Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Nation of Sloths

My friend F--- just returned from a trip to visit family  and  he described sitting in the Minneapolis airport being stunned by the mass of people waddling by. Not masses mind you but by the mass of the individuals! Being a very rational systematic fellow with a background in statistical analysis, he decided to try to model the population. His conclusion was that more than 75% of the population he observed were overweight. some alarmingly so. I listened with some skepticism but knowing that F--- has never been prone to exaggeration, I accepted his data on face value. I rarely travel by air for a myriad of reasons which should be obvious and as a result I am spared the spectacle of fast food courts and trinket shops all enclosed  within the charming ambiance of a cattle car. F---, seeing my skepticism, emailed me statistics from the CDC which validated his survey which I will present shortly. The same day face book friend James Howard Kunstler published his Monday blog entitled: “What I did on Summer Vacation"  in which he recounted a motor trip around northern New England. Here is a sample from his blog:

"We stopped for lunch in a clam bar, naturally. The dining room was populated by a new race of humanoid behemoths, great lumbering brutes the size (and shape) of giant sloths, only dressed in the raiment of clowns, downing heaps of battered fried things, purportedly of-the-sea -- except I honestly don't see how there can be anything alive left to catch out there with the industrial-strength trawlers scraping the ocean floor as if they were Zamboni machines grooming the rink at the Boston Garden. I would like to tell you that we ordered cucumber sandwiches but it would be a lie. We got the clam strips -- that is, clam rolls minus the rolls. For all I know, someone in the kitchen is shredding old Michelin inner tubes for the Fry-o-later, but it's all about the cocktail sauce anyway.     There were more giant sloths wading curiously in the surf (still hungry perhaps?) as we crossed the border into Maine, where you really want to weep for your nation."                 sloth                                                                                                     Jim is known for his dark sarcastic humor , but I was taken that Jim had unwittingly provided a second data point. Now Here are the shocking statistics with an abstract of the CDC data as well as the link:

Prevalence of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity among adults: United States, trends 1960-62 through 2005-2006
Results from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicate that an estimated 32.7 percent of US adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3 percent are obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese.

   Some definitions are in order to enhance understanding and readability. Overweight  is defined as a body mass index(BMI) 25 to 30. Obese as a BMI30-40, and morbid obesity as BMI>40. As an example a 6' male weighing over 300 lbs would be morbidly obese.

    Now if you do the math: 73%!!! A nation of  Giant Sloths.

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