hello! i love your blog, and it's helping me immensely in my ED recovery. i have a question: one of the biggest "fat is unhealthy" arguments i hear revolves around how obesity rates are increasing, and that obesity hurts everyone due to the rising healthcare costs surrounding supposed fat-induced diseases. can you shed some light on why people are getting larger, and how this is negatively impacting healthcare costs? thanks so much!
It’s fairly well established in the scientific literature that people are fatter now than they were a generation ago. The fat-phobic movie, Wall-E, does a good job illustrating most people’s vision of this so-called “obesity epidemic.”
But how much fatter are we?
Estimates vary, but the consensus is that the average person today weighs about 8 - 15lbs more than the average person in the 1960s. That’s it. About 10 lbs., or one clothing size.
What caused us to get fatter?
Despite all the speculation concerning the causes of this population change – sugary drinks, processed foods, sedentary jobs, the moon – the fact is that we don’t know why it happened. Similar gains have been observed among non-human animals, leading some people to speculate that environmental toxins are to “blame.” But it may remain a mystery.
“But what about the cost of all the fatties?!?!”
Frankly, that line of argument is gross and discriminatory. It is appalling to single out a group of people and try to calculate how much it “costs” to provide health care to that group.
In addition, such calculations rest on a number of faulty assumptions, the most glaring of which being the assumptions that fat causes the health conditions that are associated with higher body weight, that weight loss is possible, and that weight loss improves health, none of which are supported by the scientific literature.
So the fact that those arguments are common doesn’t make them valid, it just reveals how fat-phobic most people are.
- Mod D