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Saving Calories for Booze Binges; Pope Washes Prisoners' Feet; Older Not Wiser; Wright Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Aired March 28, 2013 - 14:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We ran across a piece in the "Atlantic" magazine that definitely got us thinking, because it details this rise in alcohol ads that focus on weight and also on fitness like this Michelob ultra web site.

Look at this here. You see somebody sort of yoga poses, also talks about an increase in skipping meals to save calories just so you can go out for a night in booze without putting on too many lbs.

Adam Barry studies this trend calling it "Drunkorexia." He is an assistant professor of Health and Education and Behavior at the University of Florida. Adam, "Drunkorexia," define it for me.

ADAM BARRY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HEALTH EDUCATION AND BEHAVIOR: So, "Drunkorexia," it's really a colloquial, non-medical term. It's not going to be recognized by the DSM-4. You're not going to find health practitioners and medical practitioners using it as a diagnostic criteria.

Now that said, what it is, is basically weight-conscious drinkers, people engaging in physical activity or skipping meals in order to compensate the calories associated with their drinking.

So at its core, you have basically three behaviors, drinking, physical activity, exercise -- excuse me, disordered eating.

BALDWIN: You're quoted in the piece in the "Atlantic." Let me read a quote, "In fact, those who exercise or dieted to lose weight were 20 percent more likely to have five or more drinks in a sitting. Students who had vomited or used laxatives in the previous month to shed pounds were 76 percent more likely to binge drink."

I mean, look, I went to college, I knew girls, they were certainly counting their calories. I mean, this isn't necessarily new, but from what I can tell, it's increasingly common. How common?

BARRY: Well, it's difficult to estimate the prevalence. We used a national sample that already existed. To date, there are really no large scale investigations that specifically examine these factors together. So, it's really difficult to estimate, but as you said, this is something that's been around a while and you yourself knew about it.

BALDWIN: Then you have the alcohol industry as we sort of eluded to in a lead, right, you have diet alcohol ads. You have, you know, Bacardi promoting itself with diet cola, zero carb drinking alternative, you have, you know, heard of the skinny girl cocktails, but you also have these ads sort of promoting fitness friendly drinks. I went through a bunch of them. It's not just targeting women, Adam. It's men, as well.

BARRY: Yes. You're really seeing this kind of really big emergence and health conscious, weight conscious promoting of alcoholic beverages. You're seeing things like vitamin fortified vodka. You're seeing things like all natural listed on alcoholic beverages. You're seeing low carb. There is a push to capture what you see in the food industry and the alcohol industry.

BALDWIN: So on one hand, you could say why is this bad if people are trying to be more, you know, health conscious when they are choosing to have a drink or two at the same time? Obviously, there's quite a line between drinking a little bit and drinking a lot and not eating to make sure you can drink. You're on a college campus, what's a solution?

BARRY: Well, in regards to is it bad. The problem is if you're drinking on an empty stomach that can really exacerbate the effects of alcohol. Drinking on an empty stomach is going to make inebriation happen quicker. Alcohol is going to be absorbed quicker. So that really is problematic.

Now eating is not going to stop the absorption of alcohol, but it will definitely slow it down and it's not going to hit people as quickly. As to the solution, well, this is a college campus and there are college campuses around the nation --

BALDWIN: They are not going to stop drinking, let's be honest.

BARRY: Well, that's the case, you know, we're trying to focus on reducing some of the harm associated with drinking and if you're drinking on an empty stomach, that's only going to increase the harm.

BALDWIN: Bad news. Adam Barry, University of Florida, thank you very much.

Now the leader of the Catholic Church proving once again why he's called the people's pope, keeping a tradition of feet washing, we have some new video in. We'll share it with you next.


BALDWIN: He may be one of the most powerful men on earth, but the pope has proven once again he is a humble man. Not too proud to wash the feet of another. Here he is washing feet. This is actually Argentina earlier this year.

It's a tradition based on the belief that Christ washed the feet of his apostles, but the ones the pope washed today weren't just any old feet, they were the feet of a dozen young prisoners.

This choice tying into his holy week message, quote, "We should not simply remain in our own secure world, we should go out with Christ in search of the one lost sheep, however far it may have wandered."

Today's Lord's Supper mass was held at the Youth Detention Center in Rome with some 50 male and female prisoners all under the age of 21. The mass kicks off a busy four days of Easter ceremonies for the new pope.

Coming up next, "Hot Topics Panel" time, including a new story, we're talking driving and texting, we're talking teens and adults. Who do you think actually admits to texting more and realizes it's wrong?

Plus, that story strikes a nerve here, according to my Twitter feed, talking dodgeball and a school aiming to yank dodgeball and other human-target activities because it maybe promotes bullying. Do you think so? My panelists are standing by. We'll go there next.


BALDWIN: Taking on the hot stories trending today. I want to start with this new study with results that shocked even a room of hardened journalists when we talked about this.

When teens usually have a bad rep for this kind of thing, actually turns out the adults are the worst offenders when it comes to sending text messages behind the wheel. The irony here is that these findings come from AT&T, the same company behind the warning ad targeting teens. Take a look.

So, texting and driving, adults versus teens, we'll talk about it with our panel, Whitney Jefferson, celebrity editor, "Buzzfeed," Jacque Reid, radio and TV personality, Arne Singleton, actor on "The Walking Dead" and author of "Blindsided By The Walking Dead," and Jawn Murray, editor-in-chief of

So welcome, everyone. You know, they say getting older makes you wiser, but apparently not. Let me hear from you, Whitney, first. Take a look at these statistics. You have 50 percent of adults admitted to texting and driving compared with 43 percent of teens.

And you know, listen, you talk to teens, I saw a couple of my cousins recently, they are buried in their iPhones, right? So why do you think teens though are getting the memo. You know, look, it's OK to text, just don't text and drive, but we adults are not. Whitney, why?

WHITNEY JEFFERSON, CELEBRITY EDITOR, "BUZZFEED": Well, I think teens are having it crammed down their throats in ad campaigns from AT&T and other different services, but I don't know what it is about adults that think it doesn't apply to them. If you have teenaged drivers and you're telling them you can't do this, you need to practice what you preach.

BALDWIN: Jawn Murray, what do you think?

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ALWAYSALIST.COM: Listen, I don't text and drive, Brooke. I took a pledge when Oprah Winfrey was back on television. You know, anything Oprah asks me to do, I do it. But I'm also one of those drivers that when I see other people driving and they are texting, I'll pull up next to them and yell, you're going to kill somebody, get off your phone!

I mean, I like to make people uncomfortable because I'd rather make you uncomfortable than you be uncomfortable when you kill somebody and have to face their family.

BALDWIN: Can I just say I was driving down an Atlanta freeway the other day and saw a guy playing a saxophone, singing, and driving on I-75. I digress.

MURRAY: Brooke, there's a guy in Miami who's a taxi driver that plays a guitar and does that.

BALDWIN: What are they thinking? That's for a whole other day. That's a different hot topic, playing instruments and driving. Let me get you more of this survey, 98 percent of the adults who said, yes, we text and drive, they admit they know it's wrong, but they do it anyway.

And so it just kind of got me thinking, is this what -- is this what smoking was to the last generation irony? I mean, is this something that, you know, Jacque, you realize this is wrong but you just ignore it?

JACQUE REID, RADIO AND TELEVISION PERSONALITY: You know, I wish I could be more like Jawn, I am guilty. I mean, I definitely text a little bit when I drive. I'm not as bad as I used to be because I got ticketed.

I live in New York and we were one of the first states to outlaw driving with your phone in your hand. But, listen, it's no excuse, but a lot of adults are probably texting not just your friends, but work things, and if you have kids, which I don't, we're juggling so much.

BALDWIN: Twitter, Facebook, e-mail.

REID: You don't have a lot of time as is, I don't know how I'm going to get through the rest of this day, my phone is right here. I'm constantly on it, but I think I'm glad that there's so much focus on this and I wish that a lot of that messaging would be geared more towards adults.

Because when I read the story in preparing for this today and it says the time it takes to look quickly at a text and maybe respond is the same way it would take you to drive the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. That's a long time.

BALDWIN: I had a mother on the show and she had lost her teenage daughter to drunk driving. And she said, Brooke, just imagine from the time you look down at your phone, think about driving with your eyes closed, that's four and a half, five, six seconds.

It just resonated. But the question then is, still despite all these bans in all these states, people are still doing it, what's a solution? Is it a pledge you take in your family? Does car technology need to be revamped to where maybe you plug in your phone, can't touch it, you can do voice texting? I mean, what do we do?

JEFFERSON: It's possible. I think it's not worth it. I think you can wait. It can always wait. There are over 1,000 people that die in texting and driving related accidents every day. Is it really worth it? I don't think so.

MURRAY: And maybe we should change legislation. Maybe if the crime is more severe, specifically to this type because it's increasing. There are more accidents, we see the statistics, maybe if people are afraid of the repercussions are then they'll be less likely to do it.

BALDWIN: OK, let me leave it there, maybe all of the above, but we should not be doing it. I want to move on because next we're going to talk about a school district deciding to ban Dodgeball and other games for kids where are targets here. Why some parents disagree with the ban. We're working on getting irony up. "Walking Dead" fans, we're working on it. Hearing issues, we're back after this.


BALDWIN: Kids in a New Hampshire school district may never get to experience the schoolyard fun or maybe for some of us the agony of the five Ds of Dodgeball. Here, if you will, a refresher course courtesy of the movie "Dodgeball."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just remember the five Ds of Dodgeball, dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.


BALDWIN: Now, with all that good advice with the five Ds, now apparently useful for the kids in New Hampshire because their school board just banned Dodgeball and other quote, unquote, "human target games" from school.

They say Dodgeball promotes violence and it promotes bullying, but some of the parents say, what, this is ridiculous and a couple are pretty angry about it. Listen.


PRISCILLA FLYNN, PARENT: It's Dodgeball. Dodgeball's been around as long as I can remember. Personally, I think it's a blast. If you don't want to play it, don't play it, but I don't think you should eliminate it for everybody else.

HEATHER DEVRIES, PARENT: Everything these days, they are worried about kids' feelings getting hurt, kids getting hurt, you know, how are they ever going to learn?

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Panel, let me open it back up in irony. We have you. So sorry you had hearing issues, technical issues. So I want to open this up to you. I feel like based on my Twitter responses on this, it's like people loved it or were scarred by it. How about you?

IRONE SINGLETON, ACTOR AND AUTHOR, "BLINDSIDED BY THE WALKING DEAD": Well, to quote Priscilla Flynn, it's Dodgeball. There's no crying in Dodgeball. I think that is a bit extreme. We need Dodgeball back, very extreme.

I think that it stands from something a lot deeper than that. I think it comes from the people requesting to cancel Dodgeball. It comes from something maybe deep seeded that they are dealing with, maybe they experienced bullying.

But the way to combat that problem is to actually focus on -- focusing on the bullies. We have to focus on what they are dealing with, what they are experiencing as opposed to the activity.

BALDWIN: Keep Dodgeball, but just deal with the bullying issue separately.

SINGLETON: Exactly. What if we have bullying at lunch, going to cancel lunch?

BALDWIN: The cool kids table, the list could go on and on. Jacque Reid, what do you think, is this ridiculous or not?

REID: No, I actually think there's something to it. I loved it when I was a kid because I was good at it. I was small, I could move, I could throw, and I could catch, but I remember those kids who weren't good at it and it was a nightmare for them.

Here is the thing. You know, so many schools we don't have P.E. classes anymore because we don't have the manpower. If teachers cannot monitor what's going on in those games and a lot of kids during recess, you have to play with a group activity is. You don't have a choice to play or not.

And if you're a kid that's, you know, you can't throw that well, you can't catch that well, you can't dodge the ball, it's a nightmare for you.

BALDWIN: I can hear some of the parents saying, how else are our kids going to learn? This is what the superintendent said. Roll it.


DR. HENRY LABRANCHE, WINDHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: In light of our anti-bullying campaign, consistent with regard to being respectful of one another and creating an environment where we're not opening up avenues for bullying activities.


BALDWIN: Jawn, what do you think? I can hear the people saying, come on, we're just too sensitive.

MURRAY: Well, Brooke, typically that's what I'm saying, but listen, there are plenty of other physical activities and games these kids can be playing without using each other as human targets.

BALDWIN: They were using nerf balls.

MURRAY: Brooke, I think those two moms were bullies in high school. That's why she thinks Dodgeball is a blast. We have to be careful about creating an environment where kids can target one another.

Plenty of games they can play. Even in the study that we read, the fitness people said Dodgeball isn't even great physical activity because half the time you're waiting for other people to get out of the game. Let's do other sports.

BALDWIN: Whitney, you get the last word on Dodgeball.

JEFFERSON: OK, well, I have experience on both sides, I was a camp counselor for many years and was doing the game, but I was also an extremely awkward and un-athletic teenager. So I can see both sides.

I think it really comes down to the person in charge, the teacher, gym teacher, counselor, who's running the game. If you see a group of kids ganging up on a child or bullying, put an end to it. When someone throws a ball too hard or too fast, put the person out in a time out.

BALDWIN: Maybe I just had fun Dodgeball memories, but nevertheless --

MURRAY: Thought it was a blast, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I was that girl, no, I wasn't. No, I wasn't. Thanks to our panel, Whitney Jefferson, Jacqui Reid, Irone Singleton, Jawn Murray. Thank you all very much.

And now just ahead, we have some breaking news, I want to get straight to on Barbara Walters and her future. That's next.


BALDWIN: Don't be afraid to do what you want to do. This is a message from the first NBA player diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story in this week's "Human Factor."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With less than 3 minutes left in the game against the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks point guard Chris Wright is in the game. Playing in the NBA has been his lifelong dream, but it almost didn't come true.

CHRIS WRIGHT, FIRST NBA PLAYER WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: Noticed my foot started getting numb and got progressively worse, progressively worse. Next morning I got up to shoot and early in the morning, probably 7:00 in the morning, something like that, got up and shot. While I was shooting, my whole right leg went numb. Right foot went numb, basically, it went all the way up to the right side of my body.

GUPTA: Last year, Wright was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, M.S., a disease that damages the protection covering of nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It's a disease he had never heard of.

WRIGHT: I didn't know what it was. Once I found out, I still was, OK, you know, just have to do what I have to do to maintain my life.

GUPTA: Doctors told Wright he would never play basketball again, but he responded well to treatment and less than three months after his diagnosis, Wright was back on the court.

He made history when he signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first person with M.S. to play in the NBA. While it may have only been a short stint, Wright believes this will not be the last time he'll play in the NBA.

WRIGHT: Everything happens for a reason, it's not a coincidence. It happened during M.S. awareness week so everything kind of fell into place.

GUPTA: Monthly treatments are keeping his M.S. from progressing, and he's not shying away from his diagnosis. Wright says he's proud to be the face of M.S.

WRIGHT: Don't be afraid to step out and do what you want to do. That's my message to everyone that has M.S. Don't believe that it's a crippling disease, yes, there may be limitations, but you can still live your life. I wear that sign on my chest proudly. I'm a part of the M.S. Society. That's what I am.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


BALDWIN: Make sure you watch Sanjay's show, "SANJAY GUPTA M.D.," Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Get in or get out as the Dow hits this crazy highs, we'll give you advice on stocks and your 401(k). I'm Brooke Baldwin, the news is now.

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