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February 13, 2006



The phosphates in 'soda' or 'pop' are bad for growing bones. The corn syrup is calories without other nutrients. So is booze.

Lou Grunt

Figures that a foundation with the words "Wood" and "Johnson" in their name would support Bubba's cause.


Are we sure of those studies about obesity rates? I'm more cynical of all the 'scientific study finds that...' in the media than I am of our own government.

We've become a nation of busy bodies and it really disgusts me.


Syl, don't ya' know, it takes a nation of busybodies to rear a child.


My 7-year-old granddaughter came home with a notice that she's obese according to whatever cockamamie scale they're using. She's tiny! Slim-limbed! Petite by any objective standard! All muscle! I gayrondadgumtee you she's under 5% body fat, but she's obese!? I'm not merely skeptical, I'm in contempt of these so-called studies. I'm just guessing someone is making boocoo bux off this utter BS.


I believe in healthy school meals and more excercise. But the idea of a foundation teaching TEACHERS to be healthier role models for kids makes me kind of sad.


The obesity issue reminds me of the movie "The Incredibles" where the superhero father morphed into an obese, beaten-down weakling because his culture suffocated his innate desire to be the best that he could be.

R C Dean

Twenty bucks says this is just a boondoggle for Clinton allies in the teacher's unions. "Working with teachers" - uh huh.


Well....at least they are starting to move down the right track instead of just blaming soda. Believe it or not I even wrote to my Senators about this a while back (Lieberman and Dodd). Of course heard nothing back from Dodd but got a nice form letter from Joe. At any rate - the problem is not so much the caloric intake as it is the lack of exercise.

School days have gotten longer as well as school years (due to an ever-increasing load of "objectives" which must be taught in each grade level each year). As that happened, and as local budgets became tighter, Phys Ed and sports programs were cut. More time sitting and less time moving. And walking around the school with 80lb. backpacks doesn't count!

Add to that the number of kids that go home and seat themselves in front of a computer or a TV and the problem grows worse. When we were elementary age - we could not wait to go out and play. Even in the teen years we were always doing something physical - sports, frisbee, hiking in the woods, whatever. As a society, we seem to have lost a lot of that.

So - bottom line - any program that begins to address exercise may well be worth it.


Our metabolisms were set when we had to exert to forage. We'll not get right again until we return to exertion being necessary to get nourished. What the heck do you think animals are mobile for?


Imagine, a waitperson as the most iconic symbol of our cultural degradation.


I'm with Specter on this one,exercise is part of the equation. I think students nowadaysunless they are in organized sports do not move around enough. They are spectators rather than participants. Eating disorders are another chronic problem with this generation along with an obsession with body image.


It is my understanding that according to the current BMI guidelines, a higher proportion of the US Olympic Team is obese than the US population as a whole. Furthermore, it is now understood that it is weight control measures such as dieting and excessive exercise that lead to increased body fat and eating disorders in the first place.

Perhaps it is time to stop expending resources on a non-problem. Besides, whatever happened to individual responsibility?


I think another contributing factor is the amount of paranoia about kids' safety. You wouldn't believe the number of parents who are afraid to let their kids just go out and play without constant supervision. They are paranoid about the 1-in-a-million chance that their kid is going to get snatched, but blithely unconcerned about the early death their sluggard couch-potato kid will suffer. And organized sports don't have nearly as much exercise in them as you would think -- there's lots of time sitting in the car/bus going to and from games and practice, lots of time sitting on the bench unless you are a star. Even gym class involves a lot of teaching the uncool kids their place -- which is on the bench watching their betters play.

Then there is the latest education fad, the "attendence center" school. Instead of having the neighborhood kids walk to the neighborhood school, with the little kids supervised by the big kids, they divide up the kids by grade -- two grades per school. The area has to be 4 times larger, so now far fewer kids are within walking distance, and since you've divided the kids by age you no longer have the older kids and younger kids going in the same direction. So instead of having the gang of neighborhood kids walking to and from school every day, now you have the stressed-out parents trying to figure out how to drive 4 kids to 4 different schools and they have to all be dropped off and picked up during two 20-minute windows.

cathy :-)



It is not necessarily that parents are afraid of having their children snatched. It is likely more that they are afraid of being thought of as child-abusers for not providing supervision (in the form of the minimum required 6 hours of daily TV dosage).

The whole obesity thing strikes me as just another outlet for good ol' American puritanism. Now that it is not longer OK for the Left to denounce sex (tough noogies, Andrea Dworkin), they have chosen to play Big Brother to our waistlines. After all, what can be more evil than pleasurable indulgence by those WalMart-going people?

I know, let's start a petition drive for a Constitutional Amendment that bans sugar and all saturated fats, for the moral betterment of America, forever and ever.

Glenn Cordua

What if they are completely wrong? Read the UPI article below about possible viral and hormonal causes of obesity

New research could take blame off obesity
UPI Consumer Health Reporter

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A growing body of obesity research focusing on human adenoviruses and brain hormones may prove that being fat is not your fault.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that chickens infected with human adenovirus 37, or AD-36, packed on up to three times more fat than normal chickens.

"This is a novel concept as far as a cause for obesity. If these viruses are contributing to obesity, as we get to the point of developing a vaccine, there may be a way to help combat the obesity epidemic," said Leah Whigham, the study's lead author and an associate scientist at the university.

Another human adenovirus, called AD-36, has already been linked to obesity in animals and humans. Whigham inoculated chickens with AD-2, AD-31 and AD-37, three of about 50 human adenoviruses known to exist. She made sure the animals' blood contained antibodies, which means the virus had infected them.

After four weeks both the inoculated chickens and a control group were analyzed for their weight and fat content. AD-2 and AD-31 showed no effect on the animals, yet AD-37 dramatically fattened the animals. The virus works directly on fat cells, increasing their adiposity, or fat content.

Neither the inoculated group nor the control group differed in their food intake, ruling out the possibility of overeating as a cause.

Her research appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

Whigham's work builds on decades of research by Richard Atkinson, now the president of the American Obesity Association, on AD-36. Atkinson has found that the presence of AD-36 antibodies in people is associated with a higher body mass index. And in another study of twins, he discovered individuals carrying antibodies to AD-36 were heavier and fatter.

In the United States obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children in the last 30 years. Atkinson pointed out the epidemic is global: Several developing countries, such as Paraguay and South Africa, have comparable rates of obesity as Americans.

"It becomes hard to say we're eating more McDonalds. Now we're asking, 'What's going on here?'" he said.

He theorizes that AD-36 mutated from a chicken virus in the 1970s and has since spread worldwide. In humans, adenoviruses cause mild illnesses ranging from respiratory infections to conjunctivitis, and scientists suggest they are airborne transmitters. Although a vaccine to block adenovirus is in the works, it's still a long way off, Atkinson said.

Rudolph Leibel, the co-director of the New York Obesity/Nutrition Research Center at Columbia University, says Whigham's paper should give reasonable pause to a society relying on draconian methods -- such as dieting -- to prevent obesity.

"We should at least keep an open mind," Leibel said, citing as an example the discovery that ulcers come from bacteria, and not stress, as was conventionally believed.

In a second study, researchers in England identified a brain hormone, or a peptide, not previously known to cause obesity in children. The hormone, beta-MSH, is produced by a protein called proopiomelanocortin, or POMC, which is located in the hypothalamus of the brain. The beta-MSH hormone, along with alpha-MSH, control appetite and satiation, or the feeling of being full. When this hormone mutates, it can not work properly to monitor appetite.

Researchers know another POMC peptide, called alpha-MSH, causes obesity, but beta-MSH was the "neglected sibling" -- largely because it is not expressed in rodents, said Stephen O'Rahilly, a professor of medicine at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in England.

"It's another piece of the puzzle to understand the controlling mechanisms," O'Rahilly said. "It's not exactly a small step for man and a giant leap for the obese, but it could potentially be useful," he added.

The paper appeared in the February issue of Cell Metabolism. In an accompanying paper in the same journal, German researchers also studied beta-MSH and weight control.

O'Rahilly studied blood samples from 500 obese, Caucasian children across Europe. He found that 1 percent of the children had a beta-MSH mutation. When he brought them in a clinical research facility, the children with the mutation ate twice as much at a test meal than normal-weight children.

Although everyone with a mutation of the hormone will not become fat, it increases chance for obesity tenfold, O'Rahilly said.

Leibel of Columbia University says he was struck that beta-MSH, an apparently powerful hormone in obesity, has been overlooked until now.

"It's another good example of why humans need to be looked at as the proper subject to study the genetics of obesity. We can't solve all these problems in rodents," Leibel said.

For obese children who struggle with their weight, the two studies could help take away some of the blame.

"In our society, we're used to thinking of obesity as an issue of self-control. We think people aren't disciplined enough to exercise and control the food they eat," Whigham said. "But there could be other factors that aren't in their control."


E-mail: [email protected]

© Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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I for one will keep an open mind. But I don't buy it. (How's that for keeping an open mind?) We are eating more fast food and exercising less and that's a fact no one can deny.


What's Bill's excuse for being fat?


No problem,all a kid has got to do is keep its hands of the cigars,the cruise missiles and the interns.


I for one will keep an open mind. But I don't buy it. (How's that for keeping an open mind?) We are eating more fast food and exercising less and that's a fact no one can deny.

Posted by: Sue | February 14, 2006 at 09:38 AM

What's Bill's excuse for being fat?

Posted by: Huggy | February 14, 2006 at 10:11 AM

Oh come on man. She laid it out for you right there.


I'd kind of like to see a program that worked with parents to help them learn to be better role models for their kids. The burden of raising children well keeps shifting to the schools, where the emphasis really should be on schoolish teachy-type things.


All I know is I spent 3 recesses a day outside running, playing softball, jumping rope, anything to burn off excess energy so when I went back inside I would sit still and listen to the lessons being taught. Which mostly had to do with the 3 Rs and little smidgin of history, geography and science thrown in for good measure. And 2 or 3 times a week we had physical education classes and enough time to have music lessons 1 day a week. I'm not sure what happened or when it happened. They shortened recesses, removed the playground equipment, took away physical education and music and kids are learning less today than they did when we had all of that. Just seems we keep tweeking things till they become ridiculously overtweeked.


You know what's weird, Sue? I've lived in 3 different elementary school districts, all of them very good. Two of the districts still had the 3 recesses, one of them had just one recess. I spent a lot of time in each school, and I cannot pinpoint what the difference in the school day might have been, timewise, why one district seemed not to have the time for the extra recesses. In the two public districts, the PTA had to raise the money to buy the playground equipment.

Maybe it's money- recess requires paid supervision. Perhaps Bill's foundation should be paying for playground equipment and recess aides. Hire parents from the neighborhood to come in and supervise.


At my children's grade school we volunteered to watch the kids atlunch and do schoolyard duty. As parents we could sign up at the beginning of the schoolyear. When I worked with AT Risk kids in junior high we had time for basketball, baseball and other exercise activities.It helped them to focus for the rest of the day.


You have to respect Bill for going against his best interests, you know he likes fat chicks.

richard mcenroe

PeterUK — Huh. You'd think interns would be a good way to burn off a few calories. Gary Condit was a skinny little weasel...


In a Gadda da Vida is a Bhagavad Gita.

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