I was confused–to say the least–to find that the recalcitrant brother doesn’t believe in evolution or man-made global warming and I will admit to feeling smuggly superior because, by god, I understand that it’s irrefutable science. And who is some plumber in west Georgia to not believe what irrefutable scientists tell him?
But today I’m reading Alas, A blog about how we’re still bitching at women (in this case, black women) for being too dangerously unhealthy by being fat, fat, fat in which Ampersand posts this chart from the New England Journal of Medicine.
I will wait for you to peruse it. I would merely point out that, according to this chart, if you are a white, black, or hispanic man, it seems to be a little healthier to be slightly overweight. If you are a white or black man, you would seem to be better off to be overweight than “normal” weight.
For white women, it seems to be healthiest to be at the high end of “normal” weight or at the low end of “overweight.” Black women seem to be best off being overweight. (And, I would point out that, for white and black folks, regardless of gender, it’s better to be morbidly obese than underweight in terms of relative risk of death.
And yet, we’re all supposed to be losing weight. We’re all supposed to believe that, no matter what we weigh, it’s better if we were a few pounds lighter, because we believe the sciency folks when they tell us that being fat in and of itself is a problem.
So, I’m just going to say, when it comes to talking about fat, I don’t believe scientists. I just don’t. I assume that, in general, they’re motivated by an aesthetic bias against fat that has nothing to do with whether or not I’m healthy. In other words, they think fat is gross and therefore feel justified in believing that fat people are inherently unhealthy and therefore, even when faced with graphs and charts that show otherwise, they’re still telling people to lose weight.
So, yeah, I kind of get where my brother is coming from. Scientists are not without their paradigms and biases. I think he’s wrong about evolution. I’m willing to hear him out on global-warming.
Family bonding, I guess.
I should not even have to say this, but I know it’s going to come up in the comments so I’ll just preempt it now. Yes, we Americans are dreadfully unhealthy. Shoot, even I am dreadfully unhealthy. But we don’t address that. We address weight, as if it’s an accurate corrilary of health.
Everyone, fat or skinny, should be exercising a half an hour a day. Everyone should be eating fresh vegetables and less surgary, corn-syrupy processed crap. Our goal should be to have a nation of healthy people–not a nation of aesthetically pleasing people–and we need to stop confusing the two.