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A probe into the the nutritional content of the average keyboard has discovered that it contains an unhealthy balance of bread crumbs, crisp fragments, meat, sugar, salt and jam. Worse still, this inadequate diet is supplemented with toe and fingernail clippings, grit, glue and pubic hair.

That is the result of Brit ISP UK Online's chilling investigation into computer users' dietary habits and the microscopic fall-out from the same. The company polled 500 of its own staff, customers and agency staff and then sent 10 home and office keyboards off for analysis. Ninety-eight per cent of those quizzed admitted to eating all three major meals at their desk, and Reading Scientific Services Microscopy Lab's close-up shufti at their keyboards' innards revealed just what junk they've been stuffing themselves with.

British Olympic Nutritionist, Wendy Martinson, commented: "Research looking at the debris found in keyboards has shown that many of us are chomping mainly on fatty sandwiches, pasties, pastries, cakes, buns and salty savoury snacks swilled down with tea and coffee while tapping away at the keyboard. These kinds of foods may not be the best choices for our health, waistline or brain power."

Accordingly, Martinson has produced a "Healthy Surfing" factsheet to help square-eyed wobble-bottoms get back into shape. It's available as a Word file here, and the gist is:

  • Have a bottle of water on your desk and drink it
  • Have small amounts of slow release carbohydrate foods during the day to maintain energy levels
  • Take breakfast and snacks into work so you're not caught short
  • Keep a store of cereals, seeds and nuts and fresh and dried fruits for snacking
  • Get up from your desk regularly, stretch you legs and refocus
  • Get out at lunchtime to recharge your batteries and eat a healthy lunch
  • Include physical activity in you day-to-day routine

Speaking of refocusing, here's a thought: what does an ISP care if we're all just one doughnut away from cardiac arrest? We'll let UK Online's Chris Stening explain: "The results of the survey and lab analysis are pretty grim. With the help of BOA nutritionist Wendy Martinson, we have produced a Healthy Desktop Fact Sheet to give the nations PC user's advice on how they can eat enough of the right foods to stimulate the mind and energise the body. With the new 8Mb service from UK Online people will have even more reason to spend time at their PC's, we hope that Wendy's fact sheet helps them do it a bit more healthily."

Magnificent. We hereby award UK Online the El Reg 2004 trophy for "Most tenuous link between results of survey and product being promoted". Having said that, we would like to applaud the company for finding a keyboard containing pubic hair and bringing it to the attention of the unwashed, unhealthy masses. Accordingly, we note that you can get details on UK Online's 40-quid-a-month 8Mb service here. ®

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