Fat of the Land

By Scott LaFee

July 3, 2019 5 min read

Rural areas — not cities, as in the past — are the major contributor to the global rise in body mass index and the related obesity epidemic, reports STAT. A new study by the international NCD Risk Factor Collaboration looked at data from more than 112 million adults in 200 countries. They found that 55% of the global BMI increase in 2017 was due to higher measures in rural areas, though more people now live in urban areas.

The BMI of rural men and women increased roughly twice the BMI of urban dwellers, on average. Some likely causative factors: lower education and income, higher price of healthy foods and less access to public transportation.

Body of Knowledge

As you breathe, most of the air is going in and out of one nostril. Every few hours, the workload shifts to the other nostril.

Get Me That, Stat!

More teenagers are poisoning themselves in suicide attempts, according to a new study. Cases of suicide attempts by self-poisoning doubled between 2011 and 2018 among persons aged 10-18, rising from 39,000 to 78,000. Most attempts were by girls. More than 1,400 children died.

Mark Your Calendar

July is health awareness month for cord blood, group B strep and juvenile arthritis. Also, make sure you wear sunglasses and hats and don't look directly at the sun. It's UV Safety Month.


126,000,000: Number of doses of measles vaccine given to Americans in past 12 years

284: Number of those vaccinated who filed claims alleging the vaccine harmed them

50: Percentage of those claims that were dismissed

Source: National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Stories for the Waiting Room

Love is all about chemistry, perhaps literally. Some experts describe the act of falling in love as three sequential stages, each fueled by specific biochemical compounds. The first stage is lust, a physical attraction driven by testosterone in men and estrogen in women. The second stage is attraction, sustained by the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin — all of which make us feel particularly good about the object of our affection. The third stage is attachment, which is sustained by the peptide hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.

At all stages, flowers and chocolates help.

Doc Talk

Formication: It's not what you think. This word refers to the sensation of feeling small insects crawling on your skin, and derives from the Latin formicatio, meaning "crawls like an ant." Basically, "formication" is a scientific way to say "creepy-crawly feeling."

Phobia of the Week

Leukophobia: Fear of the color white (do not look to either side of this sentence)

Never Say 'Diet'

The Major League Eating record for Hooters chicken wings is 281 in 10 minutes, held by Geoffrey Esper. Esper bested his own record of 250, so there was plenty of self-congratulatory chest-beating.


"If you can't tell the difference between a spoon and a ladle, then you're fat." — Comedian Dmitri Martin

Medical History

This week in 2001, doctors at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, implanted the first self-contained mechanical heart replacement into 59-year-old Robert Tools. The device, called the AbioCor, was battery-powered and the size of a softball. Tools died five months later from multiple organ failure.

Perishable Publications

Many, if not most, published research papers have titles that defy comprehension. They use specialized jargon, complex words and opaque phrases like "nonlinear dynamics." Sometimes they don't, and yet they're still hard to figure out. Here's an actual title of actual published research study: "The Impact of Wet Underwear on Thermoregulatory Responses and Thermal Comfort in the Cold," co-authored by Norwegian and Danish researchers in 1994 and published in the journal Ergonomics.

Under carefully controlled conditions, they concluded that in cold weather, wet underwear is indeed more uncomfortable than dry underwear. They also discovered that the thickness of the underwear had a greater effect on comfort than the material used to make the garment.

Act accordingly.

Sum Body

Seven body parts that were once used as medicine (powdered, liquefied, whole):

1. Any part of a mummy

2. Skulls

3. Brains

4. Fat

5. Blood

6. Hair

7. Teeth

Last Words

"How did the Mets do today?" — Moe Berg, an American baseball catcher and World War II spy (1902-1972). The Mets won that day.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Skitterphoto at Pixabay

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