Monday, July 9, 2012

Reader Submission: Euclid to the Rescue

From Scatbug:

Euclid to the Rescue
With the Unites States suffering through the worst obesity crises in its history, recent research has pointed to a potential solution: geometry class. 
Nutritionists studying the cognitive processes of soft drink consumers have long known that they lack the intelligence to make decisions for themselves.
As the Reuters story reports:
But nutritionists, marketing experts and others who study people's drinking habits say cutting back on sugary drinks is not so easy. Understanding drink labels and calculating serving size and calories is increasingly tricky, they say.
"It can be confusing," said Angela Ginn, a Baltimore-based dietician.

"The biggest thing is they don't understand 'What's good for me?' or 'What's bad for me…’” said Ginn, … a registered dietician and part of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional group for dieticians.
However, finding the underlying reason for this stupidity, and thereby developing an effective government program to address it, has proved elusive. Soft drink expert Pierre Chandon believes he has discovered the answer:
"Our mind is very bad at geometry," said Chandon, a professor at INSEAD business school in Paris whose work will be published later this year. Fountain drink cups need pictures on the front that show the number of servings, he said, adding labels such as "medium" or "large" are meaningless for buyers.
Monsieur Chandon went on to add that the sizing protocol used by some trendy coffee shops adds further confusion. “Tall means small? Most people cannot process such a contradiction. And using European terms such as ‘Venti’ makes matters worse, especially for Americans,” he said.
In response to these findings, policy makers within the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are developing a new school curriculum that will focus on teaching geometry concepts beginning in pre-K and extending through the 12th grade. Funding for national adult education courses is also being considered. Said HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, “Our goal is to ensure that every American knows that small is the opposite of big, and vice versa. Only then can our nation finally come to grips with the scourge of fat people.”

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