If only you weren't fat, you could live forever!

If only you werent fat, you could live forever!

I know no one actually thinks this, but it sure seems like they do sometimes. Of course, fat shamers, health trolls, armchair physicians, and wannabe economists emphasize that their concern is rooted in health, quality of life, or even insurance burdens. But let's talk about that.

For instance, did you know that black newborns are over twice as likely to die as white :( https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5649a5.htm Where am I going with this statistic? Well, it's not something about skin pigments that hurts babies. Instead studies have shown black mothers are less likely to seek healthcare and when they do, they are often treated differently, on average. That results in a 100% increase in infant mortality! Do you think obese patients also feel some shame in seeking treatment? And when they do seek treatment, do think they are treated differently? The evidence I've seen says absolutely. A fat person complaining about not feeling well is much more likely to get a pat answer like "just go lose weight".

And, wait, just how much more likely is a fat person to get heart disease? The answer is actually pretty complicated. For instance, some studies show moderate weight gain actually reducing heart disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8550265 . Of course, researchers are quick to highlight large weight gains, but it's still not a 100% increase and of course they don't correct for the shame factor. I wonder how much of that increase is due to highly obese people being loathe to complain to a dismissive healthcare professional.

Another example: in the 1980s, AIDS was originally called GRID - Gay Related Immune Deficiency. The medical response to it? "Stop being gay". I really don't mean to offend anyone, but that seems a lot like the medical response to hypertension nowadays -- "Stop being fat". Of course, some will respond that fat is a choice. Is it though? There are relatively few studies on long-term weight loss -- most that mention it are actually referring to a year or two. But those that look at true long-term (>10 year) and major (>20%) weight loss show about 5% and as low as 2.4% success for some groups. Instead most get caught in cycles of losing and regaining, each time feeling more defeated. So the common medical recommendation is something that fails about 95% of the time?? Incidentally, it wasn't until gays stood up for themselves that real research in curtailing the AIDS epidemic got attention. Similarly, there are actually many promising and increasingly effective treatments for hypertension ranging from better drugs to pomegranates -- if only people have the confidence to seek them out.

My favorite though is the wannabe economists lamenting the cost of treating obesity. They calculate the cost of obesity treatment, and then act like people would otherwise live forever without it. Heart disease is indeed the leading cause of death in the US and it's expensive. But you know what's right behind it? Cancer. In fact, if you don't die of heart disease, then you are most likely going to die of cancer. And if that doesn't get you, then you can wait until you're mind is ravaged by Alzheimers. Do you think those are cheap diseases? The *average* cost of treating a heart attack is about $18,200 (http://money.com/money/3557240/heart-disease-costs-prevention/ ). Yep, a big price tag. Does it get cheaper if you dodge that bullet and get cancer instead? Nope. You're looking at about $150,000 for that (https://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-2018/the-high-cost-of-cancer-treatment.html ). Maybe you take such perfect care of your body that you're only risk is your mind. Holding out for dementia will cost you $341,000! (https://www.alzheimers.net/the-cost-of-dementia-care/ ). Sure if you're lucky, you'll live long enough for an asteroid or something to knock you out for free, but I feel its disingenuous to act like obesity is the boogeyman of medical bills.

If health trolls really cared about quality-of-life, do you know one thing that is universally associated with a better life? Mental health. Not shaming people, not judging them, letting them live their lives whether they're losing weight, struggling with weight, or prefer to be overweight. Generations of negative comments on weight haven't made a bit of difference in obesity rates. But letting people find joy in the body they have, letting them celebrate their life as they choose, I think that can make an actual difference in people's happiness and overall well-being better than any other supposedly well-meaning concerns.

(I should add a disclaimer that I'm at least partially biased because I find larger body types quite attractive, but at the same time, I think and hope that that also allows me to look at statistics without common prejudices and possibly offer a different perspective. Thanks for reading)

If only you weren't fat, you could live forever!
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Most Helpful Guy

  • MattIrv
    Thank you for putting out some good info on this subject. You hit the nail on the head, pretending to care about health is nothing more than a pretense to shame and degrade people, especially women, for having a weight that the fashion-media industrial complex deems unacceptable. The average person on this forum grossly overestimates the health hazard of being overweight and grossly underestimates the hazards of tanning, weed, and other "PC" vices. The greatest irony of all is the so called "obesity crisis" was caused by a massive decline in smoking, which was another "crisis" that we had to "solve". We solved it alright, but the net result was just changing the most common type of death. Of course, you will get a lot of push-back on this from people who only listen to what the Telescreen says.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Girl

  • DorkVader
    Thanks for this take. As a fat black woman, you're presenting a very critical thought process for people who don't consider what it's like for fat people. What really hit for me was the dismissive way we are treated by health professionals, as though obesity is the only health concern we have. We are sick and dying and obesity is sometimes a symptom of what is really wrong. I read a story about a woman who was sick and went to her doctor who told her to lose weight. She died a few days later because her liver ruptured. It's ridiculous. People don't think we know life umwould be easier if we were thinner? Oh, no, it wouldn't be. Thin people have just as many health issues and relationships troubles as fat people do. Imagine that
    Is this still revelant?
    • DorkVader

      Sorry for the rant, lol. I get passionate

    • Hunter7754

      "Thin people have just as many health issues and relationships troubles as fat people do. Imagine that"

      Red herring: That's like being a meth addict and when someone points out "Hey you should probably stop using meth", you retort with:

      "OH yeah? Well non meth users have just as many health problems and issues as meth users!!!"

      And if someone goes to a dr, and they're told 'lose weight' by every dr they go to, maybe they should put aside their pride and actually listen instead of trying to find someone that enables their bad habits and lifestyle.

      FYI this is coming from someone that got fat-shamed/body-shamed, etc.

    • DorkVader

      @Hunter7754 Good for you, surviving bullying and fat-shaming. I speak from a community that can't always trust their dr. There's long historical evidence of women, of black women, of fat women, of black people and fat people who CAN'T take their doctor's word for it. Surprise, not all health concerns can be solved by losing weight nor should they be treated as such, and it infuriates me that we can't even be treated for our problems before we try and tackle weight-loss in a healthy way.

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What Girls & Guys Said

1324
  • Massageman
    Yes- correlation does not prove causation. That's why health studies of particular habits are a real mess to isolate: healthy people tend to do many of them simultaneously.
  • I do think being overweight can cause health problems over time. That said all the so called overweight diseases run in my family without any of us being overweight. My dad had heart disease and was never heavy. My mom had and I have very high cholesterol even though we though neither of us really ever had a weight problem. The highest I've been is 130 and now I'm 120 and my cholesterol is high. Old age diabetes runs in my family. When my mom had it she was actually underweight. Oh I forgot I have mild fatty liver. I'm off to eat my dandelion greens...
  • I don't care for your title. No one is invincible. My mom lived a healthy lifestyle and she still got cancer. A childhood friend's father who ran marathons fell dead suddenly. No one lives forever and even if you try to live a long time, there are no guarantees.

    Find balance in life. Enjoy it while you can. Obesity isn't living your best life.
  • Hunter7754
    "And, wait, just how much more likely is a fat person to get heart disease? The answer is actually pretty complicated. For instance, some studies show moderate weight gain actually reducing heart disease: (cant post link since Im not level 3). Of course, researchers are quick to highlight large weight gains, but it's still not a 100% increase and of course they don't correct for the shame factor. I wonder how much of that increase is due to highly obese people being loathe to complain to a dismissive healthcare professional."

    This study is meaningless. It mentions weight gain and weight loss but makes no mention as to whether or not the weight gain was muscle gain and whether or not the weight loss was muscle loss or fat loss. This would greatly impact results of the study because muscle loss would have an impact on your heart because your heart is a muscle. I'm not gonna take this mytake seriously from someone that obviously doesn't understand how to understand statistical data.

    Also you're being disingenuous by only talking about heart health. Heart health is only part of the problem. It's also about your overall health. Any existing health conditions you have can easily be exasperated by being overweight. Not to mention, you're putting all kinds of strain on your joints.
    • alelectro

      Points taken. I'm not a doctor -- just a guy on the internet sharing my view. My main goal was definitely more along the lines of not judging others, rather than analyzing statistics. Thanks for reading.

  • Felinegirl
    Actually, fat people get checked more rigorously for diseases. A skinny person who feels unwell will just be told 'maybe get some more sleep, you're probably healthy' while a fat person will be checked for blood pressure, diabetes, joint issues etc. Of course they're also reminded of the importance of losing weight if that seems connected to the complaint.

    It is not a pat on the back. Weightloss is sometimes the only treatment option we have.
    • alelectro

      I could see your point -- IF they go visit a doctor. But, I worry fear of fat shaming can make a larger person more hesitant to see a doctor in the first place. Just one or two harsh medical experiences from youth can make someone loathe to go in for physicals in the future.

    • Felinegirl

      In my experience, doctors are very professional and won't give personal comments. Most seriously overweight people I know see doctors far more often than the healthy people. Mostly because they need it more (for knee issues, infertility, sleeping problems, etc), but sometimes I think some seem to look for medical excuses not to change their lifestyle.

      I compared seriously overweight with healthy, not with skinny. Too skinny people and smokers and such aren't healthy either. And most curvy (not morbidly obese) people are very fit.

  • Киттйлинк
    This is ridiculous. It’s as if I say that guy over there has been smoking for 28 years and hasn’t had cancer and this lady over here never smoked at all and got cancer and died so I’m just going to go smoke.
    So just because some people unfortunately do die and get cancer without smoking, I’m just going to purposefully try to get it because some have not gotten it.
    how much stupider can people be.

    if something does in fact place your health at risk, why do it PURPOSELY just because others have died whiteout purposely doing these things.

    ignorance has taken over your brain sir. I hope you get well soon. 🤦🏼‍♀️!
    Pathetic.
    • alelectro

      I'm sorry in came across that way. I meant it more in the spirit of not judging others. Thanks for reading though.

  • MikeAndMolly
    Yea this is a great mytake.

    People should absolutely try to lose weight if they are overweight, but we put WAY too much stigma on this issue.

    Studies show that fat shaming is highly ineffective and probably counterproductive towards that goal, and that doctors do indeed tend to overlook other health concerns when dealing with overweight patients.
  • genericname85
    the point is: if you're fat, you're not supposed to hate yourself. you're supposed to lose weight. being fat is not a "sickness". it's bad habits that you need to get rid off. of course your quality of life will suffer if you're fat and you'll also die early. being fat is not something we should condone. just like smoking.
    • zollo

      I agree with you for the most part, but like people who smoke I don't think we should be poking and prodding them for every move they do and don't make. I think we should give them their choices, openly acknowledge and condone the behavior without belittling them.

    • @zollo society has mechanisms in place to help people correct themselves. If they keep smoking or stay fat, well it's better for them with people rubbing it in their face than those mechanisms not existing.

  • Many people going into weight loss programs experience binge eating disorder, which is an emotional coping mechanism often associated with a history of trauma. That is why people struggle to maintain weight loss.
    There is a lot of dissonance and room for more research here.
    I do agree that being fat should not be a subject of shame and it is sad to see that happen.
    I just think if I had a loved one with a medical diagnosis of obesity, I would be very worried about their wellbeing. Obesity should not be encouraged necessarily.
    • alelectro

      I agree on your comments, except I didn't say to encourage it. I am asking not to shame, not to single out, and not to try to tear down someone feeling mental peace with their body.

  • sean1234
    Cancer, heart disease, being "FAT" in general means nothing to me. I no longer eat crappy food. Cheese like some say is equivalent some say to eating poop. Its almost a bowel movement already, just a tasty one. Refined sugar keeps you fat. Most if not all bread in stores is unedible. Eating meat destroys the intestinal track. I'm Vegan and lost all the weight I needed without having to even exercise. Although if one was morbidly obese, exercise would shed the pounds faster.
  • redcheeks
    Not being fat means lesser health problems which also means happier life. But different people have different way of being happy.

    And besides, fat skinny fit healthy, everyone's gonna die anyway. 🤷🏽‍♂️
  • bamesjond0069
    Fat people are gross and y'all have all sorts of medical problems that could be solved with diet and exercise. And when i mean gross i also mean how you eat is gross. If you think ordering a dominos pizza every other night in front of the tv is normal, its not. Thats a shitty and disgusting lifestyle. Try salad and some chicken breast and then go for a jog. Sorry y'all know how to not be fat, you're just too lazy to do anything about it.
  • mehhem
    I mean it's just fact that having diabetes isn't healthy and having introvestricular fat heightens the risk of cardiovascular problems, I don't really care if someone is fat but it's just wrong to state that it's not unhealthy ( with some very fringe exceptions of where it is healthy and some exceptions where it's healthier than being 'thin').
    • DorkVader

      But there are plenty of thin people with diabetes 💁🏿‍♀️

    • mehhem

      Yes but being having more fat and having diabetes have the same cause, unhealthy eating or unlucky genetics. You can have unlucky genetics, eat well and be fat, you can have unlucky genetics, eat well and have diabetes but most people don't have unlucky genetics, that's why they're unlucky.

    • Hunter7754

      @DorkVader "But there are plenty of thin people with diabetes ‍"

      Thats like saying "There are people that dont smoke that have lung cancer so I may as well just smoke 10 packs of cigarettes a day"

    • Show All
  • jpalma
    Justify obesity with "Cancer can also kill you" is just an excuse. Shaming people for their appearance is bad (size, color...), but on the other hand there's no deny that living healthy will increase the quality of life regardless of your death
  • OlderAndWiser
    I read the entire myTake and found it to be a thoughtful analysis of the subject. Good work!

    I did not take interpret your myTake as a comment on political correctness but merely an encouragement that we should all allow others to live their lives without judgment. I am not attracted to overweight women but I certainly never express a negative opinion when I see an overweight female, unless my opinion is explicitly solicited. On occasion, some posts a "how do I look" with a photo that reveals they are substantially overweight. If you ask my opinion, I will either say nothing or I will express my honest opinion.
  • andreasderjuengere
    Now being educated by you: I still won't date an overweight. It just doesn't look the way I'd like it to look.
  • tjkyle316197
    Best way to live eternally has only to do with the weight of your actions and trying to impact the world as you know it.
  • webelong2yehovah
    If you want to know about living forever, you could ask these people:

    twelvetribes dot org
  • Grande_Beefy_Swirl
    I'm Fat. I've always been fat. But I'm never of the mindset that being fat is a good or healthy lifestyle.
    Doesn't mean you deserve shame. Especially since not everyone is fat from just poor diet/exercise habits. There's legitimate medical reasons some people are overweight.
    However

    For the majority of Americans who are overweight it comes down to societal pressures and mental health. That's what makes Americans fat.

    It's "ok" to be fat, but that doesn't mean you should justify/ignore the issue.
  • beesechurger
    Forget about being fat. Who even wants to live forever
  • Phoenix98
    Your right being in shape and healthy won't make you live forever but you know what it will do? Give you a longer life free of most of the health conditions and problems that fat people have.

    And Seriously man? Are you really going to use the fact you won't live forever thing as one of your excuse to make obesity and being overweight and fat ok?

    Should you fat shame and bully overweight people? No that is wrong but you do need to be honest with them about what's going to happen to them and do you sometimes need to get on their asses about staying on top of things? Yeah you do.

    Spoken by an actual former fitness professional who actually has a clue about what he is talking about.

    This take is nothing but a feel good piece that going to do more harm then good in the long run.
    • alelectro

      Thanks for reading. To clarify, I didn't mean it (not living forever) as an excuse. I did mean though that a lot of fat shamers use the opposite as an implicit excuse to bully. For instance, an economist might say "obese people cost our healthcare system $X billion dollars annually", and they end their paragraph right there. They employ this not-so-subtle implication that fat people are the root of all health care costs, and then they or others use it justify shame or even hatred. So, to fat shamers, I'm trying to say the situation is more complicated than that. As to fat people, I'm saying it's none of my business. We should all be free to live our lives as we define the pursuit of happiness.

    • Phoenix98

      Fair enough and I get where you are coming from on some of your points

      But as someone who took an oath to help people's health and who's literal job was to get people in shape and healthy I can't really agree with letting people live that way especially not after I went to school and found out the inner workings of what happens to the human body as well as all the health complications and medical issues they can have when someone takes that kind of lifestyle.

      I also dealt with a lot of overweight people and a lot of them always felt bad physically, were tired, exhausted and were just generally unhappy people because of how they felt physically. So I really don't believe that fat people are happy being fat and want to be that way. There is usually always a determining factor that pushed them down that path, very, very few of them purposely chose to be that way.

    • alelectro

      Yes, I also wanted to say I have a lot of respect for personal trainers. People seek you out; you meet them where they are; you encourage; you motivate and drive; and in the end, you help them achieve their goals. I'm all for that, and it's very different than the situations I was referring to.

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  • WTFever
    Total BS. Everyone has a 100% chance of dying. No one can live forever.
    • alelectro

      Yes, I meant the title to be taken as satire. Tl;dr is people fat shame as if weight is the only issue affecting health and healthcare. My opinion is it's more complicated than that and judgment tends to make things worse, not better.

  • Gedaria
    We are going to die. It's when, how, but you can only try to dodge the bullets. Being over weight, and having heart problems are bullets you can dodge just by living reasonable. It's no more expensive. Smoking and drinking are more bullets, some will say I enjoy doing them, so go ahead but that bullet, is going to hit you sooner than you think. Dementia is a big question mark at the moment no one has a clear answer to the course or satisfactory treatment, so this bullet could be the one that gets us. So the end comes , it's up to us to try and steer away from the problems as best we can...
  • Pipeliner87
    Did they not tell you in the news that being FAT/obese is healthy?
  • forgotmyoldusername
    Should we not encourage people to try to be fit and healthy?
    • alelectro

      Yes, and I think there are a lot of positive and uplifting ways of doing that. But more often, I see what appears to be more like thinly veiled disgust or even direct hatred. People then justify that disgust by creating overly simplified and one-sided arguments. That's what I was getting at. That's not encouraging people. In my opinion, it's just an excuse for shaming and it's not helping anyone.

    • but see, the logic is that if people get fat, it's cheaper for the society (medical, pensions)

  • _Unknown_Hacker_
    my fellow human , that was a whole lot.
  • orangecherry
    fat guys can be cute
  • YvanKarma
    If only i had the looks
  • ImpatiensSultani
    Nice take
  • IHateBeingaMan
    heart attack prevention
  • jwsstein
    Oh no life is rough
  • Living forever without being fat would be great.
  • Anonymous
    As some one who studies heart disease, highlighting statistics like what you showed is misleading. Particularly because a shame factor has less to do with it than you think. Why? Because there is no cure for coronary heart disease. This means once you develop coronary risk factors, you have them for life. Yes you can take medication to mitigate symptoms, but the route cause is still there and there are side effects from these medications that lead to overlapping illnesses that generally lead to death. I. e. A thin person will go to the doctor and receive the same treatment for heart disease as an overweight person if all bias was removed (which I am not delusional in thinking that it is).

    One thing that you did get right is this: Coronary heart disease is not measurable from outside appearance. This is because it is caused by the build up of things such as fatty streaks and atherosclerotic plaques that do not go away when you loose weight. That means once you get them, they are there for life. However, depending on genetics, healthy life style, etc, these can take decades to develop. They do not even do surgery to widen blood vessels by introducing a stent and removing the buildup until approximately 70% of a vessel is blocked by a plaque. (Stents themselves have incredibly dangerous side effects outside of possible open heart surgery)

    Now what are the further consequences of these plaques when they are not operated on or go undetected? Well sometimes they can rupture and send clots flowing through your vessels and causing a heart attack if a major vessel gets blocked too close to your heart.

    So now lets get back to why a doctor might tell you you need to loose weight: diet and exercise can reduce the continued growth of potential blood clots which could lead to heart attacks in the future. This result has nothing to do with shame.
    And to play devil's advocate, what is one reason why loosing weight might give you a heart attack? Exercise causes mechanical stress that can cause plaques that were already there to rupture and send clots flowing through your vessels and causing a heart attack.

    So, what am I trying to say? Mental health and physical health are both important, and your doctor is just looking out for you. Just how a psychologist looks out for you.
  • Anonymous
    I figured this was why
    • alelectro

      Care to direct message me more? Your comment is cryptic and your anonymous, but if you're feeling irritated or judgmental, I'd like a chance to respond :/

  • Anonymous
    Its not so much living forever as it is living happier, more productive, and healthier. I am over-weight, borderline on obesity. I have a list of disabilities and diseases that make it very hard to lose this weight and be happy, but that doesn't make it any less real that if I manage to sort out my health I'll be in less pain and have a more fulfilling life.
    I have sisters without any medical issues who have just given up. Decided to just give in and let themselves be depressed about it, sitting all day, watching tv and eating constantly (and just pop-tarts and candy too)
    I'm not saying you can't be heavier, be healthy happy and productive; or even just striving and working towards that... But I am saying that there's a lot of heavier people who just give up, living pathetic lives and not wanting to fix it. Relying on SSI and food-stamps to just roll their way through life; sustaining their fragile, gluttonous ego with the media splurging on over feeding it.
    • alelectro

      You absolutely are the final authority on your own body. My angle was that people use generalization and one-sided arguments to justify their shaming -- as in they're doing the right thing by shaming an obese person, because the obese person "needs to hear it". I think it's just a cover-up (or maybe not even a cover-up) for hatred. I do agree a person may feel better lighter, but making them feel defeated isn't going to help with that. A depressed mind is even less likely to make improvements than a confident one.

  • Anonymous
    He just means stop shaming fat people. You're only adding stress to their problems which will most probably make them even fatter.
    I'm sure you've seen some really skinny people who would love to add a couple of pounds but can't because it's just their body type or metabolism or an unsolvable underlying condition. It's usually the same thing with obese people. So just stop making life harder for them than it already is.
    • Anonymous

      It's also true, heart disease is the easiest way out.

  • Anonymous
    There is an obesity epidemic, stop trying to justify being fat. It is absolutely your choice, I won't tell you how to live, but we should always be encouraging people to lose weight. When you are choosing studies to cite make sure they are not funded by a corporation that benefits in having more overweight people.
    • alelectro

      Thanks for reading. Just to clarify though, I'm not trying to justify anyone per se. In fact, I'm more trying to say people shouldn't need to be justified, because they shouldn't be judged in the first place. There are a lot of factors and circumstances at play that make it more than a binary issue.

    • Anonymous

      Ok, i understand, but people get judged for everything, If someone has acne "oh they probably never wash their face. If someone is homeless "oh they are probably a drug addict". People are judgmental by nature. That won't ever change I'm afraid.

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