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Medicine

Swine Flu Kills Obese People Disproportionately 661

Posted by timothy
from the super-size-someone-else-please dept.
Philip K Dickhead writes "Bloomberg is reporting that the World Health Organization discovered a single, surprising characteristic that's emerged among swine flu victims who become severely ill: They are all fat. Infected people with a body mass index greater than 40 suffer respiratory complications that are harder to treat and can be fatal. The virus appears to be on a collision course with the obesity epidemic. WHO officials are gathering statistics to confirm and understand this development. 'It's very likely that if we went back retrospectively and looked at people who did poorly during seasonal flu, what would shake out is that obesity would be one of the risks.' Fat cells secrete chemicals that cause chronic, low-level inflammation that can hamper the body's immune response and narrow the airways, says Tim Armstrong, a doctor working in the WHO's chronic diseases department in Geneva."
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Swine Flu Kills Obese People Disproportionately

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  • Well... yeh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yoursurrogategod (1393515) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:14PM (#28669845)
    Being obese is pretty much an invitation for all sorts of problems. I love my steak, fries, chocolate, soda and burgers, I just eat them once every other week in small quantities. It helps when I think of baby carrots and apples as snacks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by syousef (465911)

      Being obese is pretty much an invitation for all sorts of problems. I love my steak, fries, chocolate, soda and burgers, I just eat them once every other week in small quantities. It helps when I think of baby carrots and apples as snacks.

      Now imagine trying to do that with severe cravings for the food. The kind of cravings addicts have for their poison of choice.

      I'm fat. I'm able to avoid a huge variety of foods due to my wife's allergies. (If I've eaten the tiniest amounts of garlic, onion, capcicum, chill

      • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:03PM (#28670245)

        I don't have a simple issue with self control. If I did she'd be dead and I'd be up on murder charges. On the other hand I have a huge problem eating small portions. If I do I literally walk around voraciously hungry.

        [snip]

        Combine this with a desk job and yeah I _could_ try to make time for the gym (which I hate with a passion) but keeping up an excercise routine is to say the least problematic.

        So, in other words, you have a complete lack of self control and are unable to motivate yourself to keep yourself healthy.

        Losing weight is stupidly easy: eat less, exercise more. So you have a bad ankle, talk to your doctor to come up with an exercise routine that doesn't involve massive amounts of walking.

        30 minutes a day. That's it. If you can't do that, then yes, it's a self control issue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by syousef (465911)

          So, in other words, you have a complete lack of self control and are unable to motivate yourself to keep yourself healthy.

          Not at all.

          Losing weight is stupidly easy: eat less, exercise more.

          That completely ignores the fact that people feel hunger differently, people lose weight differently, and that even those that have the ability to lose weight can work their arses off and still lose nothing in a week. If weight loss were as easy for everyone as you make it out to be we wouldn't have a problem.

          So you have

          • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:38PM (#28670451) Journal

            So, in other words, you have a complete lack of self control and are unable to motivate yourself to keep yourself healthy.

            Not at all.

            Losing weight is stupidly easy: eat less, exercise more.

            That completely ignores the fact that people feel hunger differently, people lose weight differently, and that even those that have the ability to lose weight can work their arses off and still lose nothing in a week. If weight loss were as easy for everyone as you make it out to be we wouldn't have a problem.

            You do understand that the different hunger feeling comes from the fact how much people have got used to eat, right? And also from what kind of food you eat. Carbs burn *fast* in your body, so stay off from bread, rice, potatoes and such. Eat high-protein and high-fat foods like meat, fish and chicken. They often also contain way less calories than the high-carb foods. Start by eating when you feel like so, as you're quite possible taking way less calories in that way anyways. Lower your amounts a bit all the time and you'll notice you dont really need that much food.

            I feel you in that theres sometimes reasons people cant get their motivation up for that, being it work or anything else. I'm myself around the ~30 in charts. But I know the reasons for it and I know that I could make it better, instead of lying to myself that it's somehow not possible.

            The only couple of times I have lost weight in my life I lived on salad and lean meat/chicken in tiny portions and did AT LEAST 2 hours of heavy excercise a day. Anything short of that doesn't cut it.

            See this? That is the answer that I've already said and you've even noticed yourself. Hamburgers, bread and other such high-carb food is bad. Meat and chicken and fish is good. It's there by nature. Google for "low carb diet", go by that atleats 2 weeks and you'll notice how great it is. Then make that your lifestyle.

            • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Lunzo (1065904) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @08:05PM (#28671027)
              If you're serious about losing weight you should not take dietary advice from some random slashdot poster and see a dietitian i.e. a qualified professional. Low carb, high fat & protein diets are a recent fad. There are other diets which work, and are better for you. A professional will be able to pick something appropriate to your situation.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by rtb61 (674572)

                If you serious about losing weight, you can take this advice from anyone, eat healthy. No junk foods, no junk additives, unless you know and understand all the independents and, know them to be natural (as in really no just labelling) and safe (as in really no just marketing) do not buy it and do not eat it. The obesity problem is tied to the addictive nature of the neuro stimulants used to create perceptions of flavour and beyond the B$=PR marketing used to give that 'hit' to keep people coming back again

            • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Informative)

              by syousef (465911) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:09AM (#28673701) Journal

              You do understand that the different hunger feeling comes from the fact how much people have got used to eat, right?

              No. It's not. When I lost weight and was having a large bowl of salad and a piece of lean chicken or steak (no bread or other carbs) I would always go around feeling hungry. ALL THE TIME. FOR MONTHS ON END. Now after a while your stomach can't take the food. If you eat a little more than you usually do, or if you eat anything with a tiny bit of fat or oil you feel ill the rest of the day. BUT YOU STILL FEEL HUNGRY. That's how it was for me. I kept that up for maybe 8 months. I took an extra day off work every week (Try working when you're hungry to the point of distraction).

              I'm tired of fools who automatically assume every fat person that's had trouble simply hasn't tried hard enough.

              Here are some long term stats for you:
              http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/18/6/620 [jacn.org]

            • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:4, Informative)

              by adri (173121) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:37AM (#28673849) Homepage Journal

              As a nerd who has just lost 35kg (thats > 70lb for you americans); I'd just like point out that the resultant physical changes from weight loss and exercise are not unencumbered.

              I'm now angrier; I'm now constantly hungry. I have no energy. I can't focus. I'm not getting the stupidly large amount of calories that my body is used to and there's nothing I seem to be able to do to compensate at the moment besides eating more cheap calories. My work and personal life are suffering all because I decided to put the food down and start jogging.

              And yes, I'm scheduling time to see a doctor and all of those specialists which I'm sure I'll be referred to. The fact still remains - I may look better, but I feel like shit.

          • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Killer Orca (1373645) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:38PM (#28670457)
            You don't have to swim for 2 hours to get any weight-losing exercise, I think if you signed up for some night adult swimming classes you would learn a few things that would help, specifically: improving your form, breathing, flip-turns (maybe not an option with your ankle), different strokes, etc. In fact they have even invented weights specifically for water based exercising http://www.saveonpoolsupplies.com/shopping/product.aspx?productid=SKU1217&scode=I9SOPSST&e7=Y&e8=T3335&pcode=101&keyword=T3335 [saveonpoolsupplies.com] if you want to add variety. Eating less is a harder problem, some people find eating their meals slower helps, not wolfing it down. Don't expect to lose weight after a week either, it can takes months to see an actual measurable and continual change.
          • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:28PM (#28670781)

            "and that even those that have the ability to lose weight can work their arses off and still lose nothing in a week."

            I'm going to call bullshit on this, it's fucking impossible to NOT lose weight in a week if you are "working your ass off", you're certainly not working you ass off if you're not losing even half a pound or 1 pound in 7 days. Losing weight DOES require some amount of willpower and definitely requires a commitment hence (by and large) one is responsible for one's weight.

            One cannot just excuse oneself unless one has a serious medical condition, but even those that are sick (your arthritis in your leg/angle) can do other exercises. For instance when I was lifting free weights and benching you still burn and awful lot of fat without having to move around that much. What matters is expending energy.

            I walked at a leisurely pace 4hrs/day 7/days week and lost 10-12 lbs a month, it's a matter of *commitment* either you want to lose the weight or you dont, if you don't like high intensity you have to make up the lack of intensity with duration of time and distance for low intensity aerobics (like walking).

            The biggest thing is monitoring your appetite, no amount of exercise will help if you're over-eating and taking in more energy then you're burning off. The army did a study a long while back that showed just this: Taking in too much energy negates the weight loss benefits of exercise and you don't have to starve youself either, just limit yourself to 1500-1800 cals/day and keep track of it on a site like http://www.fitday.com/ [fitday.com]

            The truth is many people who are overweight have never been thin for most of their life and got fat fairly young and developed a victim psychology because of bullying/social prejudice.

            There's only so much you can do to excuse yourself from being overweight.. I agree there are many different body types and some of us store fat easily on the smallest amounts of food, but many of us that store easily barely exercise.

            The real issue though is not paying attention to how energy dense the food you're eating is, most people "wing it" when they eat they don't get rigorous ambout keeping track of the amount of food (see fitday.com), once you get rigorous and can see it on a chart, then you will realize that - yes, you are over eating!

            I realized this when I started tracking what I ate @ www.fitday.com (a great site btw) and it is handy because it will show you the evidence and you can't just deny it anymore.

            Most people live in the fog of their own mind never really looking hard at teh evidence in their own lives contradicting and lending support to the naysayers of "no willpower", the truth is it's more about being aware of your own bad/blind thinking on the matter of how you eat and live that is the root of the problem.

            I know I went through it.

          • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Informative)

            by torkus (1133985) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:42PM (#28670853)

            Anyone who "can not" lose weight is, quite simply, doing something wrong. Sure, they could be part of the .001% of people with a gland problem but let's be serious and talk about the overwhelming majority.

            If you weight (far too many)lbs and restrict your dietary intake you WILL lose weight. It's pretty straight forward honestly. Exercise greatly helps of course. And for the 'my poor ankle' whining comes back around - there are people with NO LEGS that are still healthy. Clearly a bad ankle is not a barrier to avoiding obesity.

            There are a TON of other excuses and all of them are just that - excuses. If you want to be healthy, in shape, or just plain old 'not fat' then make it a priority. If catching the new episode of MTV Real Life Ethiopia or the taste of a big mac are more important than losing weight then, chances are, it will not work.

            As for the story - it's another amusing 'well duh'. Next thing they'll post that old and immunodeficient are more likely to die from the flu (oh, sorry...meant to specify swine flu even though it's nothing more than different strain of flu) and bla bla bla. Of COURSE less healthy people are higher risk. They're also higher risk for ... well most other things.

            Someone get back to me when the swine flu deaths are more than 5% of total flu deaths or when the evil swine flu increases the overall number of yearly flu deaths beyond the usual year-to-year variances. The whole swine flu nonsense is manufactured news.

          • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by twostix (1277166) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:55AM (#28672945)

            You should submit yourself to the department of energy immediately.

            Your bodies ability to create matter out of thin air and somehow ignore the second law of thermodynamics by burning more energy than you ingest is nothing short of amazing!

            *Or* you're just making the same tired old excuses that those with some vice *always make*. You claim that your body is somehow special and refuses to burn the energy that you put in well guess what - that means you are going to have to eat 1/4 of what you do now for the rest of your life end of story (unless there's some medical "cure"). OR, you can be continue being fat and whinge about it on Slashdot for the rest of your (more than likely) short life...

            You need to expend more energy than you ingest per day, no amount of moral indignation can change the laws of physics.

            Otherwise if you already are ingesting less than you expend then you are a scientific marvel and for the good of human kind please get make yourself known to some scientists in the relevant field.

            On a side note you're at +5 which means that you've got a pretty general support from the people on here, it's kind of amusing how the basic laws of physics and "personal responsibility" ideals that are usually worshiped with religious fervor around here are kicked to the curb as soon as it's useful to do so.

            Glad to see the highly "logical" slashdot hordes - to borrow a clique, are just as prone to self delusion and excuses when it suits as the masses that are so often looked down upon here for doing exactly the same thing are.

          • You are clearly understating the size of the portion you are eating (willingly or unconsciously). Conservation of energy (and therefor conservation of mass since no nuclear process is involved) tells me that the fat/weight you accumulate is directly linked by the amount of nutriment you are extracting from food, minus what you use up during the day and/or exhale and execrate. So yes, if you are eating what people call MODERATE portion, and have even a sedentary life, maybe you would take on weight but very
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gulthek (12570)

          Actually, losing weight has little to do with exercise. You exercise to be healthy, you eat fewer calories than you burn to lose weight.

          Hacket's Diet. Look it up, follow it, you'll lose (or gain, if you want) weight. It's the meta diet for all diets! With the hacker's diet you learn how your weight is completely arbitrary, you can weigh whatever you want!

      • Re:Well... yeh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ClosedSource (238333) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @09:10PM (#28671399)

        Don't expect a serious discussion in response to your post. Although most people on Slashdot are smart and keep up with the latest technology, many have rather medieval attitudes when it comes to medicine.

        Blaming the patient for the condition is one of those attitudes. Illness is like a "sin" to them, so the solution has to have some penance involved. "No pain, No gain" is one mantra of this religious belief.

        Even the medical community has been guilty of this. Ulcers used to be all about stress and lifestyle until one doctor discovered the bacteria that was actually the cause. A simple triple antibiotic "no pain" solution worked while the "painful" lifestyle changes didn't.

  • by EQ (28372) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:14PM (#28669847) Homepage Journal
    BMI is a bogus and misleading measure. Try percent body fat instead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      BMI is a bogus and misleading measure. Try percent body fat instead.

      So are you telling us that you are just big boned?

      • by Ironsides (739422) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:22PM (#28669947) Homepage Journal
        Or big muscled. According to this site [supernifty.com.au], Hulk Hogan has a BMI of 31.9 The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) has a BMI of 34.3 Both of them fall under the BMI obese category. Seriously, The Rock is not fat [wikipedia.org].
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Your high BMI is Gods gift to you, and one day you'll be _JUST_ like the Hulk. Don't let anyone tell you any differently!
      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Nah, they're going to blame it on the economy - you know ... inflation.

        Or they'll just say that it's environmental - they live in the South [time.com]

        Why Are Southerners So Fat?

        People from Mississippi are fat. With an adult obesity rate of 33%, Mississippi has gobbled its way to the "chubbiest state" crown for the fifth year in a row, according to a new joint report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee aren't far behind, with obesity rates

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bromskloss (750445)

      BMI is a bogus and misleading measure. Try percent body fat instead.

      What is the correlation between BMI and fraction body fat?

    • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:22PM (#28669941)
      Actually in this case it's a perfectly valid way of looking at it. BMI was created for statistical analysis. And that's what it's being used for.

      With the relatively small number of people that have died as a result of the H1N1 it's much easier to detect whether or not it's accurate for the group. But when doing models of how this is likely to shape out, the BMI is a perfectly legitimate way of doing it. The only other measure that's reasonable to consider is the waste to hip ratio, and that's not really designed for this.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:31PM (#28670015)

      Come on, the BMI they are recording is over 40 - categorized as "morbidly obese". The only people not actually very overweight that would hit that would be professional weight lifters...

      For just seeing if someone is a touch overweight it's not a great tool. But in this case the observation is perfectly valid.

    • Right, in all cases. Meaning measuring BMI isn't necessarily useful for an individual(esp. very short and very tall individuals), however for macro evaluations of a population's obesity rate BMI can be very useful, largely because its incredibly simple(and cheap) to measure.
    • BMI is a perfectly equitable measure for a society which predominantly sedentary, however it has been misused and abused on a regular basis.
    • BMI is a good measure of a population as a whole, but not necessarily applicable to individuals. Body fat is a better measure, but is significantly more difficult to measure accurately, and accurate methods are not economical for regular (semi-weekly) tracking of your condition.

      It is, sadly, fairly accurate for most people (I'm presuming better than 80%), but it has been modified for many reasons. Most people would say that (as of a year ago) my BMI of ~27 was far from obese (6'-0", 202lbs, 35"-36" waist)

    • by Quothz (683368) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:54PM (#28670195) Journal

      BMI is a bogus and misleading measure. Try percent body fat instead.

      Bogus, no; misleading, sometimes. Someone with a BMI over 40 is always fat, however. Even a 7-foot tall, heavily-muscled man cannot achieve that without huge rolls of fat or a stomach full of ball bearings.

    • BMI is a bogus and misleading measure. Try percent body fat instead.

      I generally agree that body fat percent is way more sensible, but at BMI of 40, we're talking about evident obesity. That, or phenomenal muscle mass, which wasn't the case here.

    • For figuring out if someone is obese? Yes, it's a poor indicator.

      But we're not trying to determine whether one is obese. We're trying to find a pattern for "Who is most likely to get horribly sick from swine flu". Apparently, BMI is a reasonably good predictor of this.

      Though I agree that there will likely be a better correlation with those that have high % body fat than high BMI.

  • by glitch23 (557124) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:15PM (#28669875)

    "Morbid obesity is one of the most common findings turning up in severely ill patients," said Nikki Shindo, who is leading the investigation of swine flu patients at the WHO in Geneva. "It's a huge problem."

    That is just wrong.

    • by T-Kir (597145) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:36PM (#28670059) Homepage

      Sounds like you got the skinny on the whole situation.

    • It kills people who eat like pigs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, step out of America and some of the west, and it is called the Mexican Flu, since that is where it was first detected. Of course, enough evidence has come forth, that it appears that it originated in China, but that is a different issue. That matches up with earlier naming conventions:
        1. Spanish Flu
        2. Asian Flu
        3. Hong Kong Flu

        Or they are labeled by the year (1918 flu, 1956 flu, and 1968 flu).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        By the same token, I found the subject/headline a bit ironic. It sounds to me like the swine flu kills obese people proportionally. The article even discusses approximately what the proportions are, and about what proportions you have to have to qualify (usually due to pro-portioning at the buffet...)

  • So why is this considered news, let alone for nerds? I understand the nerd appeal all too well, although crawling under my truck to install my lift kit (half done so far, my back is killing me dead) led to the realization that I can fit into my coveralls again... so I'm in about the best shape I ever have been, since childhood anyway.

    It is interesting to me however that fat cells secrete nasties. I wonder if there's any benefit to those secretions, perhaps helping you live through winters or something.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:28PM (#28669989)

    This surprises me not at all - people who are overweight generally are not eating that well, and also not exercising a lot.

    I've been lucky to have a good metabolism and never really had weight issues. But I used to drink a ton of soda, and not eat that great... I was having combing down with the cold and flu multiple times per year.

    Now I'm eating much better, drinking mostly water, and exercising a few times a week. I get at most about one cold a year now, and even that is not as bad as the worst of the colds I used to get.

    One aspect of the flu I did think was odd was how so many cases were in Mexico... when I feel like I'm perhaps going to get a cold, I often eat spicy food and it seems to knock it out of me. I would think they have a lot spicier stuff in most Mexican's diets than elsewhere.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)

      Now I'm eating much better, drinking mostly water, and exercising a few times a week. I get at most about one cold a year now, and even that is not as bad as the worst of the colds I used to get.

      I too have been through years without so much as a sniffle, and had years where I've been struck down repeatedly by colds and flus. It hasn't correlated with what I ate. Correlation isn't causation is overused on /. but in this case I think it's appropriate. That doesn't mean that you're wasting your time eating and

  • Cost of subsidies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yoursurrogategod (1393515) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:34PM (#28670047)
    Makes you wonder just how much this nations spends annually on corn and soy subsidies and just how much we will pay in the future as more and more people become sickly due to the low price of the poor nutrition that they are often offered. What if we got rid of those agricultural subsidies? How will that affect the cost of McDonalds', Wendys', etc. foods?
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:57PM (#28670213) Journal
      Silence! Obesity is caused exclusively by poor character, and our gigantic farm subsidies are there to Protect America's Family Farms(tm), not Archer Daniels Midland.

      How dare you question America? Also, while I'm at it, corn is by far the most efficient source of ethanol, unlike sugar cane, which is for communists.
    • by rm999 (775449)

      I completely agree with you; the subsidies the US provides do not encourage a healthy American diet. They have drastically affected the supply/demand for a lot of commodities, like sugar VS corn.

      But to put it into perspective, US subsidies only equal about 15-25 dollars per person per year (it varies every year, as different farm bills are passed), or about 1% of total food expenditures in the country. Corn and wheat are cheap for several reasons. First, they grow well in the US. Also, the farming system is

  • Swine flu is a serious thread to people who are already chronically ill. If you are seriously ill, you are likely bed ridden and pumped with cortizone, steroids and other drugs. And as a result, of course you have a poor body mass index. Its a miracle you are even alive. Swine flu comes along and is the final straw, your body can't take another illness.

     

  • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:38PM (#28670077) Homepage

    Perhaps it's not so much that H1N1 affects obese people more than others, but that obesity is a sign of bad health generally?

    If so, then the correlation would be "unhealthy people more likely to develop respiratory complications that are harder to treat and can be fatal".

    Doesn't roll off the tongue like "swine flu kills fatties" though.

  • Karma? (Score:3, Funny)

    by WoRLoKKeD (1142351) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:44PM (#28670107)
    Well, this is just helping back up my ideas.

    I previously believed Swine Flu was created by pigs to get revenge for people eating too much bacon. Now it's confirmed. Can I have a Nobel Prize now?

  • I've got only one thing to say: pigs.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:47PM (#28670141)

    I would be going to be very politically incorrect here, but people that are medically obese suffer a wide variety of ailments. If swine flu is what finally motivates these people to seek and complete treatment, why is this a bad thing? Or shall we continue to scream about the oppression of our right to be fat, forgetting that the virus doesn't give two sh--s either way.

    • by syousef (465911)

      If swine flu is what finally motivates these people to seek and complete treatment, why is this a bad thing?

      Well there's a long list of reasons, but here are 2:

      1) It takes a long time to lose weight if you're morbidly obese. Months or years. Forget the "biggest loser" style shows designed to sell weight loss products. That kind of weight loss is much less healthy than having the weight on in the first place. Epidemics on the other hand move much more quickly.

      2) Some of the people we're talking about are mor

  • God hates fats!
    • by Hadlock (143607)

      What about the pig farmer in Alberta, Canada who gave the flu to his pigs? This is not the punchline for a bad joke, it actually happened - Farmer was in the US, flew home to canada and accidentally infected most (all?) of his herd(?) of pigs.

  • Not all (Score:5, Informative)

    by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:56PM (#28670207) Homepage

    Summary: "They are all fat."

    Article: "They are fat. [...] In Canada's Manitoba province, three out of five people treated for the new flu strain in intensive care units are obese."

    If this virus killed only fat people that would be astounding. If it kills more than it's share of fat people, that's still interesting (despite all the "being fat is bad duh!" comments here) but less flashy.

  • Wouldn't you hate it if, Swine Flu killed models but left fat people alive.

    In Other news the mortality rate of H1N1 [wordpress.com] has apparently stablised at 0.45% so it not that deadly really.

    --

    Flu Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Wouldn't you hate it if, Swine Flu killed models but left fat people alive.

      Good thing that swine flu isn't democratic - there are more fatso's around than skinny models.

      Now, since swine flu kills fat slobs, we could say that it's actually anti-entropic (fewer slobs around == less disorganization == lower entropy)

      Lower entropy means more energy potentially available to be converted to work ...

      Swine Flu is the new perpetual energy source!

  • Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

  • by brusk (135896) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:20PM (#28670349)

    What isn't clear from TFA, and seems to be the crux of whether this is a story or not, is whether this particular flu is affecting obese people disproportionately as compared to similar influenzas. If all strains of flu have the same pattern and are more severe (by whatever measure) in obese people, then there's nothing interesting here. If, on the other hand, the correlation between BMI and severity is much higher for this H1N1, that's a potential clue, one that might tell us something about (a) how this particular virus works, which could be useful in developing treatments for everyone, and/or (b) how obesity affects immune response, which could be helpful in the treatment of other infectious diseases. But, alas, TFA gives only anecdotal evidence so we can't even speculate.

  • Genius! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jaypifer (64463) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:28PM (#28670407)

    Clearly this is a terrorist act targeting Americans!

  • by Eugene (6671) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:42PM (#28670485) Homepage

    the term itself is misleading, the virus strand might have originated from swine, but the current flu has nothing to do with pigs. The proper term should be Influenza A (H1N1)

  • by zmollusc (763634) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:57PM (#28670591)

    My only chance is to filter my air through this huge pile of empty pie wrappers!

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @09:43PM (#28671657) Homepage

    Pandemic means spread, not severity. Dr. Mercola suggests concerns about the swine flu may be overblown. See:
        http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/29/Swine-Flu.aspx [mercola.com]
    "To put things into perspective, malaria kills 3,000 people EVERY DAY, and it's considered "a health problem"... But of course, there are no fancy vaccines for malaria that can rake in billions of dollars in a short amount of time ... As of June 12, 2009, 74 countries have officially reported 29,669 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection and only 145 deaths in the ENTIRE world from this illness. The United States has had 13217 confirmed cases, and 27 deaths. Mexico has had less cases but still has the majority of the deaths at 108. ... BUT to keep this in perspective the regular flu, not the swine flu, has killed 13,000 in the US since January. But there is strong support that these types of figures are grossly exaggerated to increase vaccine sales. However, the fact remains that the regular flu at this point in time is FAR more dangerous than the swine flu and were you worried about the regular flu before the media started talking this up?"

  • by rekinom (1588485) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @10:04PM (#28671777)
    > Swine Flu Collides With Fat Epidemic ...could mean a significant decrease in methane emissions, and possibly even a measurable reduction in global warming.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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