Con: Society is Too Tolerant of the Obese

Haven’t really had a chance to read this yet, but at first glance it looks interesting at least.

I’ll post more later…

Pro: Society is Too Tolerant of the Obese » Carotids.Com

After further reading… I’m no doctor, but I’m gonna take a stab at this anyhow…

I’m really not too sure where to go with this article. Even the title, “Pro: Society is Too Tolerant of the Obese”, wreaks of a society filled with bigotry. What kind of fire storm would a post title like “Pro: Society is Too Tolerant of the Handicapped” bring? Let’s not even think about actually adding content to the title. I can’t even imagine the uproar.

Around the world, obesity has become the last acceptable bias. Airlines are charging obese customers twice as much because they may take up more room in an airplane. Do these same airlines charge wheelchair bound customers more because they require additional attention and space? No, they don’t. Handicapped or wheelchair bound people are protected from this sort of discrimination and, additionally, our society would never stand for a similar policy aimed at the handicapped. This sort of discrimination happens all over; from job interviews to restaurant booths and every where in between.

I found the following statement in this post humorous:

To stay normal weight one must have a conscious limitation of food intake.

Really? Well, duh, if I’d known that I would never have allowed myself to get up to 350 pounds. So all I have to do is have “conscious limitation of food intake”, eh? All my weight problems will be solved. Come on, this statement is not even true. Many skinny people have absolutely no idea how much they eat – they eat what they want to, when they want to – without getting fat. On the other hand, many obese people watch every calorie and never lose – and in some case continue to gain – weight. This is one of the main problems with the way many doctors and society as a whole looks at the chronically over weight. They regard the problem as simply an intake problem, if the obese were to just eat less they wouldn’t be obese. This is true to some extent, if you use more calories than you consume weight will be lost, but it barely grazes the surface of the cause of obesity and is overly simplistic. We can do better than this.

The author (only noted as Dr. BW) tries – weakly – to draw a comparison between being obese and smoking:

Some obese people will say that society is already hard on them. I answer by saying that society is even harder on tobacco users. Just a few years ago, doctors used to smoke in the hospitals. Now smoking in the workplace anywhere is very rare. Many companies do not even allow smoking on company grounds. Do these tobacco users feel that they are being stressed to change their habits? Absolutely, and it is working.

This is the best this Doctor has to offer? How many times have you walked down the street and seen kids – or adults for that matter – staring, laughing, pointing, or ridiculing someone because they are smoking? Never. People may not like smoking, but smokers are not instantly judged because they smoke. Now try to think of the number of times you have seen the stares and laughter as an obese person walks down the street. Obese people are instantly judged as lazy and slothful. It happens daily and it happens around the world. To come back to the smoking vs.obesity comparison, think about how many companies spend tens of thousands of dollars annually on smoking cessation programs in the workplace, often offering work time off for employees to attend sessions. It makes sense for companies to do this, less smokers means lower insurance premiums and increased profitability. Now think about how many of these same companies offer their obese employees weight loss programs of the same caliber. I would venture a guess that not very many do, even though the cost savings may be similar in the long run.

Obesity is an illness and needs to be treated as such. Thankfully, the drug and medical communities are able to see the profitability of finding solutions to the “obesity epidemic”. There are hundreds – probably thousands – of research projects working on finding the magic bullet to help obese people overcome their weight problems. It has been shown time and time again that in most cases, someone who is chronically overweight will never, on their own, lose their excess weight and keep it off. Medical and drug interventions have been the only things that have shown actual promise in helping obese people. For me, it took weight loss surgery. Thankfully that option was open to me and I was able to use it. This is not the case for everyone.

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5 thoughts on “Con: Society is Too Tolerant of the Obese

  1. The smoking/obesity comparison is completely valid. Both are predominantly learned behaviors.My friends don’t judge me because I am fat. I don’t judge my friends because they smoke. But we all know they should quit smoking and I should lose weight.Being overweight is not a handicap. It’s a result of poor choices in eating habits for most people.AEngelsrud:Trent,I don’t believe for a second that your friends or others don’t judge you for being fat. We all judge and make over broad assumptions everyday. It is a fact of life and in peoples nature to judge others. Being fat has an impact on how people treat you. Take this as fact from someone who was over 350 pounds and is now 165 pounds – there is a difference. I see it everyday, I have successes today that I would never have had if I had not taken control of my health and found a solution to my weight problem.As for being overweight not being a handicap; tell that to the 400 pound guy who can’t sleep because of sleep apena or the 350 pound woman who can no longer make the walk to Target because of her weight. These are real problems that effect the chronically obese, they are medical conditions that are debilitating. While in most cases being overweight is not a handicap, in many it is.Thanks for your comments… Aaron

  2. I’ve had a little time to consider my position on this topic a little more and judging by the fact that people are actually reading what I wrote, I feel I should probably finish up my thoughts a little more. First, the reason that smoking in vilified in society is because someone smoking at table next to me is not only effecting their health, but mine also. This is the problem with the whole fat vs. smoking comparison – smoking hurts those around you, being fat does not. I’m not sure I see the parallels at all. Maybe I’m missing something. I don’t think people dislike smokers because they smoke, but rather because their (the smokers) choices effect others. On the other hand, fat people are vilified simply because they are overweight. There is no sign of secondary fatness. Fat people just need to have more self control or simply have a ‘concious limitation of intake’.I’ll follow this up in a more detailed post when I have time…Thanks for the comments.

  3. Your secondhand smoke point is valid. Secondhand smoke directly harms other; one person’s obesity does not directly harm somebody else.However, when you bring dollars into the issue, it really changes. Obesity is very costly to society. The non-obese person pays more in taxes and insurance due to the obesity epidemic.

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