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President's message: 'Get
off your butt'

By John Breneman

Warning that America has turned into a nation of "flabby lard-asses," President George W. Bush unveiled a national fitness initiative on Saturday after leading White House staffers through a grueling "Abs of Steel" video workout.

An estimated 60 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, said the president, who challenged Americans to get 30 minutes of exercise each day, whether it's running, walking the dog or just spanking the monkey.

"Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists," said Bush, noting that our national appetite for nachos and fried food contributes to the country's dependence on foreign grease.

"Our nation's health depends on every American doing his or her part," said the president, who also cautioned citizens to avoid "risky behaviors" like smoking cancer sticks and crack, shooting heroin or getting so drunk that you choke on your own vomit.

America's obesity also impacts her astronomical health care costs. For example, the nation now spends an annual $183 billion to fight heart disease alone, almost as much as we spend on Chicken McNuggets each year.

The president's high-profile fitness extravaganza also featured a 3-mile run on Saturday. After clocking in at 20:09, the president issued a bold challenge, daring other world leaders to race him.

"Forget the nuclear arms race," he said. "Hussein, Arafat, Pervez Musharraf ... I'll leave all of 'em in the dust."

The president, a self-described gym rat who likes to spend up to four hours a day playing T-Ball, plans to give a major speech on Wednesday encouraging Americans to eat more spinach and yams.

Bush is also expected to announce new federal funding for liposuction during Wednesday's first-ever presidential "Weight of the Union" address.

John Breneman 6-25-02

Everything is hazardous to your health

By John Breneman

It's a dangerous world we live in. Every day doctors release startling new reports about stuff that can kill us. Fortunately, we are also bombarded with news about medical breakthroughs guaranteed to help us avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of premature death.

For example, my crack team of medical specialists has just learned that people who consume 50 milligrams of cornpone each day are 32 percent less likely to suffer from rickets, gangrene or curvature of the liver. I take an aspirin a day to prevent heart murmurs and a glass of red wine to ward off gallstones, cerebral hemorrhage and frostbite.

But the threat of disease is omnipresent. Mumps. Lupus. Vertigo. The painful itch and swelling of bipolar encephalitis. Why, the poor Surgeon General is working overtime to warn us about the astonishing array of substances that may be "hazardous to your health."

Just today, he issued a report in the prestigious Imaginary Journal of Medicine expanding the list of things that may cause cancer to include:

-- Asbestos Wafers
-- raw chinchilla meat
-- Bubonic Margarine
-- malignant cancer cells
-- genetically engineered fiddleheads
-- Marlboro brand Cancer Sticks
-- and most tap water

Occupational hazards are literally all around us, even in climate-controlled office cubicles.
We know that people who squint and peck at computers each day run a much higher risk of burnt-out eyes and crippled wrists. But doctors say there is an ultraviolet light at the end of the carpal tunnel. Something about trickle-down ergonomics.

Here my crack team of medical experts offers a handy list of tips to protect you from the trauma of gingivitis, clubfoot and scarlet fever, while adding 4.6 years to your life expectancy:

-- Forensic political scientists warn that prolonged exposure to George W. Bush may cause intense cerebral discomfort.

-- Most HMOs recommend periodic checkups to ensure early detection of jaundice, tennis elbow and leprosy.

-- A new survey reveals that excessive cell phone use may cause exaggerated levels of self-importance among people who strut down the street jabbering into their handheld unit about whether to pick up 2% milk or regular.

-- Contrary to earlier published reports, Vitamin B-9 is benign.

-- Consult your physician before embarking on a fitness plan that includes any of the following: sumo wrestling, cock fighting, pole vaulting or Turbo Yoga.

-- The Surgeon General has determined that oxygen may be hazardous to your health.

-- Eating a bucket of Colonel Sanders will not cause chicken pox. (However, side effects may include esophageal clogging, measles and varicose veins.)

-- The American Medical Association recommends limiting the amount of e. coli in your balanced diet.

-- Avoiding rough neighborhoods greatly reduces your risk of Slashed Jugular Vein Syndrome.

-- Doctors recommend having your "innards" checked for cardiovascular fleas and waxy yellow buildup at least seven times a month.

-- The Centers for Disease Control is reporting today that the surgeon general has "declared war" on anthrax, whooping pneumonia and @#$%&* Tourette Syndrome.

-- If your condition persists, try a new conditioner.

-- Agricultural researchers at Old McDonald's Pharmacy contend that Grandma's homemade apple crisp will cure "anything that ails you."

-- In a related discovery, physicians at the Mayo Clinic have learned that people who consume one or more apples per day are significantly more likely to keep the doctor away.


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