I believe that fat people are more than just the fat they carry. They are more than the stereotyped image of the fat person who is lazy and eats all day. They have lives and families. Yet they seem to be open targets for public shame and humiliation. It seems that so many people are all too willing to poke fun at someone who is fat because of some preconceived notion that all fat people choose to be that way. Just because fat is so obvious. It cannot be hidden. It can't be tucked away within ourselves or stuffed in a box and stored under the bed. It can never be a secret.
I'm pro-fat acceptance because I am pro-human rights. Fat people have a right to feel comfortable in their own skin. They have a right to leave their houses without shame or fear of being mocked. Other people do not have to like it, but they certainly do not have a right to make someone feel less than human because of it.
The following are quotes from an article regarding health and fat.
Fat? Who Cares! Why Weight Doesn’t Matter
By Peter Jaret
“Overweight women who walked more than four hours a week had a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t exercise. This says to me that the most important risk factor isn’t being fat; it’s being sedentary.”
“One important study, an analysis of more than 5,000 participants in a national government sample, showed that 35 percent of obese women don’t have the constellation of health problems typically linked to higher weight. Specifically, they showed no more than one sign of these issues: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL [“good”] cholesterol, elevated glucose levels, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. And there are some health concerns, such as osteoporosis, that are much less common in people categorized as overweight or obese.”
"There’s something researchers call the “obesity paradox”—that people who are heavier tend to survive longer than thinner people with the same disease…Why isn’t entirely clear. But the findings call into question the widely held belief that being overweight or obese is always dangerous and suggest that it may be protective in some ways."
"When researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke looked at more than 12,000 middle-aged men and women for a study published in 2005, they found that obese men and women whose weight fluctuated over a two-year period were four times as likely to develop hypertension as the obese people whose weight remained stable. An earlier Italian study reported that women who had lost weight at least five times in five years were more likely to have high blood pressure than those whose weight remained stable."
"My colleagues and I did a study, reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, that confirms the usefulness of this approach. We randomly divided 78 obese chronic dieters, all female, into two groups: One followed a conventional weight-loss diet; the other enrolled in the Health at Every Size [HAES] plan, which emphasizes eating in response to hunger cues. Both programs lasted six months, and subjects were evaluated two years after the study’s beginning. By six months, 42 percent of the conventional-diet-program participants had dropped out, but only 8 percent of the HAES members had departed. The dieters did lose weight in the first six months, but two years later they had, on average, regained it all. Women in the HAES group did not lose or gain weight; they stayed the same weight throughout the two years. By the end of the study period, the HAES women showed significant improvements in their LDL [“bad”] cholesterol and systolic [the top number] blood pressure; the dieting group ended up where it had started. In addition, 53 percent of those following a diet reported feeling like failures; none of the HAES women did. So I think our message needs to encourage people to become healthy rather than focus on weight loss.”
"We need to resist the notion that being thin is the path to happiness. It isn’t. Trying to become thin can make people very unhappy. We’ve become so obsessed with weight that it’s a major revolution for people to say, “Hey, I can choose to see myself as attractive.” We’d all be much happier if we honored size diversity and focused on healthy choices, letting our weight fall naturally where it may."
Some more reading if you’re interested:
Genes take charge, and diets fall by the wayside
Obesity police busted? Study says fat folks can be healthy
- Sandy Szwarc, BSN, RN, CCP
At this week’s meeting of the American Heart Association, yet another study was reported which found that fatter cardiac patients were more likely to survive hospitalization and invasive treatments than thinner ones, even when adjusting for age and other contributing factors. In this analysis of 130,139 heart disease patients, 5.4% of “normal” weight patients died, as compared to 2.4% of “obese” and 3.1% of “overweight.” Yes, those whose were “obese” were more than two times more likely to survive!
This is really only a “paradox” because it goes against what everyone believes to be true…largely because we don’t hear anything else.
While many may be incredulous, the largest body of evidence has found that fatness is not a risk factor for heart disease or premature death, even controlling for the effects of smoking. Ancel Keys and colleagues confirmed this nearly half a century ago upon examining 16 prospective studies in seven countries, as well as actual angiographic and autopsy examinations of 23,000 sets of coronary arteries which found no relationship between body fatness and the degree or progression of atherosclerotic build-up. And the most careful studies ever since have continued to support these findings.
Dr. Paul Ernsberger, of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, led a review of nearly 400 studies that was published in the Journal of Obesity and Weight Regulation in 1987 which corroborated these results. “The idea that fat strains the heart has no scientific basis,” he said. “As far as I can tell, the idea comes from diet books, not scientific books. Unfortunately, some doctors read diet books.”
This April, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reported their clinical study of 14,739 patients with coronary artery disease, that had been confirmed on tomography, who were followed for over three years. They found that “obese” and “overweight” patients were at significantly lower risks for cardiac death than “normal” weight patients.
The medical student presenting the paper at the AHA meeting tried to justify the “obesity paradox” in their study by claiming, with no apparent evidence, that the fatter patients had better outcomes because they may have received better and more aggressive treatment.
That hypothesis is unsupportable. It is well recognized among obesity researchers and doctors that obese people on the whole receive worse medical care, are denied or have less access to quality care, are treated less aggressively and are often sicker by the time they do get care than thinner people. The discrimination in health care has been well documented, as has very real weight bias even among health professionals specializing in obesity.
Look for another obesity paradox soon.
Just came across this Study: HFCS Leads To Much More Weight Gain In Rats Than Sugar @ The Consumerist:
A study from Princeton published in the February issue of the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior (PDF) shows that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), used as a cheap sweetener in everything from Coke to Progresso soup, is not the same as table sugar, namely for the way that it makes you gain 48% more weight.[…]
“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”
Since HFCS was introduced into the American food supply as a cost-effective sweetener, the population’s obesity rate has shot up from 15% in 1970 to nearly 33% today.
I know many people have been suggesting this for years, but without the scientific proof, the health care establishment more or less refused to accept the premise. It seems that it is now confirmed. I only wonder for how long the subsidies will continue.