Periscope Depth

street lights, people

Reading the news makes you stupid:

The study, released this week in the journal Obesity, suggests that by the year 2030, nearly every American will be overweight or obese.

Currently, figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the prevalence of obesity in adults at about 66 percent. But lead study author Dr. Youfa Wang of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore says that if current overweight and obesity trends continue, 86 percent of Americans could be overweight or obese by the year 2030.

Even more troubling, the authors note, “By 2048, all American adults would become overweight or obese.”

If you ever wonder whether someone does Real Science or Play Science, look for words like all, none, always, never in their press releases.

I suppose it must be exciting, living in a world where scientitians can predict with confidence what the American social order will be like in 40 years. I know I sure couldn’t. I would imagine that most Americans living 40 years ago – meaning, the summer of 1968 – would not have predicted that a black man would have a serious shot at upsetting a three-term U.S. Senator for the Presidency. I don’t think anyone in the pre-Apollo 11 era could have predicted the cellular phone, the desktop computer, the iPod, the hybrid car, Viagra or DVDs. I doubt anyone contemporary to Vietnam could have predicted Watergate, the Iranian hostage crisis, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Whitewater hearings, the razing of the World Trade Center or the Colts leaving Baltimore.

But that guy! Man, that guy has it figured out!

I present a short list of things that could end the obesity “epidemic” any time in the next 40 years:

  • Congress cuts back on or repeals sugar and corn subsidies, damming the flood of high fructose corn syrup down America’s gaping gullet;
  • Gas prices decline to the point that Americans can indulge in the luxury of “eating local” – that’s right, eating local does not reduce your carbon footprint – thus consuming more leafy greens.
  • A scandal on par with Enron shakes the Coca-Cola corporation, savaging the cola products market.
  • A mutated pox wipes out swaths of genetically engineered corn across the U.S.
  • Dow Chemical discovers an easily reproduced substitute for sodium, the most common food preservative.
  • An outbreak of Mad Cow disease scares America off of beef for 3 to 5 years.
  • All the currently “obese” people die off.
  • Nuclear holocaust? Alien invasion? The Second Coming? Really, anything.

Anyone who tells you with confidence what will happen forty years from now has just lied to you. Treat them as you would any other liar.

Edit: As several folks reminded me, you can easily guarantee all of America will be obese in 2048 by simply changing the definition of obesity.

Tagged on: , , ,

Comments are closed.