Wednesday, March 28, 2012

7 O'Clock News In The Car

New diagnoses of cancer fell by one-half percent in the last year, and deaths from cancer fell by one-and-a-half percent, more for children. But the news isn't all good. Studies also show that obesity in children is too high, leading to increased cancer risk in later years. An estimated 75% of high school girls and 90% of boys do not get the recommended 60 minutes a day of exercise. One third of cancer is caused by obesity and lack of exercise.
Where to begin?

 Well, we could find out who wrote this and shoot them. A half-percent increase per year in media deception deaths might save the rest of us some worry.

New diagnoses fell by 0.5%. That's good. And death by cancer was down 1.5%, also good. It does pay to notice that death itself is not down by that amount. Other causes of death are going to see a slight increase, as this one's a zero-sum game.

No good health news can be mentioned without dragging childhood obesity in from the couch, where it has been playing Coco Loco and eating Mallomars. It's the new favorite button to push. You can justify just about anything if it's to stop childhood obesity - a news guy on CNN thought administering cattle-prod shocks to kids as they put a Dorito to their mouths would be nice. I assume it was meant as a joke.

Try that joke for teen sexual behavior and see how funny people think you are. (Okay, maybe some folks would think it was funny if it was about boys. But even that would be a small number, I think.)

So even though the health news is good - again, for about the fiftieth year in a row - it's not really good news because it's going to be bad news fifty years from now. One-third of cancer is caused by obesity and lack of exercise, eh? Looks like the tobacco companies should be getting a big refund, then.


Sam L. said...

So what's this I hear about kids not getting recess, and phys ed getting trimmed, and...all the things that keep kids inactive?

jaed said...

You want a guess?

One-third of Americans are clinically obese (specifically, their BMI is 30 or more).

One-third of cancer diagnoses are made in people who are clinically obese.

Therefore, one-third of cancer is caused by The OBEEEEESITY Monster.

I don't know this for certain, and I am too lazy to bother tracking down this story and finding out. However, I have tracked down other such stories. I am willing to put down a small amount of folding money that this is the train of logic behind the statement. (At one point, the CDC was coming perilously close to claiming that every single death of an obese person was "obesity-related", which turned into the even better "caused by obesity".)

Scientific research in the area of nutrition and weight is in almost the same state as climatology research, and for much the same reason: power and money. Thar's grants in them thar scare stories. Thar's media coverage. Thar's promotions, thar's tenure, thar's new government programs into which one's beak and one's institution's beak may be dipped. Combine that with the scientific illiteracy of the average reporter and truly, you have a mess.