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The CON, The Woo and a new degree program

Posted Sep 07 2008 7:57pm
Canada has now fully embraced the War On Obesity (hereafter referred to as "The Woo"). The Canadian Medical Association has partnered with the Canadian Obesity Network (or, ahem, "CON") to "formally encourage provincial medical associations to address the growing obesity epidemic". And to cement that, the University of Guelph-Humber has launched a shiny new degree program aimed at adding more soldiers to the front lines.

According to U. Guelph's press release, "
the program is in response to a growing demand for professionals to know more about preventing and moderating obesity-related diseases when conducting physical assessments and developing exercise and nutrition plans for clients."
Elaine Popp, acting program head for the university, sums it up best: "Because the general population is not fit and not able to make good nutrition decisions, our students need to know how to prescribe lifestyle changes to people who aren't healthy."

Definition: The obesity epidemic exists because fat people are stupid and lazy. Hence, we need The Woo. And The Woo needs properly armed Woo-ites in order to succeed.

In order to do this, students will learn, among other things, the benefits of incorporating whole-grain foods and fibre into the diet to reduce cholesterol levels and gain an understanding of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and the dangers of saturated fatty acids. In other words, they'll learn the same crap that's been shouted from the mountains since before the obesity epidemic began; the same crap that hasn't made a dent in the problem and, in fact, has seen it worsen. Dare I say it -- the same crap that, at least in part, caused it to begin with.

Over 400 eager soldiers applied for the 60 available spots. One thing The Woo has accomplished is to turn obesity in to a very lucrative industry. Grads will be qualified to work as personal trainers, kinesiologists, wellness consultants and fitness practitioners in both clinical and rehabilitation settings, and learn “how to prescribe exercise and diet to an unhealthy population.” Ka-ching!

Back to CON. CON is based out of U. Guelph. CON is the leading lobbying organization for pharmaceutical, obesity, “health” and bariatric interests. Academics from Guelph’s Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Food Technology Centre, and Human Nutraceutical Research Unit have a leading role in CON and in producing papers to support the network’s initiatives. CON’s influence over government spending and health policies has extended to the development of the clinical practice guidelines for doctors, developed by the heavily industry-sponsored members of the Obesity Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Panel.

Some of CON's clinical guidelines include:
a focus on BMI and extensive and regular laboratory testing of fat people from the age of ten years; suggested screening for mood and psychiatric disorders and medications to be considered; a weight management program with diet and lifestyle interventions, and counseling by a clinical psychologist; prescriptions are suggested for those not able to maintain weight loss, including orlistat for adolescents; and bariatric surgery for BMIs ≥ 40 or ≥ 35 with health problems “when lifestyle intervention is inadequate to achieve healthy weight goals.”

So we've got a university that houses a pharma-backed CON developing a recruitment program for The Woo that pretty much ensures a steady stream of both soldiers, and fat 'enemies' for the soldiers to prescribe to. Anyone wanna wager that Good Calories, Bad Calories ain't on the reading list?

Thanks to Junkfood Science for much of the info in this post.
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