Fat and Not Afraid

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Driving Makes You Fat

May 7, 2012

Driving not only makes us fat, but also costs the USA a BILLION DOLLARS extra a year! Did you know that? I didn't, not until my sister helpfully pointed me at some news articles she had read, knowing I would read them, have my head explode, and then blog about them. Love you, Wen. 

What the headlines *should* be saying, if they'd bother to read the study (I have), is "Driving has a correlative effect, with a 6 year or so delay, on BMI numbers." That's *much* too long for a headline though, and not nearly sensational enough, so the 'fatties cost the USA over a billion dollars a year!" headline is what we see instead. 

From the study's conclusion: "It is, of course, entirely possible that the correlation in the two trends is coincidental. The analysis did not control for factors such as diet, income, environmental contributors, and other lifestyle factors that can have a significant effect on obesity rates."


The correlation they're referring to is the one between how much people drive, and the increase in amount of time driving, and how fat people are, and the increase in the number of fat people, since 1995. There's about a 6 year lag between an increase in amount driven and a person's BMI changing, and they expect to see a similar decrease over a similar lag-time if people start driving less, walk more, and visit restaurants less. Of course, fat people are fat because they don't excersize or eat properly! No doy! The researchers smartly notice: Although consideration of obesity and vehicle use at an aggregated national level has its uses for policymaking, the result may not be applicable at the individual level; the results presented here do not suggest that any one specific individual adult can reduce his/her likelihood of being obese by driving less."

But the headlines will still try to blame fat folks for wasting resources in the meantime, and heap shame on us for not doing our part to help the economy or save the planet.

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