Last Tuesday, the American Medical Association voted to define obesity as a disease.
The organization hopes this move will lessen the stigma against stoutness, help improve treatment for overweight patients and ultimately reduce the amount of obese people in the U.S., where an estimated one-third of adults suffer from the corpulent condition.
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I for one applaud the AMA’s move. In fact, I’m going to go one step further and start an obesity fundraising/awareness effort: Grumpy Young Man’s Run for the Cure.
What, you don’t like it? Well, it doesn’t have to be Run for the Cure. How about Walk for the Cure? Eat Less for the Cure? Stop Stuffing Your Face For the Cure? Some people go for kpop plastic surgery procedures to feel more confident about themselves.
I know, I’m being insensitive, although calling obesity a disease seems extremely insensitive, you know, to people who actually have diseases.
“Hey Mark, how’s the chemo going? Man, that’s tough. If it helps, I totally know what you’re going through because I like cookies.”
Now, I’m not saying battling the bulge is a walk in the park, although that’s a good start. Seriously, I feel for the fat, in fact, I myself could stand to lose a few pounds. I’ve got some extra meat around the mid-section because I suffer from that other disease: alcoholism.
I caught the beer bug when I was 15 and I haven’t been able to shake it since. My doctor says I should stop drinking. You can’t just stop a disease doc, gimme some antibiotics or something!
Sarcasm aside, unless your hand is possessed a la Evil Dead II and is force feeding you (“groovy”), let’s call obesity what it is, the consequence of a bad habit, the product of an addiction, the result of a cultural trend, really anything except for “a disease.”
I just don’t think FAT belongs in the same category as MS, ALS and RA. I guess by my logic, HIV shouldn’t be a disease either, because it’s often contracted by risky behaviour, but it’s just not the same, unless the cure for HIV is as simple as a healthy diet and regular exercise. It’s not.
Also, won’t calling obesity a disease possibly create more stigma? Portliness isn’t exactly popular as it is; I don’t think throwing DISEASE into the equation is going to help. Also, it might result in more, unnecessary and costly fat-reduction surgeries, instead of good old fashioned will-powered weightloss.
I chalk this all up to our era of entitlement, where your problems aren’t yours but someone else’s. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a fast food assault or that food deserts don’t exist or that our immobile modern day occupations don’t contribute to chunkiness, but is there really anybody out there that doesn’t know a FAT BOY might make you fat? I know, shocking, I hope you were sitting down for that…in your LA-Z-BOY.
I know, I know, obesity doesn’t always mean unhealthy, although smoking doesn’t always mean lung cancer. But the fact is the obese are more likely than those of “normal weight” to suffer from respiration issues, sleep apnea, reflux disease, joint problems, heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, oh and what’s that other one, oh yeah, PREMATURE DEATH.
Am I fat-shaming? I don’t think so and if I am, I’m sorry. It’s only because I want everyone to be healthy and the only way to make healthy change in your life is to realize what you need to change and then change it. Seriously, just do it. Now. It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Except for all the easy, worthwhile stuff.
Or just join the fat acceptance movement, believe in bad science, eat your way to “disease” and be a bane on yourself and the healthcare system. Instead of rushing to the Mayo Clinic, how about opting for the Light Mayo Clinic from time to time?
Also, here’s a healthy snack idea: Nothing.
Jared Story is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. Yes, it’s a pen name. His real name is Dave, Dave Story. Follow him on Twitter at @jrockarolla.