Get the fat kid. Start running, Blubber Ball, we're out to get ya!
Why are we picking on little fat kids? Last week the Chief Minister for Lean and Hungry Looks, I mean for ACT, Katy Gallagher, declared a war on fat. There will be fat repentance booths, sorry, clinics. There will be sugary-drink prohibition in schools encouraging, I suspect, bootleg Coke smuggling over the border. And there will be government-sponsored body standardisation procedures, 0ops! - lap band operations.
In the same week, the ACT Greens released its child-obesity policy. Every kid who fails a pinch test will have to sweat it out in a koala suit. Just kidding. They want to protect kids from junk-food ads and support healthy food in school canteens.
Now to add to all this get-the-fat-kid hysteria, an article earlier this month in the New Scientist titled Eat Your Way to Dementia linked obesity to Alzheimer's disease.
Guardian columnist George Monbiot turned the issue into "Alzheimer's could be the most catastrophic impact of junk food". This article was published in newspapers in Australia. Red alert! Red alert! The little fat kids are going to get diabetes and Alzheimer's and we'll be paying for those little fatsos to sit around on their little fat bottoms eating junk food and getting expensive diseases before they up and die. It's an outrage.
Before we form vigilante groups, don balaclavas, grab baseball bats and start attacking McDonald's and KFC outlets, let's do some maths. Where to begin? Let's start with the Alzheimer's studies cited in the New Scientist. They involved rats and rabbits. Imagine a demented rabbit. That would be a guinea pig, I guess. Guinea pigs aren't that bright. What about a demented rat? A retired politician, perhaps?
Alzheimer's aside, have you ever seen an obese rat or rabbit? The rats and rabbits in the studies weren't obese. The scientists fiddled with their brains' insulin receptors. So from studies of thin rats and rabbits with buggered up brains, we've concluded that junk food causes Alzheimer's. Another study in New Scientist involved brains from corpses. But how does a wiggling neuron in a Petri dish of insulin morph into a war cry to ban junk food?
Here comes the maths. I'm going to look at causes of death for men by age group. Stick with me. The ABS gives us the actual numbers for the deaths of Aussie men per 100,000 by cause. No boys in the 15-24 age group die from dementia, one in a million dies from diabetes, three in a million from heart troubles. The big death rates for men for these diseases kick in at 65+. While heart disease in the 25-44 age group is not ideal, it may be linked to the booze and fags.
If the hysterical screamers about child obesity were really worried about kids, then they would look at the factors that kill kids.
Forget fat and look at those things killing them now. They are already taught nutrition in schools. Meanwhile, young males in the 15-24 age group die from violence: 14 from suicide, 16 from motor-vehicle accidents. All up, 45 young men die from violence in this age group. Maybe, we should ban testosterone.
Young males die violent deaths. Maybe the fat ones are the happy ones. Maybe the fat ones don't get into fights. They can't run away so, maybe, they avoid trouble. I can't say. I haven't got the stats. But maybe we should stop telling them what to eat and start listening to what they have to say. ■