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Are you fat? Do you admit it?

  • by
  • August 7, 2009
  • 9:42 am
Are you fat?  Do you admit it?

More people are fat now than ever.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been tracking it, and the picture isn’t pretty.  Last year, only Colorado had an obesity prevalence of less than 20%.  This is pretty shocking.  Of note here is that obesity is defined by CDC as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more.  There is a lesser category called “overweight” that  is somewhere between a healthy weight and being obese.  Even being overweight can put the heart and cardiovascular system at risk, however.

A poll of 1,000 people randomly sampled from across the U.S. released recently by McClatchy in Washington showed that about 50% of those surveyed thought that obesity was either a minor problem or no problem at all for their families.  Two-thirds of the respondents thought that they were at a healthy weight.  Statistically, given the data from CDC, this isn’t possible. 

As a researcher and healthcare professional, this poll is troubling to me for a few reasons.  First, it begins to show that many people are not aware of the true definitions of overweight or obesity.  Not seeing yourself as overweight or obese will naturally lead to no positive actions against it.  Second, our health behaviors are learned from what we observe and practice while growing up.  If you grow up in a household where no one sees their weight as a problem (when it actually is a problem), then a whole new generation who believe the same thing has been created.  It’s much easier to develop healthy behaviors when we are children than to change them when we become adults. 

Lastly, the longer people are overweight or obese, the sicker they become.  When we are sick, we consume more healthcare resources.  Former President Clinton spoke just days ago, noting that obesity alone costs the U.S. approximatley $147 Billion per year.  So, imagine a generation of folks that really are unhealthy, but don’t see it that way.  This is quite possibly this situation in which we find ourselves right now.

In the interest of disclosure, my weight is at an unhealthy level.  I’ve lost nearly 20% of my starting body weight in the last year, but have much more to loose.  There.  I admit it.

So, my question to you is this:  Are you fat?  Do you admit it?  What are you doing about it?

Here are some petitions you might like to sign, if you are ready to take action:

Help End Childhood Obesity

Real Health Reform Starts with Prevention

Farm for Health, Energy Independence and the Envrionment

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53 comments

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1:18PM PDT on Aug 12, 2009

After my husband was disabled and I become his care giver 24/7 I gained a lot of weight. After he died I knew it was my problem and that I and only I could change the negatives in my life and become responsible for my actions.

So having lost weight and changed my entire lifestyle, I am healthier and happier. Sad thing is, even locally where fun free healthy living classes are given, most who show up are not fat. There seems to be some mindset that says its to hard to lose weight or its to expensive to eat healthy.

How do we change this thinking? Sure it takes personal discipline and sticking with the goal. Most obesity is because of poor food choices. And working with disabled wheelchair athletes I know some disabled men and women also work hard to be fit and healthy.

8:48AM PDT on Aug 12, 2009

most peopple can do something about being over weight, and I wish I was one of the lucky ones who have tthis choice, I had a bad back injury that stops me from doing hardly anything physcial.I watch what I eat and try keeping my wight down as much as possible, but I take very strong pain killers, which according to my Dr. I won,t lose weight while taking them xxx#^# pills. So please don,t judge a book by it,s cover. But if you are able to do SOMETHING about your weight, stop screwing around, and get to it. The first step is the hardiest. Heather

4:33AM PDT on Aug 12, 2009

Maybe it makes evolutionary sense to eat whatever's there while it's there! We are only a few generations from the Famines & hungry times that killed millions, & the 3rd World is still plagued by hunger.
I feel healthier when slim, but some people look good with a few spare pounds; ever noticed that there are different types of fat, from firm to flabby? I'm trying EFT (tapping) to help shift some of the flab.

8:15PM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

Wow, what a poorly researched (and written -- can we talk about spelling and grammar for a second?) story for Care2 to be promoting on the headline of their weekly report. Studies have shown that obesity is NOT the only factor having to do with these issues, and that people at the same BMI are often of completely different health. Someone can be overweight or obese and have no heart or blood pressure issues whatsoever, be able to run several miles a day with no problem, do cardio workouts, etc, when their thin counterparts cannot.

What we should really be concerned about is preventative care and family history -- doing the legwork to make sure that people with OTHER symptoms of illness are being properly cared for. But that would require a health care system that functioned properly, not just victim-blaming.

I'm deeply disappointed in this report and even more disappointed in Care for featuring it. I'm also pretty sure the 300 other newsletters I'm a part of can get me the activism I require. Bye.

5:05PM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

@Kimberly: No apologies from me. There is no doubt that some research is influenced by industry, but the bulk of the research in the last 10 years has been done with federal monies, and many of the studies are longitudinal in nature. One can't argue with a study of 5,000 people over 10 or more years (or in the case of the Nurses Health Study, over 40+ years). These are epidemiologic studies that track real disease and disability in people across time. As a nurse, I can tell you that there is nothing unreal about being obese. I've seen it time and again, the suffering that comes from a lifetime of being overweight. True, not everyone has problems, but most people do. As a researcher, I find enough solid evidence, free from industry influence, to convince me that being fat is no good for one's health. Plus, anyone can write and publish a book, so I tend to stick to peer-reviewed primary research studies whenever possible.

1:54PM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

Nerissa B.
I answered yes to all the questions 1-7
I did not know how poor my health coverage was until I got sick
and almost died that is when I found out about my health condition I and found out that even though I tried to to be informed and go to my doctor and be pro active in my health care because the insurance would not cover the tests I needed
I never got them until the day I almost died and by then I was on a downward slope.

8. If your answer to the previous seven questions was "yes" and you have access to affordable medical care have you received a detailed work-up to determine if you have a medical problem accounting for your obesity? If "no" then you are responsible.

I now can't get or change my health coverage because it is a preexisting condition.
So I have to answer no to 8
so how am I reasonable
I do and did everything I could and can and it is not water weight I am gaining it is fat and it is a side affect of the meds that keep me alive

10:35AM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

Methinks the author of this piece ought to read a bit more about the subject before assuming that the BMI is a good gauge of fitness. Start with Paul Campos' book The Obesity Myth or Glenn Gaesser's Big Fat Lies, then come back and apologize for buying in to the self-loathing, fat bashing, pseudo-medical nonsense that the $40 billion/year weight loss industry touts as fact in order to profit on human nature.

10:01AM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

I posed a much the same question a few years ago in a college ethics class and was almost unanimously derided for it.

Get real, people! You can claim 'big bones' and all for as long as you like, but it doesn't change the underlying health concerns associated with obesity. (And just to be clear, I'm not speaking of a single disease called obesity, I'm speaking of being excessively overweight in general). The fact that so many people who are overweight don't see themselves as such is a big issue. For reference, I'm 4'11" tall, weigh 95 pounds, and I try most often to eat healthy and exercise. I include my height so no one claims I'm simply an anorexic or bulemic. No one's asking Americans to turn into super skinny hollywood-esque tartlets. I think healthy weight has a nice good range, and you can be moderately overweight and still mostly heavy. But the point is that this has to be seen as something that needs to be fixed, not just status quo. We shouldn't be so overly pleased with ourselves so as to rail against changing ourselves so vehemently.

7:21AM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

Nothing like a self-righteous, arrogant slender person railing at overweight people. We need a civil rights movement for the overweight. You know that if you're large, people perceive you as less intelligent, lazy, and sloppy. You'll earn less money over your lifetime, not because of health-related absenteeism, but because of discrimination. Not to mention all the mental abuse you will heap on yourself on a daily basis.

Get real people. There isn't a fat person out there who isn't aware of it. Who wouldn't rather be thin. Who hasn't abused his or her body with unhealthy diet plans, questionable medications, even self-mutilation through bariatric surgery. Most actually eat less than their thin friends... I have a friend who intensely exercises 14 hours a week, plus works a physically demanding job, eats under 1000 calories a day, and still is fat.

6:32AM PDT on Aug 11, 2009

Must be so uncomfortable

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