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The BIG obesity epidemic – enough is enough

Obesity has become a hot button issue for a lot of people over the past few decades as more and more people in more and more countries are being classed as medically overweight or obese. It has only become a problem in the modern age, in fact statistics for obesity didn’t even exist 50 years ago for one simple fact – they didn’t need to.

So why are people becoming significantly fatter and unhealthier as the years go by? An increase of convenience foods, convenience devices, motorised transport and more sedentary jobs have all been pointed at to be leading contributors of the obesity epidemic. There is some truth in this, but it seems to me that the real cause is human laziness and a newfound complacency with being overweight. It’s now easy to be overweight and obese, not just because of how easily accessible salt, fat and calorie laden foods have become, but because society is pretty much allowing it now. The word ‘curvy’ has been bastardised by overweight people – ‘curvy’ means and hourglass figure, (Scarlett Johansson is curvy) but according to a lot of overweight people who label themselves as ‘curvy’ it now means a Michelin Man figure. There are daytime TV talk shows that are very fat-apologetic that try to push the idea that it is socially unacceptable and taboo to even suggest someone is overweight when the clear matter of fact is that they are.

The obesity epidemic has gotten so out of hand that it’s not just adults who are being affected. According to WHO, (The World Health Organisation) there are 40 million overweight children worldwide. 40 million. Overweight. Children. Children (under a certain age) should not necessarily be held accountable for their weight because they are often too young and inexperienced to fully understand nutritional facts and make informed decisions. It’s their parents who should be held accountable for their child’s weight (for both under and overweight cases). Parents choose what goes into their children’s mouths. In my opinion, feeding your child the wrong things in such a quantity that it causes their body to go to one extreme or another (again, under and overweight) is child abuse. These parents are destroying their children’s self-esteem, teaching them horrible lessons regarding food and, most importantly, they are damaging their children’s health. We as a society put a stop to every other form of child abuse, so why not this form?

Obesity is now classed as a disease in the USA. That means that a third of Americans are ‘diseased’. Being fat is NOT the same as being ill. The UK is not far behind for ridiculous classifications of overweight people. The UK is considering allowing overweight people to be classed as having a disability. If this goes through, then any persons concerned would be protected under discrimination laws.

Obesity is not a disease and it shouldn’t be classed as a disability. Obesity directly costs the NHS an extra £5 billion a year. Ambulances are now being remodelled with double-wide stretchers for obscenely large patients who are increasingly weighing in at more than the current ambulance maximum of 28 stone. Because of this, the new ambulance maximums are going to be increased to be able to accommodate individuals who can weigh up to an absurd 55 stone. But it doesn’t stop there: reinforced operating tables, longer needles and even wider MRI scanners are all needed because fat people refuse to control what they eat. Doctors have reported that the use of zoological equipment has had to be resorted to due to the overwhelming weight of some patients. This causes these patients to lose a sense of dignity, and quite frankly, this is well deserved. It should be shameful to need equipment designed to weigh rhinos and other large animals if you are human.

It’s not only shocking that the NHS has to do this, but it’s also unfair. The NHS is abused by drastically overweight and obese people. Imagine what that £5 billion could do for people who have diseases and illness that weren’t self-inflicted. I can already hear some people out there saying that some people can’t help being overweight and to that I’d like to retort with a direct quotation from Max Pemberton’s article entitled ‘Obesity is not a disease: Pretending otherwise will stoke an epidemic and crush the NHS’ (which I highly suggest you read):

“An in-depth study published last year, which looked at the genes of more than 20,000 people and was conducted at the Medical Research Council’s epidemiology unit in Cambridge, found some people are predisposed to be overweight. But an active lifestyle and reducing food intake can counteract that. Simple. While some will be annoyed by this research, I find it empowering. The idea that our genes control us is profoundly depressing. After all, there is more to being human than a few strands of DNA.”

At this point I’d also like to acknowledge this article that further cements the point that was just made, and about nature vs nurture, genetics vs epigenetic and acceptance and responsibility. A healthy body is all about taking control and responsibility and not playing the blame game. Not only is it about what you eat, it’s about how much you eat. Portion sizes have increased drastically, especially from take-away and fast-food places and this is one way that people put on extra weight. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t eat junk food like pizza or muffins, but I am suggesting that when they do choose to eat these foods that they should be responsible. Restaurant meals are now up to four times larger than they were in the 1950s.

But regular meals aren’t the only things that have gone supersized. To answer the greedy cry of overweight humans demanding ‘more’, an increasing number of restaurants worldwide now offer food challenges to customers. These challenges are about eating a nauseating amount of food in one sitting and often under a set time. There is a TV show that helped to popularize this disgusting trend and encouraged people to do the same. I’m talking about ‘Man v Food’. It originally aired in 2008 (USA) and 2010 (UK) and is all about its host, Adam Richman, going around the USA and binge-eating on the most ridiculously portioned, calorific and nutritionally void food ever seen. These challenges are outrageous and have included a 2kg steak, a 7.5lb burger (to put that into perspective the average size of a normal burger today is a quarter pound), two gallons of ice-cream and 10 course meals.

This man and what he does on the show are celebrated as if it’s a triumph, even though the prize is poor health, obesity and a very poisonous message to viewers. How is a show like this classed as entertainment? This show pretty much sums up what is wrong with the Western world’s attitude towards food. The show also makes no attempt to promote healthy eating or even say that this kind of eating is unhealthy. It’s too busy glorifying greed, gluttony and overeating to even consider the nauseating images on screen and the low morals that it is promoting. The food waste on the show is sickening. Food (by its most basic definition) whilst being enjoyable, is nothing more than fuel for the body and should be treated as such. There are people in the third world who don’t have enough food to feed themselves for a day, yet here in the first world there are millions of people who are watching a man overeat whilst simultaneously stuffing their faces and bulging their bodies to extremes through shameful acts of self-indulgence.

As if ‘Man v Food’ wasn’t reprehensible enough, there is now ‘Man v Food Nation’ which doesn’t show Adam Richman eating, but instead he is encouraging members of the public to do what he does. He ‘coaches’ them through their disgusting displays of greed for the entertainment of gawping and cheering onlookers. The worst to come from this situation is that there have been several copy-cat shows, which means that more people are not only enjoying this sort of behaviour, but taking part in it too.

The sad thing is that it’s not only the typical people that you might imagine enjoying this vulgarity. Stuart Heritage (from The Guardian of all places) calls ‘Man v Food’ “one of the greatest TV shows of our time”. Are you kidding me?! This idiot also calls the show a “cultural touchstone for a generation”. He even admits that Adam Richman has a case of “excessive greediness” and that many normal people would be “ravaged by self-esteem issues” if they did what he did – so why is he promoting this?! The thing that made me the sickest in his whole article comes at the end. Heritage says (and you can see for yourself) “If you ever see a little boy order more food than he can comfortably eat…then the spirit of Man v Food will have endured”. Yes, according to this article and his own choice of words, Heritage is actively supporting childhood obesity. If there were a program all about a human glorifying an act that is damaging to their health in a different way (binge drinking, chain smoking or a drugs all-nighter) and encouraging other people to do the same then people would be horrified – so why is this kind of self-damaging activity any different?

Something is very wrong with society as it promotes gluttony and eating to excess whilst telling people that expecting someone else (like the NHS) to take on the self-inflicted consequences such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease brought on by purposely overeating and repeatedly making stupid decisions is acceptable behaviour. The science behind becoming overweight and obese is so simple: if you consume more energy (calories) than your body uses, and don’t do enough exercise then you will become unhealthy and get fat. Yet so many people are either not grasping this simple fact through their own stupidity, or they just don’t care because of their arrogance and self-entitlement. Neither of these reasons are viable excuses anymore. There is so much information out there about food, calories and nutrition that ignorance cannot be justified anymore and refusal to accept good nutrition should not be tolerated anymore.

Another attribute that connects a lot of overweight and obese people (asides from making stupid decisions with regards to food) is that they like to play the victim. A very small percentage of overweight people might need legitimate medical help and attention for their weight because it genuinely is out of their hands most of the time. These people are usually physically disabled in some way or are post-surgery and have a real reason as to why they can’t be as physically active as doctors recommend. This group of potentially overweight people deserve medical help, but it’s the other, much larger (no pun intended) group of people – the lazy, overindulgent and greedy ones who not only demand the same help, but feel self-entitled to it, who are the problem. These people have become so good at their professional victimhood that it’s now become un-PC to point out the obvious – they are fat. It has gotten so bad that now these people have caused a backlash against fit people – the people who made their own health one of their top priorities, which is the medically normal way to be. The most prominent case for me involves Maria Kang –who I have also interviewed before.

Maria Kang is a fitness blogger and a fitness model. She is also a mother of 3 young boys. She published a picture which included her showing her amazing body, with her 3 boys and a question: “What’s your excuse?” which, in my opinion, is a fair one. This picture caused outrage on Facebook with people calling her judgmental, a “fat-shamer”, a bully and “part of the body shaming problem”. These comments probably came from overweight professional victims who are angry that they haven’t got the results they want (a better and healthier body) from the work they didn’t do (healthy diet and exercise) or from people who are nothing more than jealous. These people have also said that Maria can’t be a good mother if she looks like she does. This is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read on the internet – and that’s saying something.

People have criticized her for “spending hours in the gym” or “hugging a Swiss ball” instead of hugging her kids. They say that her priorities are wrong. These people are idiots for one simple reason: They clearly haven’t listened to anything Maria has said, because if they had they’d know that their claims are over-exaggerated products of jealousy and a low self-esteem that has gone deep into self-defense mode. These people see her pictures as negative and demeaning rather than positive and encouraging. Watching any interview with Maria will show you that she doesn’t spend hours in the gym or ignore her kids for her fitness goals. Instead she (quite rightly) points out that giving birth is no excuse for staying fat and being unhealthy. She says that she trains “5-6 days a week for 30-60 minutes a day” which really isn’t that long, and I can personally vouch for that because that’s very similar to my own exercise regime. She also watches what she eats and says that she finds time to work out and keep fit because her health is a priority. If she isn’t healthy then her kids will ultimately suffer.

A half hour workout whilst the children are asleep is not a ridiculous amount of exercise that causes you to be a bad mum. Just the idea that people think that is ludicrous and says more about them than it does of people like Maria. But that relatively small amount of exercise is the difference between being healthy and being overweight – no matter what your personal situation is. Despite how little it exercise that time slot is, fat people are still too lazy to do it and would rather play the victim and lash out at healthy people than be proactive and take responsibility for themselves. It’s absurd, it’s disgusting and it has to stop.

I support Maria Kang and everyone like her and I refuse to not call a spade a spade because the spade might have ‘hurt feelings’ at being told the truth. The vast majority of overweight and obese people became the way they are through their own decisions and actions. It’s time to let them sort it out for themselves and stop letting them walk all over us and the NHS. It’s time to promote a healthy (not to be confused with skinny) body image and to strive towards it, because if things continue the way they are then the entire world is in trouble.

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