Sprawl

Dream Team Wake-Up Call

By Ted Mitchell
Published January 12, 2007

McMaster researchers Drs. Anand, Gerstein and Yusuf are set to lead a six million dollar study on the genetic and environmental contributions to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. They may be "dream team" researchers, but perhaps not in a good way: they are smoking too much peyote.

You don't need to be a doctor to guess that no major gene mutations have occurred to explain the massive supersizing of North Americans in the last 50 years.

What has changed? Fast food, and more food. And more importantly, suburbanization. This means much less walking to work and school. Fewer unorganized sports. More totally sedentary behaviours.

While drug companies (in this case, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis) will no doubt be happy when they identify genes that code for obesity predisposition, the benefit to the population will be miniscule at best.

Why? Because pretty much every intervention for obesity has not worked in the long term and there is no reason to believe that any new designer drug will be any different.

What will work is prevention: a return to the built environment that existed before the obesity epidemic took over. That is, one without suburbia.

But this simple idea may not have occurred to our "dream team". Why? Call them up, ask them where they live and how they get to work. More specifically, ask how the fruits of their research might compare with city council restricting further urban sprawl.

With obesity, the first law of thermodymics holds, as it always does /article/428 . A healthy diet and at least moderate exercise cannot be replaced. The easiest way to achieve good health is this: THE CAR-FREE DIET. Dr. Mitchell guarantees the results to surpass anything else on the planet.

That's no snake oil, y'all.

Ted Mitchell is a Hamilton resident, emergency physician and sometimes agitator who recently completed a BEng at McMaster University. He is fascinated by aspects of our culture that are harmful, but avoid serious public discussion.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 12, 2007 at 22:23:45

I think it's significant that as immigrants from all around the world come to North America, they acquire North American standards of obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc. in a generation. It's a lifestyle issue - a fact that helps the drug companies not at all.

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By Low_carb (anonymous) | Posted July 24, 2007 at 10:03:57

Car free diet will not work.
What will work is "deliberate" exercise.
You take your car or SUV to the gym, and then work out for 1 hour.

Walking 3 blocks to a bus stop, or even walking 11 blocks to your house is not enough exercise to make any difference.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2007 at 11:25:35

Nice troll, Low_carb. Should I assume you own a gym?

As Upton Sinclair famously said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 25, 2007 at 17:37:42

Puts me in mind of this oldy but goody:

www.flickr.com/photos/matthews/273052/

This one's good too:

pics.livejournal.com/tiz68/pic/0000f3yg

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