Sunday, December 30, 2012

Unnecessary fear of radiation causes obesity in Fukushima

According to data released on Xmas day, Fukushima children are the most obese in the nation. The Ministry of Education, which conducted the study, admitted that the cause may be 'restrictions on outdoor activities due to lingering fears of radiation'.

Fukushima kids are often forbidden from playing outside, even during designated school P.E. class, which often takes place in gyms.

The findings were significant for all childhood age groups. The percentage of obese children is still small compared to obesity levels in the U.S. and othe places: for example, 4.86 percent of 5-year-olds were obese, compared to 2.39 percent of all 5-year-olds in Japan. Yet, over the entire prefecture this adds up to thousands of individuals.

According to wikipedia, obesity has many deleterious health effects, and is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the world. As it is well-known that childhood obesity has a strong statistical correlation with lifelong obesity, we are essentially talking about a health effect that dwarfs any serious scientific predictions of health consequences stemming from exposure to Fukushima radiation. Obese Fukushima inhabitants can look forward to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, asthma, sleep apnea, osteoarthratis, diabetes, and (ironically) some cancers. Overall, obesity reduces your life expectancy by six to seven years.

This is another case of an irrational response to radiation causing measurably more harm than good. It would have been far better for these kids to play outside as usual, safe in the knowledge that local radiation levels are lower than natually occurring background levels in many parts of the world.

We can add this obesity to the list of negative consequences resulting from ill-considered measures taken in response to the Fukushima accident. It is yet another case where the Japanese action, far from addressing any real problem, has merely created one where it need not exist.

1 comment:

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