Monday, July 18, 2011

I Don't Care If You're Fat

By Alan Caruba

I don’t care if you’re fat. I don’t care if your kids are fat. It’s none of my business. If you want to lose some weight, be my guest. Or, like Michelle Obama, if you just want to have a juicy hamburger, some fries, and a chocolate shake, that’s fine, too. Who wants to spend their life eating broccoli and bean sprouts?

My late Mother, Rebecca, taught a generation the joys of haute cuisine in the adult schools of my hometown and nearby communities. Thousands of soldiers who had fought in Europe had returned from the war with a taste of French and Italian cuisine, and Mother was the master of both, including just about any other you could name. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of wines and believed no meal was complete without them.

Mother became the first woman to serve on the board of directors of the Sommelier Society of America in recognition of her encyclopedic knowledge of wines and spirits, and was honored in 1984 for her service to the organization. She was also the first woman to be accepted in both the British and French Sommelier Societies. She received numerous awards and was the first American woman to receive the Agricultural Medal of the Comite National des Vins de France.

Mother was not fat. In her senior years—she lived to age 98—I often feared that a strong breeze might whisk her away. Dad, who lived to age 93, developed the typical older man’s paunch, but never lacked for energy.

I got to thinking about this when I read an article about Dr. David Ludwig’s opinion piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Ludwig is a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. He and a co-author, Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at the Harvard’s School, put forth the notion that the state intervention might be a good thing to take obese children away from their parents.

The next logical step is to begin rounding up obese—fat—people and putting them in concentration camps where they will be forced to lose weight thanks to a restrictive diet and a regimen of labor. When they achieve the approved body mass index (BMI) they might then be released back into society. One can imagine caravans of buses lined up outside the camps to take the formerly fat people and kids back home.

This is going to work an special hardship on black people and Hispanics because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in studies conducted from 2006 to 2008, “Blacks had 51% higher prevalence of obesity and Hispanics had 21% higher obesity prevalence compared with whites.”

All this snooping into people’s lives and lifestyles is justified by the CDC because being fat is “a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.”

I have a friend who has diabetes and, for as long as I have known him, has always been a big, beefy guy. In recent years he has given up smoking, endeavors to exercise more, and one of our constant topics of conversation is—you guessed it—FOOD. We enjoy comparing notes.

It is impossible to get through a single day in America without constantly being implored to eat something, whether at home, a restaurant, or fast-food franchise. I haven’t kept score, but it often seems to me that much of the advertising on television that I see is devoted to food in some fashion, when not insisting that you should buy gold, get a reverse mortgage, or join some class action law suit against a pharmaceutical company.

Whole channels on cable television are devoted 24/7 to food. Every morning TV show has food segments and, as far back as I can recall, always did. Articles, if not entire sections of newspapers and magazines, are devoted to food. As a book reviewer for the past fifty years, I have seen more cookbooks and diet books than anyone should be expected to read.

Here’s how to lose weight. Eat smaller portions. If you're still hungry, have a healthy snack during the day.

There are entire subsets of food obsessions from vegan to foods grown “organically” which is to say without chemical fertilizers to enhance crop yield, herbicides to restrict weeds that compete with crops, and pesticides to knock down the many insect predators that destroy crops. It is estimated that rodent infestations destroy a third of all food grown around the world every year.

Give me food that comes from a modern farm anytime because those e-coli outbreaks always seem to track back to some organic farm.

It’s purely an observation of mine, but it seems to me that a lot of fat people come from families that have a history of being fat. To put it another way, they have a genetic disposition to being large. Others like myself enjoy “comfort foods.” And some people are just pigs.

I don’t care. It is none of my business if you’re fat. It is surely not the government’s business if you’re fat. This is America, the home of the brave and the free…and a lot of fat people, most of whom are not morbidly obese, and should be left alone.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Rich Kozlovich said...

This obesity is a growing problem, but it isn't the governments business. If they wish to point out the science showing the problems attached to being overweight, this is within their domain, not dictating what and how people should eat.

Any attempt to determine how and what people are to eat is an effort in futility. However...The One and his meddling flagellants have finally found a way to make people skinnier. Bankruptcy!

Anonymous said...

You can eat healthy, never drink, never smoke, never exercise, never have wild, unprotected sex and always wear your seatbelt...

When your number is up, it's up...

We've ALL got to die, it's the nature of life, and if I want to eat a steak and tater or a bowl of sprouts, it's MY business..

Guy in Ohio said...

I couldn't care less if someone is fat. If they're ignorant, and they vote, then I care. I suppose if we get stuck subsidizing everyone else's health care, then I might care if they're fat. I doubt I'll have a say in the matter though ...

Lime Lite said...

You make way too much sense. I also have a theory that government regulating us in everything i.e your liberties slowly being eroded - is contributing to people eating more. They comfort themselves with food. If government got out of our lives, then I'm pretty sure people would have more disposable income, be more active and positive. At the moment it's just work, work, worry about everything and raise kids. Stressful all the time. No wonder people turn to food.