Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Stories

Image by: Daniela Spyropoulou
Busy week with two conferences so not too much reading.

Peter over at Obesity Panacea discusses a study that to me suggests that experience counts when choosing a weight loss provider.

Marion Nestle discusses the new surprising finding that HFCS may well be far worse for you than sugar.

David Katz tell you to get your flu shot (on the Huffington Post no less - not exactly a bastion of evidence based medicine).

Friday, October 29, 2010

How to make a manly macho salad.

Even though I don't speak Swedish, that didn't stop this video from cracking me up.

The best I can tell from the web is that the mid-life crisis guy character in this week's Funny Friday video has just gone and got himself a "macho" tattoo and is trying to seduce his wife who in turn just wants him to make a salad.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You know your front of package labeling program's a joke when...

You know your front-of-package program is a joke when potato chips qualify.

Now don't get me wrong, I too occasionally enjoy them, but at 847mg of sodium with 210 calories and nothing good nutritionally a bag, baked Old Dutch chips are certainly fairly classifiable at best as "sometimes food", but not, "Wise" and certainly not (reading the ad copy actually made me laugh out loud) the,
"perfect complement to an active lifestyle"
Weird unexpected finding?

When peeking at the difference between the nutritional information of baked vs. regular Old Dutch chips I found that the baked chips have a teaspoon of sugar per bag (vs. none in the original) and 23% more sodium.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marie Claire lays bare vile weight bias.


Wow, wow, wow.

Marie Claire published perhaps the vilest, most weight biased article I've ever read. It's called, "Should Fatties Get a Room".

I couldn't possibly do the ugliness justice so head over there now, have a peek, and then come back here to read the comment that Jezebel so wisely pulled from the crop.

Brilliantly written.

Beth, whoever you are, you're awesome! Maura Kelly (the author of the Marie Claire piece and the lady in the photo up above), best I can do for you is you're honest. Oh, and you're also ignorant and slightly loathsome.
"Dear Maura Kelly,

I sincerely apologize for my disgusting body and all the various rolls of fat on my person.

When I married my fat husband back in June I didn't realize it would offend anyone when we got to that "you may kiss the bride" moment, or we would have skipped it. If I'd realized how unacceptable it is for me to have love or happiness, I would have called the wedding off entirely, of course. I have told my husband that there will be no more kissing or cuddling or FATTY SEX until we both lose some weight. I hope he understands...

I really am so sorry for being so fat and happy all this time! In your very honest and sensitively written article "should fatties get a room?" you write that fat people should walk more, yet you also write that fat people walking across a room is something you find disgusting. I take long walks around my neighbourhood most days, is this too much? I want to find the correct balance between getting thin and not upsetting anyone with my jiggling body parts.

I also swim twice a week and go to the gym once a week, are these activities also disgusting to you? Perhaps I should start doing these activities at night so nobody has to be offended by them. Do you think that would be best? I don't own a television so I haven't seen Mike and Molly. But I do hope they take garbage like off the television soon. As you say, it's implicitly promoting obesity. Surely anyone who watches it will see the yucky fat people making out and suddenly think to themselves "I should gain some weight, that looks like fun." And then where would we be?

By the way, I haven't ever had any health problems before but if anything does come up I'll be sure to stay away from the doctor so as not to be a drain on anyone's health costs.

Thank you for writing this meticulously well researched, world-changing article. I really think you are going to cure obesity with this! Yay! Your plump friends are very lucky to have a friend like you who is in no way a hateful bully or an ignorant sizeist jerk.

Best wishes,
[Hat tip to Holly]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Badvertising: Peek Freens Lifestyle Selections - nutritionism in action.

Food and product manufacturers in Canada are likely jumping for joy as a consequence of Health Canada's new 5-15 percent daily value campaign.


Because campaigns like 5-15 percent daily value promote nutritionism - the notion that specific nutrients in foods dictate their health benefits and permit you to ignore the food's remaining ingredients.

Peek Freens Lifestyle Selections are a great example of nutritionism in action.

Simply put, they're cookies with a nutritionism bend.

The one up above? It has "fibre".

Other Peek Freen "lifestyle selections" boast the inclusion of, omega 3, green tea, calcium and prebiotics.

Ultimately though, they're just cookies, and cookies, no matter how they crumble, aren't healthy. Doesn't mean you can't have one from time to time, but please bear it in mind - they're freeking cookies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Health Canada rolls out the most useless nutrition campaign in history.

Readers of my blog are likely well aware that when it comes to Health Canada and nutrition I've got low expectations. That said, not even my lowered expectations were enough to prepare me for the mind-numbingly stupid new nutritional education campaign unveiled last Friday at a Longo's supermarket in Toronto.

The campaign had fanfare with a formal press release from Health Canada touting a, "Major Nutrition Labelling Initiative", replete with an important feeling press embargo and a razzle dazzle press conference with our own Minister of Health.

Multiple reporters contacted me prior to the event asking if I knew what was up, and a few opined that it was odd that Health Canada hadn't provided them with much pre-information. Of course it was only after the press conference that we all understood why they weren't given much - there wasn't anything to provide.

In a nutshell the hoopla was all stirred up for Health Canada to teach Canadians the following two points:
If a product has less than 5% of its percent daily value of whatever, that's a little.

If a product has greater than 15% of its percent daily value of whatever, that's a lot.
That's it, that's all, see you later folks.

Oh, and they've also got a shiny new website that tells you pretty much the same thing.

So here's the rub.

Canadians don't know a heck of a lot about nutrition and Health Canada's recommendation that you "use" the percent daily values to guide choices assumes far too much.

For example, let's say you're trying to compare two pretty much identical products that differ only in Vitamin A and Vitamin C levels - should you choose the one with more Vitamin A or the one with more Vitamin C? I don't know the answer, so why should you?

Here's another. What matters more? High levels of fibre and iron or low levels of sodium and saturated fat?

Most amazingly?

You know what's the very first number on our nutrition facts panel? Calories. You know what this latest campaign, rolled out explicitly with obesity as part of its rationale avoids teaching about? Calories.

How difficult would it have been for Health Canada to on their percent daily value page include a calculator to help determine a person's caloric needs and then instruct them on how to use that number to navigate nutrition fact panel calories?

Ultimately what Health Canada has done is to decline to actually affect a useful nutrition facts panel reform - one which would have done such things as eliminate the arbitrary, non-real world servings sizes, disallow the use of multiple sugar synonyms to make products appear as if sugar's only a minor ingredient, get rid of those micronutrient levels that no Canadians, not even nutrition professionals, really know how to utilize and serve only to confuse (really, do we have so much scurvy and night blindness that we actually need to list Vitamins C & A?), and instead they came up with a lame dog and pony show promoting mindless nutritionism and the dangerous notion that eating, "healthy" somehow protects weight.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Stories

Dr. Arya Sharma explains how we need a paradigm shift in obesity treatment.

Sweat Science explains why group exercise is more fun.

Careful with that Corona - Mexican beer dermatitis.

Seed Magazine's Dave Munger asks what really causes autism and why don't people care about evidence?

Gina Kolata from the New York Times writes about how elite athletes push through their pain.

Gawker explains how Men's Health magazine basically only has 4 issues.

The New York Times advises you to buy cheap running shoes.

Does everyone out there know that supermodel Paulina Porizkova is a witty and insightful writer?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Never say no to Panda

Today's Funny Friday's a great series of dairy commercials from Chinese cheese maker, Panda.

Have a great weekend!

Have a great weekend!

[Hat tip to Lorne, BMI's Director of Operations]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More hoops for Ontarians seeking bariatric surgery.

I've blogged before about how Ontario's Ministry of Health has chosen to shut the doors for timely access to bariatric surgery for Ontarians.

As part of their much bally-hoo'ed new strategy they decided to create a centralized bariatric registry which involves a website where physicians register so as to apply to have their patients wait for months to years to get an appointment at a bariatric assessment centre.

Well just two weeks ago, after 7 months of "coming soon", the site finally went live and yesterday I had the opportunity to use it.

Want to know what the site does?

It requires physicians to register for access and in return it provides physicians with access to a PDF form.

The form's not fillable - it needs to be filled out by hand (because we doctors are known for our fabulous handwriting I suppose).

Call me crazy, but I would have thought that after 7 months of web development at least I'd be able to actually fill out the form online (whereby submitting online may have privacy concerns).

Or at the very, very least I'd be able to print out the form and photocopy it so that I'd have it available in my form folder rather than have to physically log onto the registry's website each time and go through 4 separate pages before reaching the actual form that I then am required to print, retrieve from my printer, and fill out, but that's not the case because each form has a unique number on it.

And while I'm sure it sounds like I'm whining and being fickle and nitpicky I can tell you that family doctors are a busy bunch and while forms certainly are part of our lives, this 1982-esque, fax machine, hand written, print each time system is only going to slow things down further and is just yet one more example of how the organization of Ontario's bariatric surgical program doesn't seem to reflect a clue.

[Here are the instructions the site provides for filling out the form:

•Always use a ballpoint pen, preferably black. Do not use red or pencil.
•Print all text and numbers legibly, and inside the boxes without any loops or extra strokes.
•Mark all choice fields (e.g. no/yes) with an X.
•If you make a mistake or wish to correct any item on the form, strike through the error with a single horizontal line and write the correction next to it. Never erase or use white-out. Date and initial all corrections and remember to refax if necessary. The original referral form must be used for corrections.
•When faxing, the page must be oriented vertically so that the database can read the barcode at the top.
•Fax all completed referral forms to 1-800-268-2370. Do not send a cover page or any other documentation.
•Check to ensure the fax transmitted successfully

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Badvertising: Cheetos cures breast cancer.


If you haven't come across the term it refers to the use of breast cancer fundraising to sell unhealthy products or services and in so doing provide them with a sheen of goodness.

Not sure that anyone's ever going to be able to do anything about it, but that doesn't change the fact it's reprehensible.

Apologists will likely bleat that I'm bashing corporations who are trying to do something good.

They forget the fact that corporations do things to sell products and that engaging in non-profitable activities would in fact put publicly run companies at the risk of shareholder lawsuits.

If corporations truly wanted to just do good, they'd hand over big juicy cheques to charities. If their donations are dependent on sales you can bet your bottom dollar the fundraising tie in will be making them at least as much money as they ultimately end up giving to the charity.

Regarding Cheetos and other potato chips in the battle against breast cancer I'll remind you that according to the National Cancer Institute, obesity increases the relative risk of developing post menopausal breast cancer by 50%. They also report that maintaining a body mass index of 25 could prevent 11,000 to 18,000 deaths per year from breast cancer in U.S. women over age 50, that breast cancer is more likely to be detected at a later stage in obese women than in lean women, and that weight gain during adulthood has been found to be the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk in studies in which it has been examined.

[Hat tip to Ken Leebow from Feed Your Head]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When did fruit become a "trick"?

Today's guest post comes from Dr. Sara Kirk.

Sara brings with her a very broad perspective. She's got a PhD in nutrition and psychology from Leeds University, is a Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research, is an associate professor at Dalhousie's school of health administration, worked formerly as a dietitian and is a loving mom.

Spending some time with her at the Obesity Society conference it became readily apparent that she had some thoughts she'd love to put out there and I happily offered up my blog. As you'll see, her thoughts fit right into this place and I hope she'll become a regular contributor.

You can also find more from Sara on her research group ARCH's blog.

Children across the country will be experiencing a collective sugar rush next week, culminating in the practice of “Trick or Treat” for Halloween. This has me pondering the meaning of a treat to today’s children and families. Halloween is a great example. While the event itself takes place on one day of the year, the marketing machine that is the Halloween season, like other holidays or events, lasts for several weeks, with stores packed with jumbo bags of candy and chips. Then there are the various Halloween parties that take place – often through school and other organized events like Girl Guides and Scouts. No sooner is Halloween over than we start gearing up for Christmas, then Easter, and so it goes on.

My definition of a treat when I was growing up was something that happened only occasionally, usually no more than once a week. For today’s children, I would argue that treats are now an everyday occurrence, contributing to the obesity epidemic through their ubiquity as part of the “obesogenic” environment in which we are immersed. At this point, the proponents of obesity as an issue of “personal responsibility” usually produce the argument that as a parent I should “just say no”. But when serving junk to children is not only the cultural norm, but also the biggest fund-raiser for many schools and other non-profits, how easy is it to buck the trend?

I live in Nova Scotia, a province that is leading the country with its school food and nutrition policy. Yet, those who you would think have most invested in the health of their children, the parents, frequently undermine this policy, exposing my children to unhealthy foods with neither my knowledge nor my consent. For example, through bake sales, which happen every month in my children’s school as a way to raise funds. While the school food policy can enable teachers to ask that parents send healthy items to the bake sale, my children regularly report the availability of unhealthy items being sold, or raffle prizes comprising large amounts of candy (my son won a big bucketful in the first bake sale of the year).

Then there's the annual Halloween party, run by the Parent-Teacher Organization, typically features sugary pop, chips, candy and popcorn for sale, while the class also has its own Halloween party with “treats” provided by the parents. This is repeated at Christmas, Easter and at the end of each term if there is no accompanying holiday to tie it into and through other regular events like the Spring Fair.

Then there are the extra-curricular activities that children take part in. These included soccer and swimming for my children over the summer and I was shocked by the quantity of “treats” that parents brought to these environments. A typical “treat” comprised a pouch of kool-aid and a chocolate covered cookie or rice krispie treat – together these equated to around 250 calories, more than was burnt in the activity!

Sadly my observations from the touchline, poolside and playground suggest that the power of food marketing to children and their parents remains a major contributor to the expanding girths of the nation’s children, active or otherwise. I am one of a few parents who send fruit with my children to these many events, but what a crazy world we live in when for many parents and children the fruit I send would be more commonly seen as the "trick" in lieu of the now normalized "treat".

Monday, October 18, 2010

Heart and Stroke Foundation teaches elementary school kids that pizza's healthy.

One of the primary drivers of unhealthy eating and obesity today is the normalization of fast food as an everyday part of life.

Apologists tend towards the stance of, "it's part of life", or, "everything in moderation", or, "there are healthy fast food options too", and while I readily agree that fast food is here to stay I draw the line at public institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.) and health based non-profits encouraging its consumption.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a perfect example. As I've blogged about before, the Heart ant Stroke Foundation's explicit position is that since people are going to eat out anyhow, at the very least the Foundation can steer them to healthier eating out options.


The Heart and Stroke Foundation believes that less bad is in fact good.

While the Health Check program has its check marks in many fast food restaurants, there are no checks dearer to the Heart and Stroke Foundation than those of Boston Pizza (pun intended) as Boston Pizza is likely the largest single institutional donor the Heart and Stroke Foundation's got.

Perhaps it's that donor status that has the Heart and Stroke Foundation regularly giving out Boston Pizza coupons to elementary school students as rewards for their Heart and Stroke fundraising, and perhaps it's that donor status that has the Heart and Stroke Foundation using pizza as a healthy, "combination food" example for teachers.

In their teacher-geared publication, "Heart Smart Kids: A teacher's curriculum based resource for healthy living activities Grade 4-6" the "Healthy Eating" section provides a "tip" for teachers.

The "tip"?
"Tell students to make an estimate of serving sizes and contents for combination foods such as sandwiches. E.g.: a cheese pizza might contain one serving of Grain Products, one of Milk and Alternatives and half a serving of Vegetables and Fruits"
Yes, the Heart and Stroke Foundation want teachers to use pizza as an example of a healthy combination food. But they go further than that as pizza's also included as a photo on a handout for the kids meant to be used by them in the planning of a, "healthy class party" (see photo up above).

Think there's any chance that kids having received that "tip" and/or using that handout to plan a "healthy class party" aren't going to choose pizza for the meal and think that it's a healthy choice?

So is pizza healthy?

It certainly can be, but that'd require the pizza to be homemade as store bought pizza is jam-packed with sodium and calories.

And what pizza are the kids likely to be seeing on a regular basis? Fast food pizza - both school based pizza day pizza and home delivered pizza. Hardly the sort of food you'd expect the Heart and Stroke Foundation to recommend. Hardly unless of course you consider the fact that their endorsement of pizza as a healthy food helps to plug one of their largest sponsors and that for whatever reason they've decided that it's better to encourage elementary school children to believe that less bad is good, and that fast food is a normal, acceptable and healthy part of everyday life.

Such an incredible, and yet sadly unsurprising, shame.

[Hat tip to Alaina Mundy who scratched her own head a few times when reviewing this curriculum]

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Stories

Away all week in San Diego, but here are a few good ones that slipped through.

James Fell takes on Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels' kettlebell skills and writes what for me was a laugh-out-loud pretend conversation with her and her agent.

Marion Nestle covers the first blush of the IOM's new front of package labeling recommendations. No teeth, all gums.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The amazing exercise benefits of public drunkeness

As always with the Onion, today's Funny Friday, while brilliant and hilarious, also provides a sad and truthy commentary on the state of our world.

Have a great weekend!

Study: Americans Get Majority Of Exercise While Drunk

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Overeaters Anonymous and the US Military

While in San Diego for the Obesity Society conference a bunch of us decided to take a tour of the USS Midway aircraft carrier.

Decommissioned in 1992, the Midway saw action in both the Vietnam and Korean wars and the ship has burned turned into a huge museum.

Walking through the ship I came across a preserved crew notice board. I took a picture of it and posted it up above.

It was dated March 23rd, 1990 and the last item of business was the announcement of the ship's Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

While I know I shouldn't have been surprised, weight's a struggle everywhere, somehow I didn't expect to see such an open and safe invitation in a warship and found it heartening that the military offered some support.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What do the world's foremost obesity experts eat?

Well thanks to The Obesity Society, nothin' good.

When I wandered through the lunch offerings at this years Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Assembly in San Diego (one of the world's largest obesity conferences), what did I find?

Giant brownies, pretzels and full sugar soda - an interesting juxtaposition with the 2 abstracts and 2 complete symposia dedicated to sugared soda.

Sure could make one less hopeful about the world changing to de-normalize the ubiquitous provision of junk food when even the Obesity Society feels comfortable ordering it up for its members.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Badvertising: Odwalla and the case of the missing mango

So I was at the hospital the other day and I ran into this cardboard cutout promotion for a fruit smoothie by a company named Odwalla.

As you can see from the photo, it was promoting a beverage called, "Mango Tango" and it bragged, "1 Whole Pureed Mango per 450mL".

Curious, I picked up a bottle and had a peek at the nutritional facts panel.

Want to know what I learned?

That Odwalla Mango Tango had 0% of my percent daily value of Vitamin C.

That seemed strange given that I would have thought mangoes are full of vitamin C and the cutout said that there was a whole pureed mango in each bottle.

Looking up mangoes, I found that a whole mango actually contains 96% of my percent daily value of Vitamin C.

So shouldn't that be how much is in Odwalla Mango Tango?

Well perhaps as a commenter had noted on my blog post on KD Smart, the processing removed all the vitamins. Or perhaps something's up with their secret formula.

Either way though one thing's for sure. Odwalla's trying to sell products on the basis that drinking them is tantamount to drinking whole fruits, replete with all of their nutritional cache and benefits and the fact that those benefits appear to be absent to me strikes me as ethically challenging.

So nutritionally what's in Mango Tango? Mango flavour, water and an astonishing 15 teaspoons of sugar per bottle.

Ethics, shmethics.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Saturday Stories

Daniel Gordis explains why he feels an Israeli strike to preempt a nuclear Iran is inevitable.

Blogging buddy and pharmacist Scott Gavura covers pseudoscience and runners on Skeptic North.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Breaking news: Meridia voluntarily pulled from Canadian market

In a statement just released by Health Canada, Abbott Laboratories has announced the voluntary removal of Meridia from the Canadian marketplace.

Meridia was a satiety/fullness enhancer that in concert with organized eating, helped patients to reduce their calories by allowing them to feel fuller faster.

I didn't use Meridia particularly frequently. Of the 3,000 or so patients I've seen, I'm guessing I've tried Meridia out with less than 50 of them, and while it was far from a magic bullet, for some patients it had terrific benefit.

The withdrawal comes on the heels of the SCOUT study which demonstrated an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events associated with Meridia use in patients with heart problems.

Meridia's withdrawal means that in Canada there is now only a single on-label medication for use in the medical management of our number one preventable cause of death and thus far in the States FDA committees have voted against the approval of 2 of the 3 next generation weight loss medications.

Weight loss in a bottle seems a long way away.

Apologies to my American Republican readers

I realize I'm Canadian and consequently probably don't have a terrific handle on the nuances of American politics.

Of course that won't stop me from posting today's Funny Friday - an ad on why you should vote Republican.

Apologies to my American Republican readers but it's pretty darn funny.

[Hat tip to my American democrat of a sister Michal]

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Championing Public Health Nutrition 2010

October 25th & 26th!

It's the second Ottawa based conference put on by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), and for those involved in nutrition and advocacy, I'd say it's a must attend event.

For those of you who aren't aware, CSPI is a non-profit nutritional advocacy organization that takes zero industry funding. Instead they raise funds by means of sales of their phenomenal nutrition newsletter Nutrition Action.

Once again CSPI has put together some world class speakers for the event (though perhaps not all are world class as I'll be part of a panel too) and I'm sure it's going to be a fabulous few days.

Hope to meet you there!

(Registration over here)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Introducing Coca Cola Pro with Calcium and Vitamin D!

In a surprise move the Coca Cola company announced the launch of its new product, Coca Cola Pro designed specifically for school children.

Said a company spokesperson,
"Children require extra attention for their nutritional needs. To that end we've designed Coca Cola Pro. Fortified with 8 grams of protein, 25% of their daily recommended value of calcium and 45% of their daily recommended value of vitamin D, Coca Cola Pro can help to ensure that your children grow up with strong bones and helps them to build the lean tissue important for their metabolisms."
Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky, when asked about the new beverage stated,
"Our goal is to ensure that kids have access to good and healthy food and Coca Cola Pro, despite having a bit of added sugar, helps to provide essential nutrients to our children. We hope to help make it available to school boards across Ontario to be run in concert with school milk programs."
Think that'd be nuts?

Think that a smidgen of protein, calcium and vitamin D couldn't possibly make Coca Cola a healthy beverage?

Well while Coca Cola Pro and those quotes up above aren't real, there is an equally ridiculous beverage being pushed on our children - chocolate milk.

Drop per drop when compared with the Coca Cola Pro I created, chocolate milk has identical amounts of protein, calcium and vitamin D with the added "benefit" of having 17% more sugar, 80% more calories and 590% more sodium.

And while Leona Dombrowsky didn't come out in strong support of Coca Cola, she did come out in strong support of chocolate milk.

You see Ontario had been considering a ban on 500mL cartons of chocolate milk. A few days ago they backed off that plan and Leona was quoted as stating (for real this time),
"Milk and chocolate milk is available in our schools because it is good for kids....Our goal is to ensure that kids have access to good and healthy food like milk and chocolate milk....You know, 'milk does a body good and that's what we want to make sure that our students have access to"
Yes Leona, what could be better for kids than a beverage that per 500mL carton contains 1/3 of a child's total daily sodium recommendation, 15.5 teaspoons of sugar and more calories than 10 pieces of licorice?

What could be better?

My mythical Coca Cola Pro. It'd have the same magic nutrients of milk but with less sugar, less sodium and fewer calories.

Yet somehow I don't think it's too bad that Coca Cola doesn't make it, instead I think it's too bad that Big Milk has so completely indoctrinated the world into thinking that milk's magic that no one bothers to question comments like Leona's, and that hoodwinked schools, parents, politicians and health professionals continue to defend chocolate milk's consumption.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Guest post: A personal best.

So as regular readers know, this past Sunday was the Run for the Cure.

It was, as always, a magical event and today's guest post comes from one of our team members - Laurie Shusterman who has managed to translate the essence of why she's such an inspiration to so many, into words.

Thanks Laurie for sharing this with me (and the blog), thanks to everyone who ran, and a huge thanks to my reader donors who crushed last year's total of $250 by donating nearly $1,300 this year and helping Team BMI raise over $10,000!

(P.S. Proud dad moment as my barely 6 year old ran the complete 5km. When I asked her if it was more difficult or easier than she'd expected she told me that it was more difficult, but she didn't mind because it was an important thing for her to do)
Today I ran a "Personal Best" .... those of us who consider ourselves "runners" ....ok maybe amateur runners at best, we strive to run a "personal best". Those are the days where everything comes together, the weather, the race course, your body (hopefully injury free and rested) to run the hardest and the fastest race of your personal running history to log your best time. Today I ran my "personal best". This race was different however, the runners were not wearing numbers, but rather names of loved ones .... grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters...the list is too long to mention them all. There is also that small percentage of men who should not go without a name, or be uncounted. The runners today were more concerned with their "costumes" than their running shoes, and we were no exception....there was a lot of pink hair envy out there today. One young group of girls even asked to have their photo taken with us!

When we started off we weren't concerned about setting our watches or stepping on the timing mat as we crossed the start line, we were busy looking for our BMI team mates. Off we went, not by a gun shot, but with music and enthusiasm, thousands upon thousands of people all out there for one cause. I found it so emotional as we all silently read the names people had written on their backs and realized this day was much bigger than any of us. Young boys in tiaras, grown men with pink shirts, even a young man running on an artificial leg .... young girls, many grandmothers; brides, ballerinas, dogs.... they were all out there today, all with a single goal.

The run did come to an end, but I believe it was not the official "finish line" because we won't cross it until researchers have found a cure for Breast Cancer. We didn't check our watches at the end, in fact I never even started mine; today was about being there for all those people suffering from or surviving from a horrible disease. It was about being with our BMI friends we have come to know over the last few years and working together for a was about raising money for the girl who was running for "More Time With Her Mother".

Thank you Kelly for organizing the BMI Team, it was an amazing event! Sorry we couldn't find you.

Today I ran a "personal best" and I don't even know my time!


Monday, October 04, 2010

Fatism rears its ugly head in Toronto mayoral race.

Rob Ford is a 41 year old mayoral candidate running in Toronto's upcoming elections.

Politically Ford has certainly provided folks with ample ammunition to go after him, but just last week, retired anesthesiologist Dr. Marvin Kay went after him just because Ford was ample.

According to the column in the Toronto Sun, Kay commented at an open mike,
"I'm a physician and I look upon you as a possible patient. I am concerned about your weight. Do you think you'll be able to handle a four year term"
Because everybody knows fat folks can't possibly handle politics - just ask Winston Churchill.

Later in a radio interview Kay continued,
"I was quite disturbed by his obesity. He’s a very heavy man with a large belly and double chin. He was sweating quite a bit. Several times he picked up a towel or a napkin to wipe his forehead ... his weight could become a problem and perhaps lead to a heart attack or stroke."
Really Dr. Kay? You've seen a lot of 41 year old obese men drop dead of heart attacks and strokes?

Sadly there are a lot of Dr. Kays in this world, including many who are indeed physicians.

I suppose the only silver lining in this story is that Dr. Kay has retired and consequently he's no longer bringing his brand of all too common bias to the bedside.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saturday Stories

Malcolm Gladwell on why he feels Twitter and Facebook won't be fueling the next social revolution.

Dan Gardner on David Suzuki, the end of days and humility.

Philosophy prof. Chris MacDonald wonders about our right to know what we're eating.

Martin Robbins provides a sadly hilarious blueprint of most mainstream science reporting.

[Fabulous illustration of David Suzuki done by Amanda Woodard. For more examples of her work and for contact head over to her website]

Friday, October 01, 2010

Need a divorce lawyer?

Well maybe you should consider this guy.

Today's Funny Friday is an advertisement for a divorce lawyer and he certainly cuts right to the heart of the matter.

Have a great weekend!

[Hat tip to Lorne, BMI's Director of Operations (why are you surfing for divorce lawyers?)]