Why Do We Need a Fat Acceptance Movement?

Yesterday I read an article in CNN Health entitled, “Is the fat acceptance movement bad for our health?”  Why do we need a fat acceptance movement?  Who cares if you are fat or thin or somewhere in between.  What difference does it make if you are tall or short or somewhere in between.  Does the color of your skin really matter?  These are all physical characteristics that have no bearing on callings which we are to carry out in our lifetimes.

Reading the article, though, reveals its intent.  It says, “Many organizations and businesses are championing a new definition of beauty — one that is not dictated by waist size — but is that message undermining our health and allowing overweight people, most of whom are not healthy, to become complacent?”

There should not be an assumption that obese and overweight people are unhealthy.  Let’s face it, if you can eat what you want, as much as you want, not exercise and partake in negative lifestyle choices and be healthy, that’s great.  But is that possible?  Can you eat junk food and fast food, can you drink sodas and other sweetened drinks, take in more calories than you need and rarely or never exercise and still be healthy?  Evidence and studies show otherwise.

Will accepting that being overweight or obese is fine — undermine the progress being made toward heart health?  From the CNN article it says, “Experts have recently found that the decades-long efforts to limit one serious heart risk — smoking — is expected to pay off with longer life spans. Unfortunately, the rise in obesity will likely undercut that progress.  Expert opinion is pretty much unanimous: Being overweight is bad for your health, particularly for your heart.

According to Barry Franklin, Ph.D., the director of the Cardiac Rehab Program and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, “Obesity is probably the only risk factor that has such a global negative impact on so many risk factors for the heart”.

According to the article, the heart disease risk factors from obesity include, “high blood pressure, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and trouble with blood-fat levels, such as higher triglycerides, low HDL (good cholesterol), and high LDL (bad cholesterol). Obesity is also associated with sleep apnea.”

The issue isn’t about accepting fat people, it is about how obesity impacts all of us.  Obese people have significantly more doctor’s visits, tests, treatments and take more medications than healthy people, yet we all bear the cost because of higher insurance premiums.  If that weren’t the case, would we really care as much?  To each his own, right?  There’s no such thing as secondhand obesity.

Let’s face it, if there were no insurance companies and we all had to pay as you go at the doctor, we would all take care of our health better.  As it is now, we pay a co-pay and the insurance company pays the rest.  In order to be able to do that, they charge us all ever higher and higher premiums and we all bear the brunt of paying for the unhealthy lifestyles of other people.

Would I care if there was an unhealthy acceptance movement?  I am and would be an outspoken critic of it…

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