Americans will keep growing fatter until 42 percent of the nation is considered obese, and having fat friends is part of the problem, researchers said on Thursday.You may wonder why I harp on this every so often.
The prediction by a team of researchers at Harvard University contradicts other experts who say the nation's obesity rate has peaked at 34 percent of the U.S. population.
The finding is from the same group, led by Nicholas Christakis, that reported in 2007 that if someone's friend becomes obese, that person's chances of becoming obese increase by more than half.
They now think this same phenomenon is driving the obesity epidemic, which will climb slowly but steadily for the next 40 years.
Again, I'm not trying to pick on people for being fifteen or twenty pounds overweight. That's not such a big, hairy deal, not as long as--and this is important--you are otherwise fairly fit.
But people that are fifty, sixty, even a hundred or hundred and fifty pounds overweight--they are killing themselves, and are partly responsible for killing the country's budget as well.
One of the smartest things that Mike Huckabee ever said--remember, Huck used to be amongst the ranks of the quivering fatties--was that lifestyle represents about eighty percent of the cost of health care in this country. I haven't ever looked it up, but my day-to-day working experience makes me quite willing to believe it. Over and over and over again, I deliver and install medical equipment, almost without exception for people whose complexes of medical conditions are directly related to their weight and/or smoking too many cigarettes (I will admit that I'm not convinced that an occasional cigarette is all that big a deal. However, hardly anybody ever smokes an "occasional" cigarette). COPD, diabetes, bad knees, bad backs--you name it! Obesity even makes asthma worse.
Younger fatties--you people that are in your twenties and thirties, but are already seventy or eighty pounds overweight--please believe me, you have absolutely no idea what sort of medical hell awaits you.
I have said for years that though I am, in principle, opposed to federally-funded medical care programs, the reality is that if you could deny services to people who've literally eaten themselves into a state of ill health, cruel as it sounds, there would, in fact, be plenty of money to help the people who've been crippled in car wrecks through no fault of their own, the people who contracted some loathsome disease that no one could possibly have seen coming, etc.
The pitiful thing is that avoiding obesity is so darn simple. I can flatly guarantee you that--barring some weird genetic abnormality--if you do these two things, you will never get huge:
1) Don't eat very much crap. Don't ask me for a detailed definition. In general, "crap" is anything with a bunch of empty calories and/or transfats in it.
It floors me that people indulge in complicated calorie-counting and "points" schemes. It is totally unnecessary. Just don't eat very much crap and the calories and so forth will take care of themselves, okay?
2) Move. Get some exercise that at least mildly stresses your musculature and heart and lungs. You don't have to run marathons, just be reasonably active, dadgummit.