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Is Fat the New Normal?

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People have become so fat it has inspired mean jokes.

Lose ten pounds of ugly fat--chop off your head.

Lose 180 pounds of ugly fat--divorce your husband.

Lose weight, eat lunch by a car wreck.

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It is not just Americans who have become so fat, though they seem to be leading the way. A recent observational survey on Chicago's Michigan avenue failed to detect one normal-weight person during a 30 minute viewing sample period. Public transit cars are being redesigned because so many people now take up two seats. Visit a college campus on Parents Day and you'll see most daughters are twice the size of their mothers.

Why? The standard of thinness has practically disappeared. If everyone is 30 pounds (or more) overweight, that is how you are supposed to look. Like your friends. Like your family. Like your co-workers. Moreover, if fat is the new normal, there is no reason to hide the avoirdupois which explains the gigantic thighs spilled out of short shorts and huge rear ends showcased through leggings--taking up two seats. Once upon a time, people hid such adiposity. Not anymore.

One reason for the obesity epidemic is processed food--fatty, salty or sugary food transformed by mechanical and chemical operations to change or preserve it. It is often boxed or bagged or available at fast food outlets. Think chicken "fingers." A new study found that a typical, processed food lunch of beef ravioli, Parmesan cheese, white bread, margarine, diet lemonade and oatmeal raisin cookies made people gain two pounds a week. Do the math.

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Fattening, processed food is literally engineered to be addicting. "Food technologists" in laboratories, for example, use $40,000 devices to simulate a chewing mouth to perfect chips and other junk food and create the most irresistible, mouth pleasing fats.

Our environment is also swimming with endocrine disruptors that make people fat--chemicals that interfere with hormone systems like pesticides, flame retardants and food containers. Puberty, correlated with body weight in girls, is now occurring in children as young as eight.

In 2010 babies in China were reported to be developing breasts presumably from endocrine disrupting chemicals in the food or environment. In 2011, the United Kingdom's Daily Mail observed that women's bra cup sizes were growing even when the women themselves were not gaining weight and speculated it was estrogen exposure. For years frogs and fish have been morphing into "intersex" franken creatures--losing their male characteristics, presumably from endocrine disrupters in the environment and waterways.

The ubiquity of smartphones, tablets and computers is also fattening say researchers. Teens are twice as likely to skimp on sleep and exercise and consume more sugary drinks when immersed in electronic devices. Lack of sleep alone is correlated with obesity.

Still like smoking, which is also addictive, people are capable of free will--not starting bad habits or ending them when they realize the harm. But "free will" does not mean hitting the treadmill after a junk food binge. Most gyms contain scores of overweight people who think exercise will overcome bad diets. Guess again.

Finally, the "fat acceptance" movement does no one any good. While the impulse to "destigmatize" overweight people is understandable, no one is "born" fat as they are with diseases and disabilities. Moreover, asking people to "accept" a condition that is highly correlated with Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers and all-causes of death is sheer public health lunacy.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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7 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments  Post Comment


Martha Rosenberg

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Obesity is one of the world's biggest health problems--causing many many medical conditions

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 3:38:08 PM

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911TRUTH

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Americans have always been fat, but now they are grotesquely obese.

I remember when we visited Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim in 1972 and my mother started talking to an Australian woman and the woman commented on how fat everyone was.

I have a theory that this is by design to keep the Health Industrial Complex rolling in endless cash by 'treating' the endless diseases caused by horrible diets.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 4:28:15 PM

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Martha Rosenberg

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Yes fat people constitute most of the health care system's patients from stroke, to heart attacks to hypertension to diabetes. Hip and knee replacements are also often because of excess weight. Of course this all raises everyone's health care costs and taxes.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 5:27:00 PM

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Janet Supriano

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Smoking, alcohol past an oz. or two, pharmaceuticals and STRESS cause all these maladies, too. I'd assert polluted air, contaminated water and poisoned food boost the statistics quite a bit. Toss in: rotten gov't, 24/7 bad news, sitting too much, over-physicality, opioids, economic insecurity, living past 50, wars and rumors of wars... and don't forget Questionable Everything, from vaccines to eggs AND those doggone big sodas.~~Yoga, anyone?

Let's face it: Life is the leading cause of death. Nowadays, one wonders if it's all that worthy of the fight. (Unless you're 22, entirely off the grid, on a lovely chunk of land, and you manage to avoid hitting a body part with your ax while chopping wood---now that could cost ya'.)

Everyone's health care costs go up and so do taxes...no matter what. How about a tax break and free medical for being (measurably) perfect in every single (un)human way?

With 5G and the Internet of Things just around the corner, everyone will have a smart fridge and a chip implant, so the Data Center can count each calorie intake and monitor every grocery purchase.

Won't be an overweight human left on the planet (yay!); then what will Nabisco do with itself? Probably pollute our waterways with unsalable Oreos!

(And, no. At 72, I could probably lose 5-10, but I'm not close to obese.)

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 11:51:26 PM

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David Watts

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

Janet, over time I have read a few of your comments here and there. Not sure how to say it and I hope you do not mind my saying so, but you do have a mind that works in a curiously creative and witty fashion. :)

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 6:27:53 AM

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David Watts

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Shoot, there is something about your mind that reminds me of a true story. But I can't remember exactly what it was. It was something about a famous director making a film and he had but only one chance to get the epic scene on film. The scene was to be of a spectacular flood of truly biblical proportions. Darn it, the only thing I can remember was a cameraman saying, "Ready whenever you are ... "

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 6:46:11 AM

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911TRUTH

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

With 5G and the Internet of Things just around the corner, everyone will have a smart fridge and a chip implant, so the Data Center can count each calorie intake and monitor every grocery purchase.

All the grocery stores around here now offer online shopping and 1-hour delivery, so people don't even have to get off of the couch to buy 'food' anymore.

And due to all of this inactivity due to 'Smart' devices, etc doing every task for us, in several generations people will probably devolve into gelatin-like masses with no bones or muscles. Just human jellyfish.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 4:10:49 PM

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Eddy Schmid

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As long as the MSM and others, support and think being fat is beautiful, and anyone who utters those distasteful words,"crikey, your FAT" and then are pilloried for their trouble, things will stay the same. I'm married to a woman who was over weight, (not FAT or Obese) and the damage that excess weight has done to her bone frame and joints is anything but beautiful. Young people think is beautiful to carry that excess weight, but have no idea, because their bones are still young, they can carry that load, but the damage it's causing, will most definately make it'self known 35-40. There is nothing beautiful in being FAT or obese. IMHO, contrary to some fashion magazines.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 9:50:25 AM

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Robert Gormley

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I looked at an old Woodstock photo (1969) and not one person was fat. Probably a number of reasons for this. No time was wasted sitting around talking on cellphones, or surfing the net. The food was less adulterated. To keep from getting fat follow two basic rules. 1) Eat the raw food as it occurs in nature, not as man screws it up. 2) Get exercise

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 12:07:01 PM

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Janet Supriano

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Reply to Robert Gormley:   New Content

At the time of Woodstock, you're right. No cellphones or Internet to laze over. Pot sessions and acid trips were the name of the 'chill out' games.

Not very strenuous.

But lots of good exercise was had from free sex, picking flowers for hair decor, stringing love beads, swaying to the music and walking in circles with signs.

No argument with the raw food and exercise regimen. Best to pound that into kids from age 4. But they'll probably fall of the discipline wagon one way or another, at some time or another.

Wisdom often comes after the damage is done. I honestly think everybody does the best they can with what and where they are at the time. Best not to be too smug.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 2:48:20 PM

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Martha Rosenberg

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

yes the contrast between the size of Woodstock's young people and today's is shocking

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 3:35:22 PM

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

And Twiggy was the fashion Icon of that era. People died from that pressure, too.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 6:30:41 PM

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Old Codger

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Due to an illness and subsequently being in a medically induced coma for 6+ weeks, I went from 230 lbs to 150 lbs which I have maintained for the past year. Ironically, it is people who are overweight to obese who are continually telling me that I need to put some weight on. Advice which is ignored. What I find to be distressing is the large number of people in the health profession who are fat and obese. Makes it very difficult for them to counsel patients about the evils of fat and sedentary life styles.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 2:50:31 PM

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