As more and more Americans are joining the ranks of the “fat people,” medical scientists and sociologists are collaborating to find the causes and stop the trend. Obesity is on the rise. Blaming fast food outlets and legislating warning labels about fat content may or may not stem the increase of a debilitating condition that leads to hypertension, osteoarthritis, heart disease and other serious health threats. Weight loss is a challenge that goes beyond merely warning people about the fat content of a cheeseburger and fries.
And if you think that the fat and jolly stereotype has disappeared in favor of the thin and beautiful as the happiest people in the land, think again. Those pencil-thin models on the runways aren’t smiling. They just have a different type of food disorder. People’s Attitudes About Fat
When we were kids, we didn’t think of Santa Claus as a man with a problem. In today’s terms, the big fat man in the red suit has proportions that would deem him “a heart attack waiting to happen.” Ho, ho, ho.
Blame it on Mrs. Claus. She probably isn’t feeding him a balanced diet. Blame it on Rudolph and his buddies. If Santa were out walking off the fat instead of sitting on his ample backside in the sleigh, he’d be getting a good workout and burning those stubborn calories. And finally, blame it on Santa Sr. and his wife: they’re the people who probably gave poor Santa all those fat genes.
All you thin people take note: when you tell obese people that both diet and exercise are all that’s needed for weight loss, remember that leaping out of bed to go running isn’t likely when you’re 50 pounds or more overweight.
Obesity is a Vicious Circle
Fat people don’t need to be reminded that they have a problem. Overweight people are rarely happy about their obesity. We have mirrors and bathroom scales like other people do.
Fat people also have a sluggish metabolism that stores fat on purpose. Humans have dieted for thousands of years and our bodies have become efficient machines, storing fat for those long periods of starvation.
Modern science has only begun to understand the complex interrelationship among the factors that contribute to obesity in some people: high fat diets, depression, genetic causes, cultural effects, hormonal issues and lifestyle factors. They have yet to identify simple ways to help people break out of the vicious circle of weight gain and poor self-esteem.
Causes of Obesity
Not all people who are overweight have exactly the same problem. Some women in their fifties and sixties have a thyroid problem that slows their metabolic rate and causes the fat to pile on. Some people have been fat all their lives. Some people gain weight when they quit smoking. Other people gain extra fat pounds from a sedentary job or lifestyle.
Effects of Obesity
Our culture tends to label people, and the “fat people” label assumes that overweight people are gluttons who have become fat because they are too lazy to exercise. While being fat was once seen as a sign of wealth and comfort, people now tend to assume that obese people gorge on pizza, cheeseburgers and ice cream and they deserve to be fat.
More than ever, obesity has become an issue among young children and adolescents. The cycle of shame and weight gain begins early as peers taunt the “fat kid” in the class. Sadly, some teens deal with their anguish by committing suicide. Others grow up to join the ranks of people who fight fat all their lives. More stereotypes flourish: “fat people raise fat kids” and “fat kids become fat adults.”
Obesity affects more than health. These are some of the effects of obesity: poor health, guilt, self-loathing, embarrassment, low energy, and social isolation. They are among the topics that will be discussed on this site.
There are many other effects—and being fat and jolly isn’t one of them.