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The Gas Diet: Higher Prices Means A Thinner You!?

Now we know why Europeans are thinner than we are. It has nothing to do with diet. It's because they pay so much more for gasoline. What? It's true! At least according to a study by a doctoral student from Washington University in St. Louis(one of the fattest cities in America) which says raising gas prices could lower obesity rates! Why? Because people would walk more often to avoid driving, and they wouldn't have as money to pig out on rich restaurant grub.

Big oil profits=a healthy America!

The study's author, Charles Courtemanche, calls it the "silver lining" of high gas prices. His dissertation even quantifies the relationship: for every $1 per gallon price hike, obesity levels would fall 15% over five years. Well, we've seen gas prices go up a buck a gallon in the last couple of years, and I haven't noticed any pounds melting away.

Courtemanche also claims the 13% rise in obesity rates from 1979 to 2004 can be attributed to falling gas prices (Falling? Gas prices FELL from '79 to '04? Maybe adjusted for inflation...).

OH REALLY?
You mean during that time Americans didn't get fatter because, oh, I don't know, we started eating super-sized portions, we ate out more because of a higher standard of living, we were bombarded with food advertising? It's because GAS PRICES FELL?

Hey, maybe we got fatter because of the explosion of cable, the internet, videogames, giving us no reason to get out of our chairs or off the couch. I like that theory. Or, wait, maybe it's because we've transformed ourselves from a manufacturing society into an information society, so our backsides have gotten increasingly larger as we sit in cubicles instead of standing and working in a factory. That's even better. Gee, maybe I can get a PhD, too.

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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