Friday, May 22, 2009

OT: Need a laugh?

Editor types will especially love the headlines here, on a blog called The Blood-Red Pencil. Today's installment: headlines that should never have been written.

In the apparently imitable style of Wendy McClure of Candyboots, the editors have assembled a glorious collage of headlines from the dark side. My favorite--and it's so hard to pick just one!--is Include Your Children when Baking Cookies. The commentary: Certainly important in some recipes—"Northern Witch Missionary Lip Stew" comes to mind—but a rather expensive ingredient, no?

Yes indeed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do you live in Australia? If so, read on . . .

Eating disorders are a huge problem Down Under. And now the Australian government is talking about a project that takes my breath away with its foresight and thoughtfulness. The Australian minister for youth, Kate Ellis, wants to, as she says, "develop a strategic national approach to tackle negative body image in a coordinated, targeted and effective way."

Ellis has created an online consultation on body image, with an eye toward creating a "code of conduct" for media, advertisers, and the fashion industry. Wow. I think Kate Ellis is my new favorite government official on any continent.

If you live in Australia, you can help by taking this online survey. (La-Di-Da over at Fatomatic suggested that anyone could take the survey, but I tried this morning, and you can't complete the survey unless you live in an Australian state. Or at least say you do.)

I look forward to following this story as it develops. Frankly, just to have someone like Ellis ask the questions is very heartening no matter what happens next.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obesity and suicide

The lede of this story says it all:

As if the many physical health concerns associated with the obesity epidemic weren't worrisome enough, new research shines a light on an alarming mental health connection: Teenagers who are overweight are at higher risk of attempting suicide. Even teens who merely believe themselves overweight -- but actually are not -- are more predisposed to suicidal behavior, the researchers found.

As if reading stories like this weren't enough of a health risk. . . .

Why the shock, ladies and gentlemen? By now we know that the stigma associated with being fat in this society has devastating consequences for your health, mental and physical.

We know that hormonal shifts, poor impulse control, and other factors make teens especially susceptible to suicide.

Put the two together, and what do you get?

Shocking, no?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Say it after me: I-Am-a-Shill

My first reaction to this story on The Daily Beast was to look for the small print labeling it an ad. Sadly, it's not an ad but real-live editorial content. Sort of.

Written by one Dr. Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition and professor of psychiatry at Tufts University (who also just happens to be the author of a brand-new! fabulous! dieting book), this piece purports to tell you why crash dieting is just as effective as "more gradual weight-loss" regimens.

Dr. Roberts left out one tiny factoid here: No diets are effective in the long-term.

So yeah, Dr. Roberts, maybe crash dieting is "just as effective" as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. But how could you have neglected to mention the fact that more than 95 percent of dieters not only gain back the weight they lost but they gain back more? Have you not seen the UCLA study showing that diets don't work? Maybe you think your new diet is better than every other diet that's ever been marketed. Or maybe you just don't care, so long as you make a buck here. Or a lot of bucks.

I expect better than this from a professor of psychiatry. And even, frankly, from Tina Brown's website. Brown used to be editor of The New Yorker, for god's sake, a magazine renowned for its fact-checking and reporting excellence.

How the mighty have fallen.