No More, MurphyAm I the only person in the country who...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 28, 1992

No More, Murphy

Am I the only person in the country who agrees with Vice President Quayle?

Perhaps it is not just the Murphy Brown incident. But television has become the disclosure of violence fed to many unbalanced people, and they try to live up to it.

And, let's face it. Illegitimacy is so prevalent in so many women and girls, why must we be the ones burdened with it?

We need to escape today's cruel, dirty world for a few hours a day.

In the days of the Great Depression, we saw movies of grace, glamour and gentle life. It gave our parents a few hours of beauty and the will to survive.

We need it today.

N. H. Buchar

Baltimore

Live with It?

This is in response to the article printed in The Sun April 14, "Lifting weight of 'failure' from dieters' shoulder."

As members of a clinic dedicated to the multi-disciplinary treatment of overweight people, we agree that many persons have unrealistic and unnecessary expectations for their body weight. But what about individuals who are dangerously overweight?

Is "learn to live with it" the best treatment medical science has to offer? We are aware of what a "consensus panel" of our peers has reported, but it has neglected to address the medical needs for weight reduction. Some seven years experience leads us to different conclusions on weight management:

* While causes of overweight are complex and not completely understood, they are far from unknown. They involve genetics, physiology, lifestyle/environmental factors, psychology, nutrition and exercise -- and managing these influences can be a big job for even the most motivated, overweight-prone individual.

* The fact that lost weight is often regained only demands that all emphasis be placed on behavioral change. Weight loss is easy, maintenance of weight loss is the enduring challenge, but it is a critical component of health and longevity.

* In a recent study of our long-term maintenance patients, an average of 95.7 percent of weight lost during active weight reduction has been maintained for 18 months after initiation of therapy. These individuals are faithful attendees of professionally run maintenance classes and are committed to long-term behavioral and lifestyle changes.

* Repeated and failed attempts to control weight can be psychologically and physically damaging. The public is being gulled by quick-fix slogans for cosmetic weight reduction. This must not detract from the medical focus on a morbid but treatable disease.

Another professional consensus committee met in February 1985 and defined serious overweight as a morbid disease. This has not been changed or challenged. There are too few professionals doing quality work in this medical illness. This will not improve until the complexities of weight management are taken seriously by both the patient and the health-care industry.

Patricia Morgan, R.D.

Thaddeus E. Prout, M.D.

Towson

School Music

The May 20 letter, "A Mockery," criticized The Sun researchers as shallow and the Baltimore City public schools music department budget as bloated. The writer's characterization of the music department is horribly off key. He should know better.

Howard H. Conaway Jr. has simply misread the city's budget document and made wrong conclusions. Mr. Conaway wrongly states that in 1990 the city school budget included three secretaries and an office assistant to support two piano tuners.

He should have correctly read that there were a total of five secretaries or office assistants to support 32 field instructional specialists. The specialists assist teachers in classrooms all over the city.

The four piano and instrument helper technicians have no secretaries. They have always been responsible for their own office activities in addition to repairing and maintaining, not 100 pianos as Mr. Conaway wrongly states, but more than 1,100 pianos and 2,500 band instruments in 179 schools.

In the new budget, after the budget cuts, there are fewer personnel: four secretaries or office assistants and 21 instructional specialists. There are still no secretaries for the instrument repair shop.

This is not the first time The Sun has carried erroneous information on this aspect of the schools, but we hope it is the last. The cumulative effect of this kind of misleading information is harmful to our city and our children.

The Sun has some responsibility in trying to verify the accuracy of information carried even in letters to the editor. It is simply good judgment.

Nat Harrington

Baltimore

The writer is public relations director of the Baltimore City school system.

NAACP Redistricting Suit

The article May 20 concerning the NAACP redistricting suit contained inaccuracies.

Specifically, the NAACP is troubled by the incorrect assertions found in the headline and the first two paragraphs stating that the NAACP and the Republican Party are a "new team," or "became partners," or have "join[ed] to fight redistricting" with the filing of our lawsuit challenging the redistricting plan for the state of Maryland.

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