Sunday, September 21, 2003

FOUND OBJECT OF THE DAY. If you want to know why America is fat, check out this innovation from Pepperidge Farm: "Giant Goldfish Sandwich Crackers." The adorable little critters we used to put in our soup have mutated into three-inch-long monsters containing "Real Peanut Butter." 10 grams of fat and 190 calories per serving.

I love the pure products of America, as crazy as they've gone, but these once-cute cracker-fish, now swollen and menacing, dangled by marketers to set off our brand-loyalty bells and tempt us unto arteriosclerosis, depress me.

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that milk and cereal are now available in bar form. All the sugared goodness of a bowl of Cocoa Puffs available in four quick bites, and portable enough to be consumed on the way to the school cafeteria.

And at least when a bowel obstruction claims us, we'll be conveyed to the hospital in comfort:
The patient weighed more than 600 pounds, said Cusick, Kaiser's director of emergency medical services and AMR's medical director.

The ambulance that transported her may be the first of its kind in the country outfitted -- to the tune of $10,000 -- to handle obese patients.

As more and more Americans become seriously overweight, they are putting a strain on hospital beds, wheelchairs, imaging equipment and even scales. Many hospitals now have extra-wide wheelchairs and extra-strong beds, but hospitals and medical equipment providers are straining to keep up.

The ambulance, a project of Kaiser and American Medical Response, or AMR, is designed for patients between 300 and 1,000 pounds. Kaiser and AMR introduced the ambulance to the public Thursday.

It's a good first step, said Walter Lindstrom Jr., founder of the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center in San Diego.

And not the last one, I'll bet.

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