Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IBM Granted Your-Paychecks-Are-What-You-Eat Patent

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the pizza-is-bad-for-your-paycheck dept.

IBM 455

theodp writes "On IBM's Smarter Planet, at least as envisioned in Big Blue's recently-granted patent for 'providing consumers with incentives for healthy eating habits', the FDA will team up with employers and insurers to determine your final paycheck based upon what you eat. IBM explains that whether a given food item is considered healthy may vary based on a number of factors, including 'individual health histories, family health histories, food intake, exercise routines, medications, and other health related factors', and may even be time dependent ('incentives are greater for consumption of a particular food item during a designated lunch time and less for consumption of the particular food item during other periods of time'). Before being issued, IBM's patent request languished for ten years and was only granted after a Patent Examiner's rejection was overturned on appeal. IBM CEO Sam Palmisano has been a cheerleader for pay-for-monitored-healthy-eating on a national level, which seems to be neatly aligned with the goals of his fellow CEOs on the Business Rountable, who told President Obama in 2009, 'It's very important that we don't have a government [healthcare] plan competing with a private plan and finding out that our employees or the citizens in general could go to a plan that doesn't have the same incentives and requirements and behavioral characteristics to make sure that they do the right things long term'."

cancel ×

455 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How do you determine healthy food? (5, Interesting)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514158)

In my opinion, the official food guide pyramids are unhealthy in many countries. They consist mostly of fast carbs. Those aren't that good to you, but I understand that they were good choice before, especially in countries with long winters.

You know what rice, pasta, noodles, potatoes, grain, pizza and similar have in common? They have, historically, been food of low class people. They were what even the people with not so much money could get. While good food like meat, fish and similar are still pricier than the foods with fast carbs, they are generally available to everyone thanks to increase in our technological knowledge and means of mass producing food.

This is why I find it mind blowing that the official food guide pyramids still promote fast carbs so much. They should not be your main source of energy. They are needed, but not at the amounts people eat them today. The ratio should be more like 33%/33%/33%, or even have more fat and protein than carbs. Pizza isn't bad because it contains fat, it's bad because it contains mixture of high amount of fast carbs and fat, and generally not that much vitamins. If people lowered the amount of carbs they take then they would be both more healthier and more lean.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514250)

Red meat and chicken is pretty affordable, but fish is not. And let's face it, red meat isn't really good for you either. Too much fat. At least according to studies.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514382)

Of course, because fat isn't at all a vital nutrient. /rolleyes

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514438)

Red meat isn't that fatty, provided you get yourself a decent cut. And that there is a large part of the problem it really depends what cut your talking about and how it was prepared. It makes a substantial difference whether your hamburger patty used hamburger or the healthier ground beef as in the US there's a fat content requirement at work.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Insightful)

khundeck (265426) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514548)

I barely want to point this out, but, what's "affordable" has a lot to do with where you geographically live.

    Fishing == rivers, oceans (ie. coasts, islands,..)
    Red Meat / Chicken == land (ie. farms, mountain herds, ..)

What's missing in our 'food equation' is self-production and high-valued local produce. Whatever is good/sustainable for your region is what you should consider consuming. Reliance on cheap/subsidized imported food just won't add-up long-term.

KPH

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (3, Informative)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514780)

That's true only to a limited extent. If it takes more inputs to produce a kg of food locally than it does to produce it further away and transport it, the latter may still be the better choice. I live in a temperate region with cold winters. Fruit such as apples and berries grows well here, but it all ripens at the same time (summer and fall), so it makes sense to preserve it (drying, freezing, canning, jams, not to mention wine, etc.). In a warmer climate, the same fruits can be produced year-round. So it makes sense for those regions to ship fresh fruit to my area when it's not in season here, and my area to ship preserved fruit to them. That's actually the most economical and energy-efficient use of resource.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (5, Interesting)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514292)

Not to be glib, but [citation needed]. At least in the US, the food advice handed out by the USDA [choosemyplate.gov] is generally considered to be accurate to the current information available to scientists. Everything I've personally seen contradicting it has been merely bare assertions without citation or data, or else points to a study done by a clearly biased group or individual. If you've got something substantive, I'd love to see it, as this is a special interest of mine.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Informative)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514540)

My wife is a diabetes researcher. She tells me all the carbs we eat (in the way we consume them in the United States) are, indeed, killing us. Ironically, I asked her if there are any studies on this, and she says there are not (that she knows off, it's not easy to get a grant to "prove" eating bread is unhealthy) but it’s visible in other non-focused studies and existing knowledge of how the body treats sugars.

Your daily carb intake should consist of fruit and vegetables, not breads or pastas.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514664)

If you do even moderate exercise, it is not possible to eat enough with fruits and vegetables as your sole carbohydrate source without gorging on fats, which is among things, uncomfortable. Targeting (whole) grains as problematic for people with somewhat healthy lifestyles is just unrealistic.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (2)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514736)

Can you prove you didn't just make that up? Because I'm pretty sure you did.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Insightful)

AdamnSelene (2183372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514816)

Not to be glib, but [citation needed]. At least in the US, the food advice handed out by the USDA [choosemyplate.gov] is generally considered to be accurate to the current information available to scientists. Everything I've personally seen contradicting it has been merely bare assertions without citation or data, or else points to a study done by a clearly biased group or individual. If you've got something substantive, I'd love to see it, as this is a special interest of mine.

Nope, the USDA recommendations are subject to an intense amount of lobbying by the large food companies. Anyone who thinks that government scientists are free to speak their minds hasn't worked in government, and unfortunately their scientific research is largely ignored or reshaped by economic and political forces when it comes time to make policy recommendations (see Reagan, R., under whose administration ketchup was famously considered a vegetable in school lunches).

If you really want to eat healthy, and wanted to eat what the science tells you is best, you might start with the research by Dr T. Colin Campbell and Dr Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. who did large-scale studies of the effects of eating processed crap vs. whole foods. See for example their books The China Study and PlanEat for citations, if you want to understand the evidence and know what to eat.

For the history of this, I recommend the anthropologist Sid Mintz who wrote Sweetness and Power, a history of sugar. In it he traces the shift in the British diet from healthy, farm-based foods to sugar-based foods and shows how that shift in diet was inextricable from the growth of cities and factories during the Industrial Revolution. In other words, he shows how the political economy of sugar has led to our present sugar and carb based diet. Unlike Campbell and Esselstyn, Mintz won't tell you what to eat, but he will tell you why everyone wants to sell you processed crap masquerading as food.

The upshot, however, is simple. Eat no-to-little processed, sugar, dairy and high-carb foods; eat only a little meat and some fish; eat a lot of protein-rich legumes, nuts, vegetables and whole grains. Drink mostly water; avoid sugary soft drinks, fruit cocktails and even too much juice. And cook for yourself; restaurants suck (from a healthy eating perspective).

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514874)

What advice are you talking about? When I click the link, I just see an overcluttered website. I tried to find out what I should be eating, so I clicked the "dieters" link, but after three clicks I still can't find advice. The closest I got was (a few clicks from) a daily food plan, which doesn't tell me what the carbs/fat/protein breakdown ideal is, and a few vague double-pie charts.

I want to know what advice you're talking about so I can know what it is I'm agreeing or disagreeing with.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514876)

http://www.jacn.org/content/21/4/298.full -- concludes that the increasingly carbohydrate-rich diet that is becoming common due to our concepts of healthy eating pushing us towards high-carbohydrate food (particularly processed grains, e.g. white bread) is leading to an increased risk of obesity and type II diabetes.

The USDA advice is good, but doesn't go far enough. It recommends half of all grain consumption should be whole grain, leaving a typical adult male consuming about 70g of processed grain per day. This is probably too high. Changing the suggestion to 3/4 whole grain would probably be better.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514304)

I lost 60 pounds in 6 months on the "Eat correctly, not so much fast carbs you moron" diet.

Basically, I eliminated the refined sugars (HFCS is one of the fastest carbs in the universe) and then removing the other low end ones like rice, pasta, bread, noodles, potato, corn, wheat, most fruits. The hardest thing to cut was wheat gluten; they put that shit in everything!

So what do I eat now? Like you said, mostly fish and fowl, with some red meat in there. I also eat liver on a monthly basis for the super-dense protein.

" If people lowered the amount of carbs they take then they would be both more healthier and more lean."

However, if "everybody" did that, then we wouldn't have nearly enough food. Note the percentage of your diet that the pyramid says should be cheap-carbs and then look at the percentage of US food that comes from wheat and corn.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514466)

You can lose weight on almost any diet that restricts calories in some way. Not to downplay your weight loss, but people have been losing weight on every sort of diet imaginable for decades. The trick is *keeping* it off, of course.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514510)

My personal favorite diet is getting enough sleep and drinking some tea. Took off 30# like that and it's never come back. Plus, I have plenty of excuses to go to bed early and get plenty of sleep.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514600)

Market economics. Cut off the subsidies for wheat and corn. All of that land would probably be just fine as pasture land for cattle, sheep, and I know of a local place (Kansas) that sells free range pork. The unfortunate thing is that machinery and subsidies have substantially driven up the price of land making it difficult to make payments when the prices are bid by farmers are going to plant row crops.

As prices go up with demand, more farmers will switch to growing those foods. It wouldn't be instant, but a switch could be done.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514824)

Human civilization was built on carbs.

Wheat.
Rice.
Potatoes.
Maize.

Huge portions of the planet would starve to death without it. And if we tried to shift just the first world over to it, costs would inflate so high that you probably couldn't afford to eat that way either. Even in the first world, the majority of our calories come from carbs. We simply couldn't feed billions of people on anything else.

Carbs are cheap. We can produce them in bulk at low cost. They can be stored in some cases for years very easily. Carbs feed the world and have fed the world for thousands of years.

It isn't carbs that makes people fat. It's the lack of exercise. Just move every so often. Take up a sport. Something. And then you can eat mash potatoes every night and chase it with gravy. Just burn some calories.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514334)

I find it mind blowing that the official food guide pyramids still promote fast carbs so much.

The official pyramids aren't based on what's good for you, they were produced after the second world war when some foods were plentiful and others were scarce. The idea was to get people to eat what was most available.

There's also reason to believe that certain agricultural representatives had an 'influence' in what's in them.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514668)

I see someone isn't aware that they recently reworked the FDA Food Guide Pyramid [mypyramid.gov]

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514762)

There's also reason to believe that certain agricultural representatives had an 'influence' in what's in them.

Speaking of which, I think I saw that congress has let the ethanol subsidy die. That would be a good thing.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (2)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514838)

Actually the first official food pyramid was in the 1970s, and the USDA no longer uses that model, having replaced it this year with MyPlate. Yes, there are still major problems with it, and it represents an imperfect compromise between the more abstract idea of getting certain nutrients and the more concrete idea of eating certain foods, but if more Americans followed it they would certainly be healthier.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514366)

This question shouldn't be what food groups you should eat, but what exactly is in the foods you eat! Most foods on the market are contaminated with chemicals, antibiotics, hormone drugs, pesticides, artificial flavors, GMOs, etc. etc.. The only way to be healthy is to eat organic, and that's becoming increasingly difficult to do these days.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514414)

Organic [amazon.com] , huh?

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514518)

Thanks, but I'd rather have the chemical preservatives than to take my chances with all the nasty bacteria and parasites that come with spoiled food. And I'd rather have the pesticides, engineered crops, etc. than to deal with the starvation that would result if every farmer suddenly decided to go organic.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514560)

Then eat your food before it spoils? And let those who can't afford to eat better food eat the cheap stuff. There will always be a market for it.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514524)

If you live in or near a city, it's not at all difficult to eat organic food. Heck, even SuperTargets and Super Walmarts carry organic products. If you eat out in restaurants a lot, then yes, it is very difficult. However, it's not at all difficult. You will pay more, but that's the nature of the game.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514642)

[citation needed]

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (2)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514378)

I can't remember who said "Everyone has an opinion. But we are interested in knowledge.". It surely applies here. ;)

Why is pizza bad? Is it bad at all? I don't know. I sure have an idea that it is less healthy than other options, but I'll be honest and say that I really don't know. That's why people study Nutrition at Uni. I do know that the food pyramid takes into account that fats, even though you must consume them or risk malnutrition [wikipedia.org] , you should eat very little of them, especially if you are sedentary, because you won't burn the huge amount of calories you would ingest.

Trust these people, they studied all those years so you don't have to! ;)

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514450)

Pizza isn't inherently bad. It's a bit high on protein, but other than that it's perfectly fine and easily included in a balanced diet. Cheese, tomato, oregano, crust, those are all things that fit well in a well balanced diet. Where you start to get in trouble is with the toppings, pepperoni, sausage and such.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514504)

"high on protein", "pepperoni, sausage and such."

Hm. I wonder what your diet is?

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514858)

The problems with much American pizza are (a) too much cheese and (b) the amount of oil used in the dough.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (3, Informative)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514492)

I do know that the food pyramid takes into account that fats, even though you must consume them or risk malnutrition [wikipedia.org] , you should eat very little of them, especially if you are sedentary, because you won't burn the huge amount of calories you would ingest.

Actually, fats are easy to burn and they burn more healthier too (slowly, but you feel full for much longer). The problem is when you mix lots of fat with lots of carbs. Fats can't burn before your body has burned fast carbs. At the same time, fast carbs make you want more food sooner than fat does. In the end you still have some fat left that would had got time to burn if it wasn't for the carbs. This is also why pizza is bad. Not because it contains fat, but because it contains high amount of both carbs and fat.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514420)

The short answer is whatever happens to be trendy at the time. One year, carbs will be all the rage. The next, they'll be bad.

Remember, your paycheck reflects how well you obey, citizen!

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514532)

That right there is one of the problems. It's one thing to give a bonus for employees that take care of themselves in general and quite another to pay for specific methods of doing it.

As much as I do think that businesses should encourage healthy eating and clean living, I really don't think this sort of direct approach is really appropriate. If they want to help their workers they ought to be nudging them towards it. Making it as convenient as possible to access healthy snacks, subsidizing exercise programs and possibly encouraging people to use the stairs.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514612)

As noted in TFS (TFA is firewalled off here), "whether a given food item is considered healthy may vary based on a number of factors, including 'individual health histories, family health histories, food intake, exercise routines, medications, and other health related factors".

The guidelines say we're eating too much salt and we're all going to die of heart disease and high blood pressure, but there's no heart disease at all in my family, and my own blood pressure has always measured either normal or low -- and I eat a LOT of salt.

It annoys the hell out of me. I'm genetically thin, and everything is low fat, low calorie, diet. Damn it, I'm too thin, not too fat. One size does not fit all!

My grandmother was born in 1903, back in the day they cooked with lard and butter and ate eggs and bacon every morning. Her doctor told her that if she didn't get her cholesterol down she was going to die. Well, the doctor died. So she got a new doctor who told her the same thing, then he died, too. Five doctors later she finally did die -- she fell down and broke her hip in 2003.

If you want to diet and exersize, more power to you. But keep your goddamned nanny state micromanagement out of my kitchen. I'm going to die from something, it might as well be eating unhealthy foods and having fun.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

schitso (2541028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514886)

Bacon, eggs, and butter sound a lot healthier to me than low-fat, vegetable oil, and engineered.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514666)

Really the problem is with peoples life style and diets don't match.

The office worker who doesn't do too much activity should have more veggies and less protean and carbs.
The guys who are doing physical labor will need more carbs and protean (they need the quick energy after the meal, and they are doing a lot of work that damages the body so protean helps them heal up stronger).
Then you have people with different body needs. Some people tend to need more of a nutrients then others.
For example. I tried to go vegetarian in college a few times, the college had a good selection of vegetarian meals a lot of them were tasty. However after a few weeks I wasn't feeling good at all from this. I needed more protean (Increasing Tofu, nuts and beans helped some but not enough) Then a decided to add eggs and chicken and Fish I started to feel better. My body isn't well suited for being vegetarian. Other peoples are, they don't like the taste of meat or they are not really much into it, and their bodies function fine with needing less protean. So they thrive of being a vegetarian, that is all fine and good.
But to the point I really don't want big brother or big corporation telling me what I should and shouldn't eat, and suffer financial consequences for my choice.

Re:How do you determine healthy food? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514826)

Like I always say, it's an "economic food piramyd." There's just no way in hell that eating more carbs (bread, pasta) than protein (fish, meat) is the ideal diet for people.

Thing is, producing bread is cheaper than producing meat, and the economy would collapse if demand for high protein food suddenly went up, way above that of unhealthy carbs. Remeber we ALREADY have a serious food distribution problem in the world, ever since we learned to use food to speculate in the commodities markets.

Which brings me to another point. How the fuck are people supposed to eat healthy food on a low salary?? They seriously expect people to eat better food earning minimum wage???

First post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514168)

First post

Awesome!! (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514178)

I only eat the newest vegetable! Pizza! Give me a bonus for being a healthy eater!

I knew it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514200)

Ok.. it's gonna be real unpopular to say. And fairly ugly... But it's the truth.

The nazis would be proud of what america has become. And what we're turning into.
We came up with ways to dehumanize people they never even dreamed of. :(

Re:I knew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514272)

Dude, you're totally right. A private company filing a patent for a really shitty idea about forcing their employees to eat healthy is exactly the same as the government sponsored extermination of 11 million people. I can't imagine why you think that would be an unpopular thing to say.

Re:I knew it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514280)

Why would anyone be unhappy with a true statement? What right does someone have to say what I can and cannot eat because I pay them to pay my medical bills? I find this in the same regard as the fireman who have to sign a contract saying they won't smoke, or the seatbelt laws that you pay 200-300 dollars in fines for not wearing a seatbelt. My personal life is somewhere other people have no business being.. I don't remove the toys from your kids happy meals, I don't walk up behind you and tell you that a slap battle with your kid is child abuse.. so kindly don't do it to me.

No seat belt for you...No insurance for injuries.. (4, Interesting)

deck (201035) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514426)

I am fine if you don't wear your seat belt and maybe the law shouldn't be that way. But please don't ask to have your injuries caused by not wearing it covered. The auto insurance company I am with does just that. If you don't wear a seat belt then they pay a small percentage of the medical and don't cover anything that is obviously a result of not wearing the seat belt (like being ejected from the vehicle and bouncing down the road). It is a business proposition between my insurance company and myself. To keep my rates lower, I wear a seat belt. And if the law should state something, it should be that insurance companies and individuals are not liable for injuries incurred because a seat belt is not worn.

Re:No seat belt for you...No insurance for injurie (2)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514894)

But the public still pays a cost, since the ambulance is still going to take you to the hospital and the ER is still going to treat you if you don't wear your seat belt. And you might need to be buried in a pauper's grave. If you can't pay for those expenses, they fall on the whole community.

Re:I knew it. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514890)

Here's something for you to consider:

At work, my health insurance plan charges me $70/month more for a literal tobacco surcharge. Personally, I find that I won't see the effects until long after I stop carrying their insurance, but that's their rule. Ostensibly, it has a good motive - to get their customers to quit smoking, or to pay for any additional incurred health care costs associated with smoking (to their credit, they provide everything to quit for free - nicotine patches, gum, Chantix, whatever). OTOH, even with that surcharge, I still pay far less than I would with other plans, and I do have options aplenty (even using the VA if I had no other choice).

I don't see how that would be an instance of government running my life.

Re:I knew it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514284)

Why would?

Didn't the US import most of them from us after WWII and gave them new jobs in the security industry/secret agencies and elsewhere?

Re:I knew it. (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514850)

Actually, it reminded me more of something that really happened in the former East European countries.

Every time something went low in stock, suddenly the whole propaganda apparatus was afloat with reasons why eating or using this product would be bad for you. Coffee? Yuck, increases your blood pressure and pushes you into your grave. Meat? Unhealthy to the max, it's a killer. Butter? Well, use it sparingly and eat a lot more bread.

I kid you not when I tell you the first thing that came in mind is something like this. Now add things like declaring ketchup a vegetable to save money on kids' cafeteria food and some other ludicrous ideas and you end up with something not much different from what we could watch in the eastern European countries not that long ago.

More patent abusrdity (2)

Digambaranath (180574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514232)

This is yet another case showing that you can get a patent for absolutely anything.

Re:More patent abusrdity (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514318)

This is yet another case showing that you can get a patent for absolutely anything.

Well, yeah. As the Supreme Court said, patent eligible subject matter includes anything under the sun that is made by man. Is this new? Yes. Is any company currently doing this? No. Is this something that, in this land of epic obesity and man vs. food shows, we would find not just not obvious, but unthinkable? Yes.

So what's the problem?

Re:More patent abusrdity (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514498)

So what's the problem?

Where's the invention?

Re:More patent abusrdity (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514586)

So what's the problem?

Where's the invention?

From GP post:

Is this new? Yes. Is any company currently doing this? No. Is this something that, in this land of epic obesity and man vs. food shows, we would find not just not obvious, but unthinkable? Yes.

Sounds like an invention to me.

Re:More patent abusrdity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514368)

This is yet another case showing that you can get a patent for absolutely anything.

Not if you don't want to be sued. I own the patent on getting the patent on absolutely anything.

really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514282)

I don't trust business people in general...and the government has lost it's mind. The more I just look the more I see an increasingly overbearing system of demands. So what if people are unhealthy? Didn't the US government just now finish a 10 year war of sending people to get shot at? Are there seat belts on any school bus you ever been on...besides the drivers seat belt. Pay for being skinny is another road to hell figuratively speaking. I see what they want but in turn will make things WAY worse. The people who came up with this are shallow, disgusting individuals who have some sort of domination complex in where they decide what society will look like. I like the fact people are different...skinny people are worthless in the winter.

Re:really? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514596)

Not really, whether you care to admit it or not, fat people get sick more frequently and end up spending more days off work. They're more likely to have diabetes, sleep apnea, depression and other illnesses as a result of packing more weight than is healthy. The health effects of being obese are well documented.

The main question is how do you decide who is and isn't obese. I always get crap during phone appointments for my weight, but with my body frame size, I can't get down to the weight they want without starving. And even the time I was starving, in a very literal way, I still didn't quite get there.

Personally, I find it incredibly troubling that advocates for the obese keep suggesting that there's some validity to making that decision. They definitely have a point that being obese doesn't make one a bad person, but it's just plain disgusting to enable the obese by validating all manner of absurd rationalization.

Anybody that's capable of keeping up with the maintenance plan that's often required to get weight reduction surgery shouldn't have been obese in the first place. Because it's not a particularly special diet and it's not less difficult that the diet that would have prevented it in the first place.

Scary (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514296)

Hey IBM! How about you stick to making computers and software, and I'll decide what I want to eat, okay?

IBM's Patent Submissions Process (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514302)

Just a quick reminder that IBM's patent process is focused on numbers, specifically being #1 year after year (because now it would be news if we weren't #1).

Also, in order to advance in IBM you have to participate in patenting, and IBM pays $$$ per patent, so it's the only real bonus system at IBM.

Even more important, IBM has dozens (if not hundreds) of independent patent review boards, each focusing on a specific, narrow area of expertise. Some are very rigorous, some are very lax. That's just the nature of the business.

Don't assume that every IBM patent you see is tied to a product plan or even a gleam in some executive's eye (as would be the case at a smaller firm).

So... (3, Insightful)

Bruce McBruce (791094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514306)

In essence, they just patented a concept of deciding that thin employees get paid more and fat employees get paid less, and indeed judging their personal lives? Sounds like they're cornering the supermodel engineer market.

How will the system work? (1)

Confused (34234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514322)

Does anyone have some link how the system is supposed to work?

It's all nice and fine to have the back-end sorted out, but what about the data gathering about what people really eat? Do the propose to have everyone implanted with an oesophageal monitor to detect evil burgers or chocolate input?

Re:How will the system work? (2)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514374)

They are probably talking about tracking your purchases probably based on some personally identifiable information (credit cards, store reward cards etc). And assume you eat what you purchase.

Re:How will the system work? (1)

lmcgeoch (1298209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514624)

From the chart it looks like they don't take into account there is this crazy thing called a "Backyard Garden" Granted you have to buy seeds but some vegetables will come up year after year without buying new seeds. Also how can they track how much produce the garden will produce depends on weather and how well you tend to the garden.

Twisted America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514328)

America is so twisted today, that it can only fail.
As a country, and as a concept.

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514332)

1. Pollute the heck out of everything so that nothing is healthy to eat
2. Reduce peoples pay for unhealthy eating
3. Is this step really needed?
4. Profit!

Just Wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514350)

First it will be "incentives".
Then it will be "mandatory".

I'm sure many of you work in companies in the US that have instituted "Healthy Choice" programs, forced upon them by their insurance providers, correct?

Stop Using Stress as a Policy Tool (5, Insightful)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514352)

It is consistent with recent history that U.S. leadership believes they are entitled to mandate people's behaviour. If they really wanted to make people's lives better they would re-think their belief that fear and greed are the only two dimensions of human motivation. Fear being the problem at hand.

Fear of unemployment, fear of China, fear of Islam, fear of the black man, fear of Mexicans, fear of government, fear of the competition, fear of young people, fear of old people, fear of liberals, fear of bombs, fear of crowds, fear of complacency, fear of men wearing fezzes, fear of sexuality, fear of strange.

People eat comfort food because it makes them feel better. Americans feel bad. Maybe American leadership could make it a priority to help their citizens to have happy lives and stop it with the forcing people to do that they say.

Re:Stop Using Stress as a Policy Tool (2)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514468)

This is the guise fascism takes in America; outsourcing the abrogation of rights to private industries as an end run around the constitution.

Wow, creepy. (5, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514364)

This whole concept just makes my skin crawl. Start with the thought that this cant really be implimented unless someone (IBM? FDA?) knows exactly what you eat at any given moment, and it just gets more and more twilight zone from there.

Re:Wow, creepy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514628)

The Soylent Green patent, everybody applaud the IBM Corporation and our government.

Re:Wow, creepy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514680)

The idea is that you go on a diet tubby!

really? (1)

Denogh (2024280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514390)

...the FDA will team up with employers and insurers to determine your final paycheck based upon what you eat.

I admit that government has a role to play in a civilised society, but is this it? And will enforcement be based upon eating in a workplace cafeteria? Will they be examining poo to be sure the employee is on the straight-and-narrow and therefore deserving of his paycheck?

Patent for belief systems? (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514418)

Really we can patent food restrictions based on particular beliefs about what's "right" for you to eat? Seriously? Not to mention the the whole food Nazi aspect of this, ooh wait that's a belief system too and I think the patent is still active. Someone should sue for patent infringement!!!

Re:Patent for belief systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514648)

Sure. Just about anything can be patented nowadays including obvious simple analysis of data. It kills me when countries look at the number of patents, and try to directly apply that to "innovation". For over 100 years, patents should have been done away with. They may have made sense in the 18th century, but now they are just innovation cancer.

Appeal decision (and key to finding prior art) (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514428)

Claim 1:

1. A method for encouraging healthy habits by an individual, said method comprising the steps of:
tracking, using at least one computer system communicatively connected to a network, an actual purchase of a particular consumable item from a vendor by an individual for potential consumption;
determining, at said at least one computer system, a plurality of separate health index values each associated with a separate one of a plurality of health index components for consumption of said particular consumable item;
selecting, at said at least one computer system, a monetary electronic incentive for said individual based on said plurality of separate health index values matching at least one health index value requirement specified in a database of electronic incentives specified for said individual according to at least one factor from among food intake by said individual based on at least one of an ordered meal and a recipe for a meal previously reported to said at least one computer system and exercise performed by said individual previously detected by said at least one computer system; and
automatically transferring said monetary electronic incentive via said network from said at least one computer system to an account provider system which stores said monetary electronic incentive in an electronic account for said individual.

From the appeal decision:

Thus, the claim limitation requires in part determining with at least one computer system a plurality of health index values associated with health index components for a particular item in some manner. Here, Humble provides a generic disclosure of a UPC code being scanned to identify a particular product and generating a coupon or a promotional message for a related item for the purchaser (FF2, FF3) but does not specifically disclose a health index value for a consumable item as claimed (FF4). Official Notice been taken and stated that it is known to associate a health index value as required by the FDA for packaged foods that are sold. However, there is no articulated reasoning with rational underpinnings presented for why the scanned UPC codes from Humble would somehow determine the health index values required by the FDA for that product or as to why such a modification would have been obvious without impermissible hindsight. That is, there has been provided no articulated reasoning with rational underpinnings as to why the scanned UPC codes would in some manner determine the FDA information on calories, fat and sugar content associated with the item or have been modified to do so without impermissible hindsight. In KSR Int'l Co. v. Telejlex Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007) the Court at 418 noted that "[R]ejections on obviousness grounds cannot be sustained by mere conclusory statements; instead, there must be some articulated reasoning with some rational underpinning to support the legal conclusion of obviousness".

That's the missing limitation in the prior art, so if you can find that, it can be combined with Humble to show obviousness. The problem is that the Examiner couldn't find it, but instead tried to rely on "Official Notice" - which is where the Examiner says "I have no evidence, but I know it to be true." That only rarely works. Patents are quasi-judicial decisions, and our system requires factual evidence for conclusions, not just suppositions and gut feelings.

But, if you can find that missing evidence, then you can make a good case.

Obligatory healthy food (1)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514452)

Here you go [bbqaddicts.com] . Probably low on carbs, so all good :)

My company does this to a mild degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514454)

They won't put in vending machines. Claim is that the food is unhealthy. (I glanced around a few cubes... people munching Doritos and such... because that is what is readily available on the way in to our massive office park.)

I retorted to put in a vending machine without sodas, just water and juice, maybe tea. For food, get one of those machines with the doors that you can get a sandwich or an apple. Peanuts. Hell anything that was once actually alive.

My God, don't I realize the preservatives which are put on such foods? Pesticides!?!?

OK then, I said, I will just continue to bring in my lunch... and on days I forget it I will drive a mile to go get a hot dog.

Sedentary work conditions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514462)

Does it take into account that I'm stuck in a chair in a damned cubicle all day for no good reason because they won't let me work from home?

You guys are paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514464)

IBM has been doing this with their health benefits for years. Healthy Living Rebate. It's actually a good thing because you get rewarded with a bonus/incentive of some extra cash. Also, IBM wants to ensure it gets a chunk of change from every company who uses this method. NBD to me.

Eat Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514476)

Okay folks. This is a great money making opportunity for you and me. Here what we do. Learn to cook and operate underground kitchens where we make and sell hamburgers, pizza, you name it so people can buy and eat it without it being metered. So now we know there are people who think there's money to be made by watching everything we buy, including food, linking that to our bodies response and controlling what we buy as a result. Its the free market path to North Korean style starvation. But it also creates a great stage for some good old fashioned American fun. Can you picture cops raiding Eat Easies, people being arrested for making hamburgers, road blocks with dogs sniffing for pizza, people with good livers selling their ability to buy good food, while the rest of us are forced to buy crap? Because you can believe it won't be veggies and good food, it will be corporate meal plans with various chains of processed food. This is a real nightmare and comedy just waiting to happen.

healthcare based on stuff like BMI is junk science (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514488)

BMI and other factors are not a good fit for all.

Re:healthcare based on stuff like BMI is junk scie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514776)

yeah sure

Although other anthropometric measures (eg, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio) could well add extra information to BMI, and BMI to them, BMI is in itself a strong predictor of overall mortality both above and below the apparent optimum of about 225—25 kg/m^2.

from http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60318-4/fulltext

Prior Art? (4, Funny)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514516)

Meaning, of course, that guy with the "Will Work For Food" sign.

individual health histories = pre existing conditi (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514520)

pre existing conditions is what we don't need any more so what next they can't hire some based on there health even if they need them / want them. So they make them a contractor with no benefits at all even the non health ones?

The Soilent Green patent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514550)

Finally we've gotten ourselves The Soilent Green patent, everybody applaud IBM.

poor workplace environment leads to poor eating (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514554)

poor workplace environment leads to poor eating.

If you are pushing people to work long hours then they don't have the time to cook good food and end up eating alot of fast food.

Working lunches / working though lunches does not promote good eating habits.

Irony Bomb (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514582)

I've worked a combined total of 8 years at IBM as a contractor over the course of my career. The cafeteria in their 500 building in Research Triangle Park is infamously bad. Notorious, even. Their idea of saying they have healthy foods is having a salad bar. Most of the food served at IBM is below the quality of what I remember eating in a public school cafeteria as a kid, and that was pretty bad. The overwhelming majority of what they sell there is low grade cheeseburgers & fries, pizza, fried chicken, and sub sandwiches.

Over the course of time, I've seen the quality of the food go down, the healthy choices reduced, and the quality (and headcount) of the cafeteria staff continue to shrink.

I did complain once about the guy who operated the grill, who sneezed into his gloved hands and then continued serving food without changing his gloves. This guy hates vegetarians, as evidenced by the abuse he dishes out on the veggie burgers. Sure, they are on the menu. But I defy you to eat one. It's served in a consistency not unlike dried codfish, before you soak it in lye to make lutefisk. Anyway, complaints go nowhere. The slob still works there. He still makes unhealthy food, badly, and uncleanly.

If IBM wants to be taken seriously on being interested in the health of its workers, it needs to loosen up the purse strings a bit and get a vendor into their campus cafeterias that will provide healthy food options (and make it *harder* to buy unhealthy food there!)

healthcare tied to jobs is bad for non health stuf (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514618)

NON job based plans let people take jobs based on the job and not what healthcare plan they have.

What if you some stuck in a crap job with a good and they have to trun down a other job that is better career wise do to the other place not have a health plan.

Some places use and abuse contractors as they don't have to pay for health plans.

health plans suck up funds and some times lead to places dumping people who get sick, get pregnant and so on just so they don't have to pay for it.

Work != Labor (3, Insightful)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514632)

My brother is over 50 and a baggage handler for a major airline. On his feet, lifting, walking, on the move continuously several hours a day. He's had no flab ... until this year. I saw him in November with a bulge around the middle. He had put on 30 pounds. "What happened?" "Desk job." Employers wake up! You are not the innocent victim of the obesity epidemic, you are a primary contributor. Every job description must include some activity other than "sit in chair, click mouse, press keys, answer telephone." Put labor back in work and your employees will get more work done and cost less in the long run.

Re:Work != Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514788)

Why is it an employer's job (no pun intended) to make sure we exercise? Get healthcare out of the employer's hands and then we can begin to solve the rest of the problems.

PKD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514644)

didn't Philip K Dick have a story about bootleg butter and bacon?

Insanity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514694)

Really, a patent for basing pay on what you eat?

So a productive fat person gets paid less than a non-productive skinny person. In addition to tracking my time for big blue, I'm expected to track my breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Holy cow. What nannism!

Soylent Blue is also people (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514714)

IBM leads the world in nutrition micromanagement in order to pay its employers less?

In Capitalist America... (3, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514798)

What's most remarkable about this is that people who would wail and howl about the government directing you what to eat and when, apparently think that it would be appropriate for the corporations most people depend upon for employment to do so.

Apple Patent comes next! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514806)

Yep you heard it hear first! Apple gets Patent. They added the words "on a touch screen" and now they own it forever!

A BMI patent? (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514836)

Next they change the name from IBM to BMI. 

You Are What You Eat (1)

ks*nut (985334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514854)

I know that I am borrowing information from some of the documentaries that I have watched about the U.S. food industry, but here goes... The American food industry is tailored to the fast-food industry. They are their largest consumer. The corn industry is the most powerful lobby in Washington, they generally get what they want. Your beef comes from cows that were raised mainly on feed that mainly consists of corn products. They don't eat grass, a diet of grass would cleanse their digestive systems of many of the human pathogens (e coli) that end up in our food. High fructose CORN syrup is the main sweetener used in processed food. I work at a job that requires basically sitting at a computer for ten hours a day and I get a half-hour lunch break. I walk for half an hour at lunch every day and eat lunch during one of my other breaks. And I don't eat meat any more and I don't drink soft drinks. Americans are killing themselves and they have their food and health care industries to blame for it. IBM's patent smacks of Big-Brotherism; education would be the key to healthier living. People need to eat healthier and get more exercise. Yes, I am un-American.

Could be good, could be bad (1)

neorush (1103917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514860)

I'm praying that if this is adopted is firmly based in research instead of what seems correct / what lobbyists can get in there (e.g. the diary industry). Incentives for behavioral change is a fantastic idea because it is the behavior that must change in an American diet. The one thing I read that makes me nervous is the family history thing, we like to put a lot of weight on this idea, my dad had a heart attack so I'm screwed. But it turns out your risk of premature death in the U.S. is 70% lifestyle (what I eat, and how much exercise I do), 10% lack of medical treatment (no insurance), 10% environmental (to close to a coal plant), and only 10% heredity. If you are overweight, you can blame 1 out of every 10lbs on your parents. And as another note, there are lots of posts here about limiting carbs and fat, it is just limiting calories at the end of the day that matters for being a healthy weight. For weight loss / weight maintenance people can't figure out good vs bad carbs (peas have a lot of carbs, but they are complex carbs) and fat. Research shows us people can watch caloric intake if given lots of controlled practice (e.g. time to change their behaviors), but any more variables than that and they give up and have thoughts like "I'm gaining weight because I've had to much fat lately", when it should be "I'm gaining weight because I've had to many calories lately."

Most of you are missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514904)

This is really scary, but what is most frightening is that only a few slashdotters have realized it. Why are you talking about patent details, how will they enforce it, and how the system is supposed to work. Are you so concerned with SOPA that you missed how this is the same violation of your rights but 10 times more insidious? The real question is why do you think that it is OK to have this horrendous violation of our rights imposed on us by business and government and why do they even feel comfortable to discuss this.

You do realize that the CEO’s and politicians; democrats and republicans alike will build a loophole in for themselves. They will be living in their ivory towers eating the best foods while we are all forced to eat soy. But I guess it will all be OK as long as we can stop SOPA and still download our pirated movies and music, a slashdotter has to have his priorities.

Next patent CEO pay correlated with performance (1)

billrp (1530055) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514914)

They will next try to patent CEO pay directly correlated with a company's performance, since there's no prior art here.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?