Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


The Fats of the matter

In America, obesity is a big deal-pun intended. Everybody wants to make money off the “fat of the land,” including fat people.

For example, recently an overweight passenger, claiming emotional distress, sued an airline because it charged her for two seats. How about those lawsuits against fast food restaurants for making people fat? Hey, if you eat lots of fatty food, you’ll get fat!

Obesity is an uncomfortable conversation topic. As a teacher, I can’t talk about it in class, because I might hurt some student’s self-esteem. While we can proclaim the dangers of drug abuse and alcoholism, we must leave the fat alone, even though it’s killing almost as many people as tobacco, and even more kids.

The real problem with obesity is that people don’t like how fat people look. Why else would the diet industry be bursting at the seams? “Lose 20 pounds in two weeks to fit into a size 0.” “Eat all you want and still lose weight with this miraculous diet pill.” People are chopping off years of their life to slim down.

Let’s get over appearances and see the health implications. Obesity is a lifestyle issue. Most overweight persons are fat by choice. They want to eat what they want when they want to, and exercise is too much work. Some use food like drugs. Ice cream, chocolate and pizza are favorite comfort foods.

It takes too much discipline to be healthy. Plus, it’s easier to blame someone else for your weight problem. We get sympathy from others, and our self-esteem remains intact-down in the dumps. Is it worth it, though?

Obesity opens you up for a wide variety of diseases, including liver disease, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and the usual culprits, heart disease and stroke. Even ten-year-olds have these diseases at alarming rates!

Quality of life is also a problem. Obviously, people with the above-mentioned health conditions suffer significant discomfort. Then there’s the emotional impact: low self esteem; always wondering if people are watching; feeling bad whenever someone compares you with a slimmer person, etc.

How about the cost of subsidizing obesity? A super-sized meal may cost only $4, but treatment for diabetes costs thousands. Taxpayers must also foot the bill: most obese Americans are not wealthy, so Medicare must foot a part of the bill. Insurance premiums rise for everyone, because it is getting more costly for insurance companies to cover the health problems of obesity, including those from yo-yo dieting.

If you’re overweight, do yourself a favor and invest in your health. Don’t latch on to some diet just to drop the pounds. Start exercising; walk everyday-park at the far end of the lot, or get a dog and walk it everyday. Get together with friends and play sports, or get exercise videos and workout alone or with friends. Plan your meals, and don’t eat too often or too late. Get information about healthy living.

Frankly, some people need help. Their problem may be psychological or they may just need a health coach. If doing it alone hasn’t worked for you, get help. If you lose weight only to put it on again, get help. If you don’t know where to get help, e-mail me (through the UP) and I’ll point you to it.

Finally, quit focusing on looks. Healthy people usually look good anyway. It won’t be easy at first to start living healthily, but it’s totally worth it. So don’t weight around.

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