Remember “Live Aid,” “USA for Africa” and “Feed the world … let them know it’s Christmastime”? According to the latest news from Geneva, they were not only effective, but too much so. Which makes one wonder, how long will it be before instead of being subjected to heart-rending pictures of starving young children with distended bellies and skeletal limbs, we’ll be seeing Sally Struthers weeping tears of supplication on behalf of disadvantaged little fatties without Slim Fast, exercise bikes and the Atkins Diet. Can’t you just feel the incoming Saturday Night Live skit?

Now I am no expert on the Third World, so I can’t help but think that news of the study which was presented last week to the World Health Organization must have been some kind of joke. I mean, the idea that people in Africa are generally starving has been a base assumption of my entire life, right up there with Newton’s Third Law of Motion and the notion that “the crust is the healthiest part of the bread.” Then again, Mom wasn’t entirely honest about that last one (shame, Mother, shame!), and so I suppose it shouldn’t rock the foundations of my world to hear that in some parts of Africa, four times as many children are obese or overweight as malnourished.

Apparently Egypt leads the way, with 25 percent of its 4-year olds firmly on their way to tubbydom. Morocco and Zambia follow at 20 percent. This is big news – and not just for Lane Bryant executives salivating over the thought of expanding to what will apparently be, in more ways than one, a huge Chinese market.

The news, you see, demonstrates the truth of what P.J. O’Rourke pointed out in his brilliantly sardonic book, “All The Trouble in the World.” Hunger and starvation have never been a problem of food production, they have always been a problem of evil central government. O’Rourke showed how Third World countries which did not wish to exterminate large portions of their populations were able to survive harsh famines and a disproportionately greater loss of their food-producing capacity without suffering the great loss of life typical in murderous regimes like Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Angola and Uganda – which routinely allowed hundreds of thousands of their citizens to starve. Mass starvation is never an accident.

Hunger has always been a weapon of collectivist elites, as Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin honed the technique in the massive Soviet famines of 1921 and 1932. Which makes me wonder, is there some sort of “Famine 101” course at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow?

The WHO report is also delightful because it again explodes the myth of the modern Malthusians, who, despite more than 200 years of woefully inaccurate predictions, still insist that the Earth is overpopulated and cannot possibly feed 6 billion people. Indeed, Mr. Malthus and his intellectual descendants have been so consistently wrong that “Malthusian” should rightfully be considered an adjective which means “I have absolutely no idea what I’m saying,” and should precede any mention of the following media creatures: Frank Rich, Julianne Malveaux, Molly Ivins and Eleanor Clift.

This good news of Third World obesity is likely only the first of many stories relating to corpulence and the human condition, although in this post-X-Files age it seems all too ’90s to suggest that perhaps aliens are fattening us up for eventual consumption. No, instead we will soon be reading of the largest class-action suit of all time, as trial lawyers, fresh from their tobacco farming, will train their guns on the fast-food manufacturers who have forced their wares past the unwilling maws of millions of Americans.

But if WHO is seriously concerned about the terrible thought that great numbers of African children are not starving, perhaps they should forget scolding their naughty parents and get into the business of building gyms. Here’s a little secret for those who want to get slim: Forget the exercise bikes, aerobics classes and treadmills, and hit the free weights instead. That goes for women, too – you won’t start looking like Arnold or those powerlifting she-males without a dedicated high-caloric diet and a series of steroid cycles.

Muscle burns fat all the time, not just while you’re working out, but even while you’re sleeping. It’s the easiest way to stay fit by far, so stay strong, my Third World brothers and sisters, and enjoy the fruits – not to mention pizzas – of 21st-century prosperity.


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