Monday, January 9, 2012

Comparative Fatness

My title is a word play on a concept that was addressed in a recent news paper article or series of articles.  A journalist, Marni Jameson, interviewed several health experts for her four part series "Why We're Fat." 
I was most interested in the last piece and you can read it in its entirety here.  Part 4 focuses on the environment and governmental policies, which are also my areas of research and career interest.  I particularly would suggest that you look at numbers, 1,2, 4 and 8-10 if you are curious about my leanings. 

Item 8 is the one that inspired my title, but in Jameson's article, Steve Smith, PhD is credited with saying "Fat is the new normal" and Ms. Jameson's header is "Fat is Relative."  Sadly, both have a legitimate point.  If everyone around you is overweight, then your obesity does not stand out with  the importance that it should.  Not only is fat prevelant, so is chronic disease - i.e. diabetes and hypertension.  These conditions might then be normal, if you take normal to mean "majority," but they are not 'healthy' states of being.  Also, in this particular section of the article - vanity sizing is noted.  In other words, the clothing industry has responded to our vanity - not wanting to wear a size 12 or 14 because those are fat sizes - and takes those SAME patterns and calls them a 10.  This is a grand form of denial - not of attractiveness or unattractiveness - that is size neutral and really IS a matter of opinion - but of disease.  Disease states are measureable and objectively defined - overweight> diabetic>hypertensive.... >disability>unsuccessful aging> premature death or disability adjusted life years (living as long but in poor health).

Read the entire article and see if you can guess why I do NOT like the way it ends - (hint (ok answer) - the article explores reasons why people are fat as related to government subsidies, marketing ploys, food availability, food content, etc... and then tells the individual to do something different)

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