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Diners consumed 45 fewer calories per meal.
20 September, 2018
Travelers order meals using McDonald's restaurant digital menu boards self-serve kiosks with touch screen in passenger area at Terminal 1 of Humberto Delgado International Airport on September 04, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Horacio Villalobos (Corbis)
- According to the CDC, obesity is costing the U.S. $147 billion each year in medical costs.
- The new Cornell study found that knowing calorie information helped diners eat less.
- Experts believe this could force chain restaurants to offer healthier, low-calorie options
<p>Of all the dietary trends, superfood cleanses, high-intensity workouts, fad pills and powders, and metabolic superstar programs guaranteeing weight loss, one tried and true method continues to be a sound means for maintaining a healthy weight: reducing your calories. </p><p>A Cornell <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w24889.ack" target="_blank">study</a>, published in August, has discovered that restaurants that list calorie content help customers moderate the amount of food they consume — albeit, by a little. Still, a little can go a long way once you become accustomed to it. </p><p>The research team of John Cawley, Alex Susskind, and Barton Willage set up shop in two restaurants for a randomized field experiment. Two different groups were then told to order: a control group with normal menus and a treatment group, which read from menus featuring calorie information. By the end, 5,500 diners contributed to the study. </p><p>The treatment group ended up ordering 3 percent fewer calories than the control group — a result of 45 calories per meal. The biggest effect seems to be on consumer awareness. The researchers noted that customers were surprised by how many calories basic meals, such as a tomato soup/grilled cheese combo, has. They continue, </p><blockquote>The findings come at a time when most Americans don't have a precise estimate of how many calories they're eating, because one-third of their food is prepared outside the home. At the same time, the obesity crisis in America has reached epidemic proportions; the prevalence of obesity in adults has nearly tripled in the past 50 years, to nearly 40 percent of the population in 2016.</blockquote>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ef3e0bcf6e24710080ee941eb79e2bac"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jQma_BdPgFg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>This follows a <a href="https://www.eater.com/2018/5/7/17326574/calorie-count-menu-nutrition-fda-law" target="_blank">law</a> requiring chains with 20 or more locations to post calorie content on menus and menu boards, which went into effect earlier this year. The move was set to launch in 2011 as part of the Affordable Care Act's requirements, yet pushback from lobbying efforts delayed its implementation. </p><p>Part of the gripe from restaurant chains (especially pizza establishments) is that it will reduce profits. Yet in the Cornell study researchers found no evidence of monetary loss between the groups. In fact, healthier options often cost more than junk food. That said, patrons realizing which restaurants are not healthy could have a ripple effect. Though the Cornell study is an outlier — other <a href="https://www.eater.com/2015/11/3/9664850/restaurant-calorie-counts-healthy-menu-items" target="_blank">studies</a> have found that the calorie content <em>does not</em> change minds — it might be pushing restaurants to offer more low-calorie options.</p>
<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODY0MzUyOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDQ1MzE2NH0.GkutrM9CVRw5snra6MEDkCJ4AWKVBm_8KqPn_CLtUl8/img.jpg?width=980" id="59541" width="2121" height="1414" data-rm-shortcode-id="3501cee408a017f140f06137cb61391e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo: Hero Images<p>The cost to restaurants does not nearly equate to those on our medical infrastructure. According to the CDC, obesity is costing the U.S. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html" target="_blank">$147 billion</a> each year. This involves direct and indirect medical problems related to being overweight, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, immune system-related problems, and many other ailments.</p><p>John Cawley, a professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, views the calorie listing on menus as an easy to implement solution. </p><blockquote>It's a cheap policy to put in place, and the fact that there is a reduction in calories ordered makes it appealing.</blockquote><p>While not the only solution, it's a step in the right direction. Awareness is a catalyst for change, and one thing is certain: we can't keep heading blindly in the direction we've been going. The consumption of unhealthy high-calorie foods, beginning with the <a href="https://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe50s/life_15.html" target="_blank">frozen dinner revolution</a> of post-World War II America right up through <a href="https://www.livestrong.com/article/274448-starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latte-nutrition-information/" target="_blank">pumpkin spice lattes</a>, has made us a sick and diseased nation. Every calorie counts. </p><p><em>--</em></p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p>
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Repealing Obamacare without a fit replacement will leave tens of millions uninsured. Who is responsible for the fall out? A moral hypothetical raised by Kurt Vonnegut can help.
21 January, 2017
<p dir="ltr">The Trump administration just <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/us/politics/affordable-care-act-health-care-trump.html?_r=0" target="_blank">unveiled its health care plans</a>. Tom Price, a physician and member of Congress for the state of Georgia, is the U.S. <span>Secretary of Health and Human Services.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38654226" target="_blank"><span>While his actions have been scrutinized for possible violation of congressional ethics codes before</span></a><span>, there is a new question being raised by many people; </span><strong>can he maintain his commitment the Hippocratic Oath while still carrying out orders to end the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>For those who need a refresher, the Hippocratic Oath is taken by all doctors as a rite of passage upon becoming certified, and is often summarized by the phrase “</span><strong>Do no harm</strong><span>”. Variations of it were heard recited in ancient Greece by new doctors in the name of the Gods, and it is commonly held to have been composed by the father of western medicine, </span><span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocrates" target="_blank">Hippocrates</a>.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Legally, </span><span>it has no power;</span><span> breaking it doesn't mean anything itself. The reciting of the oath is more so a tradition, a personal promise made when you take up the mantle of 'doctor' to always help those in need.</span></p> <p dir="ltr">The question was raised as to how far it goes in deciding what a doctor can and cannot do in <a href="http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/2264" target="_blank">the state of Georgia</a>. When a group of doctors tried to have a fellow doctor’s license taken away for actively participating in an execution, the state’s response was to make a law protecting such participation as being consistent with holding a doctor’s license.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-next-generation-of-doctors-calls-on-congress-to_us_5876999fe4b086a337b6f5dd" target="_blank"><span>Some medical students</span></a><span>, who have organized into a group called Protect our Patients, have objected to the Trump administration's repeal of the ACA </span><span><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/21/510901402/trumps-executive-order-could-dismantle-parts-of-aca-before-replacement-is-ready" target="_blank">without a suitable replacement ready to go on the grounds that the effect would be to do harm</a> – t</span><span>hat which they have sworn against. Seeing the head of the department in charge of the removal of the law being one of their own makes it even more heated for the students. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Before the comments section gets too infuriated, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that the </span><a href="https://www.cbo.gov/publication/50252" target="_blank"><span>repeal without replacement of Obamacare would leave tens of millions uninsured</span></a><span>, along with a slew of other economic issues arising as well. It is a fact that repealing the ACA without a replacement will cause many people to suddenly lack quality health care.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The concerned physicians raise the vital question of how far a person's responsibility goes when an action that they take causes harm, suffering, or pain later. Even if they did nothing directly.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Kurt Vonnegut offered us an excellent illustration of this problem in '<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=Pj1U4RsKWVQC&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=kurt+vonnegut+throwing+a+cat+over+a+wall&source=bl&ots=JnJ-t94Wgj&sig=P7fYzgBIuug0w4VVDcujki8oPYw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi76bSx6NjRAhWE3YMKHd1tD_kQ6AEINzAJ#v=onepage&q=kurt%20vonnegut%20throwing%20a%20cat%20over%20a%20wall&f=false" target="_blank">Look At the Birdie</a>'. Suppose you were to toss a cat over a high wall, only to have it land on another person’s head. Would you be responsible if it was to scratch their face up? Many people would say yes, at least to some extent.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span>But what if the cat landed on the ground and then attacked somebody an hour later? Are you still at all responsible? Remember, the wall was quite high, and you made the cat go over it. Many people see this as a different question, and insist that the cat tosser is not responsible at all here.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>We could make the question a little more intensive. Suppose a child is inspired to become an ER doctor after the murder of his parents. He goes on to save many lives over the course of his career. Is the person who killed his parents also responsible for the good actions of the boy? After all, he did start the process that lead to the lives saved, even if it came at a small cost. That is where measuring consequences becomes tricky. </span><strong>How do you count everything? Do you hold everybody who participated responsible in some way?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>In the event that Obamacare was repealed, and Dr. Price took a large role in that repeal, the question could be asked: </span><strong>is he participating in an action that will cause harm later, and does that mean that he is liable for it in any way?</strong><span> People who think the two cases above are very different say no, he isn’t. Those who think them similar would say that he will cause harm in the process, and is bound by honor to not do it. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Can a physician help take away people’s health care without violating the “Do no harm” aspect of their oath? Is the oath worth the paper it is read off of? Does Dr. Price run the risk of violating the oath by collaborating with the new administration in the repeal of Obamacare? The answer depends on how far out from an action you think responsibility for consequences follows.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Yale psychologist Paul Bloom believes policy should not be decided by appeals to the emotions of voters, but by hard data:</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span> </span></p> <div class="video-full-card-placeholder" data-slug="paul-bloom-on-empathy-and-politics" style="border: 1px solid #ccc;"> <div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="GWEsh0Vp" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="304bfe1b400ed9e17832f43b28316fee"> <div id="botr_GWEsh0Vp_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/GWEsh0Vp-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/GWEsh0Vp-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview"> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/GWEsh0Vp-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> </div> <div><span><br></span></div>
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ethics hippocratic oath repeal Obamacare Trump Tom Price Department of Health and Human Services Affordable Care Act Kurt Vonnegut Look at the Birdie