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Sunday, March 7, 2004

Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers


Battling the bulge

Last week McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food chain, said it would stop selling "super-size" fries and drinks. Critics blame McDonald's and other chains for much of America's obesity, but let's get real - Mickey D execs aren't shoving those extra fries down our throats.

Still, a generation accustomed to "super-sizing" its meals increasingly has the girth and health problems to show for it. Thirty percent of the U.S. population is considered obese, which leads to health problems such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is about to release a documentary, titled Super Size Me, in which he ate McDonald's for 30 days, gained 27 pounds and says he worsened his health. Don't try this at home, kids.

Meanwhile, a survey partly funded by clothing makers confirmed that the average size of the American citizen is skewing upward. In World War II, the average dress size of a woman was an 8. Today, the average size is a 14. The survey took three-dimensional images of 10,000 people to obtain the results, essentially to help retailers offer better-fitting clothes. It's a comforting thought as we wean ourselves off "super sizing" that order and possibly begin to see ourselves as others see us.

Want fries with that?

Also on the fast-food front, Americans lost a chance at a free feed this week when NASA proved that Mars at one point had a body of liquid water about the size of one of the Great Lakes. The Long John Silver's seafood chain had pledged that if NASA proved an ocean had existed on Mars, it would serve one free giant shrimp to every person in America. Alas, NASA had to announce proof by Feb. 29, but it missed by two days; and an "ocean" was defined as at least 5 million square kilometers, but even the largest of the Great Lakes (Superior) is only 82,000 square kilometers.

Missed it by that much.




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