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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fighting for Fat-ism

Yesterday morning, as I was peddling away on the seated elliptical, reading Dr. David Kessler's The End of Overeating, I looked up at the muted television screen right above me and saw a headline on one of the morning shows. It said "How to find a doctor who is not fat-phobic". It was impossible not to simply see the irony of my current location and the literature I was absorbing. But, more notably was the red light that flashed in my head. Really? We need to tell people to avoid a physician who is interested in ignoring a huge symptom in minimizing disease risk?

Two out of every three Americans is either overweight or obese. This is a grand majority and the numbers are only increasing. Children are growing overweight and obese rapidly. This is an epidemic and it is a crisis. Talk about a health care emergency! One of the most significant causes of type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and many cancers is the presence of too much fat on the body. These are the number one killers in the West. Fat causes Metabolic Syndrome, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, factors that lead directly to heart attacks and strokes.

Since when has a health issue become a political correctness compass? Clothing stores are popping up everywhere for the "larger-sized" woman. Magazines specialize in this population. The scary part is that our society is trying to adjust for the majority of the population instead of working to make changes to lead people into healthier lifestyles. This may well be the reason we are in Health care crisis and why health care has become utterly unaffordable. We can't keep up with our growing population as it is draining resources.

I am not trying to be insensitive as I know this is a very taboo way to approach the topic. But I am coming from a concerned perspective. We need to accept the fact that being overweight is dangerous...it is literally one of the most preventable and reversible symptoms of illness in America. Instead of focusing on finding physicians that will ignore the weight of his or her patients, we need to deal with it head on. Practitioners need to educate their patients on why carrying too much fat is unhealthy and to lead them in the direction of adopting healthy lifestyle practices, such as exercising regularly and eating a whole food, plant-based diet, rich in nutrients that help the body shed excess weight and fight disease. Nutrition counseling by Registered Dietitians and personal training by qualified individuals need to be covered by insurance and offered as incentives to employees who want to take advantage of this option. Healthier, fitter employees perform better and more efficiently. Our entire society can improve vastly if only we attack fat as the health issue it is and not acclimate culture to accept it.


Lauren said...

Love your take. I actually just finished Tiger Mother and she mentions it's such a Western thing to be scared to say "fat" or "overweight." Nobody would call it diabetes-ism. Great post.

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