In the introduction of my book, I wrote about the detrimental effects of "politically-correct-itis." A word I coined to describe social diseases arising out of fear of saying something that might offend individual sensibilities. The fat acceptance movement is yet another symptom of this disease.
Proponents claim that overweight and obese individuals are unduly ridiculed and discriminated against by the media specifically and by society in general, and that medicine has unjustifiably blamed obesity as a gateway to disease.
Advocates note that overweight women are at greater risk for discriminatory actions harboring hate crime characteristics. They argue that overweight individuals are subjected to greater employment scrutiny, and that transportation companies are increasing ticket prices by the pound.
Of course, all of this is true, the overweight are ridiculed and discriminated against, but by whom exactly? Considering that 70% of Americans are overweight (including obese), who is doing the finger pointing? I would love to be in the boardroom of some of these companies that are making anti-fat people policies. How many of those policy makers are overweight themselves? The hypocrisy is quite heavy, pun intended.
In essence, the fat acceptance advocates want all of us to accept overweight and/or obese people as they are, and without prejudice. After all, they have the right to be as heavy or as sick as they choose to be, and no one has the right to tell them otherwise. How can you argue with that logic? We live in America, the land of the free.
Okay, I would gladly accept their reasoning, if it were not for two very important counter arguments. The first concern is how acceptance will affect the well-being of our children. You remember them, the innocent and naive bundles of joy that we bring into this world. The vulnerable little angels that we are supposed to guide, teach and protect. As parents, are we not suppose to teach our children the values of education, spirituality, generosity, humility, humanity and positive lifestyle behaviors? What? Positive lifestyle behaviors, what in the world???? Do you mean the benefits of eating right and exercise, and how doing so just might prevent disease and inevitable harrassment?
However, this means that we, as parents and mentors, have to practice what we preach. We have to stop buying and eating processed and fast foods, and get up off the couch. But doing these things requires effort, which is more difficult than accepting overweight and obesity as another misunderstood and overly criticized human faux pas.
The second argument is purely financial based on the rising costs of healthcare. Regardless of how the fat acceptance supporters try and spin the facts related to obesity related diseases, their arguments fall on deaf ears. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that aligns obesity to heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, liver disease, kidney disease, gallbladder disease, etc, etc., etc. The medical costs in treating these conditions is enormous, with estimates reaching 142 billion dollars per year. The argument - why should all Americans, but especially those not overweight, obese or suffering from an associated disease, share in these healthcare costs?
Finally, I for one have been in the trenches with my overweight and obese patients. I have seen their tears and felt their emotional pain. I understand their sense of embarrassment and their psychological struggles. I have seen the physical consequences from heart disease to osteoarthritis. However, acceptance is not going to help them overcome these issues, nor will it prevent disease or discrimination for that matter, but it might in fact, aid and abet them. Moreover, it will provide our children with the very excuse they need to follow the same unhealthy and overly ridiculed path.
The Naked Truth!
The Fat Acceptance Movement
by Dr. S on November 15th, 2009
Posted in not categorized Tagged with anti-fat, fat acceptance, overweight, obese, children
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