Advantages of being overweight

Inspired by this insanity and in the spirit of this classic column on smoking. Are there any advantages (I was thinking health wise, but also generally) in being overweight to various degrees - from being bed-bound to just carrying the love handles?

The most obvious one is lasting longer in a famine as the body enters ketosis and the liver does its stuff.

Debating this with a mate I reckon that you might be better off if someone stabbed you; the blade being kept away from vital organs by lipid deposits, as seen in this case.

When it comes to cars it seems that being overweight might help you out if you’re hit by one - presumably lipids acting as a sort of internal padding. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply when in a car

Any other examples where supersized beats superskinny?

It’s more difficult to wrestle, judo throw or just push a fat person around. It’s not just sheer mass either - fat people tend to have a lower center of gravity. Tall & skinny people get thrown about like ragdolls.

Ever wondered why men tend to gain fat around the belly, whereas women gain fat in different areas? That’s because males were historically bound to get into fights, and all that belly-fat would protect the vital organs from harm.

Also, this is a very personal observation but I’ve noticed that fat people tend to have quite muscular legs - particularly the quads. So I would guess that, at the same level of overall strength, a fat person would be able to exert more force with their legs.

Last but not least, fat people are also very comfy. I’d rather rest my head on John Goodman’s belly than on Daniel Radcliffe’s ribs

Tasks that require pulling or pushing hard, like competing in a tug of war or pushing a car along the road, favor heavy people who can get more traction.

Some kinds of wasting illnesses take longer to fell a person with more fat. Studies of weight and mortality show a variety of advantages as well as the more well known disadvantages for heavy people.

Fat is a good cushion, which comes in handy when you take a bad fall.

Though I know quite a few fat people who get cold easily (just as I do), I imagine having an extra thick layer of insulation makes it less likely a fat person will suffer from hypothermia.

People who have fat faces tend to age more gracefully.

The risk of osteoarthritis is higher in skinny people. Perhaps carrying extra weight makes the bones denser.

Fat folks are harder to kidnap.

Anyone remember the fat fighter Butterbean?

Won’t waste my time feeling sorry for him
I’ve seen the other side to being thin
Roll us both down a mountain and I’m
Sure the fat man would win

– Jethro Tull, Fat Man

It takes a larger dose to poison a fat guy.

Obesity prevents against osteoporosis, although it’s probably better to phrase it as ‘being underweight promotes osteoporosis’ (ref). (And, as an aside, despite an assertion to the contrary earlier in this thread, obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis).

No one has yet mentioned the potentially beneficial effect of obesity on fertility. At first glance, that seems a paradoxical statement since obese women are often infertile (e.g. PCOS and allied disorders). The key point, though, is that weight loss, including that due to starvation, can restore obese women’s fertility. And that leads to an important advantage of obesity: preservation of ‘herd fertility’.

In other words, when normal-weight women are starving and losing weight (and are hence not ovulating and infertile), obese women who lose weight, though previously infertile, can cross a weight threshold where their fertility returns. So, during a period when the population is starving and most women are (temporarily) infertile, it is obese women who keep the ‘tribe’ going. This obviously has implications in terms of preserving and selecting for various genes involved in weight gain and weight loss, i.e. may help explain the high prevalence of obesity (or the tendency to become obese).

If you’re a fat guy, you can fart whenever you want, because there’s less chance of having a girlfriend nearby.

I float like nobody’s business.

It makes treading water 10x easier.

I had a treading water test I had to take annually. Once I gained about 20 lbs, I noticed it became ridiculously easy.

Paintballs don’t break on extremely fat people. But they can’t chase you either.

Fat floats. Bone and muscle do not.

We all float down here.

At least one analysis of data involving three million people says that being overweight(not obese) lowers your risk of dying.

Which makes me wonder: how did they, whoever they are, originally define ‘overweight’? Surely ‘a healthy weight’ should be the range at which mortality and serious illness rates are lowest, and ‘overweight’ should be the range in which those rates start to go up?

Yeah, that’s an odd one - if that’s the case seems like they need to adjust the healthy weight up a bit.

How does obesity effect dehydration? Obviously you can go longer without food - is the same true for water, or is the inverse true (since you’ve a greater volume/surface area to keep hydrated)?

Cold affects me less. I certainly feel the cold on my face and fingers and toes, but my core stays warm. I usually just wear a single-layer fleece jacket in the winter, when everyone else is busting out their puffy down-insulated coats.

Falls also don’t hurt me very much, as long as I fall on my chub. I’m sure if I fell right on my knee or twisted my ankle that it would be painful. But I’ve slipped on the driveway a couple times this winter and fell on my ass and hip, respectively. It was embarrassing and wet, but not particularly painful.

Oh, and fewer wrinkles. I have none, although I doubt I’d have any at 29 anyway.

I like the built-in table that comes with being fat. Get myself settled in the recliner and I have plenty of room for a handful of cookies or bowl of cereal no spills.