Confluence Chronicles – Where City & Country Meet 6-15-09 |

Confluence Chronicles – Where City & Country Meet 6-15-09

Haven’t you at some time heard results of a study by a university or a federal group for which you already “knew” the results? For years my cousin and I have told each other, “Stress makes you fat.”

We believed it because we experienced it. Not even taking into account the fact that for some, stress also leads to overeating. No, just the stress itself seemed to put weight on us. Of course it was anecdotal. Recently, there are scientific studies that say stress causes cortisol levels to rise and in turn high cortisol levels causes an increase in belly fat. Now it is official.

Another case in point is connected to sports. Athletes – including rodeo cowboys – have long been told to stretch before they play or work, as it were. Even though I am far from being an athlete, I have wondered if it is wise to stretch cold muscles. Wouldn’t it make more sense to warm up a little and then stretch? Along came a study that proclaimed cold stretching was passe and even could cause injuries. Just a I suspected.

One of the biggest proclamations to come out of a study several years ago when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) loftily declared, “Manure is slippery.”

To which every person working in animal agriculture must have thought, “Really? I didn’t know. I’ll have to remember that. I am so glad a government agency thought to inform me.”

Studies I’d like to see, but doubt they will ever come to fruition: Does the fact that students are allowed less than 10 minutes to consume their noon meals contribute to the problem of overweight children? We know it takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal satiation. When one is used to bolting food down in 10 minutes or less, it becomes a habit not only in scheduled situations, but also when eating snacks and other meals. The body doesn’t have time to signal it is time to stop eating, large amounts of calories are consumed, and although satiety may happen, it is well after consuming the food; thus, there may not be a correlation to the mind that eating more slowly helps control food intake and therefore, weight.

Or how does having 35 kids in an elementary classroom with one teacher affect the jail population 10 or 15 years down the road? Perhaps a study of why so many health care professionals smoke would be enlightening. With the census coming up, a question that comes to mind is the government always says there is an undercount of actual residents; it doesn’t surprise me that they say that. What is circumspect is when the feds put a percentage on the number – widely ranging from 2 percent up to 20 percent – they believe were not counted. If they are so sure, the count is wrong, and can even guess by how much, why do they even bother running a census? Why not save the money and take a guess at the whole thing?

Peggy Sanders writes at her family ranch in southwestern South Dakota. She can be reached at

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