Are the British Fat and lazy at the wicket, as in life

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  1. From The Sunday Times
    August 16, 2009
    Fat and lazy at the wicket, as in life
    MIchael Portillo

    We British like to pretend to be self-deprecating. In a self-contradictory way, making light of our country’s achievements is the national characteristic on which we most pride ourselves. Yet even so, my guess is that most of us are pleased to be part of a gritty and tenacious people.

    Much of that goes back to the second world war. Britain stood alone, Churchill vowed that we would never be defeated, we chased Jerry across north Africa and out of France, while on the home front we mended and made do, whistling while we worked. More recently we recovered the Falkland islands from the Argentine invaders and Margaret Thatcher ensured George Bush Sr did not “go wobbly” when Sad-dam Hussein seized Kuwait in 1990.

    So it came as an unpleasant shock when Justin Langer, the Australian former cricket star, said that because of the way England cricketers “are programmed, they will be up when things are going well, but they will taper off very quickly if you wear them down”. Can it be true, more broadly, that we Britons have been kidding ourselves and that we lack staying power? Are we, despite our history, what Langer would call “pussies”?

    To add to our national disquiet, last week another criticism of the British Army’s performance in Afghanistan came to light. An unnamed US marines commander lampooned our forces, claiming they are “cautious about the enemy and overestimate their strength”, and made unflattering comments about their personal hygiene.

    The latter comment might provoke a chauvinistic British response. Personal odours were not on Elizabeth I’s mind when she pledged at Tilbury that although she had the body of a weak and feeble woman, she had the heart and stomach of a king and a king of England, too; nor did they daunt Francis Drake as he sent his fire ships against the Spanish armada.

    I doubt that you would have wanted to stand too close to any of the Duke of Marlborough’s infantry, but they braved the volleys and moved forward in perfect order at Blenheim. Weevils did not hold back Horatio Nelson as HMS Victory sliced through the French line of fleet at Cape Trafalgar. Perhaps reeking armpits were on Wellington’s mind when he commented that he did not know what effect his troops had on the enemy, but they certainly terrified him. Yet body lice did not prevent the largest victories in British history when in 1918 the army broke out of the long stalemate on the western front.

    That Britain has not been conquered since 1066 is surely one reason we believe in our national stoicism and courage. Perhaps we can indeed congratulate ourselves; but the luck of being an island has also played an important part in keeping Britons free. Bad weather as much as Drake saw off the armada. The Battle of Britain was unarguably one of our finest hours, but its importance in forestalling an invasion can be exaggerated. Hitler was equipped with panzers for blitzkrieg across vast tracts of continental territory, but Germany lacked suitable craft to mount maritime landings and did not control the sea.

    Thatcher used to “joke” that we did not need to remind our continental partners every day that almost uniquely in the 20th century Britain did not lose its democracy to home-grown tyranny or invasion. “Not every day,” she would muse. Her point, although impressive, can be turned around. We like to think that in fighting Nazism we were all in it together. We hark back to the heroism of our home front as much as to El Alamein or Normandy. Images spring to mind of officious air raid wardens enforcing the blackout, nights spent sheltering in Underground stations and the absence of bananas.

    But that did not require nearly as much fortitude as other European countries. We did not suffer as much as, say, Belarus, which lost perhaps a quarter of its population, or the Soviet Union as a whole, with maybe 25m dead. It is true Coventry was viciously bombed, but not like Dresden or Hamburg. We did not suffer extermination or starvation. We did not survive in cellars and rubble as Berliners did, with every woman at daily risk of rape once the Russians arrived.

    Populations that had lived under the terror of Nazism or Stalinism might in any case know more about fortitude than we have ever had to learn. Nor have we experienced a Mao, willing to murder some 30m of his vast population by means of a man-made famine. On a recent visit to Spain I saw the mass graves of civilians shot in the post-civil-war repression, the skeletons face down and the hands still tied with wire. English territory has not been fought over by armies, nor its villages razed, since parliament fought Charles I more than three centuries ago.

    Even though the British population had a better experience of the second world war than most, we demanded to be rewarded for our suffering. Somehow we confused being victorious with being rich and put in place council house programmes and universal free healthcare that we could ill afford. The idea that the state should look after us from cradle to grave took hold. We were to receive pensions that had not been funded, establishing the idea that each generation should be subsidised by the next.

    Those developments have helped to make us soft and selfish. Many British children despise the education they get because it is free, and no matter whether they gain qualifications, they can get through life on benefits. The reaction of US Republicans to President Obama’s healthcare proposals is instructive. They see socialised medicine as unaffordable. They fear it will boost the deficit and increase the size and scope of government, while diminishing personal independence and responsibility. Such arguments scarcely get a hearing in modern Britain.

    The financial crisis was caused partly because instant gratification is today part of the national psyche. We want houses, cars and computer games now, without saving for them. The government has responded by postponing pain, running up debts to be serviced by our children’s generation. Sadly, Langer’s verdict on England cricketers – “as soon as it gets a bit hard you just have to watch their body language and see how fat and lazy they get” – could be applied to Britons more generally. Are Australians perhaps kept tougher by their fearful climate, forest fires, crocodiles and poisonous spiders?

    It is not surprising that the British welfare state does not produce many dogged fighters on the sports field. Our cult of celebrity is a subset of our lust for instant gratification. A sportsman earning in a week what an MP is paid for a year stimulates public adulation, not resentment. Sporting prowess is the short cut to being idolised; but gods are not team players.

    The marines commander makes some good points about British military tactics. Our forces do not seem to be as clever at understanding the people and territory in Helmand as they were in Northern Ireland. Doing six-month tours of duty (in contrast to American stints of a year) makes it hard for them to improve. But that problem is another symptom of an operation that is underfunded. With so few troops present, casualty rates are high and soldiers are in battle day after day. They have little time to learn and they need to be rotated. Apparently, we cannot even equip them with enough showers.

    Commanders complain that in today’s Britain it is hard to find young men fit enough to be recruits. But neither they nor their officers lack courage or tenacity under fire. Fighting in appalling conditions and at extreme risk of injury or death, they have shown courage that seems to me to compare to any in British military history.

    How exactly has the army, uniquely, produced such stamina out of a fat and lazy Britain? If we knew that, then winning the Ashes would be the norm.
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  3. From The Times
    March 3, 2005
    Fat players are muscling in on American football

    From Tim Reid in Washington
    MORE than half of the players in the American National Football League, the game that gives the world the SuperBowl and defensive tacklers the size of wardrobes, are dangerously obese, according to a controversial new study.
    Using the standard formula of dividing weight by height to determine if someone is overweight, researchers found that 56 per cent of American footballers had a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of at least 30, which doctors consider obese.

    Nearly half of those were severely obese, and 3 per cent were “morbidly” obese, with a BMI of at least 40, the study concluded. The NFL hotly disputed the study, which appeared in yesterday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, because the ratio of body fat to muscle was not considered. The study of 2,168 NFL players, aged 21 to 44, found almost all of them overweight.

    Dr Joyce Harp, one of the University of North Carolina researchers who carried out the study, conceded that without measuring body composition it was difficult to say how many were truly fat, but she said that it was unlikely the high BMIs were “due to a healthy increase in muscle mass alone”. She added: “You can look at some of these players and see they are not all muscle. There is excess fat there.”

    John Jurkovic, a retired defensive tackler, said that he had seen many NFL players get not just bigger in recent years, but also fatter — “big as houses” — because of increasing pressure to intimidate opponents.

    He said that he weighed 272lbs (123kg) in the mid-1990s, a very big man for 6ft 2in, but was pressured by a coach to get even bigger. He ended up weighing 328lbs. Mr Jurkovic said that he could not get any heavier by weightlifting, so he packed on the extra weight by gorging. “The NFL teams want it because it’s working,” he said.

    NFL players have certainly increased in size. In 1980, the league had only one player over 300lbs. At its talent scouting camp last week, only three of the 60 offensive line prospects (the man mountains who protect the quarterback) weighed under 300lbs, and the lightest was 298 lbs.

    But big does not necessarily mean better. Although the study concluded that there was no relationship between a team’s average BMI and their 2004 ranking, Arizona had the highest average BMI and the worst record in its division.

    Arthur Roberts, a former NFL quarterback and retired heart surgeon, now runs the Living Heart Foundation, which works with the NFL players’ union to evaluate heart-related health risks faced by current and former players. “These larger body sizes are generally associated with greater cardiovascular risks,” he said. The increasing emphasis on size may be a bad influence on “all the kids that play football around the country, and are trying to be like their heroes.” But there is no evidence NFL players are dying younger. A 1994 study commissioned by the NFL Players Association found that the average player was living as long as the average American male, 72 years. Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesman, said: “This is not a serious study
  4. Heavy NFL players twice as likely to die before 50

    Updated: January 31, 2006, 12:44 PM ET

    By Thomas Hargrove
    Scripps Howard News Service

    The amazing athletes of the National Football League -- bigger and stronger than ever before -- are dying young at a rate experts find alarming, and many of the players are succumbing to ailments typically related to weight.

    The heaviest athletes are more than twice as likely to die before their 50th birthday than their teammates, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study of 3,850 professional-football players who have died in the last century.

    “ Do you see any oversized animals anywhere in the world living a long life? We're pretty much on our own here. ”
    — Tony Siragusa
    Most of the 130 players born since 1955 who have died were among the heaviest athletes in sports history, according to the study. One-fifth died of heart diseases, and 77 were so overweight that doctors would have classified them as obese, the study found.

    The bone-crushing competitiveness of professional football is spawning hundreds of these behemoths -- many of whom top the scales at 300 pounds or more -- and the pressure to super-size now extends to younger players in college and even high school.

    As America anticipates Sunday's Super Bowl -- the annual orgy of admiration for the NFL and its athletes -- physicians are increasingly questioning whether, by bulking up for their shot at fame and fortune, players are sacrificing their health later in life.

    "Clearly, these big, fat guys are having coronaries," said Charles Yesalis, a Penn State professor of health policy and sport science.

    The trend lines are even more disturbing.

    Twenty years ago, it was rare for a player to weigh 300 pounds. But more than 500 players were listed at that weight or more on NFL training-camp rosters this summer -- including San Francisco 49ers guard Thomas Herrion, who collapsed and died after an exhibition game in August.

    The relatively recent explosion in the number of 300-pound linemen "presents a frightening picture in terms of what we might expect 20 years from now," said Dr. Sherry Baron, who studied the issue in 1994 for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
    The 49ers paid tribute to Thomas Herrion on during an exhibition game six days after he died.
    Baron's study, conducted at the request of the NFL Players Association, found that while players generally weren't dying sooner than average, offensive and defensive linemen had a 52 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than the general population.

    The Scripps Howard study suggests that the risk for those heaviest players is increasing, although exact comparisons to the general population were impossible to make because so many factors -- heredity, sedentary lifestyles, eating habits, as well as size -- contribute to heart disease.

    "We know that the body mass index levels have shifted since our 1994 study," Baron said. "More [football players] now would be considered obese."

    Scripps Howard was able to compare mortality rates for professional-football players with the 2,403 Major League Baseball players who have died in the last century. The comparison found that football players are more than twice as likely to die before age 50. Asked to speculate on the cause for this difference, experts noted that football players generally are heavier than baseball players.

    The threat isn't lost on retired players, who acknowledge that they are spooked by the potential problems they now face.

    "Do you see any oversized animals anywhere in the world living a long life?" asked Tony "Goose" Siragusa, a 340-pound defensive tackle for 12 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens. "We're pretty much on our own here."

    The Scripps Howard study tracked the deaths of 3,850 pro-football players born since 1905. Medical examiners and coroners were contacted to determine the causes of death for the 130 players who died before age 50. The study found:

    The Complete Study
    Scripps Howard News Service studied 3,850 professional-football players who have died in the last century. What they found, and some issues it raised, are chronicles here:

    • Study: NFL players dying young at alarming rate
    • Compared to baseball, football players die younger
    • Bigger isn't better as far as health is concerned
    • Evidence is clear: Preps are getting bigger, too
    • Twenty-eight percent of all pro-football players born in the last century who qualified as obese died before their 50th birthday, compared with 13 percent who were less overweight.

    • One of every 69 players born since 1955 is now dead.

    • Twenty-two percent of those players died of heart diseases; 19 percent died from homicides or suicides.

    • Seventy-seven percent of those who died of heart diseases qualified as obese, even during their playing days, and they were 2½ times more likely to die of coronaries than their trimmer teammates.

    • Only 10 percent of deceased players born from 1905 through 1914 were obese while active. Today, 56 percent of all players on NFL rosters are categorized as obese.

    • The average weight in the NFL has grown by 10 percent since 1985 to a current average of 248 pounds. The heaviest position, offensive tackle, went from 281 pounds two decades ago to 318 pounds.

    The NFL has expressed concern over whether players are obese and risking health problems.

    Forgotten in the frenzy surrounding Super Bowl XL is the tragic way the season started. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Herrion collapsed in the 49ers' locker room after the team's Aug. 20 exhibition in Denver. An autopsy showed that his heart was scarred and oversized and that heart disease had blocked his right coronary artery. He was only 23.

    At a memorial service for Herrion, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue pointed out that he already had asked medical experts to study the cardiovascular health of players. That study is incomplete.

    "We need to understand in a serious way what the risks are, to the extent that there are risk factors," Tagliabue told reporters. "We've got to address them. We are working on it."

    But in a statement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello dismissed the Scripps Howard study, saying: "The issue of obesity in our society transcends sports and must be dealt with in a comprehensive, responsible way. This media survey contributes nothing."

    Tagliabue wouldn't comment for this article.

    The NFL also criticized a 2003 study by University of North Carolina endocrinologist Joyce Harp. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study found that 56 percent of NFL players were obese according to their body-mass indexes -- the government standard based on height and weight.

    The Scripps Howard study also used the body-mass index to determine whether a player was obese. The NFL says it believes that standard is misleading because it doesn't account for the player's muscles. But many experts disagree and say that body-mass index is a valid indication that a player may face greater health risks.

    "When you get that big -- regardless of whether your body is muscle or fat -- your heart is stressed," Penn State's Yesalis said.

    "Is it good for guys to be that big? Of course not," he said. "I fully support a weight limit of 275 pounds. It would reduce injuries and have a positive effect on the short- and long-term health of these men."

    The NFL Players Association declined to comment for this article. But Kevin Guskiewicz, director of the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina, is conducting research for the association on the issue. He said he is alarmed at the information he sees.

    "We are finding a number of health issues among these players," Guskiewicz said. "They clearly have higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension, especially in the offensive and defensive linemen. And it clearly is higher than in the general population."

    Defensive lineman William "The Refrigerator" Perry almost single-handedly brought 300-pounders into vogue when he became a pop sensation for the Chicago Bears. As a goal-line running back, he bulled his way to a touchdown in Super Bowl XX in 1986. Perry, who topped out at 370 pounds during his career, said he has actually gained some weight in retirement but tries not to dwell on the risks.

    "I've been big all my life," Perry said. "Mental attitude is as important as your physical condition after the NFL. I try to keep a happy balance."

    Weighty Issue
    In November 2004,'s Page 2 looked at the size of NFL players. Take a look back at what we found:

    • Caple: The NFL is living large
    • '04 NFL weight rankings
    • Large and small of it
    • '79 Steelers vs. '04 Steelers
    Several retired players said they believe that losing weight is an issue of life or death.

    "We've all got to remember to shed that armor when our NFL career is over," said Jim Lachey, who is 25 pounds lighter since the days he weighed 294 while an offensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins from 1985-95. "A lot of guys are doing it. But, I know, there are others with injuries that prevent them from running and doing the things they must do to shed the weight."

    Tony Mandarich -- nicknamed "The Incredible Bulk" while playing guard at 325 pounds for the Green Bay Packers -- said he gained even more weight after retiring and soon was put on high-blood-pressure medicine.

    "My doctor asked me, 'How many 320-pound men who are 80 years old do you see walking around?' That's when the lightbulb came on over my head," Mandarich said.

    He changed his diet, began hiking and mountain-biking regularly, and shed 60 pounds. "That doesn't mean I won't die of a heart attack at 39, but I've given myself the best chance,'' said Mandarich, who is 39 now.

    The wakeup for many retired players came with the 2004 death of two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Reggie White, known for his passionate religious faith and pass-rushing skills. He died at age 43 of cardiac arrhythmia compounded by breathing disorders.

    "When I heard that Reggie had died, the first thing that came into my head was that I hoped he'd let himself go and was out of shape," Mandarich said. "Because if he was in shape, it's not a good thing for any of us."

    Actually, White had dropped about 25 pounds from his playing weight of 325, members of his family said. But he also suffered from sarcoidosis, or inflammation in his lungs, which led to thunderous snoring and a profound sleep apnea.

    "These guys live such an extreme lifestyle with their weight that they are going to be prone to hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease. There is no question about it," said Dr. Barry Maron, director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.

    Several medical examiners contacted by Scripps Howard remarked on the size of retired players who died of heart-related causes.

    "He was a rather big boy at 6-foot-2 and 498 pounds," said Steve Gelman of the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office when asked why Joe Drake, a retired guard for the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles, died in 1994 at 31.

    "Essentially, he had clogged arteries and a heart attack. Mr. Drake was going out to lunch with some friends when he complained of sweating and nausea just before he collapsed on the street next to his car," Gelman said.

    Willis Leggett of Muskogee, Okla., said he does not blame football for the death of former Eagles offensive guard and tackle Scott Leggett. Doctors told Leggett that his son died of congestive heart failure at age 35.

    "God put Scott on this earth and God took him off," Leggett said. "If he hadn't played football, he probably would have died sooner. Football was his goal and that's what he wanted to do. No one could change his mind."

    (The Scripps Howard study created a computer database of the deaths of 3,850 former professional-football players using records assembled by professional-football statistician David Neft, who was assisted by Bob Carroll and Rich Bozzone.)
  5. Talk about cricket like that again, you little shite, and I will kill all your dogs, and your family.

    Love and kisses,

    Dale xxx
  6. Obesity in America

    America is one of the richest, most progressive countries in the world. Shouldn't it be one of the healthiest too? Maybe it should, but the sad truth is that Americans are some of the unhealthiest people in the world. Even though we are living in a country with great economic power and technological advancement, we are also living in a country with the smallest fund of practical nutritional knowledge. We are living in a land plagued with obesity.

    America is home to the most obese people in the world. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), obesity in adults has increased by 60% within the past twenty years and obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years. A staggering 33% of American adults are obese and obesity-related deaths have climbed to more than 300,000 a year, second only to tobacco-related deaths. Not excluded from this statistic, Native Hawaiians have alarmingly high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The number of Hawaiian children suffering from obesity is double that of children throughout the nation. In May 2001 the University of Hawaii Kinesiology and Leisure Science Department along with the Brigham Young University Exercise and Sport Science Department conducted a local study and found that more than 20% of Hawaiian children were overweight.

    Hawaiians aren't the only indigenous people in America that have high rates of obesity. According to Dr. Kelly Brownell, PhD, an expert on American diet and health, a study was conducted with the Pima Indians who live both in Mexico and Arizona. It was found that those Pima Indians who live in Arizona have much higher rates of obesity than their counterparts in Mexico, even though both groups of people have the same genetic and ethnic background. This is also true for many migrants of the US who have a much higher obesity rate than their relatives back home.

    So the question is, why the American people? What do we do that is so different than the rest of the world? There is no mystery behind this epidemic- we simply need to examine the American diet and lifestyle. Living a life on the go, eating fast-food and microwave dinners, the health of the American people has been sacrificed. Instead of eating a diet of pure, wholesome foods coming directly from the land, Americans eat a diet of packaged, processed, and refined foods.

    Through technological advancement we have found ways to produce food in mass quantities, make it last longer and taste better. Unfortunately, during this processing somewhere along the line, we seemed to have lost the food. The highly processed and refined products that pack our supermarket shelves are loaded with sugar, hydrogenated oils, and plenty more ingredients that we can't even pronounce.

    Fast-food restaurants have become mainstream in the past 30 years and practically all of America takes advantage of the cheap prices, quick service and tasty meals. Convenient as they may be, these meals contain practically no nutrients. They are comprised mostly of saturated fats and highly refined carbohydrates and are loaded with sodium and sugar. The average adult shouldn't have more than 65 grams of fat or 2000 calories a day. One meal from Burger King, a hamburger and French fries, has 50 grams of fat and 2000 calories, which is almost enough to fill someone's fat and calorie quota for the day!

    The average child sees more than 10,000 food ads on TV each year, most for high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sugar meals. Not only does the fast food industry spend billions per year on marketing, but they have also infiltrated our schools, signing contracts with them. Our children are bombarded from every angle with these toxic foods making it virtually impossible for them to eat anything else. It is no wonder that we have an increasingly obese population of children (who in time will become an obese population of adults).

    Americans have re-defined the word food. In the Webster's dictionary food is any nourishing substance eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc. In American society food is that which is fatty, tasty, processed, refined and contains no nutrients; a substance detrimental to the body's functions, creating disease, and resulting in death. At no time in history have humans eaten such refined, processed and fatty food and at no time in history have humans had such an obesity epidemic.

    Since before anyone can remember, our ancestors, and our ancestors' ancestors ate a diet coming directly from the land. In those days obesity wasn't even a word. With modern technology, much has been gained, but some things have been lost. What was instinct for our ancestors must be taught to our children. Today, backwards as we may be in regards to our health, there is always hope.
    Out of necessity, many obese people suffering from various complications and diseases have learned to change their diet. Those people, with determination and a will to survive, have succeeded in becoming healthy once again. They have learned that cutting out meat products, processed foods, fast-foods, high sugar and high sodium foods, while incorporating whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes into the diet is the only way to return back to health. It is not easy to go against the strong current of an unhealthy society but it is a necessity.

    The Latest Statistics on America’s Obesity Epidemic

    The recent IHRSA/ASD Obesity/Weight Control Report publishes “real” research statistics on America’s growing obesity epidemic. These alarming statistics reveal a dangerously overweight U.S. population.

    Obesity in proliferating in the United States: 3.8 million people are over 300 pounds, over 400,000 people (mostly males) carry over 400 pounds and the average adult female weighs an unprecedented 163 pounds!

    Until now, the publication of the most crucial and powerful statistics on obesity -- raw bodyweight averages for the American population -- had scrupulously been avoided by the most faithful keepers of the public health record, the CDC. While the CDC has the most comprehensive and widely disseminated public health statistics on dieting, weight loss research and obesity in America, their focus on the polite abstraction of Body Mass Index (BMI) rather than actual bodyweight has hindered America’s war on obesity.

    The National Center for Health statistics has been tracking America’s obesity problem for over four decades. The following statistics support the growing concern regarding the obesity problem in America.

    -- Between 1962 and the year 2000, the number of obese Americans grew from 13% to an alarming 31% of the population.
    -- 63% of Americans are overweight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) in excess of 25.0.
    -- 31% are obese with a BMI in excess of 30.0.
    -- Childhood obesity in the United States has more than tripled in the past two decades.
    -- According to the U.S. Surgeon General report obesity is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year.

    For further statistics and information on America’s obesity epidemic, visit American Sports Data, Inc (ASD). The IHRSA/ASD Obesity/Weight Control Report is derived from the Superstudy® of Sports Participation, conducted in January 2004 by ASD.

    Obesity is a disease that affects approximately 60 million people in the United States, where women are especially affected. Over one-third of women between the ages of 20 and 74 are obese, the majority of them being African American or Mexican American. With more and more pre-packaged food and less and less activity, the number of obese people in America has steadily increased since the 1960's.

    But what is obesity? Many people think obesity means that a person is overweight, but that's not exactly true. An overweight person has a surplus amount of weight that includes muscle, bone, fat, and water. An obese person has a surplus of body fat. Most health professionals concur that a man is obese if he has over 25 percent body fat, and a woman is obese if she has over 30 percent. Women physiologically have more body fat than men, so that why there's a difference in percentage.

    It is difficult to determine the exact percentage of body fat a person has, but estimates can be made in a number of ways. First, using a tweezer-like tool called a caliper, you can measure the thickness of skin folds on different points of your body and compare the results with standardized numbers. You can also use a small device that sends a harmless electrical current through your body and measures your body fat percentage. The most commonly used method to determine if a person is obese is to look at his/her Body Mass Index (BMI). A person with a BMI over 30 is considered to be obese, and a BMI over 40 is considered to be severely obese. It's important to remember though that BMI could be misleading in pregnant or lactating women and in muscular individuals.

    With obesity, comes the increased risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and breast, colon, and prostate cancer. In addition, obesity has been linked to mental health conditions such as depression or feelings of shame and low self-esteem. Health experts say that even losing 10 to 15 percent of your body weight can dramatically decrease the risk of developing these serious conditions. In addition, many obese people are discriminated against and targets of insults and other verbal abuse.

    A number of factors, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, genetics, and certain medical disorders, cause obesity, but it can be conquered. One major obstacle to being more physically active is motivation and accountability. Find a friend with similar fitness goals and begin a simple exercise program together. It takes time to see the results, but your health is worth it!

    Obesity is about to become this country’s leading cause of preventable death. Lack of exercise and too much food are not only making us fatter, they’re leading to increases in other diseases, such as diabetes.

    Nowhere is that more painfully apparent than in southern Arizona, where the fattest Americans live on two Indian reservations. How and why they became obese, and what it means for the rest of us, is the subject of an intense study.

    Until a couple of generations ago, the Pima and Tohono O'odham Indians of southern Arizona didn't even have a word for diabetes. But now, this preventable disease, along with obesity, is killing them. Correspondent Vicki Mabrey reports. “When I'm on the reservation, I feel very comfortable because there's people my size walking around,” says Terrol Dew Johnson. “When I get off the reservation, I feel so fat. I feel so unhealthy, you know?”

    Off the reservation, Johnson can escape the disease that’s plaguing his tribe. He’s an accomplished artist, a basket weaver whose work has been displayed by the Smithsonian. But back on the reservation, where obesity is an epidemic, he’s like everyone else.

    “On the reservation, we have this joke where, when you go and shop for clothes, you have your large, your extra-large,” says Johnson. “You know, we always say, ‘Well, we have our O’odham size,’ the Indian size, which is like 3X, 4X.”

    Johnson adds that it’s rare to see a thin person on the reservation: “At events that we have, we see someone who's skinny and tall and a lot of elders will say, ‘You know, that's how we used to be. We used to be like that.’"

    Scattered across a reservation about the size of Connecticut, the Pima and Tohono O'odham Indians lived off the land for thousands of years.

    A film from 1933 shows them farming the desert, growing their pima cotton and oranges. What you won’t see are any fat people. But that was before the once-mighty Gila River, that watered the desert, was dammed to provide water for Phoenix, just 20 miles away. And it was before the men left to fight in World War II. When they returned, their farms were dried up, and the people were left starving. The government stepped in with surplus food -- lots of white flour and lard.

    “They had to learn how to say certain things like Wonder Bread, peanut butter,” says Johnson.

    Now, desert farming is all but gone, and in its place is fast food and “fry bread,” a deep-fried combination of flour and lard. It’s also common to see 300-pound adults.

    But it’s not just obesity. Diabetes is also ravaging the reservation, and the life expectancy for a man has dropped to 57.

    At 59, Robert Porter is a tribal elder. He was once a marathon runner, carrying on a centuries-old tribal tradition, before diabetes infected his feet.

    “People were strong, physically strong,” recalls Porter, of a time before diabetes became a common disease. “Our young men used to run from village to village just for the fun of it. Our Pima-Maricopa people were runners. Strong runners; silent runners.”

    Now, he’s in a wheelchair, alternating between the reservation dialysis center, and the reservation hospital, where doctor Wes Yamada is trying to save his legs.

    “So what we can do here at this facility is try to make sure that they’re as functional as possible,” says Yamada. “Because once they have below-the-knee or above-the-knee amputation, they become wheelchair bound, or think they have to be in a wheelchair. Their rate of visceral deterioration is accelerated. And they just sort of give up on life.”

    The hospital is where you’ll see the ravages of the disease. Before diabetes kills, it robs eyesight, shuts down kidneys, leads to heart disease and stroke, and deadens limbs. Porter has lost his mobility because of diabetes.

    “Just the other day I was saying to my wife, ‘It’s either gonna beat me or I’m gonna beat it.’ And my heart tells me I will die,” says Porter. “But while I’m on this earth, I want to do something to help others afflicted with the disease.”

    So he’s doing what thousands of other Pima Indians have done: volunteered to be a part of a massive government research project run by the National Institutes of Health. In the process, the Pima are becoming America’s test case for obesity and diabetes. Dr. Clifton Bogardus leads a team of scientists trying to find out why these Indians have become the fattest people in the fattest country on earth.

    “We suspect that genetics has a lot to do with it,” says Bogardus. “Something that they inherited from their forefathers and passed down that presumably in the past may be a gene or set of genes that was in some way advantageous to them.”

    This is advantageous because of a so-called thrifty gene – a tiny bit of DNA that scientists believe once helped all of us during times of famine by storing fat. But our famine days are long gone, and that gene, along with the modern American diet, is working against us. And for these American Indians of the Southwest, it’s causing obesity and diabetes at a rate never seen before.

    “Over the age of 35, it’s now more common to have diabetes than not to have diabetes. Probably more like 70 [percent],” says Bogardus, adding that in the general population, it’s much lower – approximately 6-8 percent.

    And it’s rising. What scientists are learning from studying the Pimas’ diet, metabolism and genes, is that a genetic mutation first makes them overeat and become obese. Then, they think another mutant gene kicks in, triggering the diabetes.

    In the Phoenix NIH lab, they’re searching through billions of genes, and they’re closing in on two culprits: chromosomes 1 and 11.

    “On chromosome 1, we’ve identified a region that contains a diabetes susceptibility gene in the Pimas and this has been confirmed in many other populations around the world,” says Bogardus. “And on chromosome 11, we have a region that harbors an obesity susceptibility gene.”

    But finding chromosomes doesn’t mean finding a cure. And after decades of testing, and more than $100 million tax dollars, there is only advice: Eat less and exercise more.

    Bogardus and his team have discovered that even a small weight loss – as little as 7 percent of body weight – can drastically reduce the odds of getting diabetes.

    The Pimas have taken the advice to heart, building a new workout facility at the reservation hospital. But their children have become the latest concern. Adult onset diabetes, once known as a disease of the elderly, is now spreading to children as young as 4.

    At St. Peter Indian Mission School, many of the 200 students are overweight and at risk. Their principal, Sister Martha Mary Carpenter, is fighting back.

    “We have a running program. When the kids get off the bus, they throw their book bags against the fence. And they run,” says Carpenter. “First thing in the morning. We just kick that metabolism in.”

    Carpenter also took on the federal government, getting permission to modify the federal school lunch guidelines for her students.

    “The guidelines say that you have to have a certain number of carbohydrates in your meal,” says Carpenter. “If we would give those to our children, they would just blimp out.”

    Lunch at the school includes ham, potatoes, green beans, watermelon, fat free milk – and no sugar. “That’s the rule, and we really observe it religiously,” says Carpenter, who adds that it works. “None of our children are diabetic. None.”

    Johnson was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 28. It was then that he and his business partner, Tristan Reader, decided to put their faith in food, too – into the foods that grow in the desert.

    Past generations used to live on natural foods like cactus fruits, and native foods such as squash, melons, and the tepary bean.

    “You must have been skeptical that you could grow a bean that grew here hundreds of years ago and it’s going to save someone’s life now,” Mabrey asks Reader.

    “Part of me might have been skeptical. But I also knew that it had served the people here for generation upon generation,” says Reader. “And it’s only recently that diabetes has come. So we began to ask what’s changed?”

    It had been so long since these foods were grown that some, particularly tepary beans, were nearly extinct. But they found some at a seed bank in Tucson, which gives away the seeds for free just to get the Indians to try them.

    But can it really be that simple? Could desert plants really prevent obesity and diabetes? Scientists aren’t sure. But Reader and others are ready to try anything -- to be healthy again.

    “And when you can look and say to someone, ‘This is part of who you are. This is part of your culture. This is part of your heritage, this will keep your strong and this will keep you well,’” says Reader. “And you put that choice out there, the hope is people will make those choices.”

    With some luck and a little rain, Johnson and Reader had a good harvest. They gave away desert food to anyone who could carry it. But this small farm won’t produce enough for the tens of thousands of American Indians who are obese and diabetic. This is a place where, for decades now, the most prolific growth in the desert has been the cemeteries.

    “There’s been many moments when you’re sitting at a funeral knowing that your relative, your aunt, your grandfather died of diabetes,” says Johnson. “That moment is when we all think, ‘We have to do something or we’re next.’”
  7. Hope that helps.
  8. Feeling a little touchy,Snail? What do you care about the "flanneled fools"?
  9. [​IMG]


    Isn't America wonderfull? You can even rent Fat Buggies if you're too fat to walk!


  11. Ummm, clarify, how lomg is a USMC tour? Hmmm 6 months. I skimmed through that shoite. Saw that and realised its a bull shoite. Simple's.
  12. I don't think this thread has played out quite as the OP hoped!

    People living in a glass house full of fat bastards shouldn't throw burgers… :twisted:
  13. He can't help. In the US you're bred to think you're the best. My recent stint in NY clarified, if you want to walk around a city an not see a fit bird, you're in the right place.

    Try walking around any city in Europe and not see a chick that is hot, you're on a loosing streak.
  14. I assume you are referring to the author of that article--if me I would not advise it. For the record, I do not endorse it in the slightest but just posted it for comment.