What’s Going On May 31 – June 4

It is time for the latest installment of What’s Going On, where we bring you some of the latest, and often strangest, news in the medical and health world. I apologize for the absence! 

Health Day reports that the swine flu is still a pandemic, well after a year of this strain of influenza making headlines. Webster’s Dictionary simply defines pandemic as “occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.” Now, it seems as though half of this definition applies. Sure, there have been documented cases in a number of countries, which should come as no surprise with the volume of intercontinental travel our modern world experiences. (It is within the realm of possibility for a single traveler to visit 5 continents in a 24 hour period, but I do not envy that poor traveler’s jet lag.) But a “high percentage of the population” seems to be a gross exaggeration. The regular seasonal flu claims the lives of 35,000 Americans every year, primarily people with existing health conditions that render them unable to fight off the infection. H1N1 claimed 12,000. I mean no disrespect to those who have lost their lives, but nearly fifty times that many people die from cancer every year, which also affects people on every continent. If you ask me, which is the greater pandemic, cancer or swine flu? Swine flu has worn out it’s welcome as a newsworthy subject. 

Time reports the real reason Americans eat garbage; TV advertising promotes unhealthy food! Now, I know billions of dollars are funneled into useful research every year, but I want to meet the people that paid money for this study. Any sane person, with enough sense to tie their shoes could watch 5 minutes of TV and realize what is promoted on prime time isn’t healthy or nutritious. This study also does nothing to replace the ridiculous blame-game discourse going on in this country. According to the fray, it is never your fault that you are overweight and undernourished. I, for one, beg to differ. No one, not the television, not the school system, not the supermarket, has total control over what you feed yourself. You do. You can either choose to eat healthy or not. 
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