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Daily Archives: June 19, 2012

An Interesting Study With Some Misreported Results… But I Learned Something

I asked how far away is a “Fit Tax” based on the over-sensationalization of Global Warming in terms of CO2 on June 1st.  Then I presented an argument against it should your local politician present an argument for one.  First of all, I go back and forth with politics, it’s a love-hate relationship.  Sometimes I love politics, sometimes, not so much.  What really fries me is the dishonesty.  The Global Warming debate and the resulting regulation and policy tied to it has done enormous harm, all in the name of global redistribution of wealth (if I have to dig all of the instances that show this, it’s because you aren’t paying attention, not because it isn’t so).  The politics behind it are used to control everyone else.  This is why people like Al Gore are excused from their colossal carbon footprint while others are expected to “tighten their belt” and live meagerly – for the sanctity of the planet.  Lest we not forget, Al is at least “raising awareness”, as if that BS actually counts for something.

In that light, I heard about a study this morning that has ramifications that could echo around the hallowed corridors of government buildings the world over – and will absolutely be misused by ignorant politicians with agendas that they dare not speak of…  In order to control the people:

Congressman Dingell took a lot of heat for that comment and eventually sent an aide out to fall on his sword, releasing the statement that the Congressman was “tired” when he made that comment.  Let’s contextualize tired:  Mr. Dingell meant exactly what he said, he just didn’t cloak it in the normal political double-talk because he was tired.  This is a gaffe; when a politician accidentally tells the truth…and specifically what I hate about politics.

It’s in that light that I present the following study and review of it – always aware that politicians are a necessary evil, but an evil all the same.

First of all, in reading the study “The Weight of Nations” – I didn’t rely on reading the news report alone on the study, I read the study (I always assume the reporter is dumber than I am, or that he/she is leaving half of the facts out to push an agenda – 90% of the time I’m right) – but something was pointed out in that study that I initially I underestimated:

“Physical activity accounts for 25-50% of human energy expenditure. Due to the greater energy cost of moving a heavier body, energy use increases with body mass [3]. Resting energy expenditure also increases with body mass, due to the increase in metabolically active lean tissue that accompanies increases in body fat [4].”

Now this study doesn’t deal with CO2 emissions, it deals with the caloric intake required to sustain obesity, so one could make the same assumption based on their study, that it takes more oxygen – therefore more CO2 emissions – to sustain obesity than it would a physically fit individual overall.  This argument isn’t perfect though.  I train a lot more than the average person, probably on the order of double, so it takes a lot of calories to sustain that training – and that’s where the control that I find so distasteful comes in.  The governments of the world will want for people to be active, but they’ll seek to “control the people” at the same time.  In other words, what’s to stop them from “allowing us”, through legislation, to train “this much”, but no more, for the sake of the planet?

What I don’t understand is whether or not they took into account that an obese person actually moves around a lot less than a fit person, and therein lies the rub.  Also, the citation number 4 only deals with the basal metabolic rate – certainly mine at 155 lbs is much lower than that of someone at 225 (about 400 k/cal per day), but the basal level doesn’t account for overall physical activity – my daily caloric requirement goes from a basal 1,665 calories to well over 3,200 calories once exercise and fitness are accounted for.  Also, there appears to be some trouble with the Schofield study – not surprisingly it overpredicts BMR, thus heavier countries are unfairly hit harder in the BioMed Central study (boy I didn’t see that coming).

So what’s the point?  Oh, it’s sinister folks:  “The increased global demand for food arising from the increase in body mass is likely to contribute to higher food prices. Because of the greater purchasing power of more affluent nations (who also have higher average body mass), the worst effects of increasing food prices will be experienced by the world’s poor”.

Now let’s look at this notion in context.  The statement above, quoted fully, from the study relies on one specific idea;  That the world food supply is one big pool, that “it” belongs to the world.  That’s the only way the second sentence and concluding notion could make sense.  What that means is we have “x” amount of food to be distributed amongst 8 billion people.  If the US is fatter and more affluent, not only do and can we eat more (thereby limiting the world supply), we can also afford the scarcity we cause because we’re more affluent.  This will then lead to the world’s poor suffering the brunt of our excess…  And that’s what global politics is all about.  Unfortunately, it’s complete bullshit.  It not only assumes that the world’s poor can’t grow food.  It also assumes that the US doesn’t already grow far more than we can consume – which we do.  In fact, we make so much food in the US, we give the leftovers away as free aid to the world’s poor.

And here’s the beautiful part;  They quote Malthus in the opening Background:

“Thomas Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population warned that population increase would eventually outstrip food supply, resulting in famine [1]. Malthus expressed his concern at a time when the amount of food energy that could be harvested from a given amount of land was constrained by the available agricultural technologies. The Green Revolution of the twentieth century challenged Malthus’ grim predictions, as fossil fuel -based fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation and mechanization greatly increased food yields [2]. In the twenty-first century, the link between population and ecological sustainability is again coming to the fore, as global food yields are threatened by ecological destruction (including climate change) and as world population grows [2].

But they missed this, also from Malthus:  “Malthus emphasises the difference between government-supported welfare, and public charity. He proposed the gradual abolition of poor laws by gradually reducing the number of persons qualifying for relief. Relief in dire distress would come from private charity.[28] He reasoned that poor relief acted against the longer-term interests of the poor by raising the price of commodities and undermining the independence and resilience of the peasant.[citation needed] In other words, the poor laws tended to “create the poor which they maintain.”[29]

Now stick with me because now we’re going to get into the weeds, and why I always read the study rather than the report on the study.

The study’s conclusion says this:  “Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth”.

The report on the study also says this:  “”If every country in the world had the same level of  fatness that we see in the USA, in weight terms that would be like an  extra billion people of world average body mass,” he added”.  Hey, what’s an extra 500 million people amongst friends, eh?  Oh, and the guy that made he 500 million person mistake?  Yeah, he was one of the authors of the study.  He also said this:  “Roberts said health campaigns and urban design that promotes walking or cycling were among the best ways to tackle the problem, which was primarily  caused by sedentary modern lifestyles”.  Strangely that was left out of the study – in fact, nowhere in the study is anything about the reduction of weight – it just assumes that the 2005 figures it used would remain consistent forever.

Americans Eating Healthier and Exercising More, According to the February 2012

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®

“The Physical Health Index, which measures America’s physical health, declined slightly to 76.5 in February, from 77.1 in January. A decline in the percentage of Americans reporting that they felt well-rested in February and increase in the percentage who had a cold or the flu caused the overall index to inch down. However, obesity dropped to 25.6 percent, tied for the lowest monthly level Gallup and Healthways have found since October 2008”.

What is this really all about?  A global fat tax, just like carbon trading.  Hey, you guys in the US are fat, so you have to pay “x”! – the exact same UN scam with Climate Change.  And it gets better.  The BioMed Central report states flat out that advancements such as pesticides and advanced farming techniques are responsible for the world avoiding Malthus’ predictions…  Who wants to do away with those advancements?  You can’t make it up folks, it’s too funny.

I say keep your hands off my wallet bitches.

By the way, it’s kind of neat how all of this ties together, ain’t it?