Yeah, so it's no secret I'm obese. My BMI is above the "obese" mark. America would put a big red "O" on my dress if it weren't for the fact that conveniently, everyone already knows already. My doctor sure knows. He can barely keep it together enough to tell me anything else other than the importance of diet and exercise. I don't disagree, but what I do disagree with is the assumption that all fat people are walking time bombs and all thin people are naturally healthier. It was this assumption that led an endocrinologist I saw to suggest weight loss surgery within a few seconds of meeting me. Can you say "kickbacks"?
It is also this assumption that is leading a new trend (reported on this week) for companies to charge a higher insurance premium to its obese and overweight employees. (To be fair, they added smokers to it too…and the irony of the State of North Carolina being at the forefront of this is too good to pass up. But that is easier to hide, isn't it.) This is ridiculous for so many reasons. Why not charge people with more problems? Despite what "scientific" studies tell us (as reported by the media who we all know love nothing more than talking about how bad fat people are), not all fat people are unhealthy. Do you charge former smokers? Former fat people? People who eat fast food regularly but are not fat? Do you charge African Americans differently because they have a higher propensity for certain diseases? Or those from Mediterranean backgrounds? Or Asian? See what I mean? So MANY factors play into a complete health risk picture.
But YOU can help it, you say. To a degree, yes. If people are honest with you, though, they'd tell you they don't fully understand why certain people are fat and certain people aren't. There's no doubt that if I were absolutely "perfect" with my diet–ate 1,500 calories a day and worked out every day, I'd be smaller. I would probably NEVER be able to maintain what the CDC considers "healthy" though. I find sticking to a 1,500 calorie diet difficult even when I try really hard. Why? Because the world (and by the world, I mean the U.S.) makes it so easy to NOT do that. Foods are calorie dense and everywhere. You have to really plan to get low cal foods prepared, and if you work late or the kids are sick or whatever other reason you can't, you have some difficult choices to make. Anyone faced with food choices at, say, a hotel snack bar in the middle of a rural area can attest to that (may I recommend the peanuts?).
The short argument is this, everyone is dealt a set of cards–genetic, social, mental, emotional, and othewise. And you make the best play you can with what you've got. Some people, like in populations living in poverty-stricken areas, can't go to Whole Foods to get their organic skim milk for $4 a half gallon. They walk to the Checkers to get the 2 for 1. I am fortunate to not be in this category. But, for the "system" to pick on a category of people, in this case "the fat," without treating the underlying causes, that is just discrimination.
What is particularly awful to me is that things to cause obesity (like subsidized corn–got high fructose corn syrup anyone?–and other food industry atrocities, suburbanized development patterns that prevent walking, etc) have been institutionalized, and now the same institutions are trying to do an about face and pushing the cost to those affected by the policies.
I really didn't mean for this to be a tirade, but I guess it turned out that way. What I REALLY intended to share was this GREAT blog I found devoted to exposing some of the hype in the media about medical issues, and one of those is obesity. (http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/) In general, I don't trust much of the "establishment" to tell me anything about anything. More often than not, there is a profit motive. Follow the money. If that makes me a radical, well, braid my hair and call me Moon Flower!