Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Big as Life: Some Thoughts on Obesity, Part 2

A couple days ago, I saw the show: Big as Life: Obesity in America. Here are some more thoughts.

As I was (unsuccessfully) looking for this video or at least a trailer for it online, I found this woman's blog entry about watching the show. Her entry was touching. Her comments about people who are walking the fine line between self-acceptance and delusion (e.g., people who were saying that "there are no health problems with being fat") as well as the endocrinologist who doesn't jump to judge obese people really struck me. The really interesting part of her post was her reaction to seeing fat people as the focus of attention. She's not comfortable with her weight and it causes her real distress.

Some people are really happy in their big bodies, but I would guess that a much greater percentage have had a hard time living as large people. Our society's focus on waif-like Abercrombie & Fitch or Cosmo models is no more healthy than our increasing waist size and decreasing activity level. The extremes seem unhealthy to me. Healthiness lies somewhere between couch potato and marathoner, between big macs every day and fad diets, between fat is great and fat is evil. The extremes are either unhealthy, hard to maintain for the long run, or both.

I wish every person who struggles with weight the strength and persistence to find their middle ground to happiness.

I remember when a study came out that said that people who are "overweight" had lower incidence of certain bad health stuff than folks who are "normal." Jacob Sullum at Reason Online has some interesting thoughts on this. Basically, you could argue that being "overweight" is the healthiest range to be in (thus, I have named my gut "life extender"), but you can't say the same for the "obese" or "underweight" ranges. The middle is pretty broad. The extremes are still unhealthy.

The Day

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