On May 18, 2008, I wrote (in my private journal) this about the “study” that has surfaced again, you know, the one about how fat people are the cause of all the worlds ills. I decided since they recycling the study, I’ll just recycle this post to a bigger audience.
I’ve tried to find the study on the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine site, and can’t find it at all. But I’m not alone. Others have tried to find it too, and can’t find it. Even googling Dr. Phil Edwards, Ian Roberts, the Lancet (the medical journal they were supposed to have published the report in) AND obesity in the same search criteria.
So I googled the name of one of the authors of the finding. The things that come up in google are either 1) fat bloggers up in arms about this so-called report, and 2) so-called news outlets just repeating the same thing, that it’s the fat people who are responsible for global warming and food shortages.
However, after 45 minutes of searching, I finally found:
According to ABC News, it was a LETTER to the Lancet (as opposed to a published study), written by Dr. Phil Edwards as a co-author, and who is a senior statistician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health.
It’s taken me some serious digging for this, to show the reality of this situation. It’s a statistician who’s making these “implications”. It wasn’t even a STUDY, but a LETTER in the Lancet.
And it was PURELY CALCULATIONS, not even a study based on actual data. Edwards maintains the rationale for his calculations is solid. Out of the roughly 6 billion people alive today, about one billion live in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. It is in such countries that obesity rates are the highest. Edwards and his colleagues created a hypothetical model of these 1 billion people using the U.K. population as a template.
The researchers then divided the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by the world’s population — about 42 billion tons — equally among the world’s population. By this method, each billion-person segment would be responsible for about 7 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year. Edwards estimated that one-fifth of these greenhouse gases are generated through food production — in total, about 1.4 billion tons.
Tons of news outlets reporting something that wasn’t even a STUDY, but just something that numbers people came up with basically out of the blue.
And yet, almost Every. Single. News. Service out there is saying that these are experts, and that they are blaming the obesity epidemic for global warming, the economy failing, and food shortages.
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how hysteria is produced. Not very many people are going to sit for 45 minutes searching and searching and searching to find out the truth of the reporting.
And people wonder why I’m afraid of what the world is becoming? How this stupidity is being pushed? The sheeple of the world won’t look farther than their noses.
It’s a LETTER, not a study, for pete’s sake. But then, the true story of a couple of statisticians who wrote a letter blaming fat people for all the world’s ills just isn’t as newsworthy, is it? Even if it’s TRUE!
(I won’t talk about how the ABC news report epically fails by adding in the opinion:
“Certainly at an individual level, it stretches the imagination to think that this knowledge would be the tipping point for an obese person to finally make the commitment to lose weight.” , director of the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center for the RAND Corporation. “Even if it is true, which it probably is, I doubt this would have any beneficial effect.Shekelle”Obese people don’t need to be told that they may contribute a disproportionate share to the global warming problem,” said Dr. Paul
Cuz, gee, that’s certainly not going to have me try yet another frustrating diet — frustrating when I CAN’T lose the weight, not don’t want to lose the weight. I mean, with me being so selfish and all that. No, really, I have no care whatsoever about the earth, and leaving it to my step-daughter and her children and their children and their children. Gah!)
Edit to add: In one article (http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91251-1316270,00.html?f=rss), they did tell how they came up with the 18% more consumption level.
in the healthy range of 24.5 consumed a total of 2,500 calories per person per day.BMIThey estimated that populations with an averageof 29 required 2,960 calories per person per day – an extra 18% of food energy.BMIBut an obese population with an average
Well, lets see, if I eat AS MUCH AS 2500 calories a day, I get sick from too much food. And I know athletes and body builders and TEENAGERS (my own kidlet as one example) who eats far more than 2500 calories a day. Their ‘research’ is down right wrong. That’s what you get for letting a statistician do a researchers job.
The cynic in me is wondering just what diet plan/company funded the so-called research.
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