Thursday, April 15, 2010

Muve Gruve to help fight "obesity"

This doesn't surprise me at all, but I think it's probably going to be a waste of $835,000. And I'm sorry, but that name is just too cutesy (barf!).
Muve, a company created by Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, is moving ahead with more research funded by a $835,000 federal grant.
The goal? Strengthen the company's battle against the U.S. obesity epidemic. More that 72 million U.S. adults are considered obese.
"People who are overweight and obese need real support, real solutions," said Muve COO Jim Meyer, who wrote the application for the grant with Dr. Levine about 1 1/2 years ago. "We try to make it simple and to make meaningful. This research will help with that."

I can give you some hints on the real support and real solutions we fat people need, and none of them are tied to weight loss (but they are tied to improvement in health). How about making access to fresh/frozen fruits and veggies easier/cheaper for everyone? How about making safe places for everyone to get out and play/walk/bike? How about making sure everyone has enough income and time to prepare meals from scratch instead of having to rely on processed foods? Oh, those won't make fat people thinner, they'll just make them healthier, and healthier isn't the real goal here, is it?
The Gruve is a small iPod-like electronic device worn by people to track their daily calorie burn using activity sensors backed up by Dr. Levine's research. Going through the Muve process, individuals set a daily calorie usage goal to hit a targeted weight loss and health standard.

Yep, here we go again with the calories in/out bullshit = weightloss = health. EPIC FAIL, people, need I say more?
The first phases of the research will focus on the Gruve's performance as an anti-obesity tool, Meyer said. The later phases will explore additional versions of Gruve, possibly targeted at different age groups.

How long is this research going to last and how long is the follow-up going to be on the people who use this contraption to lose weight? What do you want to bet it's not going to be near long enough to find out that people who lost weight using this also started gaining weight back even though they kept using it the way they were instructed?
"We are thinking about doing a product for adolescents that we're loosely calling a Gruve Jr.," Meyer said. "And on other end of the spectrum, we want to research the possibility of a Gruve Sr."

I don't even want to think what the branding on these will look like.
Levine and others formed Muve in 2007 to create the Gruve using a system developed at Mayo Clinic based on the theory that small but steady movement can combat weight loss caused by the modern sedentary lifestyle.
Mayo Clinic and Dr. Levine have a financial interest in technology licensed to Muve. Mayo also holds an equity position in the company.

Follow the money, folks, they want in on the billions of dollars spent on weight loss products and WLS just isn't cutting it anymore (pun fully intended).
While Muve does sell to directly to consumers through its Web site, the majority of its sales are done now through corporate programs, with companies buying or partially funding the purchase of Gruves for employees.

Gee, think they want to get insurance companies to pay for these things too? Another way to get more money for something that doesn't really work long-term.
Overall, Meyer says that he believes the society's position on obesity is reaching the point that it was at with smoking 20 years, 25 years ago.
"People are started to get that obesity is hurting everybody."

Um, no, my fat isn't hurting my kids or my grandkids or the next-door neighbor or the guy sitting next to me at the bar like second-hand smoke does, thank you very much. My fat isn't causing disease (it can be correlated, but that is NOT causation).
I'm sorry, but fat is not the next "health war" that needs to be fought. If you want to fight a health war, fight for affordable access to health care for everyone.


  1. "How about making access to fresh/frozen fruits and veggies easier/cheaper for everyone? "

    It's time to take a hard look at a processed food industry dominated by Big Broccoli.

    Broccoli seemed so innocuous back when it appeared as tiny green flecks in the sauce mix for boxed dinners. Back when it was the ingredient in novelty recipes on the backs of cans of soup or packages of cheese. But now it's inescapable and I, for one, am getting sick of it!

    When the kids beg for Happy Meals, what's the one thing they won't leave without, no matter what alternatives are on the menu? That's right--broccoli tempura. Choose a Laptop Meal instead and you get Broccopups fried in cornmeal batter next to your popcorn chicken. Lunchables? Cold marinated broccoli next to the cold "pizza crust" and tomato sauce, and I'm willing to bet that seems as awful to your adult palate as it does to mine. We are raising a generation of children who think of broccoli as their only vegetable!

    Broccoli is creeping in everywhere. Ask a European what he thinks of our baked goods and he'll mention that weird pale green hue and taste. It's the broccoli sprouts. We're used to it, but they don't put broccoli in bread where it isn't subsidized. In America, if you want broccoli-free bread, you have to bake it yourself or pay extra for specialty brands.

    If you're allergic to broccoli, you're SOL. Broccoli is in soft drinks, candy, every frozen dinner on the market--even canned soup and cold cuts!

    I say it's time to make a change. I plan to campaign for a pineapple subsidy to redress the serious imbalance in the American diet. Who's with me?

    (Seriously, I would LOVE it if broccoli were so cheap that it was as ubiquitous as corn syrup and cornstarch. But you know it would be taken in some really bizarre directions.)

    Jenny Islander

  2. Hello! I love your blog but couldnt find an email to send this link to you. I hope you dont mind me posting this trailer for our documentary on size acceptance called FAT. If you feel so inclined please repost. We could use all the support we can get! Thanks so much!


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