A pair of Spanx running shorts, a chest-crushing Under Armour workout shirt or similar compression-type synthetic clothing can help smooth out unsightly lumps and bumps, making the wearer look more shipshape. But wear such clothing too long and there are health risks.

And they’re not related to what happens when you finally free your body from confinement.

Experts say so-called shapewear worn for extended periods of time can cause a host of physical issues, from painful burning and tingling in the thighs caused by too-tight pants squeezing nerves that run through the groin to indigestion to irritable bowel syndrome to urinary incontinence.

Some compression-type clothing is useful, such as socks worn during long airplane flights to promote circulation through the legs and after hard workouts, when they may provide some support for recovering muscles.

But most experts say the real solution is not what you wear but what you do; a little body-shaping behavior (exercise) goes a lot further than Lululemon tights.

Body of Knowledge

Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has run races in which he has exceeded 30 miles per hour (for stretches far shorter than that). That’s fast, but five other members of the animal kingdom can run faster over the same distance: the North African ostrich (max speed: 40 mph), the greyhound (43 mph), a thoroughbred racehorse (55 mph), the pronghorn (55 mph) and the cheetah (61 mph).

Get Me That, Stat!

When 2,000 people take a daily aspirin for two years, one heart attack is prevented — and four are not, according to clinical trials and statistical analysis called “number needed to treat.”

Number Cruncher

Two microwaveable White Castle cheeseburgers (90 grams) contain 310 calories, 153 from fat. They have 17 grams of total fat, or 26 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet, according to the Calorie Count database.

They also contain 40 milligrams of cholesterol (13 percent), 600 milligrams of sodium (26 percent), 26 grams of total carbohydrates (9 percent), 1 gram of dietary fiber (4 percent), 3 grams of sugar and 14 grams of protein.

Phobia of the Week

Oikophobia: fear of home surroundings and household appliances.

Never Say Diet

The speed-eating record for chicken spiedies (a sandwich consisting of marinated and then grilled cubes of chicken, indigenous to New York state) is 13.75 in 10 minutes, held by Joey Chestnut.

Best Medicine

A nurse in a pediatric clinic handed a young patient a urine sample container and told him to fill it up in the bathroom. A few minutes later, the boy returned to the nurse with an empty cup. “I didn’t need this after all,” he said. “There was a toilet in there.”


“Freud: If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.” — American comedian Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Medical History

This week in 1955, polio vaccinations with the Jonas Salk vaccine were suspended by the U.S. surgeon general. Several children had acquired the disease from the vaccine. The trouble was traced to faulty production at an independent laboratory.

Last Words

“Nothing but death.” — British author Jane Austen (1775-1817) when asked by her sister whether there was anything she wanted. There is much speculation about Austen’s cause of death. She suffered from deteriorating health in the last year or so of life. Attributed causes include Addison’s disease, Hodgkin lymphoma, bovine tuberculosis (associated with drinking unpasteurized milk) and a form of typhus.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.