Just Another Day in the News
Pamela Accetta Smith
(847) 205-5660 ext. 4069
Obesity is not a crisis. California cows can’t be happy. Magic brownies problematic for Chicagoans. These are just a few topics that have graced recent media headlines.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the obesity crisis and it, well, being kind of made up — that the obesity crisis isn’t as big a problem as it’s been made out to be, just more scare tactics fueled by the media.
Some groups are saying the obesity crisis is not really a crisis at all. According to new estimates from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, about 112,000 deaths in 2000 were blamed on obesity. That is much lower, USA Today reports, than a highly publicized figure released in March 2004 when other CDC researchers estimated that about 400,000 deaths were associated with obesity, poor diet and inactivity. That number was later lowered to 365,000 when problems with calculations were detected.
That said, does this mean the obesity crisis was and is still being wrongly reported? No. It just means the impact of obesity on death rates has decreased perhaps due to improved medical care and better treatments for high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Are people really getting healthier? Will people begin tapping into the newly revised Food Guide Pyramid (see MarketWatch, page 8)? Are people eating their 3-A-Day of Dairy? Who knows, but those out there who are downplaying the obesity issue are doing the situation a huge injustice and leading Americans astray.
Come on people, take responsibility for your actions — eat right and exercise.
It may be true that the media hypes up most things, but it has for years. When are we going to stop blaming others for our expanding waistlines?
And speaking of ridiculous — the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) now says cows can’t be happy. The California Supreme Court has declined to review a false-advertising lawsuit brought by PETA against the state milk board.
Good — what a waste of precious time. The animal-rights group had challenged court rulings that granted the state blanket immunity from laws designed to protect consumers. PETA objects to advertising that portrays California’s cows as happy. “Painting a ‘happy’ image of an industry that treats these animals like milk machines is deceptive, regardless of who is doing the deceiving,” says Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s director of vegan campaigns. “If the California milk industry treated dogs or cats the way it treat cows, everyone involved would be prosecuted for cruelty to animals.”
Give me a break.
But the funniest piece of copy to hit my desk came from the Chicago Tribune about a new spring ice cream flavor offering from Ben & Jerry’s — Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies.
Ice cream full of brownie pieces, it’s likely to be hit — but maybe not in the Windy City. Given the incident last August when a bus driver transporting members of the Dave Matthews band dumped the bus’ septic tank while crossing the Kinzie Street bridge in Chicago — dousing a tour boat’s passengers with human waste — perhaps the ice cream maker and the band could have decided on a flavor less evocative of the incident.
Of course, then we’d be deprived of the comedy.  
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