This Week in Research: Obese Doctors, Rural Terrorists

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Has your doctor diagnosed you as obese? It might depend on the number he or she saw when stepping on the scale this morning.  According to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, physicians who are overweight or obese are less likely to discuss weight loss — or to diagnose patients as obese — than their normal-weight counterparts. The study also found that normal-weight doctors were more confident in giving advice about diet and exercise, while obese doctors preferred to discuss weight loss medications. Even though national guidelines for the treatment of obesity exist, other studies have found that two-thirds of obese patients don’t get diagnosed or get counseling from their doctors.

Quick, imagine what the U.S.’s next terrorist attack will look like. Odds are, you pictured a big city under threat from international agents. That’s in part because since 1970, nearly a third of terrorist attacks have taken place in five major cities:  New York (343 attacks), Los Angeles (156), Miami (103), San Francisco (99), and Washington (79). But, according to a new study by the University of Maryland, more rural counties have also emerged as “hot spots” of terrorism.  Per the study’s terms, a terrorism “hot spot” is any county that’s had more than six attacks from 1970 to 2008. And many of these attacks — such as those in Maricopa County, Arizona — were the work of domestic groups. “Despite the clustering of attacks in certain regions, it is also clear that hot spots are dispersed throughout the country and include places as geographically diverse as counties in Arizona, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Texas,” note Gary LaFree, professor of criminology at UM. Most places that saw multiple attacks were under threat from groups with the same motivation — for example, the Bronx experienced only extreme left-wing terrorism, while Texas’s Lubbock County had the opposite result — attacks from only the extreme right-wing.



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