14 November, 2006

Good News & Bad News

First the Good News.

If you want to live to be 85 and healthy, you can. You just need to be trim and eat right. (Although being a Japanese man seems to help, too.)

The study involved 5,820 Japanese-American men from the Hawaiian island of Oahu, who were followed for up to 40 years, but the researchers said the results likely apply to women and men of other ethnic heritage, too.


I won't go on a rant about scientific studies basing broad conclusions on a narrowly-defined sample.

Now the Bad News.

A 12-year old girl has been given a liposuction.

Yes, you read that right. A liposuction. Society's propaganda about the dangers of overweight and the benefits of being slender (see above) have pushed a child into hating her body badly enough to undergo life-threatening surgery.

10 Comments:

At 2:19 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

First, let me say that liposuction is WAY over the top. For good or ill, my Dad drilled into me that things like anti-depressants, liposuction, and quick-oil change places are cheating. Can't say I totally agree with him, but it's always in the back of my mind.

As you know, my son and I are on a new fitness/nutrition program. Our doctor all but ordered us to.

The science is pretty clear on this. Respectfully, I would say that a sedentary lifestyle combined with Southern eating habits is a recipe for disaster.

Can it be taken too far? Certainly, as is the case here. But, correct me if I'm wrong, you seem to have a problem with the attitude that says, "I need to lose weight to be healthy".

I'm trying to figure out where you're coming from.

 
At 3:01 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

you seem to have a problem with the attitude that says, "I need to lose weight to be healthy".

I think people need to be healthier. I think they need to be more active and eat better. The fact of the matter is that there are an awful lot of skinny people who are just as unhealthy as overweight people--if not moreso.

Overweight has been ascribed a causative burden in this society when very little causality has been proven. I have a problem with the new assumption that fat=unhealthy without any further investigation made into the overall physical fitness of the patient.

I recently went in for surgery. My doctor and several of the nurses remarked that aside from the reason for the surgery I was very healthy. I have good blood pressure, reasonable blood sugar, a strong heart and good lungs. Yet I was asked more than 30 times if I was a diabetic. Nurses and nurses' aides who merely saw a fat woman just made the assumption that I'd be a diabetic.

Because of that surgery and the underlying cause it was to treat I have recently lost 25lbs. I'm happy about that. But I was healthy before I lost it. Will I be healthier now? Sure. I could always be more physically fit, etc. I think it's fine if people make the choice to lose weight for personal reasons.

I just get really tired of those personal reasons not being rationally considered and instead being driven by a propaganda-fueled media.

Take the Oprah show I wrote about a week or so ago. The message communicated throughout that entire program was NOT "be happy with who you are while working toward any physical, mental or emotional goals you want to acheive." The message for fat people--especially fat women--seems to be "you are less than whole unless you are skinny." Oprah said as much when she thanked Kirstie for being an example to women who were "waiting to get their lives together." The overt implication there is that being fat equals being out of control and living in chaos.

For me my fat is incidental. Unlike the weeping women who confess their emotional travails on afternoon television I am not fat because "food is my best friend." I am not fat out of a sense of loneliness or incompleteness. I am fat because I'm the child of two fat parents who bequethed me a love of reading, a love of food and a gene pool with a sluggish metabolism. I am fat because I would rather read a book than run a mile. I'm fat because I like to eat. I'm fat because I've taken a lot of medication over the years that causes weight gain. There are a lot of contributing factors to my size, some of which I can control--some of which I can't.

I'm making every effort to be as healthy and fit as possible, but I find I do much better when focusing on the health and not on the size.

As I become more active and modify my eating (things I talked about in your comments) I'm losing weight. But the weight loss is not my focus. It's a side effect.

I would just love it if the rest of society would treat weight in the same ancillary way. Too much central focus on overweight causes a society where fat people are so blackballed as to cause a 12 year old to be compelled to risk her life to attain an unreasonable ideal.

 
At 4:46 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

OK, it makes sense to me now. What you say is perfectly reasonable and logical. Unfortunately "knowing" something in an intellectual way, and "knowing" it (including emotionally) are two different things. This is where I am at.

People (especially women) treated me better when I was more slender. You notice it more when you yo-yo like I do. When you're slender, you are shown more courtesy, patience, and kindness. My RAISES at work were even higher! These are things I can quantify. If I kept a journal I could PROVE it.

It's not fair, because I'm still the same person. Fair or not, the emotional part of me wants to get back to when I was treated better. I also want that for my son.

I envy you, you seem to be far more at peace with this than I am.

Since I'm in the public eye as an entertainer, laypreacher, and most recently infomercial actor , it gets even harder. You haven't been humbled till you've seen yourself fat ON TV. Is that wrong? Of course it is.

But make no mistake, as an entertainer, even a Christian entertainer, there is pressure to be "attractive", however that's defined. I'm just not strong enough to fight it yet, so it's treadmill and celery sticks for me!

 
At 10:11 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

People (especially women) treated me better when I was more slender.

The last time I was "slender" I was 15. That's probably made it easier, because I know no other way of being. I've no doubt you're completely right.

I've been held back at work because of my weight; I do't pretend that it's not a factor.

Fair or not, the emotional part of me wants to get back to when I was treated better. I also want that for my son.

I admit I'd love to get to a place where I feel more respected by society and less judged. And if I ever have kids I'll do anything within my power to make sure they have every advantage possible. I understand where you're coming from. I just think the new policies of shaming people into skinniness are doing more harm than good.

 
At 9:46 AM, November 15, 2006, Blogger jag said...

I skimmed the article about this girl in People - and stopped paying attention around the part where they said that the parents sought out a doctor that would perform the lipo (all but one Dr. refused) because they wanted the girl's dad to see her skinny before he died. The dad had been diagnosed with cancer, and the article says that the FAMILY thinks it's terminal, not that his DOCTORS think it's terminal.

Seemed a bit wonky to me.

Not that I'm saying the girl didn't have a problem - but the fact that her physicians didn't seem to be involved in this whole thing doesn't sit right with me.

 
At 9:49 AM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I'm putting a lot of the blame for this on the parents. I watched a clip with them on ABC News online where the girl said she had been on a diet "since she was two".

That right there is a sign of parents who may possibly be putting their interests above that of their child.

 
At 2:30 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Sonia said...

lipo at 12? WOW! That seems pretty irresponsible on the parents and the dr's behalf.

 
At 9:44 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger -d said...

I missed the last few days, skimming through and find this? you gatta be kidding me.

don't you think it would have been easier to ferate her and call her names until she just stopped eating?

 
At 9:45 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger -d said...

sorry for the misspelling, I'm tired. I ment "berate". Now i guess the joke is no longer funny...

 
At 7:51 PM, November 19, 2006, Anonymous Miss O'Hara said...

Liposuction at 12? No biggie. I had friends in HS who were getting breast implants for their sweet 16s. Now parents give them to their daughters for their 14th birthdays...that way, I suppose, their daughter is guaranteed a boyfriend and possible pregnancy at 16. Joy!


...so going to hell...

 

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