Obesity: The New Smoking

According to the obesity is rapidly overtaking smoking as a cause of death in America. The CDC is so concerned about this, that they’re considering obesity to be public enemy number one.

Of course, there are some differences between smoking and obesity (besides the obvious), namely that it looks like the government is going to ban people from suing fast food joints, so it doesn’t look like that states will have a “McDonald’s Fund” to draw from like they do with the tobacco fund. Still, considering the zeal with which the government has chosen to go after not only smokers, but drug dealers/users, it seems to me that we can expect the same kind of inane heavy handedness in dealing with overweight folks.

I’m not overweight, but I am a smoker, and I find all of this interesting. Since no doubt the same arguments used against smoking will be recycled to use in the “battle of the bulge.” Even a second hand smoke-type argument can be used with obesity, since people will complain that overweight kids set a poor example for their children, thus causing their childern to be obese as well.

Another thing that I find interesting, even though it is most likely a coincidence, is that the war on smoking began about the same time that the Civil Rights movement was beginning in the 1960s. Today, we have gays fighting for the right to marry at the same time that the government announces its going to be waging a war on fat. It’s almost as if society has to have a large segment of the population to ostracize, and if one group starts to gain in acceptability, society immediately begins casting about for another group to shun.

I’m not trying to bash overweight folks or my fellow smokers or even the CDC, it just seems to me that a “Collective Good” is being manufactured for purposes of making it “okay” to harass people. Already, there’s been some talk about the strain that obese people place on the medical system (Hmm, where have I heard that before?).

If people who are overweight are happy with who they are, then good. If they want to lose weight, then they should have access to whatever medical means they need to do so. I’m certainly not going to be pointing my cigarette at an overweight person and saying, “Lose the weight, lardo, you’re jackin’ up my insurance premiums.” IOW, enjoy your cheeseburger, and pardon me while I smoke.

This really ought to be in the Pit, but did you ever stop to consider that it isn’t terribly peachy for sixty fucking percent of a country’s populace to kill themselves?

How about a collective good that tries to keep people from dying of ateriosclerosis at the age of 45 by the hundreds of thousands?

So you’re saying that the minority of the population should control what the majority does?

What gives the “collective good” the right to stop me from doing something which I want to do and only harms myself? It’s not like someone’s going to smoke a pack of cigarettes or scarf down a couple of double Whoppers with cheese, and be a threat to the health and safety of others when they get behind the wheel of a car.

Who’s talking about stopping anything? The CDC is talking about a public service ad campaign promoting eating healthy and maybe exercising once in a while. Hardly a jihad against McDonalds. Certainly not nearly as extreme as those Center for Science in the Public Interest types.

It’s nobody’s goddamned business how much I weigh. No amount of nanny-statism will get me to lose it, either.

The real reason I’m trying to lose? I haven’t seen my daddy bits for several years without aid of a mirror, and I’m tired of it.

The CDC and the fat police can go to hell.

I wonder if obesity would be catching up with smoking if everybody still smoked. I doubt it.

What I find offensive is the way the TV news bits on this subject always show some obese person lumbering along, usually wearing a horizontally striped shirt. I suppose it’s not breaknig any law to do so, but it seems insensitive to have your stomach filmed without your knowledge.

I hate the fact that when I lost a bunch of weight 4 years ago (I did however gain some of it back now) I was down to 150lbs and wore a size 11 and looked pretty darn good if I maight say. OK not tiny, but then again I have a large bone structure and I am 5’3". I was still considered obese by my doctor :mad:. He said at 5’3" I should only weigh @120 lbs MAX :eek:. Whatever… if I wanted to look like a death camp survivor maybe. Needless to say, I found a new doctor.

They really need to reevaluate what healthy weight standards are/should be.

120? I would call that an ideal weight for someone your height, who’s 20 years old. How old are you? In any case, 120lbs MAX? That’s pretty fucked up.

What I want to know is whether anyone seriously expects me to believe that CDC and the other nanny-minders really believe that fat people aren’t aware of the health risks?

Besides, as someone who has been overweight most of my life, I’d like to thank all those people who were so sure to make sure I knew I was overweight. Because of their reinforcement, when I did fight and claw my way down to 180 (at 5’9") I still felt I was too %$^@# fat to actually mingle with the general populace, so why bother?

Karma, I was about 23 then, now I am 27. I have a bit of muscle on me so my weight is kind of hard to judge from looking at me. People usually guess my weight about 30 lbs off) I have battled with my weight my whole life & I watch what I eat and exercise. I figure as long as I am happy and feel good then oh well…
I know I am a bit jiggly about the middle now and in my upper thighs area needs work, but i dont want the gov’t classifying me as obese in the same group as the 300+ lb lumps who have to ride around in a rascal scooter at the grocery store to get their Ben&Jerrys and Oreos.
I may not be the ideal of physical fittness, but I can always get around under my own power, and never take elevators unless i have to :smiley: (like to get to the observation deck of the Sears Tower)

When the anti-smoking campaigns started out, it was “Please don’t smoke.” Now, it’s quite a bit harsher. I’ve been outside and had people harassing me about my smoking bothering them. Mind you, I’m a considerate smoker, I check the direction the wind is blowing and move so that the smoke drifts away from the non-smokers and I’ve still gotten harassed by people.

On the food front, there’s been talk of slapping a “fat tax” on foods which are considered “unhealthy,” so I’d say that it’s only a matter of time before the anti-fat crusade becomes really aggressive.

We can’t trust our government to tell us the truth about the dangers of drugs (Remember the whole, “If you buy drugs, you give money to terrorists” campaign? How long do you think that it’ll be before they come up with something equally absurd about being overweight?), so why should we believe them when it comes to the health risks of being overweight?

Umm… serious question, here: How is that bullshit? Looking at Columbia’s internal discord and difficulties policing itself, they seem to be based mostly on the terrorist tactics that the drug runners use to keep their business going.

The implication the ads make is that every dollar spent on drugs is money that goes into a terrorist’s pocket. Which means that all the marijuana that’s grown in the US (or Canada) and sold, is funding terrorist organizations. So, those Dopers that grow and sell weed (and I’m sure there’s at least one or two of them out there), are supporting terrorists.

I don’t think that anyone will deny that certain terrorist organizations (ironically, the Taliban cracked down harshly on the opium trade until the US overthrew them) are funded by drug running operations or that drug runners use terrorist tactics, but to claim that every person who uses drugs (this would include folks who scam pills from doctors/pharmacists or buy them from friends) is supporting terrorists is akin to saying that everyone who is Muslim or of Arab stock is a terrorist. It is generalizing to the point of absurdity. (And yes, the ads do say that everyone who uses illegal drugs [and abusing perscription drugs is illegal, just ask Rush Limbaugh] is supporting terrorism.)

Gotcha, I never noticed enough of the ads to recognize they were saying all drug purchases contributed to terrorism.

Sorry, but the country can’t turn a blind eye towards the problem just because some people might be offended by it. And it is not true that being overweight does not hurt anyone else. Extra money spent on medical care, days of work lost due medical problems, disability from complications and many other factors show that this is not true.

                 No one is being persecuted by the idea that most of the country should do a better job of taking care of themselves by eating better and exercising more.  At the same time everyone complains about the skyrocketing costs of medication, you get arguments like this where people argue they should be able to do what they want with their bodies and who cares what anyone else thinks.  This seems to be a country that wants the best of both worlds :  people don't want to take care of themselves, but then when they do get sick as a result of their personal choices they complain about the costs of getting well again.

HomerIU, and the anti-smoking rhetoric of the past has done such a good job to reduce smoking, hasn’t it? Or has it merely made the various state governments addicted to sin taxes?

As for the health issues, the rising costs of medical care in this country seem far more related to longer life spans, and more effective, but expensive, medications to extend those life spans.

You still haven’t answered the question I raised: Do you really think I am unaware of the health risks I face for being obese?

And why do all the nanny types think ridicule is the best way to fight obesity? I’ve never been to a gym, but certainly based on the reactions I’ve gotten when jogging and finding myself in the company of other joggers, I don’t think the reaction there would be any different: sotto voce comments about the loser trying to lose weight. Gosh, that’s just such an effective motivator to become healthy and beautiful like everybody else.

At one point I was in nearly ideal physical health: I am 5’9", and weighed 180 lbs. My resting heart rate was around 60 beats per minutes and my blood pressure was 110 over 70. I was running 4.5 miles four days a week, and hungry 24/7. This was not a single week, or two, either, but lasted over a period of over a year. During this same time, I was still getting comments from people I passed as I was running about how I looked so ridiculous for being a fatty who was pretending to care about my health. I did a 10K run, and had the woman taking my money for registration asking me if I was sure I wanted to do it, since I couldn’t possibly be fit enough to run that long. I was passed by other runners with the cry of ‘Get off the road, lard butt.’

So, here I was, at the lowest I’ve weighed as an adult, and still getting the same reactions I get today when I weigh 300 lbs. One of my main motivations for losing weight was that I thought I might actually be able to meet women. Yanno what? No matter what my actual weight is, my self image, based on 20 plus years of public opinion is that I am, and will always be, fat. So why bother?

I want to reiterate: I never enjoyed running: I wear glasses, and sweat a lot, so my choices were, while jogging to wear fogged up glasses, or being barely able to see, it was never anything but something to get through. I enjoyed the benefits of being that healthy, I’ll admit, but compared to being grumpy 24/7, to always being hungry, to still being ostracized for my size/shape/weight… at least now I’m no longer feeling starved.

So, sit on it, and spin! Leave me and my weight the Hell alone.

They said similar things about smoking, then someone pointed out that smokers don’t live as long as non-smokers, so the costs of taking care of smokers is less than that of non-smokers. Not to mention that a smoker who dies early means that there’s more Social Security money available. Wanna bet that they find out the same thing is true of obese people?

Yeah, and most of the country shouldn’t cheat on their taxes, speed, or play with pointy sticks, but guess what, pal? They do. A bigger problem than obesity or smoking is the whole idea of trying to protect people from everything that might harm them. You cannot protect people from everything, so instead of obsessing over everything that’s dangerous, why not go after the things that affect us all? You know, pollution, terrorism, and the like?

You’re forgetting that while the costs of medical treatment are increasing, so are the profits of the pharmacutical companies. Given that there’s been instances of drug reps recommending that doctors perscribe drugs which the reps knew had no possibility of treating the patient’s medical problems, I’d say that there was a healthy bit of greed going on in the medical industry.

And on preview, what OtakuLoki says.

Oatku I’m really surprised to hear about how other people treated you while you were exercising.

I weighed a good 50 pounds more than I do right now when I started going to the gym at my school and I’ve never had one negative comment, ever. Not that people were hugging me or anything for my efforts but nobody ever suggested I shouldn’t be there.

Those who are serious about fitness, I think, are glad when someone new joins the party, even if they have a lot of weight to lose. The ones who are just working out to pick up chicks/guys are the ones most likely to harass.

Hell, if the government really wanted to do something about the obesity problem, you would think they’d subsidize other fruits and vegetables like they do corn. High fructose corn syrup is in everything, and contributes to obesity. Jaybus, even the snack bars they sell at Weight Watchers have high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredient!

And what about the fact that hig-fat, high calorie foods are often cheaper than healthy foods? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? (And not just from a sin tax, neither.)

What about the fact that in poorer neighborhoods it’s harder to get good, healthy food?

Yes, it is a matter of personal choices, but it’s also a societal, economic, and governmental issue. It’s just so easy to be fat in this society, for so many reasons.

Second-hand Obesity is the real killer.