A logging museum I visited described one of the economic challenges for the pre-steam-powered logging companies was how to feed lumberjacks who need 8,000 calories a day, three times the normal human requirement, without hurting the slim profit margins.
    Someone could run a camp producing lumber for firewood and promote it as a way of losing weight fast and getting fit while still being carbon-neutral. Bonus: the Monty Python lumberjack song is trans-people friendly.

    Replies: @Carol

    The sad thing about active, outdoor blue collar jobs is that a guy can really get hurt.

    • Agree: Muggles
  75. Elevation and Obesity

    On topic:
    https://www.rogerebert.com/roger-ebert/i-feel-good-i-knew-that-i-would

    [MORE]

    I feel good! I knew that I would!
    Roger Ebert
    January 14, 2009

    […]
    You see how it is. One day in December I came upon an article at Slate.com by Emily Yoffe, headlined “Obama in Your Heart.” it Involved a study about “the emotions of uplift.” It was conducted by Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at Berkeley, who had studied physical responses in test subjects who are deeply moved–most recently, during that night at Grant Park. A specific human emotion is involved. It is called Elevation.

  76. @Graham
    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    These are correlations, not absolute causal forces, but you know that.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Brutusale, @Stan Adams, @AnotherDad, @Colin Wright

    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    You nailed the gist of it Graham.

    I think there probably is some direct metabolic effect of your body working hard at altitude.

    But what pops out of the map is race and class. Visible:
    — Colorado, obvious mecca for folks interested in the mountain lifestyle amenities
    — the Black Belt
    — the “Blue Ridge Parkway” corridor–from metro Atlanta, through Upcountry SC, Ashland, (spur to NC triangle), Blacksburg and Charlottesville to D.C. (And on up to NYC and Boston.) Less black than the coastal South, more college educated/higher income than the ridge+valley province full of the Scots-Irish hillbillies to the West
    — New England urbanity … then rural Maine.
    — Urban areas–you can literally see Nashville, Fayetteville, Overland Park KS in a sea of brown sludge.
    — Germanics seem to do just slightly better than Scots-Irish or Anglos in general. Iowa/MN,WI better than Missouri and you can literally see the outline of Texas. But still really bad.
    — Indians; The Navajo capital, Window Rock is at 6800 ft (just looked it up) but easy to see where the Indians live.
    — California’s central valley … our fat and happy Hispanic future (at least if we can stave off Steve’s “World’s Most Important Graph”)

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @AnotherDad


    But what pops out of the map is race and class.
     
    This.

    I live in a lowland super zip and own a farmstead in upland Appalachia. The former has one of the lowest average body mass indices in the country. The latter is full of morbidly obese people. Obesity is highly correlated with race and class in this country. This is particularly pronounced with women. For women, being trim is a class marker these days. The MSM goes hysterical over "body positivity," precisely because upper crust women ruthlessly judge - in private - obese women, just like the same outlets go hysterical over BLM, precisely because the upscale, in practice, keep away from The DiversityTM in where they live, work, and send their kids to school.

    There are innumerable snake oil salesmen in this country who try to sell you this diet or that. The fact is, all those have only marginal effects. What really matters is the simple arithmetic - calories in, calories consumed. Net positive, you gain weight. Net negative, you lose weight. Now, being net negative is painful. But if you want to lose weight, that's what you have to be willing to experience and for a good while. Maintaining, though, is not as painful.

    When I lived in East Asia, it was difficult for me to gain weight. I didn't eat Keto, Paleo or protein-heavy or any special diet. I just ate what the locals did (lots of rice, noodles, and etc.). But I walked everywhere or rode the bus or the subway (meaning, always on my feet). Some days, I probably walked 6-8 hours. Meanwhile, whatever I ate, the portion sizes were much smaller. The net result? I lost weight every stretch I did in East Asia.

    Similarly, a friend of mine lived in Italy for two years. He ate mostly pasta and bread (and, yes, far more fish than in the U.S.). Yeah, them evil carbs. But, again, the portion sizes were small, he walked or rode the bicycle everywhere. He lost 60 lbs. in those two years. As soon as he came back to the U.S., he "gave that all back" and a year or so later, was 80+ lbs. heavier than in Italy. It took him a decade or so, but he is finally back down some, if not quite the Italian weight. He tries very hard to eat smaller portions and he walks and bikes every day and is now prepping for a marathon (just wants to do it once in his life).

  77. @Altai
    Reduced oxygen reducing metabolism?

    Though people get cranky about it due to global warming denialism, the atmospheric content of the Earth has changed significantly over time due to life on Earth, out current era no exception.

    The oxygen availability crisis was one of the most crucial moments in life's evolutionary history on Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event

    This is why there is such a vast array of iron chelating structures known as siderophores among micro-organisms. Typically something like that would be basal and the same essential structure but the process of the iron becoming oxidised over time led life to adapt en masse to it with huge amounts of simultaneous parallel evolution.

    https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1038/s41559-017-0138

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ilqooLhz2QM/WWrvECOT1MI/AAAAAAAACls/4009E2-pN3MgXO9a9C9pvbrhHQ9CjaCDQCLcBGAs/s1600/energy%2Band%2Bevolution.jpg

    And in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren't possible now for their modern descendants such as most famously dragonflies.

    Replies: @Altai, @Chrisnonymous, @Muggles, @profnasty

    Thanks.

    Who sez you can’t learn things here on iSteve?

    Practically grad level earth science.

    And here I always thought this blog was mainly a huge time sink…

  78. @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @Mike Tre

    Why don't you go there then and try to find their stills and take their moonshine?

    Replies: @Mike Tre

    Because I like living.

  79. @Jim Bob Lassiter
    What about obesity in McDowell County, West Virginia? While not having elevations found in some population centers of the Rockies, it ain't exactly Houston either.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Faraday's Bobcat

    This was sort of the point of my other comment you replied to.

  80. @Jonathan Mason
    Living at 8000 feet plus in the Andes, I note almost zero morbidly obese men or children, but quite a few tub-shaped middle-aged women.

    Bacon in the US is mostly fat. A rasher of good Danish back bacon is nearly all meat.

    People who move to Colorado are often eccentric, faddy Americans who are vegans or vegetarians who ride bikes wearing helmets.

    It is possible that people who live at higher altitudes use more calories in the process of breathing more rapidly to process oxygen intake.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Mike Tre, @JohnnyUinta

    “Bacon in the US is mostly fat. A rasher of good Danish back bacon is nearly all meat.”

    And your point is? I mean, other than you have no idea what the relationship between nutrition and the human body is.

  81. Your map also correlates to some extent with ethnicity. Notice, for example, your swatch in Eastern Arizona and New Mexico. Altitude’s nice ‘n high — but lots of Indian reservations. Then you’ve got the Southeast — and black women. Do your fattier areas of Washington State correlate with the American Indian population?

  82. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    It’s not a BS theory. Denver has the lowest obesity of major cities. The thing to remember is that obesity has exploded in America. To put this in perspective, 30 years ago Colorado would have been the most obese state at their current obesity levels instead of the lowest.

    • Replies: @WJ
    @Jay Fink

    I should have been more clear on why it's bs. It's not elevation or lack thereof that impact obesity. Large hispanic population in Denver. LA and San Diego at sea level appear to have low numbers..

    Replies: @Jay Fink

  83. @Graham
    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.

    These are correlations, not absolute causal forces, but you know that.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Brutusale, @Stan Adams, @AnotherDad, @Colin Wright

    ‘Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.’

    There is also — to say the least — a genetic component.

    This is particularly visible in Spain, where the more Germanic North is noticeably meatier than the more Moorish/Berber South. Would you argue that Berbers are more intelligent, etc than Germans?

  84. @prime noticer
    not sure about obesity and elevation - could be peripherally related to oxygen levels, and fat people need more to breathe - but it's probably just due to Colorado not historically being a normal place for average people to move and live. as mentioned a few times, my brother runs his business in Colorado, so i'm there from time to time, and Colorado is getting fatter every decade, just like any other state.

    but in CO it's because an endless amount of assholes from CA are moving there and some of them are fat like a general population of americans. and the mexicans, who were always chubby, continuing to move up north. i never see the mexicans at actual elevation - in the national parks, in the mountains proper, skiing. but there's tons of them in the range towns. Pueblo is majority mexicans.

    however, suicide correlates pretty strongly with elevation, and that is where i suspect the lower amount of oxygen matters. people just kill themselves more at elevation.

    Replies: @Muggles

    people just kill themselves more at elevation.

    Yes. Mt. Everest proves your point.

    • LOL: Buzz Mohawk
  85. Bert says:
    @SFG
    @Bert

    In 1780, environment trumped genetics by far when it came to who got fat. They were poor mountain men, they didn’t get enough calories to get fat, and they got plenty of exercise.

    Replies: @Bert

    You don’t know much. These fighters lived in the southwestern Great Valley
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Appalachian_Valley
    and in the bottomlands of the Broad River, the Catawba River, the Pacolet River, and the upper Tennessee drainage. For example, the first settlement in East Tennessee was on Long Island in the Holston River. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/colonials-patriots/sitec54.htm

    They had fields of wheat, corn, squash, and potatoes. They had cattle and sheep. The woods were full of turkey, deer, and bear. They had plenty of food.

    They weren’t mountain men. They crossed the Smokies multiple times to whack the British, who had only a vague understanding of where these men lived. The British were derelict in not sending out dozens of travelers to gather information before they tried to conquer the Southern backcountry. You are derelict in advancing such an ignorant argument. Actually, the British name for these people was more knowledgeable and accurate than yours. The British called them “Backwater Men,” meaning they lived along rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Atlantic. “Mountain Men” they were not. As population size rose, their descendants settled coves and hollows in the mountains, and today on average they are still not as fat as the typical American. Evidence trumps bullshit.

  86. @Reg Cæsar
    @Graham


    ...at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England.
     
    You call that high? That's about the elevation of Louisiana's Driskill "Mountain", which ranks #48 in state high points. Only Delaware and Florida and, among Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island, have lower top peaks. (Then again, Louisiana is about the size of all of England.)

    Mount Lukens in Steve's city reaches five thousand feet, Mount San Antonio in his county over ten thousand.


    United States State/Territory High Points

    Replies: @AKAHorace

    …at about 500 feet above sea level in rural England.

    You call that high? That’s about the elevation of Louisiana’s Driskill “Mountain”, which ranks #48 in state high points. Only Delaware and Florida and, among Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island, have lower top peaks.

    I think that you have missed his point, he was saying that he lives quite close to sea level and is slim.

    (Although this is about twice the average elevation of England, so probably lives at a higher altitude than most Englishmen)

  87. @Anonymous Jew
    I live in a deep Blue, techish Whitopia, and I’m amazed at how many of the other 40-something dads are gaunt. Not fit or in shape but just gaunt looking. It’s the naturally skinny man’s version of letting yourself go. By contrast, at Legoland Florida I was maybe in the 5-10% of dads under 20% bodyfat. ‘Fit’ dads were even rarer. The vast majority of dads were just plain fat. Both places seem to represent the negative extremes in mens’ health for Red states v Blue states.

    The fat dads in Red suburban America seem easy enough to explain. But I’m at a loss to explain all the anemic tech/engineer dads. Maybe it’s a combination of hyper-conscientiousness and Blue state anti-masculinity (ie lifting is for right wing toxic Trumpers or something).

    Replies: @S. Anonyia, @Corn

    Nobody is “gaunt” unless they have ribs protruding at rest. I have traveled all over and do not see gaunt Americans aside from homeless people and high school cross-country runners. You are just so used to seeing fat guys and chubby gym bros who take steroids that you forgot what a normal BMI guy who doesn’t exercise a lot looks like.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Jew
    @S. Anonyia

    Not going to argue over semantics, but I take your point. But the gauntness - or whatever you want to call it - seems to be more a phenomenon of leftist dads. It’s a small sample, but of our friends in Red states, one dad is an engineer and the other is stay-at-home. Both are like me: they stay in the mid to upper teens body fat but also work out regularly - lift etc. We’re far from roided meat heads but much more solid than any leftist dads I’ve met (in your mid-40s with no hormone ‘enhancement’ you’re not going to put on a huge amount of muscle). Even my one local Republican dad-friend does some light lifting.

    Red dads seem fat or fit. Blue dads seem skinny or skinny fat and allergic to even push ups or pull ups. Just my anecdotal observations.

    Replies: @Jay Fink

  88. Eat
    Less
    Move
    Often

    ELMO.

  89. I’d be interested if there are obesity differences among, say, wheat farmers on the Great Plains living at 1,000 feet of altitude versus 5,000 feet of altitude. That would be a good apples to apples comparison to see if the difference in obesity is environmental rather than cultural.

    That makes sense. In theory, respiration would require more energy expenditure at higher elevations due to thinner air.

    On the other hand, just eyeballing the map, the Mississippi River basin seems to be at least as strongly correlated to obesity as low elevation is, and relatively few people live at elevations above 2,000 feet, so cultural factors are probably more important than elevation.

  90. anon[364] • Disclaimer says:

    Obesity in America is well understood, although you wouldn’t know it by the mainstream media. It’s a result of the ingredients in processed food. High amounts of polyunsaturated ‘vegetable’ oils (such as factory-produced canola, sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn, rice bran, peanut, cottonseed, etc.), sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and various and sundry additives, as well as the irritating chemistry and antinutrients from grains, are the culprits.

    Grass fed and finished ruminant meats and saturated animal fats are what humans have evolved to eat.

    One can look good for a while if working like crazy or pursuing an energy intensive sport, but people of all ages and lifestyles used to be in decent condition in America.

  91. @Corn
    @Buzz Mohawk


    I think there is something about thinner air that makes the body work harder
     
    I think this it. Obesity or body weight was briefly mentioned in another of Steve’s posts quite awhile back and someone (maybe Steve himself) noted that with air being thinner at higher altitudes the heart and lungs have to work harder to bring in enough oxygen. It’s as if even when at rest your body is doing mild cardio exercise.

    https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

    I’d recommend anyone read the SlimeMoldTimeMold blog’s long series on obesity if they have time. It provides many theories for why obesity rates have exploded, but ultimately, I think the fault is within ourselves. Sugar and simple carbs and processed foods are more accessible than ever. They taste good, we eat too much.

    Replies: @AnotherDad

    I’d recommend anyone read the SlimeMoldTimeMold blog’s long series on obesity if they have time. It provides many theories for why obesity rates have exploded, but ultimately, I think the fault is within ourselves. Sugar and simple carbs and processed foods are more accessible than ever. They taste good, we eat too much.

    People–the “dissident”thinkers–want to come up with these triple bank shot theories of why suddenly people are getting fat. But there is zero mystery to it–they eat too much, especially simple carbs–and don’t do anything to burn them up.

    We’ve had lots of adaptations to diet since the neolithic, but we did not evolve a brand new carbohydrate metabolism. Simple carbs used to be rare–“let’s go back over to the lake area, the apples be ripening now”. Now there are ubiquitous. And if your blood sugar doesn’t get worked off, your insulin responds, the carbs are converted into fat … and your blood sugar falls and makes you hungry–again.

    People’s metabolisms vary. But almost everyone can lose some weight with a keto-ish diet. No perfection required, just dialing back the carbs in favor of fats/protein and giving yourself a decent “no eat” interval overnight and through the morning.

  92. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    “I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here.”

    Denver is the weed capital of the Intermountain West. Thus the fatties.

  93. This is a classic case of altitude being a proxy for outdoorsy and wealthy, rather than important in itself. Surf towns and cross country ski towns and others I can’t think of would also show low obesity, without any altitude.

  94. TYPO…attitude not altitude. I’m obese becasuce of systemic racism, blah,blah,blah.

  95. @Anonymous Jew
    I live in a deep Blue, techish Whitopia, and I’m amazed at how many of the other 40-something dads are gaunt. Not fit or in shape but just gaunt looking. It’s the naturally skinny man’s version of letting yourself go. By contrast, at Legoland Florida I was maybe in the 5-10% of dads under 20% bodyfat. ‘Fit’ dads were even rarer. The vast majority of dads were just plain fat. Both places seem to represent the negative extremes in mens’ health for Red states v Blue states.

    The fat dads in Red suburban America seem easy enough to explain. But I’m at a loss to explain all the anemic tech/engineer dads. Maybe it’s a combination of hyper-conscientiousness and Blue state anti-masculinity (ie lifting is for right wing toxic Trumpers or something).

    Replies: @S. Anonyia, @Corn

    But I’m at a loss to explain all the anemic tech/engineer dads.

    Poorly balanced vegetarians/vegans?

  96. @DanHessinMD
    The most obvious way to check this is, what does it look like in Europe?

    In Europe this relationship does not exist at all.

    Here is an elevation map of Europe:

    https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/elevation-map-of-europe/image_large

    And here is an obesity map of Europe:

    https://landgeistdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/europe-obesity-2.png

    If anything we see the opposite: Spain and Turkey, both high on plains have higher rates of elevation with high altitude Turkey having the highest obesity rate.

    The low countries have low rates of obesity.

    I suspect the American phenomenon is an artifact of recent migration. The Mountain West had a low population until in recent years when a self-selecting (probably higher SES) group began to move there. Colorado's population has tripled since 1960.

    Replies: @Peter Akuleyev

    Turkish immigrants in Austria are also noticeably heavier than the indigenous population. But obesity in Austria seems to have an even stronger class bias than in the US. Upper class Austrian men are often almost anorexic by American standards. Rural and working class Austrians may not be obese but are certainly on the fat side, and look worse than people did 40 years ago.

  97. @Anonymous
    There is a lengthy series of articles at the *Slime Mold Time Mold* blog, rejecting conventional explanations for the obesity epidemic and examining stranger ones. Looking at the correlation with elevation makes them think that there's something in the water, concentrating the further downstream one goes, possibly lithium from deep farm wells.

    https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

    The theories they end up with are plausible but uncertain; the arguments contra mainstream theories are very compelling.

    Replies: @Kratoklastes

    Came here to say the same thing, but linking to the “A Chemical Hunger” site itself (http://achemicalhunger.com/).

    The people who put that stuff together, put in some seriously hard yards in collating and organising their data – and then presented it with non-trivial amounts of cheery witticisms.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
  98. @AnotherDad
    @Graham


    Intelligent people think ahead more. They take care of themselves and don’t get fat. They also, because they are more intelligent, make more money and can choose where to live. They choose to live higher up.
     
    You nailed the gist of it Graham.

    I think there probably is some direct metabolic effect of your body working hard at altitude.

    But what pops out of the map is race and class. Visible:
    -- Colorado, obvious mecca for folks interested in the mountain lifestyle amenities
    -- the Black Belt
    -- the "Blue Ridge Parkway" corridor--from metro Atlanta, through Upcountry SC, Ashland, (spur to NC triangle), Blacksburg and Charlottesville to D.C. (And on up to NYC and Boston.) Less black than the coastal South, more college educated/higher income than the ridge+valley province full of the Scots-Irish hillbillies to the West
    -- New England urbanity ... then rural Maine.
    -- Urban areas--you can literally see Nashville, Fayetteville, Overland Park KS in a sea of brown sludge.
    -- Germanics seem to do just slightly better than Scots-Irish or Anglos in general. Iowa/MN,WI better than Missouri and you can literally see the outline of Texas. But still really bad.
    -- Indians; The Navajo capital, Window Rock is at 6800 ft (just looked it up) but easy to see where the Indians live.
    -- California's central valley ... our fat and happy Hispanic future (at least if we can stave off Steve's "World's Most Important Graph")

    Replies: @Twinkie

    But what pops out of the map is race and class.

    This.

    I live in a lowland super zip and own a farmstead in upland Appalachia. The former has one of the lowest average body mass indices in the country. The latter is full of morbidly obese people. Obesity is highly correlated with race and class in this country. This is particularly pronounced with women. For women, being trim is a class marker these days. The MSM goes hysterical over “body positivity,” precisely because upper crust women ruthlessly judge – in private – obese women, just like the same outlets go hysterical over BLM, precisely because the upscale, in practice, keep away from The DiversityTM in where they live, work, and send their kids to school.

    There are innumerable snake oil salesmen in this country who try to sell you this diet or that. The fact is, all those have only marginal effects. What really matters is the simple arithmetic – calories in, calories consumed. Net positive, you gain weight. Net negative, you lose weight. Now, being net negative is painful. But if you want to lose weight, that’s what you have to be willing to experience and for a good while. Maintaining, though, is not as painful.

    When I lived in East Asia, it was difficult for me to gain weight. I didn’t eat Keto, Paleo or protein-heavy or any special diet. I just ate what the locals did (lots of rice, noodles, and etc.). But I walked everywhere or rode the bus or the subway (meaning, always on my feet). Some days, I probably walked 6-8 hours. Meanwhile, whatever I ate, the portion sizes were much smaller. The net result? I lost weight every stretch I did in East Asia.

    Similarly, a friend of mine lived in Italy for two years. He ate mostly pasta and bread (and, yes, far more fish than in the U.S.). Yeah, them evil carbs. But, again, the portion sizes were small, he walked or rode the bicycle everywhere. He lost 60 lbs. in those two years. As soon as he came back to the U.S., he “gave that all back” and a year or so later, was 80+ lbs. heavier than in Italy. It took him a decade or so, but he is finally back down some, if not quite the Italian weight. He tries very hard to eat smaller portions and he walks and bikes every day and is now prepping for a marathon (just wants to do it once in his life).

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  99. OT – we must be urgent in fighting white supremacy. Wait a minute, uhhhhh, strike that.

    The Oregon Health Authority declares that “urgency is a white supremacy value”:

    I love the name of these state-sponsored busy-body groups: RHEC (pronounced “wreck”), CAC (means “bad”), and CIC (pronounced “sick”).

  100. @Wilkey
    Heat and humidity have a lot to do with it. High elevation towns aren’t as hot and humid, so spending a lot of time outdoors is actually enjoyable. It’s even noticeable if you just drive a few miles up one of the canyons from the Salt Lake Valley. A hot, 90 degree day down in the valley turns into a not-too-bad day up in the mountains, where an exhausting 2-4 hour hike on a hot summer day suddenly seems realistic.

    High density cities with good mass transit keep people thin by keeping them walking. In cities like New York and London you can easily get your 10,000 steps in just walking to and from your subway stops or running errands.

    Oceanside cities are one exception to the idea that heat and humidity keep people indoors. Many (but not all) oceanside cities draw people outside because being near the ocean is just so invigorating.

    Working class towns tend to be fatter than upscale towns, but I wouldn’t lay all the blame on stupidity or laziness or whatever. Working class jobs tend to be more stressful, and stress induces overeating.

    Replies: @OFWHAP, @prosa123, @Philip Neal

    If physical exertion was the main factor, you would expect to see a difference between flat and hilly cities at low altitude. In my part of the world, Edinburgh is hilly and Glasgow is flat, Leeds is hilly and Manchester is flat, but I never noticed much difference in people’s weight from one to another.

  101. @Hangnail Hans
    @WJ

    That's just because there are plenty of fat people everywhere now. It's all relative, and Colorado is indeed less full of fatties than most states.

    The preponderance of fatties everywhere is yet another reason I'm somewhat loath to mix with the masses nowadays. I can't stand even to look at them, much less get close and personal.

    Ten or 15 years ago there was a popular thread on FlyerTalk called "Why is there no shame in America about being fat?" What's changed since then is that nowadays no such thread would be allowed. Progress!

    Replies: @Nico

    The preponderance of fatties everywhere is yet another reason I’m somewhat loath to mix with the masses nowadays. I can’t stand even to look at them, much less get close and personal.

    This was actually a not-unimportant factor in my decision to move from the United States to France in early adulthood, and a major reason why I’m loath to consider ever living in North America or Britain again.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @Nico

    Definitely jealous here. Though I would be more jealous if France--like nearly all of Europe--weren't busy trashing itself too.

    Granted, not with fatties so much as third world migrants.

    Replies: @Nico

  102. @Jim Bob Lassiter
    What about obesity in McDowell County, West Virginia? While not having elevations found in some population centers of the Rockies, it ain't exactly Houston either.

    Replies: @Mike Tre, @Faraday's Bobcat

    What about obesity in McDowell County, West Virginia? While not having elevations found in some population centers of the Rockies, it ain’t exactly Houston either.

    McDowell is in the Appalachian Plateau, west of the mountains themselves. The Plateau is mostly around 2000 feet but is carved into deep hollows by streams. It’s extremely rugged but not technically mountainous.

    I’m not familiar with settlement patterns in the mountains, but in the Plateau, almost everyone lives in the bottoms along the streams, because that’s where the roads are and they can’t afford to build a driveway up the typically very steep hillsides. I would guess the average elevation of a residence in McDowell is around 1500 feet above sea level.

  103. @WJ
    I live in Denver. Plenty of fat people here. BS theory.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Jon, @George Taylor, @Hangnail Hans, @fish, @Jay Fink, @SunBakedSuburb, @Boo Alcindor

    The Aztecs that have invaded this once great city are, after the age of eighteen, almost all morbidly obese.
    It seems like ski town living has more to do with the low obesity rate.

  104. @Hangnail Hans
    https://i.ibb.co/4mngVBP/Capture-2022-07-03-13-07-44-2.png

    How is it that this guy isn't widely recognized as an idiot?

    Replies: @kaganovitch

    How is it that this guy isn’t widely recognized as an idiot?

    Jewish privilege.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @kaganovitch

    Just goes to show, it's possible to have too much of a good thing!

  105. @kaganovitch
    @Hangnail Hans

    How is it that this guy isn’t widely recognized as an idiot?

    Jewish privilege.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

    Just goes to show, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing!

  106. @MKW
    Can anyone explain the Kansas-Colorado border? East of the border is maximum-obesity, but cross the line into Colorado, and apparently obesity becomes markedly less common.

    My first guess would be "the data is bogus," but I'm not familiar with the region.

    Replies: @Indiana Jack

    I think that the sharp difference along the Kansas-Colorado border is probably a result of differing methods of collecting data or making estimates in different states, which illustrates one of the difficulties in using statistics such as this. It would be different if there was a gradual change as one crossed the great plains toward the Rocky Mountains, but dramatic changes that neatly map state lines indicate that there may be differences in how these estimates are made in different states.

    This is not to say that the trend illustrated on the map is wrong. I do not doubt that the differences are real. But while the map may illustrate a real trend, limitations such as this should be kept in mind. The fact that the borders between Colorado and Kansas, between Texas and Louisiana, and between Texas and Oklahoma are so clearly visible even though the counties immediately on the border share many similarities indicates that some of the differences that we are seeing is simply the result of different data collection methods in different states.

  107. Fat people need to get real: be fat and have a short life, or be thin and live a long life. Simple

  108. Raz says:
    @R.G. Camara
    Traditionally, hillbilly folk tended to be poorer than people on the plains, as things don't grow well in the mountains than in fertile valleys. e.g. In Sergeant York, Gary Cooper's lead character is a hillbilly crackshot who is obsessed with getting some money to buy a piece of "bottom land" (i.e. land in the local valley that grows food well as opposed to his family's rocky dirt farm). Of course, hillbilly folk also tend to be rougher and quicker to random violence and desiring of solitude, because they have less and therefore have to be on guard against thieves taking it, and have also become acclimated to the less-dense hill land.

    Of course, successful plains-living folk tend to be very good at large, organized armies that can kick out raiders and invaders and thus protect the wealth, but tend to have mountainous neighbors that give them headaches. What hill living taketh away in land fertility it giveth in defensibility.

    E.g. The Roman Army got very good at protecting its farms on the plains, but had a debil of a time when it tried to take the hillbilly Samnite lands in the mountains of Eastern Italy; it took three wars, some humiliating losses, and a major reorganization of the Roman army from the phalanx to the maniple system.

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Maniple_(military_unit)

    And in Britain, the Romans never could conquer the hillbilly Picts in Scotland. Similarly, England, with a great plain-fighting army, had hundreds of years of difficulty with the hillbilly Scots.

    Anyway, the mountain regions in those areas tend to have fewer blacks, and blacks are a big reason for American fatness.

    Replies: @Raz

    Anyway, the mountain regions in those areas tend to have fewer blacks, and blacks are a big reason for American fatness.

    Do not think that’s the main reason. While easy to blame on stereotypically heavy black women think this is mostly not a black/white thing. Visited Disneyworld with my kids years ago and actually remarked to someone then about how many obese families were walking around and was told that’s because Louisiana schools were off that week and that’s what you get with Louisiana families. Black and white. Interestingly, I now have family in both Louisiana and Colorado (none of whom are obese) but you def see obesity differences when you visit each. And there are not many blacks in less obese CO, but obesity prevalent in both black and white when I visit LA. Think differences in attitude towards physical activity and less interest/sophistication in eating well are main causes.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
    @Raz


    Do not think that’s the main reason.
     
    If you look at obesity maps, they correlate strongly with places with large black populations. And the diabetes rates and other obesity diseases are higher for blacks than non-blacks -- diabetes medication commercials are universal for any show or network geared towards blacks (e.g. Family Feud, The Steve Harvey show, etc.). And there has long been a stereotype of black women being tubbier than non-black women.

    Whether the Standard American Diet (SAD) is bad for blacks or whether blacks prefer tubbiness more than non-blacks (see Sir Mix-A-Lot or Snoop Dogg's paens to "thicker" black women) is an open question. But blacks are disproportionately obese compared to non-blacks.
  109. @Jon
    @WJ

    You need to travel around the country more, you obviously don't understand just how bad it has gotten.

    Replies: @WJ

    I know how bad it has gotten. I lived near San Antonio for a year. It’s demographics. Denver and SA increasingly share the same demographic.

  110. @Jay Fink
    @WJ

    It's not a BS theory. Denver has the lowest obesity of major cities. The thing to remember is that obesity has exploded in America. To put this in perspective, 30 years ago Colorado would have been the most obese state at their current obesity levels instead of the lowest.

    Replies: @WJ

    I should have been more clear on why it’s bs. It’s not elevation or lack thereof that impact obesity. Large hispanic population in Denver. LA and San Diego at sea level appear to have low numbers..

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
    @WJ

    Boston also has low obesity and they are near sea level.

  111. Speaking from SW Florida,
    Yeah, 1:1 correlation.
    My town; population 9,3o8.
    Elevation 33ft.
    Weight, 221. Height, 5’6.
    Total: 9618.

  112. @Altai
    Reduced oxygen reducing metabolism?

    Though people get cranky about it due to global warming denialism, the atmospheric content of the Earth has changed significantly over time due to life on Earth, out current era no exception.

    The oxygen availability crisis was one of the most crucial moments in life's evolutionary history on Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event

    This is why there is such a vast array of iron chelating structures known as siderophores among micro-organisms. Typically something like that would be basal and the same essential structure but the process of the iron becoming oxidised over time led life to adapt en masse to it with huge amounts of simultaneous parallel evolution.

    https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1038/s41559-017-0138

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ilqooLhz2QM/WWrvECOT1MI/AAAAAAAACls/4009E2-pN3MgXO9a9C9pvbrhHQ9CjaCDQCLcBGAs/s1600/energy%2Band%2Bevolution.jpg

    And in prior eras afterward a massively greater availability of atmospheric molecular oxygen helped spur times when species grew to tremendous sizes that aren't possible now for their modern descendants such as most famously dragonflies.

    Replies: @Altai, @Chrisnonymous, @Muggles, @profnasty

    Some people think too much.
    Dragonfly
    Check out Spanish Castle Magic by The Jimi Hendrix Experience on Amazon Music

    • Replies: @profnasty
    @profnasty

    I'm Getting old. Digital crap confounds me.
    If any are interested in dragonflies, you must follow the link to 'Spanish Castle Magic'. Or not.
    Transmission completed.

  113. @profnasty
    @Altai

    Some people think too much.
    Dragonfly
    Check out Spanish Castle Magic by The Jimi Hendrix Experience on Amazon Music
    https://music.amazon.com/albums/B003BG4KHE?trackAsin=B003BG9Y1Q&ref=dm_sh_9gYn2VhFWe7CgB9ay4xd5DYUW

    Replies: @profnasty

    I’m Getting old. Digital crap confounds me.
    If any are interested in dragonflies, you must follow the link to ‘Spanish Castle Magic’. Or not.
    Transmission completed.

  114. I’d wager that it has to do with high altitude places not having been fertile grounds for cash crops (and, of course, not having been under British/American rule until later in the evolution/expansion of the U.S.), and therefore not a destination for slaves. Like a lot of things, if you superimpose a map of US counties by percentage of black population the “Black Belt” explains quite a lot.

    I’d also be open to the idea that living in thin air at high altitude has salutary effects on metabolism.

  115. Esso says:

    That could well be a selection effect.

    One real cause for the correlation might be proximity to agriculture and livestock in lower altitudes, and exposure to their gut flora. The idea is that not just the animals themselves but also their gut microbes have been selected for fattening effect.

    In Europe there are some (dairy) cattle in the mountains, too. And we don’t feed them antibiotics incessantly.

  116. @Achmed E. Newman
    I may sound like a Negative Newman here. I gave nothing but lots of examples of low and light and high and heavy*. That helps my point, but the main deal is this: The real physiological effects wouldn't kick in until you reach seriously high territory, and the US has almost no areas like that that are seriously populated.

    Rather than the 20.9% O2 we get at sea level, at 5,000 ft. it's at 17.2%, so it's still at 82% of the best we get (other than those obese Death Valley residents). Does that matter? Let's draw a limit of 6,000 ft, where the O2 level is 16.6% of the atmospheric gas or 79.4% of what we get at sea level. Does 20% less than normal Oxygen intake make our bodies use that much more energy? I'm no doctor, but I can walk (not run) around at 6,000 ft and not notice anything.

    How many Americans live above 6,000 ft.? That's higher than the cities (in general) of Denver, Boulder even, Albuquerque, Caspar, way higher than Missoula or Bend, OR, but not higher than Flagstaff, Cheyenne, or Laramie, and yes Aspen. What else you got? Asheville, pssshaaaw! 2,100 or so.

    We are traveling and visiting, otherwise, I'd go look for maps of US population above 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 ft, etc. That'd be cool to see, in fact. It's only at these really high places where this guy's speculation might mean something (other than, as written, it being due to other factors like affluence, class, race), but it doesn't matter, as almost NOBODY LIVES THERE! Yet, in the sea level to 4,000 ft range, I see plenty of inverse correlation examples.

    You see why I get tired of people like the original tweeter? I LUV LUV LUV geography. I've been everywhere, man, in this whole land...

    .

    * It's clean, slow and heavy that you REALLY have to worry about... for wake turbulence, at least.

    Replies: @Kgaard, @Jay Fink

    How about Bogota Colombia? That’s about 2600 meters, or a bit over 8,000+ feet. People are pretty thin there. You get a wicked headache every time you roll in though. Same with Cusco.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Kgaard

    Right, 8,360 ft. at the airport - the airliners have to depressurize before landing (normal cabin altitude maxes out at 8,000 ft.).

    However, that's not in the US, and that's the kind of place where the physiological effects probably DO matter. My point, Kgaard, was that, in the sea-level to 4,000 ft range (and even going up to a mile to include Denver and Albuquerque) in the US, I doubt there's any effect, PLUS the fact that there are loads of examples in plain site on the bottom map that negate the guy's supposed "great idea".

  117. @WJ
    @Jay Fink

    I should have been more clear on why it's bs. It's not elevation or lack thereof that impact obesity. Large hispanic population in Denver. LA and San Diego at sea level appear to have low numbers..

    Replies: @Jay Fink

    Boston also has low obesity and they are near sea level.

  118. @Achmed E. Newman
    I may sound like a Negative Newman here. I gave nothing but lots of examples of low and light and high and heavy*. That helps my point, but the main deal is this: The real physiological effects wouldn't kick in until you reach seriously high territory, and the US has almost no areas like that that are seriously populated.

    Rather than the 20.9% O2 we get at sea level, at 5,000 ft. it's at 17.2%, so it's still at 82% of the best we get (other than those obese Death Valley residents). Does that matter? Let's draw a limit of 6,000 ft, where the O2 level is 16.6% of the atmospheric gas or 79.4% of what we get at sea level. Does 20% less than normal Oxygen intake make our bodies use that much more energy? I'm no doctor, but I can walk (not run) around at 6,000 ft and not notice anything.

    How many Americans live above 6,000 ft.? That's higher than the cities (in general) of Denver, Boulder even, Albuquerque, Caspar, way higher than Missoula or Bend, OR, but not higher than Flagstaff, Cheyenne, or Laramie, and yes Aspen. What else you got? Asheville, pssshaaaw! 2,100 or so.

    We are traveling and visiting, otherwise, I'd go look for maps of US population above 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 ft, etc. That'd be cool to see, in fact. It's only at these really high places where this guy's speculation might mean something (other than, as written, it being due to other factors like affluence, class, race), but it doesn't matter, as almost NOBODY LIVES THERE! Yet, in the sea level to 4,000 ft range, I see plenty of inverse correlation examples.

    You see why I get tired of people like the original tweeter? I LUV LUV LUV geography. I've been everywhere, man, in this whole land...

    .

    * It's clean, slow and heavy that you REALLY have to worry about... for wake turbulence, at least.

    Replies: @Kgaard, @Jay Fink

    Montana and Wyoming have lower obesity than North and South Dakota even if they are neighboring states at the same latitude. All 4 states are mostly white too. The only difference is elevation. There could be something cultural too with the West being more health conscious than the Midwest.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Jay Fink

    What % of the population of Montana and Wyoming moved there for the outdoors? I'm guessing 10%-15%.

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @Jay Fink

    Look at the geography, Jay. Missoula in Missoula County, Hamilton, in Ravalli County and Bozeman in Gallatin County are the bug-out spots for Californicators. Bozeman is at just below 5,000, but Missoula is down in the valley at 3,200 ft. They are yuppie havens, and that explains the thinner people.

    You go way up in the Rocky mountains up toward Idaho, where's it's also light yellow on the map, and NOBODY lives there. I don't know what good the data would be. Mountain Lions - they're pretty svelt, ;-}. See that big-ass orange area - Helena is in there somewhere (the borders on this map overlap multiple counties, it seems). Helena is at 3,800, but then you get to more Rocky Mountains where nobody is.

    I've been all over this land on the ground and in the air, Jay. Some places out west are just desolate, with 400 people in a county the size of Rhode Island.

    Then, to the west in the panhandle of Idaho, right around the Mullan pass where the I-90 goes through has got dark orange. I see no correlation, sorry.

    Replies: @epebble

  119. @Jay Fink
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Montana and Wyoming have lower obesity than North and South Dakota even if they are neighboring states at the same latitude. All 4 states are mostly white too. The only difference is elevation. There could be something cultural too with the West being more health conscious than the Midwest.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Achmed E. Newman

    What % of the population of Montana and Wyoming moved there for the outdoors? I’m guessing 10%-15%.

  120. @Raz
    My Colorado and Utah relatives are not private jet rich but they are the type to be doing active outdoors stuff and are not obese. So think it’s a combination of activity and lifestyle. And maybe age is younger in these areas. Wondering if there were black white diffs when looking at the high obesity south but figured obesity probably high in both groups. And obesity also high in rural white predominant areas like West Virginia, northern Maine.

    Overall a poor picture. And getting worse. Present day Colorado is least obese now but has much higher obesity rates than it had 20 or 30 yrs ago.

    Replies: @JohnnyUinta

    Raz,
    I’m in Utah, 13 years now and simply astounded at the number of morbidly obese people you see when you go out and about….it seems far worse than when I arrived here from NJ in 2009.

    You see these whales everywhere you go…big box stores, restaurants….anywhere and everywhere. I call them the “scooter piggies” and their ambulatory friends “walking whales.”

    I think the 2+ year of COVID lockdowns and ‘working from home’ BS had a deleterious effect. People were angry, fearful and uncertain of the future…. being locked up at home, people ate themselves into oblivion. People are stuffing themselves with really bad junk masquerading as food.

    That said, the obesity explosion in the US predates COVID by a few decades.

  121. @Jonathan Mason
    Living at 8000 feet plus in the Andes, I note almost zero morbidly obese men or children, but quite a few tub-shaped middle-aged women.

    Bacon in the US is mostly fat. A rasher of good Danish back bacon is nearly all meat.

    People who move to Colorado are often eccentric, faddy Americans who are vegans or vegetarians who ride bikes wearing helmets.

    It is possible that people who live at higher altitudes use more calories in the process of breathing more rapidly to process oxygen intake.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Mike Tre, @JohnnyUinta

    Who doesn’t love bacon?

    But I stopped buying it as it went over \$5.00/lb…Now it is around \$10.00/lb. FBJ.

  122. @Nico
    @Hangnail Hans


    The preponderance of fatties everywhere is yet another reason I’m somewhat loath to mix with the masses nowadays. I can’t stand even to look at them, much less get close and personal.
     
    This was actually a not-unimportant factor in my decision to move from the United States to France in early adulthood, and a major reason why I’m loath to consider ever living in North America or Britain again.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

    Definitely jealous here. Though I would be more jealous if France–like nearly all of Europe–weren’t busy trashing itself too.

    Granted, not with fatties so much as third world migrants.

    • Replies: @Nico
    @Hangnail Hans

    I hear you. As a female Jewish-American lawyer friend put it, “People go to France to see hot French people, not chicks decked out in garbage bags.”

    Replies: @Mark Brophy

  123. @Kgaard
    @Achmed E. Newman

    How about Bogota Colombia? That's about 2600 meters, or a bit over 8,000+ feet. People are pretty thin there. You get a wicked headache every time you roll in though. Same with Cusco.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Right, 8,360 ft. at the airport – the airliners have to depressurize before landing (normal cabin altitude maxes out at 8,000 ft.).

    However, that’s not in the US, and that’s the kind of place where the physiological effects probably DO matter. My point, Kgaard, was that, in the sea-level to 4,000 ft range (and even going up to a mile to include Denver and Albuquerque) in the US, I doubt there’s any effect, PLUS the fact that there are loads of examples in plain site on the bottom map that negate the guy’s supposed “great idea”.

  124. @Jay Fink
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Montana and Wyoming have lower obesity than North and South Dakota even if they are neighboring states at the same latitude. All 4 states are mostly white too. The only difference is elevation. There could be something cultural too with the West being more health conscious than the Midwest.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Achmed E. Newman

    Look at the geography, Jay. Missoula in Missoula County, Hamilton, in Ravalli County and Bozeman in Gallatin County are the bug-out spots for Californicators. Bozeman is at just below 5,000, but Missoula is down in the valley at 3,200 ft. They are yuppie havens, and that explains the thinner people.

    You go way up in the Rocky mountains up toward Idaho, where’s it’s also light yellow on the map, and NOBODY lives there. I don’t know what good the data would be. Mountain Lions – they’re pretty svelt, ;-}. See that big-ass orange area – Helena is in there somewhere (the borders on this map overlap multiple counties, it seems). Helena is at 3,800, but then you get to more Rocky Mountains where nobody is.

    I’ve been all over this land on the ground and in the air, Jay. Some places out west are just desolate, with 400 people in a county the size of Rhode Island.

    Then, to the west in the panhandle of Idaho, right around the Mullan pass where the I-90 goes through has got dark orange. I see no correlation, sorry.

    • Replies: @epebble
    @Achmed E. Newman

    We were returning home from a trip to Yellowstone many years back and stopped over in Butte to see the mines museum. We were surprised by the somewhat unexpected:

    https://dumas-brothel.com/


    Dumas Brothel

    The Dumas Brothel in Butte, Montana is the longest running active brothel in the United States

    The Dumas Brothel at 45 E. Mercury St. in Butte, Montana is the longest running active brothel in U.S. history. It was open from 1890 until 1982. It was built by the Nadeau brothers, Joseph and Arthur. Joseph’s wife’s maiden name was Dumas, and that was the name used for the brothel. The Nadeau’s or their family owned the brothel into the 1940’s. During the 40’s it was purchased by the madam at the time, Lillian Walden. She became the first madam owner, and the first non Nadeau owner. After Lillian all of the owners were the madams.

    The last madam was Ruby Garrett. When Ruby went to prison in 1982 it was closed as a brothel. She sold it to Rudy Geicek in 1990. Since then it has had 2 sets of owners including Michael Piche and Travis Eckelson. It is currently owned by David and Charlee Prince.
     
    in the town. It is just a museum now.

    Also, https://mininghistoryassociation.org/ButteHistory.htm
  125. @S. Anonyia
    @Anonymous Jew

    Nobody is “gaunt” unless they have ribs protruding at rest. I have traveled all over and do not see gaunt Americans aside from homeless people and high school cross-country runners. You are just so used to seeing fat guys and chubby gym bros who take steroids that you forgot what a normal BMI guy who doesn’t exercise a lot looks like.

    Replies: @Anonymous Jew

    Not going to argue over semantics, but I take your point. But the gauntness – or whatever you want to call it – seems to be more a phenomenon of leftist dads. It’s a small sample, but of our friends in Red states, one dad is an engineer and the other is stay-at-home. Both are like me: they stay in the mid to upper teens body fat but also work out regularly – lift etc. We’re far from roided meat heads but much more solid than any leftist dads I’ve met (in your mid-40s with no hormone ‘enhancement’ you’re not going to put on a huge amount of muscle). Even my one local Republican dad-friend does some light lifting.

    Red dads seem fat or fit. Blue dads seem skinny or skinny fat and allergic to even push ups or pull ups. Just my anecdotal observations.

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
    @Anonymous Jew

    You could be on to something. I am skinny (actually healthy BMI but usually the thinest person in any room). Liberals often talk politics with me assuming I am one of them. Little do they know I am to the right of the Republican party. Then again, I have had conservatives correctly assume I am one of them as well.

    I didn't wear a mask on the very first day my workplace didn't require it. At that point more than half of my co-workers still wore one. I received many comments that I wasn't someone they expected to go maskless. That means I must give a liberal or perhaps conformist vibe. It probably has to do with my body type and how non-threatening I look but in my case looks can be deceiving.

  126. @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @Achmed E. Newman

    "Those few yellow counties in the Appalachians? Not many people live there, and they are the type who might shoot on sight anyone they see nosying around with a clipboard. Can’t blame ’em."

    I beg to disagree, especially the "not many people live there" part of the yellow Appalachian counties. For the most part, the yellow counties are the relatively most populated parts of the southern and middle Appalachian region. Think Asheville-Hendersonville, NC, Blacksburg-Christiansburg, VA, Roanoke, VA, Bristol, TN-VA, Tri-Cities TN, Boone-Blowing Rock, NC, most of the Shenandoah Valley etc. Unfortunately, a large part of the population are undesirable outsiders.

    This from someone who lives close to the region in question and has travelled it extensively as a tourist and a businessperson.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    I’m sorry to have this late a reply, Jim Bob. I read your reply. but I had looked through numerous maps of all kinds. When I zoom in, I see that there’s not enough resolution in this map to make out the counties I’m interested in very well. (I went to the original tweet, but that’s as far as I’m going into the tweet world.)

    I’ve been to all the places you mentioned in the last 5-10 years except for Blacksburg (been 30 or so). Of course, the Shenandoah Valley is low. The cities in question – been to the Tri-Cities very recently (Johnson City is at 1,600 ft., Kingsport is at 1,200 ft. and Bristol is at 1,700 ft) – are not at the highest of elevations compared to, say, most of eastern W. Virginia*. The city of Ashville itself is at 2,100 ft. The exception you mentioned is Boone/Blowing Rock which is Appalachian State U. and tourism.

    I’d try to compare counties but, again, that map is too blury.

    .

    * Much of the living area – what there is TO it – is at 3-4,000 ft. Not many people are there either, but it’s all deep red on that map.

  127. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Jay Fink

    Look at the geography, Jay. Missoula in Missoula County, Hamilton, in Ravalli County and Bozeman in Gallatin County are the bug-out spots for Californicators. Bozeman is at just below 5,000, but Missoula is down in the valley at 3,200 ft. They are yuppie havens, and that explains the thinner people.

    You go way up in the Rocky mountains up toward Idaho, where's it's also light yellow on the map, and NOBODY lives there. I don't know what good the data would be. Mountain Lions - they're pretty svelt, ;-}. See that big-ass orange area - Helena is in there somewhere (the borders on this map overlap multiple counties, it seems). Helena is at 3,800, but then you get to more Rocky Mountains where nobody is.

    I've been all over this land on the ground and in the air, Jay. Some places out west are just desolate, with 400 people in a county the size of Rhode Island.

    Then, to the west in the panhandle of Idaho, right around the Mullan pass where the I-90 goes through has got dark orange. I see no correlation, sorry.

    Replies: @epebble

    We were returning home from a trip to Yellowstone many years back and stopped over in Butte to see the mines museum. We were surprised by the somewhat unexpected:

    https://dumas-brothel.com/

    Dumas Brothel

    The Dumas Brothel in Butte, Montana is the longest running active brothel in the United States

    The Dumas Brothel at 45 E. Mercury St. in Butte, Montana is the longest running active brothel in U.S. history. It was open from 1890 until 1982. It was built by the Nadeau brothers, Joseph and Arthur. Joseph’s wife’s maiden name was Dumas, and that was the name used for the brothel. The Nadeau’s or their family owned the brothel into the 1940’s. During the 40’s it was purchased by the madam at the time, Lillian Walden. She became the first madam owner, and the first non Nadeau owner. After Lillian all of the owners were the madams.

    The last madam was Ruby Garrett. When Ruby went to prison in 1982 it was closed as a brothel. She sold it to Rudy Geicek in 1990. Since then it has had 2 sets of owners including Michael Piche and Travis Eckelson. It is currently owned by David and Charlee Prince.

    in the town. It is just a museum now.

    Also, https://mininghistoryassociation.org/ButteHistory.htm

  128. Rob says:

    Arguendo that elevation has a causal relationship to obesity, let’s think about selection pressures and responses to dealing with elevation changes.

    Air is thin up high. Breathing enough is more work. Let’s say you have lungs that will support burning an easy 2500 cal/day aerobically. Let’s say you run a few miles a day, 7 mph, 5 miles. For the sake of argument, you burn 100Cal/mile. You then move higher up. You go for a run, but the air’s thinner! Your lungs can’t propel that much human at that speed so high up. You could slow down (boo!) but your ancestors couldn’t slow down and kill as much game/cover as much distance.

    What’s probably evolved in response to low oxygen is to drop body weight so your burn calories at the rate your lungs can support.

    There’s a bit of evidence for this. IIRC, people who exercise in a low O2 atmosphere lose more weight than controls. The first paper I found was for normal pressure, low oxygen exercise for 8 weeks where the low O2 lost a bit more than a kg, but the normal o2 group lost essentially none. Here’s a prof who thinks elevation affects metabolism through sleep.

    Dropping weight in response to greater difficulty staying oxygenated makes a good deal of sense. Accidents and infections can reduce breathing ability on a permanent or temporary basis, in addition to changing elevation.

    In twenty years, maybe obese people will be given oxygen “deconcentrators” to use when sleeping. Probably safer than weight loss drugs.

  129. Most of the ‘Blue Zone’ areas of greater longevity seem pretty hilly: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_zone

  130. @Raz
    @R.G. Camara

    Anyway, the mountain regions in those areas tend to have fewer blacks, and blacks are a big reason for American fatness.


    Do not think that’s the main reason. While easy to blame on stereotypically heavy black women think this is mostly not a black/white thing. Visited Disneyworld with my kids years ago and actually remarked to someone then about how many obese families were walking around and was told that’s because Louisiana schools were off that week and that’s what you get with Louisiana families. Black and white. Interestingly, I now have family in both Louisiana and Colorado (none of whom are obese) but you def see obesity differences when you visit each. And there are not many blacks in less obese CO, but obesity prevalent in both black and white when I visit LA. Think differences in attitude towards physical activity and less interest/sophistication in eating well are main causes.

    Replies: @R.G. Camara

    Do not think that’s the main reason.

    If you look at obesity maps, they correlate strongly with places with large black populations. And the diabetes rates and other obesity diseases are higher for blacks than non-blacks — diabetes medication commercials are universal for any show or network geared towards blacks (e.g. Family Feud, The Steve Harvey show, etc.). And there has long been a stereotype of black women being tubbier than non-black women.

    Whether the Standard American Diet (SAD) is bad for blacks or whether blacks prefer tubbiness more than non-blacks (see Sir Mix-A-Lot or Snoop Dogg’s paens to “thicker” black women) is an open question. But blacks are disproportionately obese compared to non-blacks.

  131. Rob says:

    The background to Lucas’ tweet is almost certainly A Chemical Hunger, a series by the duo(?) of bloggers at Slime Mold Time Mold . While they don’t do Steve’s multiple daily posts, they do things like organize a couple of hundred people to go on all-potato diets for a month. Has Steve ever contributed to 200 eating disorders/revolutionary diets?

    The premise of ACH is that something in the environment changed around 1980 that kicked off the obesity epidemic that has yet to level off.

    There have been some rationalist critiques. Like, average weight has gone up 20%, but so have daily calories, and we should expect weight and calories to move roughly in tandem, as bigger bodies use proportionately more energy to move. Weight can increase faster than calories because fat has lower metabolic demand than flesh.

    SMTM said the caloric increase is minor, but it’s not. In a sense, it “explains” obesity, but why are people eating more calories? An argument at Less Wrong was that if you had a tumor that was an additional 20% of your body weight and used 500 cal/day, you would probably eat those 500 calories rather than waste away, but whatever caused the tumor caused both weight gain and the overeating. The overeating did not cause the tumor. Also, SMTM said that additional weight lost from hypoxic exercise was minor, but that is not necessarily so. Again, this is more to do with biochemical signaling than calories in calories out.

    I did not find anything official or sciency looking, but I saw that water filters can remove 80% of the lithium (on ACH’s short list of causes). Be interesting to see if people lose weight if they switch to filtered water.

    On the elevation/obesity map, I’d like to see obesity controlled by race. I’m afraid the South looks bad (except for Appalachia) but the South is both low outside the mountains (that sounded smarter in my head) and has lots of black people, who are fatter. Appalachia is thinner and higher up, but it’s also whiter. At low latitudes, white people prefer elevation, all else equal, because it’s cooler. That’ll create a spurious correlation between elevation and obesity. All those Western Mountain states that are so thin? Pretty sure there are not a lot of black people.

    With GWAS, they do some math stuff (masking principal components) to try to control for population structure. Could you do the same sort of thing for studies of environmental influence? Like, as a cartoon example, you might ask, taking people who are x, y, z% various American ethnicities, are the ones in Colorado thinner than the ones in Mississippi (I have an aunt from Mississippi who moved to Colorado. She grew up before the obesity epidemic, so maybe it doesn’t count? Still gonna ask her if she lost weight in Colorado.

    The military moves people around a lot. Do they track weight? Do airmen lose weight when they get sent to Colorado Springs?

    Are there alleles that predict obesity better in Mississippi than in Colorado? What are some alleles that have a strong influence on obesity? If one of them is a monovalent cation (like Li+) pump or channel, that’d be very interesting.

    When did Mexico start getting really fat? I think they are fatter than Americans these days, but dunno if they’re fatter than Mexican Americans. Was it just when food got cheap from American ag exports?

    That said, there are ethnic differences among southerners, and Appalachia was a lot more Scots Irish.

    Hey, Ecuador would be interesting. There are people at wildly different elevations. Are people higher up in Quito thinner than people who live lower down? Does every American retiree who moves there lose weight? Do the highland Indians of the altiplano gain weight when they move to lower places? Yeah, I know the altiplano is not in Ecuador.

    Maybe people will get fat everywhere when poor people can afford calories?

  132. @TWS
    @Jonathan Mason

    No they were dead. Boy that is hilarious, small children dying in a sudden storm walking to school.

    Replies: @Bubba

    This is an excellent, non-fiction book about just one of those blizzards that happened in 1888. 235 dead.

    After reading it you realize that children in elementary school were much smarter and tougher than today’s woke, “adult-children” college graduates.

    • Thanks: TWS
  133. @Anonymous Jew
    @S. Anonyia

    Not going to argue over semantics, but I take your point. But the gauntness - or whatever you want to call it - seems to be more a phenomenon of leftist dads. It’s a small sample, but of our friends in Red states, one dad is an engineer and the other is stay-at-home. Both are like me: they stay in the mid to upper teens body fat but also work out regularly - lift etc. We’re far from roided meat heads but much more solid than any leftist dads I’ve met (in your mid-40s with no hormone ‘enhancement’ you’re not going to put on a huge amount of muscle). Even my one local Republican dad-friend does some light lifting.

    Red dads seem fat or fit. Blue dads seem skinny or skinny fat and allergic to even push ups or pull ups. Just my anecdotal observations.

    Replies: @Jay Fink

    You could be on to something. I am skinny (actually healthy BMI but usually the thinest person in any room). Liberals often talk politics with me assuming I am one of them. Little do they know I am to the right of the Republican party. Then again, I have had conservatives correctly assume I am one of them as well.

    I didn’t wear a mask on the very first day my workplace didn’t require it. At that point more than half of my co-workers still wore one. I received many comments that I wasn’t someone they expected to go maskless. That means I must give a liberal or perhaps conformist vibe. It probably has to do with my body type and how non-threatening I look but in my case looks can be deceiving.

  134. @Hangnail Hans
    @Nico

    Definitely jealous here. Though I would be more jealous if France--like nearly all of Europe--weren't busy trashing itself too.

    Granted, not with fatties so much as third world migrants.

    Replies: @Nico

    I hear you. As a female Jewish-American lawyer friend put it, “People go to France to see hot French people, not chicks decked out in garbage bags.”

    • Replies: @Mark Brophy
    @Nico

    The French are fat, too, as are all Europeans. The people in Vail and Glenwood Springs are fat, too, but some of them are tourists. Mexicans and South Americans are fat, too. I've travelled to many places and have never seen a place without many fat people. People enjoy eating bad food and there's no stigma about being fat. All my doctors are skinnier than me and I'm 10 pounds overweight.

  135. @Nico
    @Hangnail Hans

    I hear you. As a female Jewish-American lawyer friend put it, “People go to France to see hot French people, not chicks decked out in garbage bags.”

    Replies: @Mark Brophy

    The French are fat, too, as are all Europeans. The people in Vail and Glenwood Springs are fat, too, but some of them are tourists. Mexicans and South Americans are fat, too. I’ve travelled to many places and have never seen a place without many fat people. People enjoy eating bad food and there’s no stigma about being fat. All my doctors are skinnier than me and I’m 10 pounds overweight.

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