"Yeah, boyyyy!" That was this writer's reaction when editors asked for a quick piece on the Fat Clock. Sure, it's hard to find the connection between fitness and Flavor Flav -- that kickin' rap artist from Public Enemy who wore a big clock around his neck for bling and always yelled, "Yeah, boyyyy!" -- but who was I to question the boss?
"No, you idiot," the editors said. "Not that fat clock. We mean the Fat Clock from The Diet Detective."
Apparently, the website www.dietdetective.com posts a continually updated clock that calculates the total weight of all Americans, and it updates relentlessly. As of Nov. 1, 2006, it reads 39,303,863,589. No, wait, make that 39,303,863,611 … no … 39,303,864,389. Yikes, darn, can't keep up!
"The impact of the obesity epidemic is staggering and is a major public health crisis," DietDetective.com founder Charles Platkin said in a press release. He figured that his rapidly advancing Fat Clock could demonstrate the full weight (get it, weight… fat clock… OK, forget it…) of how America is losing the battle of the bulge.
DietDetective.com launched its clock on Aug. 15, 2006, and it uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census to calculate weight gain every 10th of a second. In the time it takes you to read this little story, America will have gained about another 2,000 pounds.
The whole idea is to show that America is not just the land of plenty, but also the plenty fat. "Obesity increases the risk for many diseases and health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and even some cancers," Platkin said in release.
His website not only features the Fat Clock, but also lots of information on nutrition and strategies for eating well. We liked the front-page story on eating healthy at sports stadiums, with helpful tips like: Hey, maybe you should avoid the doughnut burger. (A doughnut burger?! Is that even legal?) And then there's the recent story on the top obstacles to eating healthy named by Americans in a DietDectective survey. Among them, too many tempting foods (we hope the doughnut burger isn't one of them) and the high price of eating healthy (now THAT is scary that it costs more to eat well). Platkin's site offers some solutions for each obstacle.
Clearly, America's deep-fried diet is a Public Enemy. And speaking of Public Enemy, how about asking Flavor Flav to take a break from reality show TV and do a public-service campaign. You know, PSAs with Flav sporting a big, digital Fat Clock across his chest -- the numbers piling up by the second. All I have to say about that is, "Yeah, boyyyy!" - Marcus Woolf