overhaul / undertow

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

"Americans are fatter — and drunker"

I love this article and its headline. Let's deconstruct, shall we?


Americans are fatter — and drunker
MSNBC/ Reuters

[Fatter and drunker than who? Or than when? Than when...we instituted Prohibition? Fatter and drunker than when we colonized New England? That's not news. Everybody knows we were totally emaciated and god-fearing back then. Fatter and drunker than Europeans? Oh sure. Those freaks drink wine with LUNCH. Also, this declaration is almost...celebratory. Is Reuters proud of this? It sounds like it.]

MORE THAN one in five American adults could be classified as obese in 2001, up almost 6 percent from the year before. And more than one in four Americans engage in bouts of binge drinking — defined as five or more drinks at one sitting with the goal of getting drunk — up 35 percent from 1995.
“I guess you could say we’re fat and drunk,” said Timothy Naimi, a researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, summarizing a pair of studies based on a huge telephone survey of more than 200,000 adults.

[Very astute, Tim.]

“We’re a society that is somewhat taken with excesses,” Naimi said.

[Oh c'mon, Tim. You can't seriously be saying we're enamored with the idea that bigger is better, can you?]

The studies’ publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association was timed by the journal to coincide with the revelry associated with New Year’s eve.

[You guys suck. Way to ruin a party, AMA. Next you'll be telling us red meat is unhealthy or something.]

Drinking to get drunk is more prevalent among men than women, with men accounting for 81 percent of the 1.5 billion binge-drinking episodes in 2001, it said.

[Wonder what that has to do with the possibility of being conscripted. Hmm. I don't know about those stats. I bet women get loaded just as often but don't go bragging about it.]

Roughly half of adult Americans do not drink at all.


Efforts to stem binge drinking might find a parallel in anti-smoking campaigns that seem to be working, Naimi said.

[Note to Mr. Naimi: Why do all my friends still smoke? I'm concerned about your reasoning here, sir.]

Too often, Naimi said, heavy drinking episodes are accepted as a joke or heralded as a badge of courage, and ebullient liquor advertising too often targets the young. The growing fad of “supersizing” bar drinks has become as common as fast-food franchises’ expanded portions of fatty French fries.

[Those things are great. I have very little money. I appreciate a good value.]

Obesity is another killer, and its prevalence among U.S. adults nearly doubled in the past decade to 21 percent of adults, the CDC researchers said.
Obesity has been declared a global problem by the World Health Organization, and 45 percent of adults in some oil-rich Persian Gulf nations are obese, study author Ali Mokdad said.

{The World Health Organization yet again makes a strikingly accurate declaration of the obvious. Why do we pay these people?]

“We drive longer distances, everything is done by machines, we spend all our time on computers,” Mokdad said by way of explaining the fattening of some Americans. Eating healthy foods requires effort, he said, while eating a bad diet is relatively inexpensive.

[No shit. Really?]

Excess fat, like alcohol abuse, causes a host of related health problems, the researchers said. “Each year, an estimated 300,000 U.S. adults die of causes related to obesity, and diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death,” Mokdad wrote.

[Gross. Americans need to get their ass in gear. We are the biggest overconsumers on the planet: of oil, water, food, all resources. Get a grip, people. This is not the brave new wonderful world that you see in Visa commercials and ads for AOL. Take off those little Starbucks-logo-emblazoned blinders you've got on and see the world for what it is: its wealth being plundered and its people being damaged so huge corporations can sell their shitty products to your fat ass.
I'm not saying I'm some paragon of physical fitness and responsible behavior, 'cos I'm not. I drink too much. In fact, I am one of those occasional binge drinkers this article talks about. But I don't think the world owes me a tank full of gas and a steak. I try to make responsible purchases, even if it's just the fucking napkins in my kitchen and non-genetically modified food. I try to involve myself with organizations that do good work and improve the well-being of the community.

I also throw out my recyclables though, 'cause it's too much trouble to find a local recycling center. So maybe I'm just full of shit.
Happy new year.


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