Despite its volume the internet’s content makes for light reading

Monday, 7 November, 2011

If there are five million terabytes of data, being videos, pictures, information, etc, etc, stored on the internet’s approximately one hundred million servers, then the total weight of that data is about the same as a reasonably sizeable strawberry.

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If obesity is a personal issue perhaps individuals should remedy it

Monday, 11 April, 2011

Might healthy-living vouchers, an idea advanced by Canadian researchers Neil Seeman and Patrick Luciani, be the way to tackle obesity?

So instead of spending large sums on ads to shame us into better eating habits, spend the money on vouchers handed out to the overweight and let them find whatever provider of goods or services best meets their particular dieting needs. After all, the root causes of obesity are multifarious and new ones are being added all the time – such as diet sodas, gut bacteria, genes, sleep apnea, leptin levels, medication, depression, poverty and peer pressure. So the solutions need to be multipronged, too. What works for you may not work for me.

Meanwhile locally there is the new Swap It, Don’t Stop It initiative, which suggests healthy alternatives to over eating.

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Shorter and cuddlier, that’s where evolution will take us next

Friday, 11 March, 2011

Future generations may be a little shorter, though a little heavier, if projections of how our on-going evolution will affect us are accurate.

The realisation that differing fertility levels might be driving change in our species has led evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns, from Yale University, to look at evolution in a radical way. By analysing data gathered in an otherwise unremarkable town, Framingham in Massachusetts, he can tell how the people of the town will evolve in the coming generations. His calculations have convinced him that people are still evolving, and in a surprising direction. “What we have found with height and weight basically is that natural selection appears to be operating to reduce the height and to slightly increase their weight.”

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Creativity is best powered when mean, lean, and hungry

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010

Scott Adams, creator of comic strip “Dilbert”, argues that thinner people tend to be more creative than not so thin people

Second, think of your best friend who does NOT have a creative streak and is about the same age as the creative person you chose. Okay, do you have both people in mind? Which one has more body fat? My prediction is that the creative person is usually thinner than the non-creative person. My theory is that when your body experiences the early stages of hunger, you become more creative, and more energetic. (Obviously at the later stages of hunger you become sleepy, cranky, distracted, and probably less creative. Let’s call that starvation and not hunger.)

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Tell me truthfully, does this software make my posterior look big?

Wednesday, 13 October, 2010

Gone are the days when actors had to gain, or lose, significant amounts of weight for a movie role, some new software can now do the job by altering their appearance, including their height and even age, to suit the whims of filmmakers.

The software can alter an actor’s muscle tone or body shape and can be used on existing video material. In one test of the program, scientists took a sequence of “Baywatch” and buffed up a lead actor, making him seem even more muscular than in real life.

If it can pass the “Baywatch” test then it’s good enough for me…

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Our nation’s bigger bottom line figures are adding to waist lines

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

The more prosperous the nation, the greater the instance of rising obesity… so is Australia really that well off that obesity rates have almost doubled in the last 20 or so years?

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Food and beverage servings are supersizing before our eyes

Monday, 26 October, 2009

I think if I lived in a time when there was only the one serving size of coffee available, that is regular, or medium – as was certainly the case prior to the 80s – I’d need to buy two cups each time.

While I’m all for large and larger serves of coffee, I can’t say the same for the way some of the coffee-shop-chain places embellish their coffees… supersized servings of coffee with dollops of whipped cream has got to be asking for trouble.

When our parents ordered a coffee two decades ago, they weren’t given as many size options – a standard cup of joe was eight ounces, the size of a small coffee cup. Nowadays, most of us feel like we don’t get our money’s worth unless the cup is at least twelve ounces; it’s not unusual to see thirty-two ounce coffee cups, four times the size they used to be. When made into a mocha, the morning coffee has as many calories as a full meal.

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Tax on junk food may not deter the hard core hamburger lovers

Monday, 3 August, 2009

A tax on fast food certainly interests me as I had a McDonald’s meal for the first time in at least a year the other day, but those hopeful that such an excise will eventually help reduce obesity may be disappointed… it seems the most hardened of fast food affectionados would continue to indulge themselves regardless of how expensive their favourite food becomes.

An analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health shows that American teenagers who smoke more than five cigarettes a day are only one-third as responsive to cigarette prices as lighter smokers. A complementary study of data from America’s Health and Retirement Survey shows that alcohol taxes are far less effective for the large minority of heavy drinkers. The biggest consumers of fattening food may prove similarly resilient to price increases, so a fat tax may do little to improve health, at least for today’s junk-food addicts.

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We may not be so big after all if the BMI scale is warped

Monday, 27 July, 2009

The effectiveness of the Body Mass Index (BMI) has been called into question as an accurate indicator of body fat

For years, critics of the body mass index have griped that it fails to distinguish between lean and fatty mass. (Muscular people are often misclassifed as overweight or obese.) The measure is mum, too, about the distribution of body fat, which makes a big difference when it comes to health risks. And the BMI cutoffs for “underweight,” “normal,” “overweight,” and “obese” have an undeserved air of mathematical authority. So how did we end up with such a lousy statistic?

I once asked my doctor how the BMI could possibly be applied to athletes and sport-players, particularly rugby front-rowers, whose weight-to-height ratio would be well outside the BMI “safe” scales, and he replied that it is just one measure used to gauge levels of body fat.

It made me wonder why use the BMI at all, rather why not use the same metric for everyone then?

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The risks associated with commitment are, like, really heavy

Tuesday, 30 June, 2009

Who would have thought that commitment phobes actually have their health in mind when choosing to remain footloose and fancy free?

Researchers tracked changes over a handful of years in the weight and relationship status of 6,949 individuals, and their findings don’t bode well for commitment. Not only are married people more likely to become obese than those who are just dating, but young people who move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend tend to pack on the pounds too.

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