Health Notes 2

Monkey see, monkey do 

I know a few months ago I said that the health advice coming out of the UK is just as bad as what we get here. But after the recent article I read, it seems to me that the nutritionists in Great Britain, and the reporters who think they are nutritionists, are even dumber than their Yank counterparts.

Lucy Cooke, a psychologist at University College London, has done a “study” that shows us the way to better eating for Britain’s kids. How does a vegetarian psychologist become a nutritional expert in the first place? Apparently not through hard work: Her “research” consisted of sending out questionnaires to parents of children in 22 nursery schools in Northern England to determine what influences the eating habits of kindergarteners. She came up with the novel and totally riveting scientific fact that “parental consumption is the strongest predictor of children’s consumption.”

But the sheer obviousness isn’t the worst part of this “news.” Lucy starts out on the wrong foot because she relies on dietary guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) as her yardstick to determine what the little tykes should be eating. Hence, the parents of children who aren’t eating the WHO-recommended five portions of fruits and vegetables a day may not be setting them a good example, according to the Reuters article I read. “The World Health Organization recommends eating five portions of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy and avoid illnesses such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were actually true? Just eat like a cross between a grazing animal and a monkey, and you will be healthy forever.

I hate to break it to Reuters and the WHO, but it just doesn’t work that way. The fact is you need healthy fats and animal protein to survive. And children need it even more, since fat and protein play critical roles in their growth and development.

Aside from sticking to the arcane “fruits-and-veggies” mantra that has been drilled into their heads, the “experts” also gave this additional gem:

“Eating together as a family is a really good thing, and parents [should] be vocal about how much they like healthy foods because children are programmed to imitate their parents in many ways.”

Is this the best they have to offer? No wonder things have gotten so bad.


“Parents’ example vital in children’s eating habits,” Reuters Health News, 3/6/04

“Demographic, familial and trait predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption by pre-school children,” Public Health Nutrition 2004; 7(2): 295-302

Insanity or blindness -the choice is yours 

I thought I had heard everything about Demon Tobacco and how it basically causes every disease known to man, from tonsillitis to toenail fungus. But I was wrong; the propaganda continues. We are now told, by way of a “scientific” study somewhere in Europe, that smoking causes blindness. The anti-smoking crusade has gotten so intense (and vindictive) that I am now convinced non-smoking causes insanity.

I am dead serious: I really do think the world has gone wacko on the smoking issue. I know you’re tired of hearing me talk about it, but you’ve just got to listen to me on this. It has developed into the most important medical/ social issue of our time. You think I’m exaggerating? Did you know that in some areas of this country you can no longer smoke in your own apartment?

But that’s nothing. Now there are areas in California, Texas, and some other states where you can’t even smoke in your own back yard. Where can you smoke in those gulags? Underground? I don’t think so. A miniscule amount of smoke, probably so small as not to be measurable, could seep up through the roots of a tree (killing the tree, of couse), into the pipes of houses, and from there to the BEDROOM. The horror!

The wackos at the New York State Journal of Medicine say that one millionth of a gram of tobacco smoke in a cubic yard of air “poses an unacceptable hazard” to health. Keep in mind that a gram is only 1/350 of an ounce. This is less than the toxic dose for cyanide, botulinum, anthrax, or ricin. Where do (seemingly) intelligent people get such weird ideas?


“Study: Smoking raises risk of blindness,” CNN (, 3/5/04