Ha, I could totally use my cow to squirt milk at Andy Berke, who is sending me emails all about what fat slobs we are and how we’re ruining Tennessee with our fat slobbitude. And lately, he’s even asking me to knock the cake out of fat kids’ hands.
Berke, life is hard enough for kids as it is. They don’t need some strange lady with a cow she uses to squirt people who displease her stealing their desserts. Think about the trauma such a scene would cause.
In the long run, all of us spend more money to treat people with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health problems caused by being overweight. At a time when kids should be more active and in better physical shape than at any time in their lives, they are heading down a dangerous health path.
Interestingly enough, these attitudes–that fat people are ruining it for everybody–may actually be physically harmful to fat people.
Heavy people may face discrimination in medical settings, too. The authors of the review, Rebecca Puhl and Chelsea Heuer, cite numerous surveys of anti-fat attitudes among health care workers, who tend to see obese patients as ugly, lazy, weak-willed, and lacking in motivation to improve their health. Doctors describe treating fatties as a waste of time, and the staff at teaching hospitals appear to single them out for derogatory jokes. Unsurprisingly, many obese people avoid seeing their primary care providers altogether, and those who do are less likely to be screened for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. (That’s true even among those with health insurance and college degrees.)
These data points suggest a rather simple approach to America’s obesity problem: Stop hating. If we weren’t such unrepentant body bigots, fat people might earn more money, stay in school, and receive better medical care in hospitals and doctor’s offices. All that would go a long way toward mitigating the health effects of excess weight—and its putative costs. But there’s an even better reason to think that America’s glutton intolerance is a threat to public health and the federal budget. Recent epidemiological research implies that the shame of being obese poses its own medical risk. Mental anguish harms the body; weight stigma can break your heart.
Also interesting is this phrasing Berke uses, “all of us” spend more money on obesity related conditions. And yet, most of us are obese (two-thirds, according to the Slate article these last two paragraphs are from). So it’s a little disingenuous to act like the money we spend on health care costs related to obesity are being wasted by us on someone other than us.
I’m trying to keep this light-hearted because I really like Berke, the subject is difficult, and I find Berke and Burks’ position to be cruel and calling someone who is on your side on their bigotry isn’t actually that fun.
But I would ask Berke and Burks to consider how obscene it is that at least 300,000 children in this state are at risk of hunger. There are roughly 1,600,000 kids under the age of 18 in this state, which means that roughly 400,000 of them are obese.
So, when you decided to take up a cause to “help” kids, you could have helped roughly the same number of kids (and let’s not forget that many of these kids are in both groups) either by oversimplifying the obesity issue into “they just eat too much” or by feeding kids who need it.
And you continue to choose to focus on how we can all “help” kids by increasing our scrutiny of what they do with they do with their bodies, which will surely make them feel terrible about their bodies, but has not been shown to actually make most people thinner.
I’m going to assume you just haven’t thought through how cruel this is.