What would happen if you pitted Bart Simpson against his father Homer in a simple fitness test? You guessed it, Bart would come out of the test still standing, while Homer would be struggling for breath with his heart rate going through the roof. Young Scientist magazine, published by Institute of Physics Educational Publishing, is running a national investigation into school children’s activity levels. If Bart took part in this, he would have no problems. He obviously hasn’t been taking notes from his father, as Homer would not do nearly as well.
The Institute of Physics did some research into the Simpsons’ lifestyle. By watching videos of the cartoon and recording how much activity Bart and Homer do in the episodes, as well as how much they eat, Institute staff then worked out how fit and healthy they are.
The Institute found that obese Homer eats an average of about 130 grams of fat per day – most of it saturated, often coming from junk food – much more than his recommended 83 grams. On the other hand, Bart eats the right amount of fat per day: about 60 grams, although this includes rather more saturated fats than is ideal. Bart also does much more exercise than Homer, who drives to work, spends most of his day sitting (and eating donuts!) and watches television in the evenings. Bart’s frequent walking, cycling and skateboarding mean that he’s actually quite active, even though he sits in school for most of the day and does watch cartoons in the evening. He’s also growing which uses up a lot of calories.
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