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    News flash: Living on Big Macs and Haagen Dazs is still bad for you

    You don’t say.

    Only one in seven Americans exercises enough and eats enough fruits and vegetables, and men are worse than women, federal health officials said on Thursday.

    “These results underscore the need to promote diets high in fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity among all populations in the United States and among racial and ethnic minority communities in particular,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said in a report.

    The CDC tracked the percentage of Americans who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and engage in moderately intense exercise for at least 30 minutes five days per week or vigorous exercise for at least 20 minutes three days per week as recommended by the government.

    Hmm…you know what I bet would help? If some kind-hearted government agency started haranguing us about it regularly.

    Oh, yeah. Forgot.

    “The population right now really needs to take responsibility for their own health,” Mary Kay Solera, head of the CDC’s National Fruit and Vegetable Program [*sobbing*–SRK] and one of the report’s authors, said in a telephone interview.

    “People know that they need to be eating more fruits and vegetables and they know they need to be doing more physical activity. But we’re not doing it,” Solera added.

    Well, I guess that depends on how you define “need.” Surely if you’re an American who hasn’t heard by now that obesity increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, you’ve been living in a cave. Otherwise, you’re presumably weighing your options and choosing your own priorities. Which is to say, people are taking responsibility for their own health, but physical fitness is only one among many things they value. What is it proposed Washington do about this–declare National Steamed Kohlrabi Day? Switch to having kids do artichoke rolls (cholesterol-free, and you can’t start encouraging healthy habits too early!) on the White House lawn on Easter?

    The report was based on self-reported data from a 2005 telephone survey of 356,112 Americans. The survey asked respondents to report their level of exercise and their diet with questions such as, “How often do you eat potatoes, not including French fries, fried potatoes or potato chips?”

    Well, if French fries, fried potatoes, or potato chips are the only ways of consuming potatoes that count as unhealthy, I can keep on getting mine the usual way. Which is to say, time for a vodka and tonic. (Starch and malaria prevention! Ooh, and scurvy prevention if we count the lime.)

    Have a good weekend, everyone.

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