Fukushima radiation fears are linked to increase in obesity among children

Ah, so maybe its not the french fries in Happy Meals after all?

“Many children, even those living in areas where radiation levels are below government safety limits, are spending more time at home after school and during weekends and holidays than they did before the disaster.” [The Guardian]

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12 responses to “Fukushima radiation fears are linked to increase in obesity among children

  1. This story is promoting the new childhood obesity programs being drawn up by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, in reading the local newspapers, such as Daily Yomiuri and Asahi Shimbun. But I think there are reasons to be skeptical of the interpretations and speculations.

    The Fukushima region has long had larger children and reportedly “higher childhood obesity rates” — well before the nuclear disaster. It’s had the highest obesity rates among nearly all age children and teens going back at least to 2006. [Remember, these statistics combine both height and weight, and the the cut-offs to be labeled “obese” have been repeatedly lowered over recent decades. They are reported as rates, the percentages of children crossing that arbitrary line. We don’t know the actual weights or heights of the growing children.]

    The population of Fukushima has also undergone some significant changes since the disaster. As health physicist for Radiation Safety and Control Services, Harvey Farr, reported last summer, the Japanese economy underwent an enormous retraction after the disaster. The stress on local people, both financially and physically, increased.
    While Japan’s population growth has been nearly flat for decades, after the disaster, poor laborers from across Japan moved to the Fukushima Daiichi looking for work during the severe economic downturn.

    • Westchester Bill

      Please don’t use the term “nuclear disaster” when no one was killed or seriously hurt as I understand. Disaster applies to the tsunami that swept 19,000 people out to sea, including hundreds of beautiful innocent children. The fretting about the nukes is both insane and disrespectful to the 19,000.

  2. Maybe being completely out of touch with reality and listening to political and science propaganda causes obesity. So does lowering the weight allowed, as noted above. Our complete lack of understanding of the real world is the problem.

  3. Recent news from China implicates the bacterium Enterobacter cloacae, which flourishes within the alimentary canal of humans, in altered digestion of fats and oils which leads directly to obesity (in rats). This shows a MUCH more direct cause-effect relationship than anxiety over a radiation leak that largely left most people unaffected, especially those with pre-existing obesity..

  4. If indeed they spend more time at home or anywhere near a fridge than they did before the event, this factor alone can explain much of the observed weight gain. The role of the gut flora needs to be properly analysed; there are strong bidirectional interactions between the bacteria and the host, as well as between different populations of bacteria, so nothing in the real gut is as straightforward as a simplified experiment with a germ-free mouse can show (I presume tadchem is referring to this work, or similar: http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ismej2012153a.html)

    But spending more time near a source of food and less work getting to it is a very straightforward way of gaining weight.

  5. Luckily, children are not mice, nor is there any difference in the diets of obese and nonobese human children to explain the differences in their sizes, which are predominately determined by genetics. Sadly, the medical literature and science is still a long way from reaching the public.

  6. Perhaps they should have listened to CBS News:
    (CBS News) Modern wheat is a “perfect, chronic poison,” according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book all about the world’s most popular grain.
    Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn’t the wheat your grandma had: “It’s an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there’s a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It’s not gluten. I’m not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I’m talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year.”
    Ooops!, Sorry was that supposed to be a secret?

    • So the wheat made me fat–it’s not my fault.
      Weight gain occurs when you eat more calories than you burn. I understand how in a country where the leaders cannot understand simple math of spending more than you take in led to the deficit, not political parties or gridlock or whatever, why the concept of eating more calories than you burn could really be the reason you’re overweight, but it is. Weight gain is caused by overeating, pure and simple.

      • People won’t surrender their freedom of choice for what they eat if the cure for obesity is just “don’t eat so damn much.” Government needs far more elaborate explanations. Theirs are usually qualitative, not quantitative.

        And the obesity is made up, too. A friend of my son’s from Sweden said the most remarkable thing he saw on his first visit to American is that, “Americans looks normal.” U. S. Government propaganda, published worldwide, is that 31% of Americans are obese . . . not just fat, but obese. It is easily observed that fewer than 3% are.

        • You’re right-people wouldn’t surrender their freedom of choice if the was “don’t eat so much”. That would really be so sad, wouldn’t it? :)
          I definitely agree much obesity is made up. There do exist numerous truly obese people but the government standard is leaning toward anorexic model levels.
          Does anyone wonder how there can be 31% of Americans obese and over 25% go hungary? Statistics are just so fascinating.

    • Frankenwheat! Heavens, what will they come up with next to sell another weight loss diet book? There is no GMO wheat being sold or on the market. It cannot possibly be responsible for changes in weight and height among the population.

      There is also no scientific evidence to support a gluten-free or gliadin-free diet for weight loss.

      Plant breeding research and development of hybrid wheat has a long history going back even before the early hybrid by Shull in 1909. Plant breeding research and advancments have enabled improved yields, greater disease resistance and drought tolerance, and less plant loss due to a variety of environmental stressors. Chemical hybridizing agent technology has become used over recent decades and replaced older breeding technologies using cytoplasmic male sterility and enabled wheat hybrids to avoid many of the problems that were involved with CMS hybridization. Technological advancements are nothing to fear, but sadly, scare tactics are regularly used to exploit scientifically naive consumers.

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