Disclosure: I may harbor prejudice against fat people. I know them well. I am/was one depending on the time of year.
“Of all the things we could be exporting to help people around the world, really negative body image and low self-esteem are not what we hope is going out with public health messaging,”
“The findings were troubling, suggesting that negative perceptions about people who are overweight may soon become the cultural norm in some countries, including places where plumper, larger bodies traditionally have been viewed as attractive, according to a new report in the journal Current Anthropology.”
Hmmm. This bad feeling is being exacerbated by all the attempts to get people to eat healthier and live healthier life styles (read exercise). Is this just politically correct thinking? Why shouldn’t you resent the person who is flowing over into your seat on the bus or airplane? They are taking up their space and yours. Flapping extra flesh is just not attractive. What went through my mind as I read this was, is there any evidence for health benefits for any particular segment of our society for being obese (weight is 20% more than their normal body weight)? The article, sadly, did not address this.
Are Samoans healthier because they pack on the weight? Are Eskimos healthier in their climate because they are fat? Note in the article in the case of Samoan women who are well educated, the preference is for “slimmer silhouettes”. Are there people who just can’t lose weight and that is their normal state? Are fat kids better off by not being made fun of than losing weight? Since I have no data, I am going to take a leap here. The answer, except in very few exceptions, is no.
My guess is they die younger, suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other weight related health problems. Maybe when we all ate natural foods in the wild, extra poundage was a benefit, but most of it today comes from highly processed food, and that we know is not healthy. As for not being able to lose weight, I never saw one overweight person in the death camps from WWII. Not exactly a healthy way to lose weight, but demonstrates that calories in count. My own anecdotal experience, which means nothing in the vast human spectrum, is that when I lose weight, my blood pressure drops, as does my cholesterol, to healthy ranges, and I feel like I am 10 years younger with lots of energy. This is bad?
Well it might be for the markets. Let’s assume that all fat people began healthy life styles. Who would eat the Coco Puffs? Say goodbye to the Colonel (Sanders). Pizza would take a hit, not to mention most fast food hamburger joints. Big and Tall would loose about 3/4 of their customers. And what about all those medical supply stores that sell back supports for people whose back problems result from supporting an ample stomach? And just what would they do with all that corn syrup? Of course investing in a gym might be a wise investment and if we cut our calories in half there would be more for the rest of the world and food prices might drop.
So my bottom line is this may not be a bad thing as the world perceives fat people negatively. Maybe it is a normal social adjustment to our new (last 100 years) eating styles and the effect on our health and welfare. Maybe it is societies way of getting back in balance to maintain the species. My Dad always said, “Do you eat to live, or live to eat.” Well it depends….