Well, colour me tangerine!
I open the Sydney Morning Herald this morning (that bastion of fat-hatred) and find an almost entirely fat positive article criticising the Australian government’s misguided intention to weigh and record the BMI of 4 year olds. It gets in there, questions the assumptions and even finishes on a fat positive note.
What the HELL is going on?
‘One in four Australian children and one in two adults are already overweight or obese,” the Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, told a conference of obesity experts this week.
Where are they, minister? In the past fortnight, I’ve been in the centres of Sydney and Melbourne, in Newcastle and Katoomba, and in Sydney suburbs including Maroubra, Gladesville and Parramatta. I’ve seen plenty of fat adults but nothing like one in two. I’ve seen thousands of children, but were a quarter of them fat? No way.
So we have to ask again, where are they? Either Australia’s fat people are hiding, too scared to come out and incur the wrath of the Health Minister, or else something fishy is going on. As fishy as Roxon’s other claim, that obesity is costing the [Australian] economy $21 billion a year.
Great start, right? Except for the bit about fat adults.
We have to fight back. If this is the first step in the introduction of a Rudd Labor nanny state, it is necessary to make a stand now. The obesity epidemic is a myth created by the pharmaceutical and health industries, and we don’t have to accept their nonsense.
There are three main points to be made about fat. First, it is not nearly as extensive as claimed. Second, being a bit overweight is not as bad as most people believe. And third, there’s not much you can do about it anyway.
Even if one believes the general population is fatter than it once was, we should be cautious about assuming this is a bad thing. A recent major study published in The Journal Of The American Medical Association found that overweight people have a lower death rate than people who are normal weight, underweight or obese. The study was carried out by Katherine Flegal and other federal government researchers at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Being up to nearly 14 kilograms overweight reduces by 40 per cent your chance of dying from a range of common diseases and risks, not least because it improves your chances of recovering from surgery, injury and infections.
OMG! He’s done research! I’m about to faint. And I’m quoting nearly the entire article.
The findings have outraged many health experts, and in response they have made some good points. These include the fact that being overweight does increase the chance of death from some illnesses, even if it reduces the chance of death from many others. It has also been pointed out that health is about more than whether you die.
But it is important to note that worrying about being overweight is rarely useful. Dale Atrens, a reader emeritus in psychobiology at the University of Sydney, has made an extensive study of scientific literature in this area. He says, “The injunction to lose a little weight is probably the most common medical prescription. It is given to untold millions each day through both official and unofficial channels. Globally, the weight loss industry is approaching a trillion-dollar turnover. This is astonishing in light of the fact that there is no systematic evidence that any of the weight loss schemes (except surgery) have any more than transient effects.”
Yes. Yes. Yes.
The next time someone, even a health minister, tries to make you feel guilty about carrying a few extra kilos, just say no.
Ba-da Bing! Ba-da Boom!
Read the full article here (although I’ve probably quoted most of it)