Fat is not the new cigarettes

Last updated 05:30 26/02/2014
Peter and Bridget Richmond
LEAVE ME ALONE: Peter Richmond, here with his wife Bridget, says he is overweight but also healthy and reasonably fit.

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Fighting fat in New Zealand

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I am overweight. Heck, I'm obese.

I'm pushing 40 on the BMI.

But, apart from a few annoying things from time to time (none linked to obesity), I am healthy and reasonably fit for a person of my size and age.

I'm nearly 53, have no diabetes, with very mild hypertension reasonably clearly linked to family history.

I still bicycle to work most days, but the electric motor does help with the tall hill on the way home.

I get my genes from my parents - funny that.

They were both overweight pretty much as long as I knew them, and would probably have qualified as obese, but I never asked.

They had a long litany of health problems from about their mid-50s or even earlier, but kept on, pretty active, until diseases of old age claimed them both, just short of their 83rd birthdays.

Being fat didn't send them to early graves, and I expect to be the same.

Despite everyone saying they are not stigmatising the generously endowed, I see plenty of comments on this site and elsewhere suggesting fatties would be less of a burden on the rest of "healthy" society if said society was not having to pay for their treatments, drugs, hospital beds and heart bypasses.

What rubbish.

People get sick. Older people get sick more often, and still more often as they age.

Face it: decrying fat is a fad. Fat is not the new cigarettes.

Even if the whole of society radically changed their eating and exercise habits and fast food companies stopped trying to make money, we would all still become older, unhealthier and, eventually, dead.

There are no satisfactory statistics to confirm that fatness leads to extra loads on health services that would not be immediately replaced by other ailments, if fat were suddenly and mysteriously "cured".

And fat cannot be cured, unless we retreat to a pre-industrial society, which would inevitably mean other, nastier diseases.

I recall on this website that careful analysis of BMI figures actually showed that the overweight were healthier or lived longer lives than the allegedly "suitable weighters".

None of this is meant to argue against those who say too much refined sugar is bad, or too much unsaturated fat ditto. But let's stop worrying so much about the not-so-sad intermediate results - us fat people.

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If you want to go and try to eradicate trans fats, unsaturated fats and Chelsea sugar, by all means have a go. Just leave us 30-BMI-somethings and 40-BMI-somethings out of it.

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