I’m trying to finish up some programming work and don’t have time for a full post, but in cleaning out my bookmarks, I did find some news items I saved that deserve comment:
Mrs. Obama to Lead the Charge Against Obesity
According to a Reuters story a couple of weeks back, the First Lady will be heading up a new campaign against obesity. Yes, of course, because all those other government-led campaigns against obesity did such a great job. Here’s my favorite line:
Obama, who created a White House garden with local school children, said the solution to the obesity epidemic cannot come from government alone.
The solution can’t come from government alone?! Why would anybody believe the solution to obesity will come from government at all? Based on what, their outstanding track record? We didn’t have an obesity epidemic (such as it is) until they started telling us how to eat.
Here’s another choice quote:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the launch that the Obama administration was investing $650 million in economic stimulus money in wellness and prevention programs aimed at obesity and stopping smoking.
Ummm … the media is careful with their camera work because they adore the guy, but in case you weren’t aware, President Obama is a smoker. He tried to quit and couldn’t — despite being a Harvard-educated lawyer who knows smoking is bad for his health. I’m trying to imagine the thinking here … “Sure, I can’t give up cigarettes, but if we spend $650 million to tell other people what’s good for them, they’ll change their behavior.”
Here’s a better solution: get rid of corn subsidies. That would actually save money instead of piling up more debt.
Jillian Michaels Sued
Jillian Michaels, a star on NBC’s popular reality show, “The Biggest Loser,” is being sued by Christie Christensen, who claims she didn’t lose weight with the supplements endorsed by the celebrity trainer, according to the Associated Press
I have mixed feelings about this one. Jillian Michaels annoys me because she’s one of those “eat less, exercise more” gurus. She horsewhips people who are already starving themselves into exercising for hours a day on the show … so of course they lose weight temporarily, but they can’t keep it off because they haven’t adjusted the amount of fat their bodies need to maintain their energy balance. According to Gary Taubes, who’s tracked down the “The Biggest Loser” contestants, most have regained nearly all the weight.
On other hand, I can’t stand trial lawyers who run around suing everyone, and I really and truly can’t stand people who believe buying a weight-loss product that didn’t work warrants $5 million in damages. For what, pain and suffering? Mental anguish? If we’re going to go down that road, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig better start preparing their legal defenses right away. The proper response is to ask for a refund, period.
Normal Weight, but “Obese”
From the DUH! files … an article on the ABC site notes that people can be “normal” weight, but still fat. No kidding? Pretty soon they may even realize people can be “overweight” without being fat or unhealthy.
Monika Sumpter did what many women dream of — she set a goal to lose weight and dropped 50 pounds. Despite losing all of that weight, her ratio of fat to muscle was around 25 percent, 5 percent from where she started and dangerously close to what some researchers say is an unhealthy situation.
So she lost 50 pounds and barely changed her fat-to-muscle ratio. That means Ms. Sumpter lost quite a bit of muscle. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts (and you can keep the donuts) she was on a high-carb, low-fat diet that didn’t provide enough protein — the kind Weight Watchers pushes.
If you read the article, you’ll see that she eventually took up resistance training and is now 20 pounds heavier than she was after the diet, but down to 14 percent body fat. That means she has a higher BMI, but is quite a bit leaner. So of course, embedded in the article is this link:
Are you a healthy weight? Click here to measure your body mass index.
As Mike Eades likes to say, Jesus wept.
Dumb Statistic About High School Football Linemen
Football linemen are more likely to die by age 50 than baseball players. This article suggests it’s because of their size … they have larger waist-to-hip ratios than baseball players and are, of course, much bigger in general.
The article says the football players are more likely to have metabolic issues, but doesn’t say why. Diet? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the combination of hormones and genetics that produce a 320-pound, six-foot, six-inch body also produce metabolic issues. Insulin is, after all, a growth hormone.
But the violence of football may also be a factor in the shorter average lifespan. I can’t recall where I read about it, but someone measured the impact of two pro linemen hitting each other. To reproduce the same impact, the average man would have to stand 30 feet from a garage door, then run into it as fast as he can. These guys take those hits dozens of times per game … not to mention practice sessions.
But what annoyed me about the article was this:
Recent studies suggest that this phenomenon may impact the next generation of players as well. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined the incidence of overweight players and obesity among 3,683 high school football linemen found that 45 percent were classified as overweight and 9 percent would be classified with severe obesity.
“As younger athletes in high school and college are encouraged to get larger for competitive reasons, these conditions may manifest themselves in younger and younger populations,” explains Dr. John Helzberg, FACG, Co-director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Medicine, who co-authored the study.
Coaches aren’t encouraging high-school football players to get fatter. They’re encouraging them to get heavier — by working out and putting on muscle. That doesn’t harm your health; it improves you health. (Even ABC figured that out.) What would be truly unhealthy would be facing off against a defensive tackle who outweighs you by 40 pounds.
That’s why the claim that 45 percent of high-school linemen are “overweight” is just stupid. Remember, we’re talking Body Mass Index measurements here. If you’re a six-foot male, you go into the “overweight” category as soon as you top 185 pounds. A football lineman who doesn’t weigh at least that much goes into a different category: it’s called guy about to get his @$$ kicked.
Okay, back to my software project …