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obesity epidemic

Ray Harding Avoids Jail Because He is Obese

What should the sentence be for a man who has stolen $800,000? You would think that it would be at least a few years in jail, but for former Liberal Party boss Ray Harding, there were no such consequences. In fact, the man got off completely scott free, supposedly because of his cooperation with the authorities and for the “family troubles” that caused him to make “a misguided grab for money.” Harding was accused of being involved in a pay-for-play scheme that involved the State of New York’s pension fund. He even admitted to being a fake intermediary between the the pension funds and the investment funds.

However, the real reason that Harding got such a light sentence is his poor health. Harding does not have a life-threatening illness like cancer or AIDS; instead, he is obese. And his obesity is a big factor in the very light sentence that he received after stealing $800,000. He will not spend even one day in jail, nor will he be required to pay back the money he stole.

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Colorado and Washington, D.C. the Least Obese Places in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its 2009 data on obesity in the United States, and the results are quite startling. In fact, during the past 20 years that the CDC has tracked it, there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity with only Colorado and the District of Columbia coming in at a total population obesity rate of less than 20 percent.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, which is calculated based on a person’s weight and height. Although BMI can be misleading for those who are highly athletic or muscular, the CDC uses this number because it provides a reasonable and generalized indicator of body fatness and weight categories that may lead to health problems. It is well documented that obesity is a major risk factor for a number of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

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Boston Debuts Oversize Ambulance for Obese

In the latest twist in the obesity crisis, Boston has debuted an oversized ambulance for the use of obese patients. The retrofit ambulance is designed to carry patients up to 850 pounds and has been fitted with a hydrolic lift with a 1,000 lb capacity. It is projected to be in  use as often as 4 times a week.

“We have seen a huge increase in the last six months,” said Captain Jose Archila of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services fleet about the number of calls by obese patients.

The specially designed ambulance was designed for the comfort of the patients, as well as the safety of the paramedics, who often suffer back strain from lifting severely heavy patients.

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Shoplifters Use Excess Fat to Conceal Stolen Goods (VIDEO)

Two women from Edmond, Oklahoma were caught shoplifting from TJ Maxx on Tuesday. I realize this may not sound exciting in and of itself, but wait until you hear how they concealed their stolen goods. Wait for it… here it comes…. belly fatKFOR News Channel 4 reports that the two women used their belly fat, breasts and under-arm fat to hide “four pairs of boots, three pairs of jeans, a wallet and gloves…”

First of all, it amazes me that they even thought to try such a stunt. After the initial wow-you’re-totally-weirding-me-out-man reaction, I was (almost) impressed that they managed to conceal $2,600 in stolen merchandise inside their excess fat and loose skin. That’s some serious initiative! It’s just too bad they didn’t dedicate the same amount of time to working out or coming up with a solid nutrition plan; one that would help eliminate those built-in shoplifting-bags.

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Is coffee making us fat?

It’s no new news that as a nation, our waistlines are growing. Researchers have been scratching their heads for years now, trying to find out why. New research on caffeine and diabetes may be a clue into the obesity epidemic. Turns out that caffeine raises glucose levels in diabetics; furthermore, insulin resistance and moderating blood glucose levels are becoming two of the major indicators for weight loss success. Could it be that your daily latte is the culprit in an expanding waistline? Read for yourself here.

When I was a weight loss counselor with Jenny Craig, I would sometimes have a client who would seem to be doing everything right, but still not losing weight. Sometimes, as a last ditch effort, I would have them switch from coffee to tea, and voila! Weight loss would resume. Was the difference the caffeine consumption? Tea tends to be made “by the cup” while coffee is made, and consumed, by the pot. It’s an interesting hypothesis. Time for a cup of tea!