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Not short and overweight, just born before my time.

Byline: VALERIE HILL

I LIKE to be at the cutting edge - you know, fashion, lifestyle and cheeseparing.

But I was a little alarmed to read the other day that I might be rather too evolutionarily advanced.

Women are getting shorter and fatter, according to research into the future of mankind.

S

So, on the basis I'm five foot and several centimetres tall and have been a dieting expert since I was 14 years old, I suddenly realised I've not only fought the flab, but also stopped myself being the shape of the future.

Not wishing to look like a bell-tent for midgets, I must make an effort to redouble my efforts to trim and slim and make myself taller. Well, I could always wear that 1976 pair of Dolcis platform shoes I could never bear to bin.

This US study provides the strongest evidence yet that humans are continuing to evolve, although you might disagree seeing some of your fellow travellers on public transport.

No, seriously, we're getting better, somewhere deep down. This is in direct contrast to other biologists who have argued that medical advances and social welfare in the richest countries have stopped evolution in its tracks.

With no fight for the survival of the fittest, natural selection is not pushing our species forward any longer, say the doom-merchants.

We're just building a society based on blubber. As the comfortably padded Jo Brand says: "I'm anorexic, actually. Anorexic people look in the mirror and think they look fat, and so do I."

But step forward Dr Stephen Stearns, an evolutionary biologist from Yale University. He says that inheritable traits such as weight and height still influence how many children women have and how healthy they will be.

Women who have bigger families increase the possibility of helpful characteristics which can help survival and be passed on to future generations.

Turning to our old friend, the Framingham Heart Study, which recorded the medical histories of 14,000 people in the New England town, he found that inherited characteristics were closely related to family size.

Shorter, heavier women tended to have more children than lighter, taller ones. If the trend carries on for 10 generations, the survey predicts that the typical woman of 2409 will be two centimetres shorter and one kg heavier than today's average.

Ten generations? 2409? This is provided that we've not nuked ourselves, drowned ourselves in melted polar ice cap water and lost any such change in the obesity epidemic by then.

Frankly, I won't be hanging around to check on a few centimetres. Will you? COUNCIL workers asked to fill out a questionnaire about "biscuit-related injuries" did so with out a crumb of concern about the nuttiness of the request, in spite of it being a hoax.

Not only did hundreds of them comply, but four councils reported of having safe biscuit consumption policies in place and one boasted of its supervised tea breaks for safety reasons.

If nothing else, Fox's Rocky bar marketing department revealed some public sector workers really have got too much time on their hands.

CAPTION(S):

If I can just hang on for another 400 years, I'll be the epitome of athletic perfection
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2009
Words:533
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