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Another excuse for obesity in America

It never ceases to amaze me all the millions (maybe billions?) of dollars that have and are being spent on studying why people are fat. Such studies break 'fat' further into two groups. The CDC has defined the two categories as “overweight” and “obese.”

So, we have the generic overweight—the plain old garden variety of a few pounds to around 10-29; and then we have the obese category, anything beyond 29 or more pounds over the established healthy weight for your height. The CDC uses the BMI chart, which, unless you have been living under a rock, you should have heard about by now—many times, actually.

While some people denounce or ignore the BMI chart, there is a basic common-sense approach to answering the question: Am I fat? You do not need a chart if you answer these questions honestly:

• Do I eat 2 or more portions of a fatty or sugar-laden food?
• Am I even aware of what a portion size is and looks like?
• Am I eating a lot of red meat, which has fat in it?
• Are my feet swelling so that I need to buy a larger size shoe?
• Are my clothes feeling tight? (The REAL clue here!)

• Can you see the rolls of fat around my abdomen?
• Can you see the pockets of fat on my back?
• Does my car look like a trash can for leftover food and food wrappers?
• Am I drinking soda daily?
• Is the last exercise I saw an episode of “The Biggest Loser,” as I sat on your couch eating snack food?

• Does my refrigerator look like a cold locker at the gas station store? (filled mostly with sugar and fatty items)
• Am I snacking 24/7, eating mindlessly or, in general, just going through life with a ‘don’t care’ attitude, since I know I will die anyway?
• Do I take an elevator when I could take the stairs? Do I drive when I could walk? (You know this--you go to one store in a shopping center, and then get back into your car to drive to another store--in the same center, only 500 feet away! Do I need a handicap sticker because I am so out of breath walking I need to be up close to a store because my knees hurt, too?
• Am I huffing and puffing just walking from a building to my car in the parking lot?
• Am I in denial when I look in the mirror?

As you can read, you don’t need a chart to tell you what you already know but don’t want to believe and, that is, YOU ARE FAT. Your quality of life is degraded when you can’t participate in it fully.

And now we have yet another study that just enables obese people to put off taking responsibility for their health. Yes, two-thirds of Americans who are overweight or obese (33% obese) are just hoping the weight loss fairy will wave her magic wand and that fat will melt away just as fast as a stick of butter in a hot cast iron skillet. But it isn’t, and there is no fairy. The latest blame people are using is that the low price of food has caused their obesity. True, food, especially the bad stuff (high fat, high sugar, high salt) has gotten cheaper. But, because many obese people are not preparing their own meals, they are buying the cheap food and calling it a meal.

But the last time anyone checked, $50 is $50. You can spend it on chips and cookies, or you can spend it on fruits and vegetables. The fat person has to make a conscious decision to buy healthy, prepare food and eat healthy, and be healthy (exercise). I don’t know what Americans are spending their money on today, but in the 1930s they spent about 25 percent of their discretionary income on food (real food, not prepared boxed/frozen food). Today it is about 10 percent, as researchers in California have cited. And typical Americans have increased their calories by 20 percent, and their portion sizes at a single meal by two to three times from what they ate four decades ago. Yet, people continue to blame ANYONE (except themselves) and EVERYTHING for their fat!

So, if it makes you feel better to blame something external to yourself as to why you are fat, that is your option. But keep in mind that such behavior will, in most cases, result in diabetes, heart disease, and early death, not to mention a laundry list of other health problems and a billion-dollar bill to treat people for obesity, a bill that taxpayers are hit with to the tune of $210B+ annually. Ouch!

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