Friday, July 13, 2007

A Weighty Issue: New Study, Old News

A group of Yale researchers, in conjunction with researchers from Hawaii, have reviewed data from the past 40 years and concluded that overweight and obese kids are stigmatized by peers, teachers and even parents.

They say overweight kids are for the most part sad, depressed and even suicidal.

They say the the quality of life for an obese child is comparable to that of a child with cancer.

Researchers also say that, with estimates that in the near future at least 50% of kids in the U.S. will be fat, it's paramount that society find a way to protect the kids from poor treatment -- being teased, ostracized, left out of games -- so that their self-esteem does not suffer. Some examples include having teachers assign partners in games, rather than letting children choose their teammates, and stressing overweight kids' strengths so that they feel good about themselves.

The AP news story even cited one woman who had been picked on as a child for being fat, and she says the treatment affected her her whole life. (Incidentally, they ran a current photo of her, and she still is overweight.)
For those with medical conditions, I have sympathy. They are stigmatized by something they cannot control, and that's unfortunate.
But for many people, being overweight is simply a result of poor choices.
Some people are automatically going to give me hard time, tell me I'm mean and persecuting fat people. But I don't look at it that way, because I was the fat kid.

I was that kid who got picked last for kickball because I couldn't run -- and when I did, there were so many different flabby ... sections ... going in so many different directions that it would make everyone laugh.
I was that kid who in the sixth grade had bigger breasts than any of the girls in my class. (On a male, they're called "moobs," by the way.)

Most importantly, I was that kid sucking down the Twinkies and ice cream, watching TV and reading more than running and climbing.

At 36 years old, my pants are still 2 sizes smaller than when I was 13 -- and I'm about 10-15 pounds overweight now. You do the math; I was a tubster.

So I feel OK being critical of the people who choose to be fat, because I know for a fact it can change. Granted, it's really difficult. But it is possible. For me, I simply got tired of being a lard ass and getting picked on, so I stopped eating boxes of Mini Butterfingers and bags of marshmallows, and made it a point to be physically active.
I often wonder if nature intended for people to be fat. Watch the Discovery Channel - how many fat animals do you see? The difference is food for fuel vs. food for enjoyment, I think. I'll be the first to admit that it's much more fun to watch CSI and eat cookies than it is to bust your hump at the gym. I could live on cookies and ice cream (Double-Stuf Oreos and mint chocolate chip, if anyone is planning on sending me a gift basket). But I don't, because I know what would happen.

I gave up candy 6 months ago because I lack the willpower to eat it in moderation. (One of the benefits of adulthood - you can spend $20 on candy and eat it all at once in a chocolate frenzy!)

Voluntarily being obese is no better than smoking or using drugs - you're polluting your body and creating unnecessary health risks.

So, the Yale researchers who want to find a way to make fat kids' lives less miserable should simply help the kids lose some weight, like Shaq does.
They say everyone is beautiful on the inside. Well, we all know that some people are just plain evil inside, so right there it falls apart. But, even if, shouldn't you still try and do what you can with the outside?

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