August 21, 2009

Being a food critic made him thin

Frank Bruni just stepped down after five-plus years as the restaurant critic for The New York Times

His new book -- Born Round -- is about growing up, eating too much, becoming fat and then learning as a food critic and Italian resident how to have a healthy relationship with food.

Tucker Shaw in the Denver Post writes:
Who could have imagined that this gig would be what ultimately saved his relationship with food?

"Eating professionally imposes a forced structure and a forced rhythm," he said on the phone the other day. "You have to eat in a round and steady fashion to do the duty of your job. It takes extreme dieting off the table. The only control you have is moderation, portion control and exercise. Which, what do you know, is what works."

Bruni was primed to control his on-the-job eating by his time in Rome, another unlikely stop on his long, strange trip to skinny. "Everyone warned me about Italy," he said. "But I went. And there I was in that country that, far from being a peril, was a land of great food with people who approach it with grace. The portions you get at a true Italian restaurant or at a true Italian dinner party are much smaller. You never see an 'All-you can eat' sign there."

August 20, 2009

What?? Fox News finally has a balanced story

I can't figure out the angle in this Fox News story. It appears to be accurate, and yet it indicts America's health system. Or does it just indict all fat, rural Americans?

Life expectancy in the United States rose to an all-time high, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today. But that's only half the story.

The country is behind about 30 others on this measure.

Though the United States has by far the highest level of health care spending per capita in the world, we have one of the lowest life expectancies among developed nations — lower than Italy, Spain and Cuba and just a smidgeon ahead of Chile, Costa Rica and Slovenia, according to the United Nations. China does almost as well as we do. Japan tops the list at 83 years.

And in an era where advances in medicine and better understanding of health issues should boost life expectancy significantly, the gains announced today were modest.

U.S. life expectancy reached nearly 78 years (77.9) in 2007, the latest year for which data from death certificates has been compiled. That's up from 77.7 in 2006. Over the past decade, life expectancy has increased 1.4 years.

In fact, U.S. life expectancy gains may be pretty much over, as some groups — particularly people in rural locations — are already stagnating or slipping, explains LiveScience columnist Christopher Wanjek. Meantime, soaring rates of obesity and diabetes among children and adults, owing mostly to lousy diets and lack of exercise, portend depressing mortality rates to come.