Counting Up Your Meals, The Joys of Toys, Etc. takes

As medical experts wring their hands about the nation’s obesity epidemic, one might suppose the typical American packs away half a dozen meals a day. In fact, the number who fall short of the three-a-day norm is higher than the number who exceed it, according to a poll on Prevention’s Web site. Asked how many meals they eat per day, the proverbial slender majority (51 percent) said it’s three. On the austere end of the spectrum, 23 percent said they eat two meals; 5 percent said they eat one per day. On the farmer’s-friend side of the scale, 11 percent said they eat four meals; 9 percent confessed to eating five. (Votes were still trickling into the Web site at press time, with absentee eaters yet to be counted.)

For parents whose homes are littered with toys (or pieces of toys) acquired at fast-food outlets, “happy meals” is not a joyful phrase. Thus, such readers will be highly responsive to an ad publicizing an exhibit of pre-happy-meal toys at the Atlanta History Center. Also playing off toy-marketing lingo, another ad in the campaign (via Huey/Paprocki of Atlanta) shows old toys surrounding the headline, “Batteries Not Invented.”

While we fret about kids who sit around eating Krispy Kremes, an article in USA Today notes that athletic youngsters have their own health troubles. The sort of “overuse injuries” we associate with professional athletes (stress fractures, tendinitis, etc.) are “skyrocketing” among children and teens, reports the newspaper, as “more of them participate in competitive organized sports year-round.” Increasing numbers of kids subject themselves to intensive, repetitive training, yielding an “epidemic” of injuries for sports-medicine clinics to contend with. The article says medical experts attribute part of the problem to “a growing attitude among parents and others that a child needs to excel at a sport at an early age.” So, if your agency can’t win a big athletic-equipment account, it might instead latch onto an up-and-coming brand in the kid-sports-medicine field.

It seems word of mouse is a predominantly female phenomenon. Yankelovich polling finds 74 percent of female online shoppers subscribing to the statement, “When I find a new or interesting shopping Web site, I often tell my friends and family members about it.” Among male online shoppers,58 percent said they do the same. The poll also found a higher degree of shopping-site loyalty among women, with 50 percent of them (compared to 40 percent of male online shoppers) saying they “usually just visit the same ones I’ve used before.”

If your mailbox hasn’t been full of solicitations from credit-cardcompanies, it probably means you’re either a deadbeat or a hermit. Or both. Research by BAIGlobal finds credit-card issuers “flooded the nation’s mailboxes” during the second quarter of this year with 992 million solicitations—the highest figure on record. “In total, 79 percent of all households in the U.S. received at least one card solicitation during the quarter.”

For their troubles, credit-card companies got 4 million card applications.

“Have you given up or significantly reduced your consumption of coffee, butter, salt or eggs based on scientific studies?” Amid the latest flip-flops in expert opinion about nutrition and health, U.S. News & World Report posed that question as an online poll. About one respondent in three reported having made such a change in diet. The poll didn’t say how many people now regret having done so.

How big is the gay/lesbian market in the U.S.? An ABC News election-day exit poll gives a hint. When asked whether they’re gay, lesbian or bisexual, 4 percent of the voters said they are.