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Odds & Sods
American Fatties Cause Global Warming - The Fat Report No. 2
Sunday, 29th October, 2006  - Richard Farmer

Listen here fatty! It's not just diabetes and heart attacks you're resonsible for. Things are getting really serious. Global warming is your faullt now.

The American obesity epidemic is feeding the growth in U.S. fuel consumption. Or so the academics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Virginia Commonwealth University are telling us. They have used federal statistics to calculate how much extra fuel Americans are using because they are getting fatter.

"We basically looked at the average weights of people for different time periods, and then we took those people and we put them in . . . today's cars with today's driving habits," said Sheldon H. Jacobson, one of the study's authors and a professor of computer science at U of I. told the Chicago Sun-Times. According to Virginia Commonwealth professor Laura McLay, the extra gas being used each year to carry more overweight Americans is about three days' worth of what the nation currently consumes.

That's a lot of CO2 generating a lot of academic hot air and another example of the scramble to get aboard the obesity band wagon. The stories keep bobbing up everywhere and words about weight are clearly dangerous things.

This week they even cost Winter Haven Police Chief Paul Goward his job. Chief Goward, in the job for 2 1/2 years, was worried that some of his employees were fat and out of shape. He circulated an email headed "Are you a Jelly Belly?" on October 11.

"As I look around the department I see a disconcerting number of us that appear physically challenged with obesity and/or a general lack of physical fitness," Goward's e-mail said. "This is a tremendous concern to me because the literature, to say nothing of common sense, states that if you are obese and/or out of shape you are a predictable liability to yourself, your family, your partner, this department, the city of Winter Haven and the citizens of our city. So, take a good look at yourself."

"If you are unfit, do yourself and everyone else a favor. See a professional about a proper diet and a fitness training program, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and start thinking self-pride, confidence and respectability. And stop making excuses for delaying what you know you should have been doing years ago. We didn't hire you unfit and we don't want you working unfit. Don't mean to offend, this is just straight talk. I owe it to you."

The chubby policemen took offense at the remarks and following their protests Chief Goward went into retirement.

Perhaps instead of writing so harshly the Winter Haven force should have been prescribed one of the self-described wonder drugs that the public relations people are pushing with a relentless frequency. In the last few days we have had Amylin Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, California, announcing an extensive program of clinical trials which will assess the safety and efficacy of "multiple neurohormones used in combination to treat obesity." The company modestly claims that its research and development activities "leverage the company's expertise in metabolism to develop potential therapies to treat diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease."

Prefer something a little further along the development path? Then pop a Qnexa pill which developer Vivus has reported shows that patients experienced significant weight loss when administered with the drug during a phase II clinical trial. In the trial, said the company, patients with metabolic syndrome were treated with Qnexa and experienced a significant average weight loss and a reduction in waist circumference. Significant reductions were also seen in lipid levels.

Surely that's an easier method of weight loss than what VicHealth chief executive Rob Moodie urged Australian governments to advocate. Mr Moodle thinks more should be done to promote walking in the community. "We live in a box, we go and hop in a box on wheels, and then drive to another box where we work. The notion of the great outdoor physical active sporting race is becoming mythology."

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