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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthe History
Provenance
An interesting article was published a few years ago in the International Journal of Epidemiology regarding absinthe and tobacco. The article's understanding of absinthe is poor, e.g., "In its traditional form, it is said to have some mild hallucinatory qualities…." (Lachenmeier and Nathan-Maister responded in a subsequently published letter).

Of greater interest is its drawing an analogy between the growth in absinthe consumption to increased use of tobacco based on socioeconomic factors. The article considers the change in absinthe consumption from initial favor by the "fashionable idlers" to its becoming "the drink of choice of the lower social classes, and the penniless artists through whose work we can nowadays still sample its role in French society at that time…."

While the article has serious flaws, it also has a number of interesting observations/conclusions:

What we can learn from the example of absinthe in France (and by later experiences with smoking), is that social inequalities in health as a result of inequalities in health related behaviours—especially substance use—should be prevented when epidemics of such behaviours are identified in their early phases, before they have become fully diffused into the lower social strata.
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We also want to stress that public health efforts geared towards tobacco use have improved in important respects as compared with similar efforts in the absinthe era. Some of the weapons that were vigorously employed in the anti-absinthe movement in France as well as in the anti-tobacco movement in Nazi Germany were fear appeals and anti-absinthe and antitobacco advertising. Examples of anti-absinthe advertising were
posters of skulls shouting: ‘Absinthe it’s death!’

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Thus, current public health officials and researchers, where possible should focus their attention on preventing the rise of social inequalities in smoking and in obesity, and they should put more emphasis on taking an equity approach in interventions where social inequalities have already arisen. It should be realized that interventions aimed primarily at the proximate will not have lasting public health benefits in the long run, because these do not target underlying social causes.

Absinthe—is its history relevant for current public health?
http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/…p;pmid=17982755

Lachenmeier and Nathan-Maister Response
http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/37/1/217
Marlow
QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 22 2010, 11:40 AM) *

…social inequalities in health as a result of inequalities in health related behaviours—especially substance use—should be prevented when epidemics of such behaviours are identified in their early phases, before they have become fully diffused into the lower social strata.

…current public health officials and researchers, where possible should focus their attention on preventing the rise of social inequalities in smoking and in obesity….



It seems a little strange to me that the authors would call for eliminating "social inequalities in health" as opposed to unhealthful or self-destructive behavior in general. Is it not the goal to improve health in all social strata? Or does the medical profession have an interest in preserving what Tom Lehrer called "diseases of the rich?"
Provenance
I believe the author's clearly stated point was that social inequality was an underlying cause of many diseases, such as obesity and that tackling the underlying problems is more efficacious than attempting to treat certain specific diseases. Nothing in the article suggest a malevolent plot by the medical profession.
Artemis
QUOTE
Thus, current public health officials and researchers, where possible should focus their attention on preventing the rise of social inequalities


I don't know if it's a plot, but it's an agenda, and one that can't be pursued using medicine. Now, if they're working on a cure for poverty, that would be a big story.
Provenance
It's perfect. It's not as if the author risks being proven wrong.
dakini_painter
Only in America are the poor also obese. Or more correctly, subject to that condition in numbers greater than the general population.

America's factory farmed, heavily processed, dextrous and sugar filled, "natural flavoring" laden food, kills.
Provenance
You forgot to mention the added salt.
Artemis
QUOTE
Only in America are the poor also obese. Or more correctly, subject to that condition in numbers greater than the general population.


Maybe that's because what passes for poverty in America would be an embarrassment of riches in much of the world.

QUOTE
America's factory farmed, heavily processed, dextrous and sugar filled, "natural flavoring" laden food, kills.


No doubt. But it wasn't the doctors that made absinthe go away, it was the prohibitionists.
Marlow
QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 22 2010, 04:57 PM) *

Nothing in the article suggest a malevolent plot by the medical profession.


No, of course not. And Tom Lehrer was a comedian (and mathematician) after all.

I believe it would be better to say that poverty exacerbates ills of almost any sort, health problems included. That's not the same as the proximal cause, however.
dakini_painter
QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 22 2010, 06:25 PM) *

You forgot to mention the added salt.


Sorry, I forgot about the salt because the only time I get bad salt in my diet is when I each Ritz crackers. The salt on the Kettle potato chips is good salt.


QUOTE(Artemis @ Apr 22 2010, 07:05 PM) *

QUOTE
Only in America are the poor also obese. Or more correctly, subject to that condition in numbers greater than the general population.


Maybe that's because what passes for poverty in America would be an embarrassment of riches in much of the world.


Yes quite correct, but I think the food itself has become a problem. I read an article a while back about how after a number of years in the US eating American food (even when making their traditional meals) immigrants from Mexico began to have similar health problems as Americans. Diabetes. Obesity. High blood pressure.

As an aside, I know a person who "retired" to farming. Beef cattle, organic, grass fed. He said he liked attending the farmer meetings because he was the youngest one there. And he's in his late 50's. Most of the family farmers around here are over 65. The national average age for farmers is 55. Here's an interesting article from Oregon State.

http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/w09newfarmers
dakini_painter
Oh, and I forgot high fructose corn syrup. Another Great Evil. abs-cheers.gif
sixela
QUOTE(Artemis @ Apr 23 2010, 12:05 AM) *

QUOTE
Only in America are the poor also obese. Or more correctly, subject to that condition in numbers greater than the general population.


Maybe that's because what passes for poverty in America would be an embarrassment of riches in much of the world.

But probably not in many parts of Europe. So while it may contribute (and certainly does if you look at poor Ethiopians), I doubt it's an explanation for every observation you could make.
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