Sin Tracker: fatties destroying the earth

In: Uncategorized

2 Nov 2006

Monitoring the alleged sins of modern life

It seems that fatties are not just damaging themselves but destroying the earth too. An article in the New York Times quotes recent research to this effect (Gina Kolata “For a world of woes, we blame cookie monsters” 29 October):

“This latest contribution to the obesity debate comes in an article by Sheldon H. Jacobson of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and his doctoral student, Laura McLay. Their paper, published in the current issue of The Engineering Economist, calculates how much extra gasoline is used to transport Americans now that they have grown fatter. The answer, they said, is a billion gallons a year.

“Their conclusion is in the same vein as a letter published last year in The American Journal of Public Health. Its authors, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did a sort of back-of-the-envelope calculation of how much extra fuel airlines spend hauling around fatter Americans. The answer, they wrote, based on the extra 10 pounds the average American gained in the 1990’s, is 350 million gallons, which means an extra 3.8 million tons of carbon dioxide.”

Thankfully some people are willing to defend the fatties. The November issue of Reason has a review of two books arguing that critics should lay off (Jacob Sullum “Lay off the fatties”). It contends that the obesity discussion is unnecessarily alarmist.

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