Obesity Archives

"Not fit for combat," my article in Forbes

By Michael Fumento

It's not exactly what Pogo meant when he said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." But it works out that way. The greatest threat to our national security isn't terrorist groups, rogue nations with nukes or China. It's an inability to stock our armed forces with top-quality men and women because too many applicants are uneducated and overweight.

About three-fourths of the nation's 17- to 24-year-olds can't join the military, largely due to these problems, says a report from Mission: Readiness, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. It's one reason President Obama is dithering over whether he should order an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. Today we have just 1.4 million people in the active military, whereas in 1944 we had over 2 million serving in France alone, out of a U.S. population less than half its current size.

Read my Forbes article to find out how our public education system is a serious threat to national defense.

November 19, 2009 09:34 AM  ·  Permalink

"Anti-Atkins" low protein diet extends lifespan in flies

By Michael Fumento

Flies fed an "anti-Atkins" low protein diet live longer because their mitochondria function better, according to a new study at the Buck Institute for Age Research.The work calls into question the health benefits of high-protein diets such as Atkins and others that people often use to lose weight the lead scientist said.

Maybe, but guess what? Those flies are going to go right on buying those books.

October 3, 2009 07:23 PM  ·  Permalink

In little ways, you see the obesity epidemic march on

By Michael Fumento

First, Britney Spears, who is literally paid millions of dollars to be in shape, cannot do so. (It's not like she's a singer or anything.) I'd just die for a body like she had. Um, well, you get my drift. Her next song should be "Feed Me Baby One More Time."

I'm reminded of a story I told in my "The Fat of the Land" obesity book in which an actor who was slated to play Tarzan to Bo Derek's Jane, complete with semi-nude scenes, lost the job because he couldn't lose weight! For Bo Derek!

But then again, the medical files are replete with people told they'll die without an operation but that they can't be operated on until they lose some weight. So they die.

And finally, while waiting at the drug store yesterday to pick up a prescription there were five people in front of me. All obese. I'm sure they were all just getting allergy medicine like I was. The one directly in front of me had a half gallon of ice cream in his beefy left hand while the beefy right hand contained two boxes of South Beach Diet bars. Ya can't make these things up!

September 14, 2007 11:15 AM  ·  Permalink

Finally! Published studies that weight loss dramatically extends life

By Michael Fumento

"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." So observed Benjamin Franklin centuries ago. But Franklin didn't comment on whether food intake restriction worked by keeping people thin or by making them thin. Indeed, it's become a mantra of the "size acceptance" groups that there's no scientific evidence that losing weight increases longevity. And it's been true - until now, as I write in The American Spectator Online.

I also write about those who have found their life's calling in catering to delusional overweight people, which can be a lucrative market insofar as two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. One, Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth, insisted that 40 percent reduced mortality over seven years was "at best" a "very, very modest effect." Not just "very," but "very, very!"

Then there's Sandy Szwarc, nurse and cookbook author, properly labeled "a bigwig in the fat acceptance movement." Regarding the new studies, she calls it a "leap of logic" to assume that there is a correlation between the bariatric surgery and subsequent dramatic weight loss and the "purported improved mortalities." Purported? And apparently it wasn't the weight loss that extended survival time but either divine intervention or alien abductions.

August 31, 2007 10:19 AM  ·  Permalink

Obesity as contagion

By Michael Fumento

What makes you fat? Eating cheesy-poofs while watching Sex in the City reruns? Wolfing down a Wendy's "Baconator," comprising a double cheeseburger with six strips of bacon that could feed everyone in Darfur for a week? How about when you get the urge to exercise you lie down until it goes away, as one CEO famously put it?

Yes, to all of the above. But these are all specific contributors to obesity driven by larger forces that are making us, well, larger. One of the most important of these, as a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows, is that having fat social contacts makes you fatter. Read my article in The American Spectator Online on why obesity is contagious.

August 1, 2007 08:54 PM  ·  Permalink

Fido is fat (and so are we)

By Michael Fumento

It's enough to make you arf. The obesity epidemic has now gone to the dogs. We've got chubby Chihuahuas; fat foxhounds, pot-bellied poodles, butterball beagles, porcine pit bulls, and rotund Rottweilers. Labradors need liposuction. Read why in my latest article in the American Spectator.

January 18, 2007 08:43 PM  ·  Permalink

Circular reasoning defends "Roundness Syndrome"

By Michael Fumento

The food and beverage lobby calling itself The Center for Consumer Freedom (Unofficial motto: "Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we get paid!) claims there's new evidence that a study last April by Karen Flegal and others was correct in "putting the number of overweight- and obesity-related deaths at 26,000," although the CDC had previously been using a figure of 365,000. It noted that "some critics questioned [Flegal's] science." Yes, many did including me. It contradicted a slew of studies that came before and has been supported by none since. Now, pray tell, who is the one scientist they actually quote supporting the Flegal study? Why, it's Karen Flegal!

Sorry folks, but reading press releases from lobbyists who line their pockets by encouraging people to pad their bellies has not been demonstrated to lower the risk of overweight and obesity.

November 29, 2005 09:23 PM  ·  Permalink

What did they expect when they bought a diet from a fat man?

By Michael Fumento

"Dr. Phil" McGraw has been slapped with a lawsuit from three Los Angelenos over his "Shape Up!" diet plan. They're seeking to expand it to a class action and are demanding refunds and additional damages. The suit alleges that the plan is worthless. It included taking 22 herbal supplements and vitamin pills a day (vitamins, unfortunately, have become the modern snakeoil) and cost about $120 a month. The plan did also advise dieters to adopt a low-calorie diet and to exercise. Duh!

The plaintiffs claim the only thing they lost was money, and that after listening to McGraw they believed they could lose weight by taking the pills alone. That WOULD be the part of the plan he would emphasize, wouldn't it? The diet, promoted through a book and television special, has since been discontinued.

So okay, Dr. Phil is a shyster but what's new among something-for-nothing diet hawkers? What's more, what the heck were these people thinking in buying a diet plan from a fat guy? Haven't they ever heard the expression: "TV Guru: Heal thyself!" Case dismissed. Now get on a calorie-restricted diet and start exercising something other than your jaws.

October 5, 2005 11:21 AM  ·  Permalink

Fat Activist Paul Campos Strikes (Out) Again

By Michael Fumento

As per always, fat activist Paul Campos ignores the data linking overweight and obesity to illness. For example at Tech Central Station, one of my favorite websites, he writes "Consider [Bill] Clinton's allusion to a supposed epidemic of Type II diabetes among children. This has become a central claim of the public health establishment's anti-fat warriors, and it has been repeated in literally hundreds of stories in the major media in the last couple of years. Something you won't find in these stories are statistics regarding how many children actually have Type II diabetes. The reason is simple: Type II diabetes remains very rare among children and adolescents, despite an epidemic of claims to the contrary."

But according to the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, "Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Children and Youth: A New Epidemic," 15 May 2002:

"Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) has been described as a new epidemic affecting the American pediatric population. This is coincident with an overall 33% increase in DM prevalence documented during the last decade. In 1992, type 2 DM was a rare occurrence in most pediatric centers. By 1994, it represented up to 16% of new cases in urban areas, and by 1999, the incidence of new type 2 DM diagnoses ranged between 8% and 45%, depending on geographic location. These patients have been observed primarily in African-American, Mexican-American, Native- American, and Asian-American children and youth. As in the adult population, type 2 DM in children and youth occurs as a result of insulin resistance coupled with relative beta-cell failure. While there appears to be a host of potential genetic and environmental risk factors for these aberrations, perhaps the most significant risk factor is obesity."

Trust nothing this man writes about obesity. Read more about him here, here, here and here.

August 11, 2005 07:06 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  TrackBack (1)

Atkins Diet, RIP

By Michael Fumento

I've got too many column ideas lined up for an "I told you so" on Atkins but, um, well I did in article after article, column after column. There's no diet (probably) that doesn't work for somebody, including jelly beans, popcorn, and peanut butter. The key is always the ability to stick with it. Few people can stick to ANY diet, but fewer still to Atkins. Personally, I favor the exercise end and to be specific I think the role of resistance exercise is grossly underplayed. So am I glad to see Atkins take a hit? Sure. But there will always be a new "scientific" fad diet ready in the wings.

August 2, 2005 08:41 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  TrackBack (0)

Conservatives and government admonitions on obesity

By Michael Fumento

How should conservatives view government efforts against the obesity epidemic? This exchange might be useful.

Dear Mr. Fumento:

When getting someone else's comment about your obesity article at townhall.com, I heard that you are considered libertarian in your thinking. When I saw in the article, however, I sensed a strong dose of "Do Something". Don't throw away your conservatism on your war against obesity. Many people whom we call "liberals" are just conservatives who got all consumed on ONE issue that needs urgent government action. A government that has the right to tell you not to eat a big mac has the right to tell you what to do in your bedroom.

Billy [omitted]

Dear Billy:

Actually, in just the last few days hate mailers or bloggers have referred to me as "a liberal twirp" and a "neo-con" along with other things that are usually written out as &%$#^ or *&$#@+. But yes, I've also been called a libertarian. None of the above is true. I'm just an old-fashioned conservative, or to be more specific I refer to myself as a "Burkean conservative." Despite my disgust with politicians who call themselves conservatives and actually believe in nothing more than power and money, I will not "throw away" my core beliefs. On the other hand, you are the one who seems to be adopting the libertarian position that even government advice on food consumption is going too far. I'm sorry, but I draw a huge distinction between told something is bad for you and having a law passed against it. We have a Public Health Service for a reason – to protect public health. When it strays into areas like divorce, as the CDC has, it needs to be slapped down. When it lies, as it did about the AIDS epidemic, likewise. But weighing in (pardon the pun) on the second-greatest controllable cost of premature death seems to be exactly what public health people should be doing.

Michael Fumento

July 15, 2005 08:31 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  TrackBack (0)

Fat threatens national defense

By Michael Fumento

For those who still believe the nation's girth growth is strictly a personal matter, this article shows it's not just the war in Iraq that's hurting military recruiting. Nearly 20 percent of men and 40 percent of women of recruiting age are too fat even to be considered. Add to that thousands of experience service members discharged because they ballooned up and can't drop the pounds. "This is quickly becoming a national security issue for us," according to an Army nutrition expert.

July 5, 2005 08:14 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  TrackBack (0)