Monday, August 18, 2008

The Olympics have nothing to do with obesity

Maybe someone should mention that to Canadian Olympic gold medalist Silken Laumann.

Silken, when criticizing Canada for not funding amateur athletics as an explanation for our early dearth of medals, jumped onto the obesity horse to try to ride her point home,

"We have this perception that we are into sports, that we're a sports-minded country, but when you look at it, inactivity and obesity are a real challenge to this country"
Her comments spurred the Ottawa Citizen editorial board to readily agree and they stated that increasing funding for amateur athletics,
"not only would it increase the pool of future Olympians, but it would make a dent in rising obesity and diabetes rates."
Well I've got news for Silken and the Citizen - the country with the most medals of the games also holds the global gold medal for the highest national obesity rates (USA) while the country in second (China), holds the gold medal for gaining weight faster than any other nation in the world.

As I've blogged about over and over and over again, energy-in matters far more to obesity rates than energy-out.

I'd love to chat with Silken about this one day, as over the course of the past two years she's been quoted over and over and over again linking Canada's childhood obesity problem with a lack of sport. Unfortunately in so doing, Silken, whose voice carries a great deal of weight with Canadians, is perpetuating a belief that if acted upon (through the establishment of obesity prevention programs focusing on energy-out) will waste valuable time and resources that could instead be spent on helping Canadians with understanding and modifying their energy-in.