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285669.  Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:13 am Reply with quote

Contrary to popular assumption, how much time a child spends watching TV doesn't effect how much exercise he does, according to on-going research at the Peninsula Medical School in Devon. Professor Terence Wilkin’s project is monitoring 300 British children from the ages 5 to 16, and seems to show that we have in our brains (probably in the hypothalamus) a mechanism - Wilkin calls it the “activitystat” - which determines how physically active we are.

This varies up to four-fold between individual children, but is consistent day-to-day in each child. The amount of activity is not dependent on things like school sport, daily routine, or socio-economic background. An individual child is simply as active as his activitystat tells him to be, no matter what else is going on in his life. This suggests that obesity in children isn't necessarily due to sedentary living.

The word comes from “activity” and “thermostat” and mimics another neologism, “appestat” which relates to the brain mechanism which controls appetite.


297872.  Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:05 am Reply with quote

Flash, who wants to spoil ALL my fun, doesn't like this question. Actually, I suppose it is a bit too insulting to midlanders. But this guy is surely worth a mention in the fat/freak show...

Question: Where do Britain’s fattest and ugliest people come from?

Answer: Leicester

For purposes of this answer, I'm claiming that the ugliest person in Britain's history was Joseph Merrick (born in Leicester) and the fattest person was:

Daniel Lambert who was born in Blue Boar Lane, Leicester, on 13 March 1770.

By 1793 he weighed 32 stone, despite his athletic enthusiasm for activities such as walking, swimming, and hunting. Moreover, he drank only water and ate only plate of food per meal.

As a boy he was almost killed by a bear that had come to town with a team of travelling jugglers.

Due to a financial problem (the prison in which he worked was closed down) in 1806 he had a special carriage constructed and went to London, where in April 1806 he began ‘receiving company’ from midday until 5 in the afternoon at 53 Piccadilly. According to a report in The Times, he had more female spectators than male.

‘When sitting’ (according to one account) ‘he appears to be a stupendous mass of flesh, for his thighs are so covered by his belly that nothing but his knees are to be seen, while the flesh of his legs, which resemble pillows, projects in such a manner as to nearly bury his feet’

He was at Cambridge in June 1809, and proceeded to Huntingdon and Stamford, where, according to a newspaper, he ‘attained the acme of mortal hugeness’.

He on 21 June 1809, probably caused by the stress placed on his heart by his immense proportions. His coffin was built on two axles and four wheels and required 112 square feet of elm wood for its construction. His body was rolled down a gradual incline from the inn to the burial-ground of St Martin's, Stamford Baron
His waistcoat had a girth of 102 inches

At his death he was 5 feet 11 inches in height, and weighed 52¾ stone (336 kg). This weight greatly exceeded that of the two men hitherto especially famed for their corpulence, John Love (d. 1793) of Weymouth (26 stone) and Edward Bright (d. 1750) of Malden (42 stone).

For a time after Lambert's death his name became a synonym for hugeness

According to tradition, he was so fat that he couldn’t sink, and would float along the River Stour allowing children to hitch a lift on his belly.

According to the Guinness Book Of Records, the fattest person ever is American, Jon Brower Minnoch, who is said to have weighed more than 100 stone when he died in 1983, aged 42, in Seattle.

Galen, a first century Roman physician, reported meeting Nichomachus of Smyrna - a man who was so heavy that he could not move nor be moved from his bed. Other ancient texts cite the case of an unnamed Roman senator who was only able to walk when two slaves carried his belly for him

Leicester Mercury; 02 January 2008
Guardian 21/02/2004
The Two-Headed Boy, and Other Medical Marvels By Jan Bondeson

Molly Cule
310639.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:17 am Reply with quote

There is a new law being enforced on Great Yarmouth seafront to say that children wishing to ride on a donkey have to weigh under 8 stone. The donkey man has set of scales to hand to weight the kids, this had to happen as his donkeys were buckling under the weight of the kids raised on fast food and chips from the market.

s - broadland radio

310651.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:31 am Reply with quote

This may say as much about our attitude to donkeys as it does about children's weight - if you go to the Middle East you commonly see donkeys carrying fully-grown men. I don't say it's pretty, but they seem to be capable of it.

Molly Cule
310681.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:07 am Reply with quote

maybe middle eastern donkeys are more hardy than norfolk donkeys. stephen might know, being a norfolk man..

312575.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:10 am Reply with quote

Note-standard factoid here:

One cliché that overweight people like to use is that they are "big boned", well it turns out that bones may indeed be to blame for some fatness.

Osteoblasts are cells produced in bones; they create a protein called osteocalcin which in turn sends signals to fat cells directly, causing them to release another hormone called adiponectin that makes the body more sensitive to the effects of insulin. This controls how the body deals with blood sugar and is ultimately what determines weight gain and whether or not fat is burned.

336920.  Thu May 15, 2008 7:28 am Reply with quote

Americans are using at least 938 million more gallons of gas per year than in 1960 due to the increased fuel needed to carry their lardy-arses around.


336951.  Thu May 15, 2008 8:20 am Reply with quote

Reluctant though I am to defend fat Americans, out of whom the piss can surely be taken, I'm not convinced from the details on that link that the difference isn't at least partly to do with the fact that people now drive giant SUVs and pick-up trucks.

336960.  Thu May 15, 2008 8:37 am Reply with quote

I think that gas-guzzling cars are more important, but that would be on top of these figures. I think the study is a basic estimate based on the laws of physics, increased weight means more power is needed to move that weight around.

It seems that it affects aeroplanes as well, though it is a small difference when compared to things like driving more slowly or leaving unwanted baggage out of your boot.

more here


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