It’s been all over the news that obesity is a disease, but I guess I’ve got a couple of questions/issues with that:
* This article from Houston’s channel 24 is pretty typical, noting that “Over 64 percent of the population in America is overweight, and nearly half of them are obese — more than 30 pounds over a healthy weight.” Then they show this “stock photo of a fat guy:”
Here’s my problem: what this sort of image does with the claim that 64% of the population is overweight is to equate everyone who is overweight with this guy, who, besides being headless (ever notice no really fat people have heads on TV?), is WAY more fat than “overweight” or even merely “obese.”
My point is there’s fat and then there’s FAT, and it seems to me that there’s a big difference between someone like me– a guy who could lose another 20 pounds or so, but who is otherwise in reasonably good health– versus stock photo fat guy, who could probably lose about 100.
* Besides that, just because someone is overweight or obese doesn’t mean they automatically have the problems we assume are caused by obesity. This is the point of this book by Paul Campos called The Obesity Myth.
* What counts as “obese?” Or, for that matter, “overweight?” I’ve blogged about this before too, but as long as we’re going to use Body Mass Index as the mechanism for deciding this, and as long we’re going to insist a BMI of less than 25 as “normal,” then of course a huge percentage of the population is going to be considered overweight. I’m no physician and I don’t have the answer to the question as to what counts or doesn’t as obese and overweight, but I think it’s gotta be different from this scheme.
* Why now is “obesity” being called a disease? Well, I don’t really know the answer, but I came across this interesting article. Now, granted, it comes from a group that I think lobbies for fast food companies and groups like that; but they suggest that one of the reasons why obesity is being named a disease for the purposes of Medicare is so that drug companies and doctors. that offer stomach surgeries can cash in.
* And I guess the big question I have is this: now that I am technically obese, can I cash in? I pay around $40 a month for the gym– can I have my medical insurance cover that? Low-carb food choices tend to cost more money than “regular” food choices, so I’m wondering if I can get some sort of reimbursement for the difference in costs there. And really, if being obese really were to get me access to certain government bennies, isn’t there some motivation for me to get even fatter? Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets super-fat so he can claim disability and then do his job as a nuclear plant safety office from home?
Hmmm…. that’s just crazy enough to work!