Tag Archives | Killer At Large

Obesity Is Bigger Health Crisis Globally Than Hunger

At the beach - male abdominal obesityIt’s not just America y’all. Via CNN:

Obesity is a bigger health crisis globally than hunger, and the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according to a new report published Thursday in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Nearly 500 researchers from 50 countries compared health data from 1990 through 2010 for the Global Burden of Disease report, revealing what they call a massive shift in global health trends.

“We discovered that there’s been a huge shift in mortality. Kids who used to die from infectious disease are now doing extremely well with immunization,” said Ali Mokdad, co-author of the study and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the collaborative project.

“However, the world is now obese and we’re seeing the impact of that.”

The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades.

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How The Food Industry Eats Your Kid’s Lunch

fries ketchupLucy Komisar, who contributed the essay “Dirty Money and Global Banking Secrecy” to the disinformation anthology Everything You Know Is Wrong, contributes a major op-ed to this Sunday’s New York Times:

An increasingly cozy alliance between companies that manufacture processed foods and companies that serve the meals is making students — a captive market — fat and sick while pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. At a time of fiscal austerity, these companies are seducing school administrators with promises to cut costs through privatization. Parents who want healthier meals, meanwhile, are outgunned.

Each day, 32 million children in the United States get lunch at schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program, which uses agricultural surplus to feed children. About 21 million of these students eat free or reduced-price meals, a number that has surged since the recession. The program, which also provides breakfast, costs $13.3 billion a year.

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Marijuana Munchies Won’t Make You Fat

Three hash cakes made with hashish from different Amsterdam coffee shops.

Three hash cakes made with hashish from different Amsterdam coffee shops.

Thanks to some fearless French researchers, we now know that you have nothing to fear from an attack of the munchies, reports Reuters:

Anybody who’s smoked marijuana knows about “the munchies,” that desire to eat everything within reach. But a study from France has found that, surprisingly, pot smokers are actually less likely than non-smokers to pack on weight.

Using data covering more than 50,000 U.S. adults, researchers headed by Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at the Louis-Mourier Hospital in Colombes, France, found that roughly 14 percent to 17 percent of the people reporting that they smoked pot at least three days per week were obese.

That compared with a 22 to 25 percent obesity rate among people who said they had not used pot in the past 12 months.

“Initially, we thought we made a mistake,” said Le Strat, adding that he and co-author Bernard Le Foll checked the results several times to make sure they were correct.

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Half of U.S. Adults Obese By 2030

Silhouettes and waist circumferences representing normal, overweight, and obese

Silhouettes and waist circumferences representing normal, overweight, and obese

When I mentioned this to my friend across the room she said, “I thought they already were…”

From the Washington Post:

Based on trends, half of the adults in the United States will be obese by 2030 unless the government makes changing the food environment a policy priority, according to a report released Thursday on the international obesity crisis in the British medical journal the Lancet.

Those changes include making healthful foods cheaper and less-healthful foods more expensive largely through tax strategies, the report said. Changes in the way foods are marketed would also be called for, among many other measures.

A team of international public health experts argued that the global obesity crisis will continue to grow worse and add substantial burdens to health-care systems and economies unless governments, international agencies and other major institutions take action to monitor, prevent and control the problem.

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One Quarter Of American Teens Drink Soda Every Day

SodaFountain

For those of you wondering why America’s greatest threat is obesity, this is at least part of the answer, although the CDC is spinning it as good news. From AP via Yahoo News:

A new study shows one in four high school students drink soda every day — a sign fewer teens are downing the sugary drinks… That’s less than in the past. In the 1990s and early 2000s, more than three-quarters of teens were having a sugary drink each day, according to earlier research.

The CDC reported the figures Thursday, based on a national survey last year of more than 11,000 high school students. They appear in one of the federal agency’s publications, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Consumption of sugary drinks is considered a big public health problem, and has been linked to the U.S. explosion in childhood obesity. One study of Massachusetts schoolchildren found that for each additional sweet drink per day, the odds of obesity increased 60 percent.

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Lost At The Con

[disinfo ed.'s note: The following is an excerpt from Lost At The Con, new fiction from Big Shiny Robot's Bryan Young.]

lostattheconA political writer for a second rate, online news magazine, Michael Cobb is assigned by his editor to cover a sci-fi and fantasy convention in a bid to humiliate him.

Since Cobb can’t afford to turn down the job, he heads to Georgia and dives head first into the world of Griffin*Con, renowned the world over as the Mardis Gras of geek conventions. In Atlanta he finds a place that takes geeky debauchery to new heights: science fiction and fantasy, cosplay, booze, sex, comic books, drugs, slash fiction, and more.

This scene takes place on Cobb’s first day at the con:

My heart sank, killing the warmth of the drugs. The urge for locomotion finally returned to my legs and I continued my sojourn to the elevator. That feeling of flying high without a safety net returned as the elevator doors I'd finally reached opened with a sharp DING. And there before me was a Darth Vader...
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Religious Americans Twice As Likely To Become Obese

Obesity 001 Is this why mostly secular Europe’s citizens are so much skinnier than still religious America’s? Courtney Hutchison reports for ABC News:

Americans who are religious are more likely to be happy, healthy … and hefty?

According to research from Northwestern University, youths of a healthy weight who frequently participated in religious activities were twice as likely to become obese by middle age than their less-religious peers.

Even when controlling for race, sex, education and income — several factors that could independently be affecting likelihood of obesity, this affect remained. Researchers drew on data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, which tracked weight and a number of physical and behavioral variables, including religious involvement, in more than 2,000 men and women over the past two decades.

“We had previously found that those with high religious involvement were more likely to be obese [as middle-aged or older adults], but we wanted to follow people over time to make sure that people who are religious are more likely to become obese, not that people who weigh more are more likely to turn to religion,” said Mathew Feinstein, lead author of the study and an M.D.

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Fat Friends May Make You Fat

What’s the old adage — you are the company you keep? From Reuters:

Americans will keep growing fatter until 42 percent of the nation is considered obese, and having fat friends is part of the problem, researchers said on Thursday.

The prediction by a team of researchers at Harvard University contradicts other experts who say the nation’s obesity rate has peaked at 34 percent of the U.S. population.

Obesity

The finding is from the same group, led by Nicholas Christakis, that reported in 2007 that if someone’s friend becomes obese, that person’s chances of becoming obese increase by more than half.

They now think this same phenomenon is driving the obesity epidemic, which will climb slowly but steadily for the next 40 years.

Alison Hill, a graduate student at Harvard and the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, said the study is based on the idea that obesity can spread like an infectious disease and people can catch it from their friends…

[continues at Reuters]

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As Many As A Third Of Americans Will Have Diabetes By 2050

The blue circle symbol used to represent diabetes

The blue circle symbol used to represent diabetes

Obesity truly is the “Killer At Large.” If this statistic won’t stop people from consuming vast quantities of HCFC-laced junk food and soda, I don’t know what will. From Reuters:

Up to a third of U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if Americans continue to gain weight and avoid exercise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected on Friday.

The numbers are certain to go up as the population gets older, but they will accelerate even more unless Americans change their behavior, the CDC said.

“We project that, over the next 40 years, the prevalence of total diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) in the United States will increase from its current level of about one in 10 adults to between one in five and one in three adults in 2050,” the CDC’s James Boyle and colleagues wrote in their report.

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Late Night TV and Web Surfing Can Cause Obesity

Source: CAD-Comic.com (CC)

Source: CAD-Comic.com (CC)

Although recent research suggests that obesity may be partly genetic, intuitively one feels that being a late night TV couch potato or site surfer can’t help. The LA Times reports on a study showing just that, but with an unexpected twist:

Researchers already know that people who stay up late watching TV, playing video games or surfing the Web have an increased risk of becoming obese. The thought was that all that sedentary awake time amounted to more opportunities to snack, and thus to put on pounds.

But a study published online Monday says another mechanism may be at work too – the additional exposure to light at night messes with one’s circadian rhythm and throws the body’s metabolism out of whack.

To prove that light at night actually causes obesity, researchers from Ohio State University and University of Haifa in Israel kept three groups of mice. One group followed the normal pattern of 16 hours of full light and eight hours of dark; another group had 16 hours of full light and eight hours of dim light; the third group was exposed to full light for 24 hours in a row…

All three groups of mice ate the same amount of chow, and they all got the same amount of exercise.

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