Words Can Make You Fat

Now how's this?  Reading about Donald Trump today can make you fat tomorrow.

Well, that's not quite true but it could be.  According to new research, bad news today can influence a country's weight.

What’s in the newspaper today can predict how skinny or fat a country’s population will be tomorrow, says new research published in BMC Public Health by Brian Wansink, Professor and Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and Brennan Davis, Associate Professor of Marketing from California State University at San Luis Obispo at newswise.com.

According to the study, food words trending today will predict a country’s obesity level by 2018 ¬– just three years from now!

If you're like me and look forward to Wednesdays and the food section in The New York Times, be very scared.  The study analyzed all the food words mentioned in The Times and The Times of London over the past 50 years and statistically correlated them with each country’s annual Body Mass Index, or BMI, a measure of obesity. 

“Newspapers are basically crystal balls for obesity,” says co-author Wansink.


“The more sweet snacks are mentioned and the less vegetables are mentioned, the fatter your country’s population is going to be in three years,” says lead author Davis. “But the less often they’re mentioned and the more vegetables are mentioned, the skinnier the public will be.“

So now what?

There's a catch, sort of.  The study found that people respond better to positive messaging -- eat more vegetables and fruit," rather than "eat less cookies."

If you only read sports and politics, what then?  I guess you're in the clear.


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