Being Overweight Is Not O.K.: Facing Reality Amongst the Politically Correct
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Being Overweight Is Not O.K.: Facing Reality Amongst the Politically Correct

Being overweight or obese is bad for your health.

In today's society, political correctness has become a part of our normal patterns of thought. As a rule, we avoid everything that is potentially awkward or offensive to another. This unspoken rule has gradually grown to become a specifically-enumerated one: in workplaces, in the military, and at school. Each arena of society has developed a specific program to facilitate fair treatment of all of its members. Yet, do these programs enhance society, or do they merely provide excuses to continue on destructive paths? There are certainly a number of personal traits where society's growing tolerance has made positive strides, including race, culture, gender, and religious practices, but there are also many where the idea of tolerance has gone too far. The net effect of this is to remove the stigma of improper behavior and make those who practice it forget that their behavior is wrong.

Certainly, no person with a heart wants anyone to feel excluded or less of a person, but if there is one issue we can point to in the United States today where tolerance has no place, it is the issue of overweight and obese people. Over two-thirds of the United States is overweight, and over half of it is obese! These figures are more than alarming; they signal an epidemic of plague-like proportions that threatens to consume our nation.

Tolerance has perpetrated the myth that being overweight or obese is ok, and society should accept you just the way you are. Yet, the American Medical Association has repeatedly borne witness to the facts and health effects of obese and overweight individuals, and these facts are not pretty.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Both of these conditions are preventable, and it takes years of ignoring the facts of a healthy lifestyle to cause your body to suffer preventable health conditions.

Being overweight or obese decreases your workplace productivity. The average worker is required to move as a part of their job description, and it takes a much greater amount of energy for an overweight or obese individual to move than it does for a normal person to do so. This means that overweight or obese individuals will generally work at a slower pace and require more rest breaks than those within the normal weight scale.

Being overweight or obese taxes our healthcare system. The more times that citizens claim their health insurance, the higher that the nation's rates go up. Overweight or obese individuals are more likely to need treatment more often, because their risk of various cardiovascular and organ-related maladies is at an elevated level. Then, these costs are redistributed to everyone.

Are overweight or obese individuals bad people? Certainly not, and nothing about what they do to their bodies degrades their value as a person. But, what they aren't doing to their bodies is killing them. We have heard the argument that many overweight or obese people cannot help their condition. This is a marvelous falsehood that sells short the vast majority of people suffering from these conditions. I do not advocate any treatment of overweight or obese people that is anything less than loving and supportive, but the best way to show love to someone you know that is overweight or obese is to express to them that their lifestyle is killing them. Perhaps this truth will hurt them, but you are a better friend for telling them in a loving manner.

Society has indicated that it is ok to be overweight or obese, but medical science has repeatedly proven that this is not the case. Nothing about this information suggests that overweight or obese people have any diminished right to life, but they are in fact throwing away their life one health condition at a time.

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Comments (11)

The more acceptable something is in society, the more that people will think it is right. My friend is currently visiting London and she told me that she has not seen an obese person since being there (I'm sure London does have some people that are obese, but not to the extreme that we do in America) It seems that we throw health concerns out the window in order to not hurt peoples feelings, but we can let people know that they are flirting with death in a tactful way. Very brave article and very well written!

You're so sweet, dear! I knew this would be a touchy article, but I stand by its conclusions: science supports me, and my intent is never to hurt, but to show the bad effects of a lifestyle. Hopefully, I can reach someone.

Some very tough love here, words and counsel that is really important and necessary to hear

Absolutely right Dustin. Here there was an article in the news advising medical staff not to call people fat (or is it obese) because they might not be motivated to do something about it i.e. it hurts their feelings. But it would motivate ME to do something about it! I dunno....political correctness has gone mad and its time - for the sake of people's health, sanity and the nation's health budget - that something was done.

Thats crazy, Ngozi that the article in the news suggested that!- that is like not telling someone they have cancer so you don't make them scared. Or not telling someone they are diabetic because it might make them unhappy that they can't eat the way they used to. People need to know what is wrong in order to make efforts to correct it.

A fine article with some very good points. Unlike a disability, people can actually change their weight. So I think you can kindly advise an obese person to try to lose weight. I don't think that's out of line.

This is a very good and insightful article but perhaps some ways to get the weight off might help..Clearly, many in our country are in need....

Smoking has become intolerable in this country. Even North Carolina, the heart of tobacco country, has laws against smoking in bars or restaurants. It used to be that non-smokers were considered impolite if they didn't have ash trays for their smoking guests! I agree that we need to try to be civil and polite, but not to the point of tacitly approving self-destructive behaviors that also have negative social consequences. Perhaps more articles like this one that don't point the finger at anyone in particular will have some effect.

I hope so! I write things like this in the hope that it helps.

You can't use body weight alone as an indicator of productivity or heart disease. Who's healthier? The person with 20 extra pounds whose cholesterol and blood pressure are in safe levels, or the skinny person who eats cheeseburgers every day (but doesn't gain due to metabolism) and whose cholesterol is off the charts? Eating and exercise determine health, and weight is often, but not always, a side-effect of lifestyle habits that correlates to, but does not cause, disease. People are responsible for their own choices, and should be held accountable, but two people who follow the same diet and exercise regimen could differ by several BMI points, which means you can't judge health by weight alone.

See the Dieting and Weight Loss section of this website to find numerous articles encouraging healthy eating. While it is true that cholesterol levels are extremely important in the prevention of heart disease, your statement about body weight not being a predictor of heart disease alone is abysmally false. Thousands of volumes of research have confirmed that increased weight does definitively lead to heart disease (and in fact is often accompanied by elevated cholestorol levels), and the greater the weight, the more likely this is. The "20 extra pounds" above overweight you mentioned would, for a 5'8" male, make him 192 pounds. This figure is more than enough to give an individual an increased risk of heart disease. Check your statements, because while I continually attest that there is more to the picture than the number on the scale, that number is still killing Americans daily.