July 2, 2006

Top Ten Excuses

It must be the end of the financial year, because everyone is cleaning up the previous years mess by summarizing everything that matters into a top ten list. One of these days someone is going to come up with a top ten list of life, the universe and everything and we won’t need schools or scientists anymore.

Doctors and medical scientists normally do their utmost to ensure we have no idea what to eat or what to do, because everything we eat and everything we do will kill us, and the beneficial things are impossible to achieve (such as eating 10 pounds of broccoli each day). They work overtime on the guilt and confusion principles.

A more happy-go-lucky group of doctors, throwing all caution and brain cells to the four winds, have offered the (industrialized) world 10 excuses for being fat – a collective get out of jail free card.

No less that the International Journal of Obesity (you didn’t know there was such a journal, did you?) have published an article (and issued wallet sized cards) of the top ten hypothesis – other than diet and exercise – on potential contributors to obesity.

One doctor, not involved in the study, was tickled pink at the clutching at straws approach to a serious lifestyle problem in wealthy nations:

"I think it's very creative," said Dr. Robert Kushner … "We are facing an epidemic with no tipping point in the near future. At this point, there are no silly ideas."

Err, no; no silly ideas to see here folks, none at all. You’ll have to look elsewhere for silly ideas.

A total of twenty highly qualified scientists put in the hard-yards to come up with these fresh ideas to explain away the little obesity epidemic:

1. Inadequate sleep. (Average sleep amounts have fallen, and many studies tie sleep deprivation to weight gain.)

2. Endocrine disruptors, which are substances in some foods that may alter fats in the body.

3. Nice temperatures. (Air conditioning and heating limit calories burned from sweating and shivering.)

4. Fewer people smoking. (Less appetite suppression.)

5. Medicines that cause weight gain.

6. Population changes. (More middle-agers and Hispanics, who have higher obesity rates.)

7. Older birth moms. (That correlates with heavier children).

8. Genetic influences during pregnancy.

9. Darwinian natural selection. (Fat people out-survive skinny ones).

10. Assortative mating, or "like mating with like," as Allison puts it. Translation: fat people procreating with others of the same body type, gradually skewing the population toward the heavy end.

One of the contributors concludes:

“The point is, there is more to obesity than diet and exercise, he said. "These are 10 reasonable hypotheses, and as scientists, we should be open-minded"

Yes, for the majority of people there is more to obesity than diet and exercise, such as: exercise and diet.


  1. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Caz .... Your pulling my leg right mate? What total and utter crap eh! Why oh why are people always intent on finding other reasons for obesity. I worked out many a long year ago that if I expend more calories than I ingest plus exercise I maintain a healthy weight. I have lived by that maxim and it has served me well! (Plus I can drink all the booze I want without adverse effects!!) People just eat far to much(especially takeaway)Another problem is as you get older your metabolism slows down so less calories are burned off. Unfortunately most people just keep on eating the same amount of food and exercise less.
    Yes Caz there is more to obesity than diet and exercise, such as exercise and diet.Your Dead right mate!!

  2. Righto! This study is just a bunch of bunk. Lower caloric intake along with increased caloric burn. Easy to say. Not so easy to do for some.

    BTW I didn't see a duck for last friday's Duck Blog Friday... was it just a flash in the pan? ;-)

  3. Anonymous6:41 AM

    Aww cube, why don't you shut the duck up!!!(I just luuuurrve that line)

  4. "Lower caloric intake along with increased caloric burn. Easy to say.

    Try saying that ten times with a lisp!

    Friday was dedicated to the memory of Geoff's faithful hound. The ducks WILL return, in all their feathered splender.

    See, you MISSED the ducks, didn't you Cubicle ... they're growing on you already. How sweet.

  5. I have to laugh when I hear/read someone going "quack quack" now. Mate was at work one day (works in a hospital) when he said that he could eat the crutch out of a low flying duck. Nurse walked past going "Quack... Quack...." :)

    OK - the top 10....
    1. Nope - get plenty of sleep. Maybe disturbed sleep but people say I'm a disturbed person :)
    2. Well - I am allergic to some foods but I'm too lazy to bother finding out which foods they are. Food is food and eating is a chore. Was I supposed to admit to being lazy? How does that work on the blame-everyone-else scale?
    3. I don't close the windows and doors on my house unless rain is coming in - summer or winter. You can tell that I don't live in Melbourne :) Works well in winter as the cats sleep on me looking for warmth. An underhanded way of feeling needed :)
    4. Does picking my nose count?
    5. Broccoli?
    6. I've not become an illegal immigrant - still me in this house...
    7. Well, my bio clock is ticking and I just can't seem to get preggers. Maybe I need to complain to some government department and get compensation because I don't have a uterus. I got hooters though but they're covered in hair.
    8. Hey - I just look pregnant - it doesn't mean that I am!
    9. I'm pretty healthy all 'round but this genetic line is going to end because even alcohol isn't enough of a moral inhibitor for a woman to want me! :)
    10. Mating with a bird that looks like me??? There isn't a room dark enough! Blecch!


  6. Jai - you know we could report you to ... well, someone ... for clever manipulation of cat behaviours.

    As a test case, I reckon you should go ahead with suing the government over the denial of your "right" to breed - everyone else does it, or they demand six figure sums in medical assistance to help prove once and for all that nature never ever intended for their genes to continue on this earth. I think it's a go-er, and lack of a uterous is going to make compelling court evidence. I think you're on a winner.