Chris Uggen's Blog: who needs ac?

Monday, July 31, 2006

who needs ac?

when i moaned that my new office wasn't air conditioned on sundays, my medsoc friend elaine sent me this twenty-author piece from international journal of obesity, as summarized in slate.

the authors, s. w. keith, d. t. redden, p. t. katzmarzyk, m. m. boggiano, e. c. hanlon, r. m. benca, d. ruden, a. pietrobelli, j. l. barger, k. r. fontaine, c. wang, l. j. aronne, s. m. wright, m. baskin, n. v. dhurandhar, m. c. lijoi, c. m. grilo, m. deluca, a. o. westfall and d. b. allison (do you think professors lijoi and grilo fought over the coveted 16th author position?) suggest some non-obvious contributors to the secular increase in obesity, including diminished sleep, chemicals that mess up our hormones, declining tobacco use, and antidepressants.

perhaps most intriguingly, they point to heating and air conditioning as a potential culprit. if ambient temperatures are a stable 70ish degrees year round, we needn't expend energy to maintain our body temperature. plus, when the temp hits triple digits in minnesota, we really shouldn't be all that hungry, right? i'm hedging my bets, so i made sure to fix the office AC.


At 10:10 AM, Blogger Mike W. said...

What amount of work must one do to be the 20th author?

Not knowing much about obesity, what kinds of measurements do you find are valid? I know that the BMI is problematic because (1) it's an easily calulated height/weight ratio, so most anyone can do it, and (2) it's a piece of shit measure (given the severe amount of variation in body types between people of identical BMIs, and that a high weight isn't indicative of poor health, especially when it comes to atheletes, bodybuilders, and the like).

What is a good measurement then? Body fat %? Shall we start up a caliper craze in the US?

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Woz said...

Ooo! Sign me up for the caliper craze!

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

strangely, my own personal body weight follows exactly the same pattern as that of the US in this model. Man, I miss 1985.

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous chris said...

perhaps strangely to social scientists, the last author is often the biggest shot in med-type articles.

i did a personal bmi calculation for my deviance class last year and found i was a 24.5, which can be spun a number of ways (e.g., "powerfully built" v. "borderline obese" v. "could ya mix in a salad once in a while?"). it would have been worse in '85, though...


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