Congratulations and good luck to my grade 9 English teacher (now retired), Harold Lass, who tomorrow leaves his comfy Toronto digs for the Mt Everest base camp! I tried to get him to send dispatches from Everest, but he’ll be too busy (and too disconnected) to do so. Alas.

Thanks to Kamal V. for sending us this story about bra sizes in China getting bigger. As the article suggests, the increased Chinese bust size is likely due to improved nutrition in the wake of China’s economic explosion. Now, I’ve actually been noticing for some time that North American bust sizes, as well, have been increasing steadily over the past 2-3 decades (if not longer). My epidemiologist’s brain lands upon four possibilities:

  1. The observation is the result of fashion evolution (e.g, the push-up bra)
  2. It’s due to breast augmentation surgery being more popular
  3. My observation is incorrect (it is anecdote, after all, and not necessarily data)
  4. Natural bust sizes really are getting larger

If indeed #4 is the case, then I can think of four explanations:

  1. The well known North American obesity epidemic is causing greater fat deposits on women’s chests. (See this update on American fat stats for a kick in the pants.)
  2. Earlier and more prevalent use of the contraceptive pill has altered women’s hormonal balance in favour of increased bustitude
  3. The oft theorized “feminization” of society, due to the breakdown of plastic waste into estrogen-like compounds, is responsible for the amplified tittification, as well as for the seemingly increased prevalence of male impotence and infertility
  4. Due to immigration, the ethnic make-up of North American society is changing, resulting in the greater genetic influence of big-boobied peoples, both male and female

I’m not alone with these observations, nor with these theories. This Australian website mirrors my thoughts. Some of the objective data comes from bra size statistics, which show that proportionally more women are buying larger bras. But this letter suggests that part of that anomaly has to do with women finally being fitted properly for bras, thus correcting for an earlier small breast bias in the data.

On another topic… For those interested, there’s a petition out to convince the folks in Sweden to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Stephen Lewis. I can think of few more deserving his year.

I leave you with a cartoon forwarded to me by Nasty Nick: