Posts Tagged ‘Obesity’

Italian cheese and obesity

June 5, 2016

My attempts at losing weight are primarily undermined by my liking for cheese. Not that beer and rice and potatoes don’t contribute, but the connection with cheese is – for me – pronounced and immediate.

So I looked at some data on cheese consumption and obesity data for the US which is readily available. A similarity of shape between growth of obesity prevalence and cheese consumption is apparent. But the similarity is much more pronounced with the consumption of Italian rather than the total amount of cheese or just American cheese ……..

Cheese and obesity

But avoiding Italian cheese as a sop to my cheese addiction is not going to help me…


 

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European Court’s ruling on obesity is not as idiotic as it may appear

December 20, 2014

Last week the headlines all reported that the European Court of Justice had made a ruling that obesity could be a disability and they all implied that here was another ruling by learned judges which contradicted common sense.

  1. Obesity IS a DISABILITY, rules highest EU court | Daily Mail
  2. European Court Rules That Obesity Could Be a Disability …
  3. Obesity can be a disability, EU court rules – The Guardian
  4. BBC News – Obesity ‘could be a disability’ – EU courts rule
  5. EU court rules that fatness ‘can constitute a disability’ – The …

That was my first reaction too.

But reading the ruling itself (ECJ press release) shows the logic followed by the Court. I have other objections to the whole concept of “equal rights” granted by a society (where equality is not subordinated to justice and where there are no corresponding duties), but there is no fault in the logic followed here:

  1. The EU directive on discrimination prohibits discrimination “based on religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation”.
  2. “The concept of ‘disability’ within the meaning of the directive must be understood as referring to a limitation which results in particular from long-term physical, mental or psychological impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers”.
  3. Disability does not specifically refer to obesity.
  4. “…. if, under given circumstances, the obesity of the worker entails a limitation which results in particular from physical, mental or psychological impairments
    which in interaction with various barriers may hinder the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers, and the limitation is a long-term one, such obesity can fall within the concept of ‘disability’ within the meaning of the directive”.
  5. “It is for the national court to determine whether Mr Kaltoft’s obesity falls within the definition of  ‘disability’.”

If obesity causes impairment which is due to a long-term physical, mental or psychological impairment then – by the very definition of disability – it is a disability in the meaning of the discrimination directive. As it must be. In fact, the Court has just stated the obvious since any condition, whether labelled obesity or anything else, if due to long term physical, mental or psychological impairment is a disability.

The onus will be on an obese person – who wishes to be classified as being disabled – to show that the obesity is due to a long-term physical, mental or psychological impairment.

Perfectly rational and unobjectionable – given the definition of disability.

Weight discrimination against obese politicians

May 21, 2014

Two new papers of little intrinsic interest but much more interesting in juxtaposition.

On the one hand we hear from the National Health Interview Survey that obesity is increasing in the US

Prevalence of Obesity by Occupation Among US Workers

Prevalence of obesity steadily increased from 2004 through 2008 across gender and race/ethnicity but leveled off from 2008 through 2011. Non-Hispanic black female workers in health care support (49.2%) and transportation/material moving (46.6%) had the highest prevalence of obesity. Prevalence of obesity in relatively low-obesity (white-collar) occupations significantly increased between 2004-2007 and 2008-2011, whereas it did not change significantly in high-obesity (blue-collar) occupations.

On the other hand we also hear from a new study that

Weight bias plagues U.S. elections

Overweight political candidates tend to receive fewer votes than their thinner opponents, finds a new study by a weight bias expert. Both obese men and women were less likely to get on the ballot in the first place. When it came to merely being overweight, women were underrepresented on the ballot, though men were not. This is consistent with previous research showing men who are slightly heavy tend not to experience discrimination like that of slightly overweight women.

Perhaps it should be a Fundamental Human Right not to be discriminated against merely for being obese? Maybe we need some affirmative action to ensure that we have the proper representation of fat people in employment, in politics and on Company Boards?

Idiot research to show that global warming can be solved by cutting obesity!

August 16, 2011

That researchers need to use “fashionable” catch phrases to ensure funding is not uncommon. That “global warming” is one such catch phrase which has been exploited by a variety of disciplines to justify the most inane work which has then been passed off as cutting-edge research is not new. It has been particularly evident for the last 15 years or so. Linking any research project in any discipline to “global warming” has increased the probability of getting funded.  Linking obesity via human respiration to global warming is one such example of trivialising the already trivial.

Even IF global warming is a problem (which I doubt) and IF carbon dioxide emissions are a cause (which is unlikely) and IF human production of carbon dioxide is significant (which it is not) and IF human respiration produces sufficient carbon dioxide to matter (and it is hardly measurable) and IF general obesity in the human population increases the total of vegetable and animal matter on the planet (which it does not), THEN this so-called research would come up to the level of being just silly.  

As such it is just high quality, idiot-research. 

The latest nonsense is from the Robert Gordon University in Scotland. But the International Journal of Obesity will not gain much in reputation by publishing  such drivel.

International Journal of Obesity , (26 July 2011) | doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.151Global warming: is weight loss a solution?A Gryka, J Broom and C Rolland

But even such nonsense – which is not new – can still capture headlines.

2011: Researchers Suggest Link Between Obesity & Global Warming

2008: Obesity as a cause of global warming? 

2006: Global warming and obesity: the links revealed

Here come the health-fascists – now an obesity tax!!

April 28, 2011

The world is full of “do-gooders” who in the name of the good of the majority indulge in introducing new and wonderful ways of oppressing the minority. The environmental and health fascists who use coercive means – usually taxes and the banning of substances and even the behaviour  of others – have converted the oppression of those who don’t think as they do into a fine art.

The two latest health-fascists are members of a so-called expert group, Dan Andersson and Anna Fransson who want to tax people for being fat – for their own good and the good of society of course.

And to rub salt into the wound,  tax-payer’s money is used to generate this rubbish.

Svenska Dagbladet reports:

To stop the runaway cost of Swedish obesity a “fat tax” should be introduced,  according to a new report “Calories Cost” released by the Expert Group on Public Finance (ESO) on Thursday and written by Dan Andersson and Anna Fransson

They estimate that the cost to the public sector, in terms of healthcare and social insurance due to obesity was 15 billion kronor in 2003, a figure that could rise by between 40 and about 80 percent by 2020, according to the report.

 The authors consider that there are good reasons for the government to do something about the weight trap. “Fat taxes” could be invested in, for example, bike lanes and general public health surveys of adults.

Health costs could be minimised further by introducing a birth tax and perhaps with the tax increasing for every year of survival. This could even encourage people to commit suicide once they retire and their  economic burden becomes too heavy – for the good of the majority of course. It would solve the pensions problem and the ageing problem as well.

Perhaps it is time to introduce legislation prohibiting the fascism of “do-gooders” and banning all expert groups.


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