Up to now, the familiar bad guys have been hauled out to explain the fattening of America. Doctors cite not enough exercise and too much junk food, bad genes and stress. A recent study by the Rand Corporation found a new potential culprit: Kids get fat when the neighborhood price of fruits and vegetables is too high. This establishes the first connection between food cost and waistline size and opens the way for a raft of new interventions. Yet none of these explanations can account for the extent or gravity of fatness. Once a comic opportunity (Jackie Gleason, John Candy, Roseanne), obesity has become a public-health crisis—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes it as an "epidemic." That makes identifying its causes more urgent.Technorati Tags: Smoking, Cigarettes, Obesity, Slate
May I make a modest suggestion: The blame may lie with that No. 1 public-health villain, the odious cigarette. Not because smoking makes people fat, but because not smoking does—or at least, stopping once you've started.
For decades, public-health officials and doctors have been publicizing the dire health consequences of cigarette smoking in an attempt to unhook the American public. Their efforts qualify as the most important public-health initiative of the last century. Yet perversely enough, evidence suggests that the rush to stamp out cigarette smoking has brought health problems along with clean lungs and wide-open arteries. Cigarettes are the best legal drug available for weight control. They're better than fen-phen was, better than Olestra hoped to be, and better than all the appetite suppressants peddled for decades under the table and above it. Ask the professionals who are paid to look underfed—fashion models and ballet dancers—what their secret is. It's unanimous (at least among legal drugs): They light up...
Friday, October 14, 2005
A funny, thoughtful article in Slate written by a physician: