By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. This article will have more impact if you listen first to Arthur Godfrey’s “Too fat polka”. Godfrey, one of the nation’s first television talk masters (d. 1983), was assuredly not a nice guy. But he could both get to the point.and had at the ready the cutting line that leaves the victim breathless… and an audience laughing at the shear audacity of the words. These talents were showcased in his very catchy “Too fat polka” with its signature line, “You can have her, I don’t want her, she’s too fat for me”. An unlikely hit in 1947, it was written by Ross MacLean and Arthur Richardson. Listen to it a time or two before you read this article. You can easily find it in any search engine. Then get prepared to polka… while I roll out a barrel of fat.
Have you looked at yourself lately, I mean really put yourself under a microscope and scrutinized what was before you? If you’re seeing oleaginous rolls where you should be showcasing lean meat, you are part of the problem… and today must make the decision to become part of the solution.
Let me share just three things with you about fat…
1) It’s disgusting. I don’t care what your (terminally obese) friend Trudy says about your embonpoint.The extra flesh that you’re packing is disgusting. You know it (even though you keep managing to delude yourself)… and every single person who looks at you knows it, too… and they don’t delude themselves about what they’re seeing, the way you do.
… they just utter the devastating, involuntary, withering observation “Wow, that mamma is FAT!” That hurts when you know that mamma (or daddy) is… you.
2) It’s not a problem caused by the prevalence of food… it’s a problem caused by you, the person shoveling the calories down your throat. Last time I checked, we each had the ability to close mouth and stop problem. If you’re fat, if you’re obese, you’re the lad or lassie who did the damage, destroying yourself and your lithesome lines, one bite at a time.
3) You are killing yourself. Fat… like sugar… like salt… is not a little problem; a trifling matter; something that gets a little slap on the wrist. Let’s be candid with each other, or we’re never going to start solving this endemic problem. Fat kills. And, as you shovel those calories into an already overburdened body, you are acting as your own torturer and executioner.
Another study shows…
Before I tell you the results of the latest, really alarming study on this matter, I have this to say about studies: “Enough already!” Since as long as I can remember (and for the record I’m the same age as Godfrey’s hit tune) the nation’s highest health authorities have been studying this problem to death. The studies all say the same thing: problem bad, problem worse than the last time we reported, more people slipping into obesity and all the problems that brings. I feel like Jackie DeShannon in her 1965 hit “What the World Needs Now.” “Lord we don’t need another mountain. There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb…”
We don’t need another study either… We need — action… and we need it yesterday. But since the study authors no doubt worked hard to produce the latest tome on this subject, I’ll share the results with you.
According to a report released July 7, 2010 by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, obesity rates climbed at least 90 percent in 17 states from 1995 until 2010. Here are their chief findings:
Item: nine of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South, led by Mississippi at 34.4 percent. That means that a little more than 1 in 3 Mississippians is obese. On this basis, the state should be designated a disaster area… and the National Guard positioned to get citizens out of their refrigerators as the #1 priority.
Item: Alabama and West Virginia followed Mississippi in the “worst” states category. These three states also lead the nation in diabetes and high blood pressure. Michigan was listed 10th at 30.5 percent.
Item: Medicare and Medicaid, the nation’s public health plans, each spend more than 20 percent of their budget to treat illnesses which are avoidable medical risks. Let’s rewrite this in laymen’s language Joe Sixpack can understand: you and the rest of Obese America are eating more, eating less wisely, less nutritiously… as a result you’re transcending fat, achieving obesity in record numbers at record speed, and then expecting the government to save you from the mess you’ve made of your body and your life.
Friend: when you see the facts well and truly, you’ve got to wonder why the remainder of the citizens doesn’t march on Washington and demand that those pandering congressmen stop subsidizing these self-destructive people, taking our money to correct their problem. Outrageous!
More study facts.
The survey’s authors dubbed a swath of 644 counties in 15 mostly southern states the “diabetes belt,” as reported in the Journal of Preventive Diseases. Colorado is the nation’s slimmest state but still has a 19.8 percent obesity rate. Here’s the rub: Colorado had the second-smallest rise since 1995 BUT that rate is still higher than Mississippi’s was in 1995. This should concern the denizens of Vail, but probably won’t.
So, what’s the definition of obesity anyway?
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index about 30. Thus, a 6 foot-tall adult male weighing 221 pounds or more is considered obese, as is an adult woman standing 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 186 pounds or more, according to the National Institutes of Health. Such people — and here’s the kicker — are at a higher risk for diabetes and hypertension, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Concerned Americans have drawn up a rapidly expanding list of the culprits. These include bigger servings and food consumed on the go. Such rapid consumption is bad for the body… and constitutes the largest single change in the nation’s food habits and ingestion over the last 20 years.
Lawmakers have chimed in with their best ideas: how about using taxes to influence eating habits? Maybe a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (though this didn’t make it into the 2010 health care law)?
But these are mere palliatives, not solutions. And every honest person engaged in the fight against obesity knows it. What they also know is that personal responsibility and ownership of the problem are the keys, not least because America’s financial condition is such that we cannot ask the well people of the nation to subsidize those who chose rotten nutritional habits over common sense and the benefits deriving from getting and maintaining ideal weight. If you’re not doing this, YOU are the culprit… and your first day of responsibility is today.
Chances are you, who know personally and so well the drawbacks of obesity, will yet do nothing to correct them. That’s why, a year or two from now, we’ll be back at you with another report, a more worrisome report… a report you’ll ignore, just like you’ll probably ignore this one. That’s why “You can have him, I don’t want him, he’s too fat for me”. (So is she.)
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.