Wednesday, October 10, 2007

News of the Fat

From the NY Times, a suggestion that obesity might be connected to prosperity:
Cuba’s economic crisis in the 1990s had a silver lining, scientists are reporting: a decrease in the rates of obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke.And no wonder. Average calorie consumption dropped more than a third, to 1,863 calories a day in 2002 from 2,899 in 1989. Cubans also exercised more, giving up cars for walking and bicycling.
from Nutrition: An Up Side to Hard Times by NICHOLAS BAKALAR, October 9, 2007.

The article continues with a number of statistical measures of the obesity-related diseases that declined during the crisis, but notes: "As more food became available, obesity increased to about 12 percent again by 2002." As we keep hearing, in one form or another, people just seem to eat more when they can, and that makes them fat.
I also wanted to mention that Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, a book I've mentioned several times, received an Ig Nobel prize for his invention of the bottomless soup bowl! What a great choice. From the CNN article:
The Ig Nobel for nutrition went to a concept that sounds like a restaurant marketing ploy: a bottomless bowl of soup.

Cornell University professor Brian Wansink used bowls rigged with tubes that slowly and imperceptibly refilled them with creamy tomato soup to see if test subjects ate more than they would with a regular bowl.

"We found that people eating from the refillable soup bowls ended up eating 73 percent more soup, but they never rated themselves as any more full," said Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior and applied economics. "They thought 'How can I be full when the bowl has so much left in it?' "

His conclusion: "We as Americans judge satiety with our eyes, not with our stomachs."

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