Yesterday we took our kids to Six Flags. Taking one's kids to any event in which there are thousands of people is a surefire way to see what America looks like. Let me save you the trouble: We're fat. I know, I know...I'm supposed to use nicer words. Large. Obese. Oversized. Big. But let's just call it what it is: fat. I am not exaggerating when I say it was difficult to spot a person who was NOT fat.

The truth is, I'm very sympathetic to how and why people become overweight. Our society does not make it easy, that's for sure. But the reality is that, like anything else, it has to come down to individual responsibility. There is nothing good about being fat. Not only is it unattractive, it's a recipe for depression and even death. It's bad news all the way around.

So the fact that there's an organization called National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance is just wrong. Part of NAAFA's goal is to "help build a society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life." That right there is the problem. If it read "...a society in which people of every size are treated with dignity," that would be something else. Because every human being should be treated with dignity and respect. But accepting obesity is not an option.

In its FAQ section, NAAFA says "Scientific studies show that the majority of people cannot achieve long-term sustainable weight loss." It is absolutely false to say that the majority of people cannot sustain weight loss; a more accurate way to put it is that the majority of people struggle to sustain weight loss. This may sound like semantics, but it is not. Can't means it isn't possible, but ask any weight loss expert -- Bill Phillips. Dr. Oz, Bob Greene -- and they will tell you that it is. And as far as discrimination goes, that's tricky. The reality is that if you're an obese person, there are certain things you cannot do that a person of a healthy weight can. This must be taken into account in all sorts of situations.

Keep in mind there's plenty of room for people to be overweight without experiencing discrimination. I think America is pretty reasonable overall: We give people a lot of wiggle room. But being obese if different from being 20 lbs overweight. Obesity is driving our health coverage into the ground. It's a serious financial drain, and a problem that isn't just about the individual but about society as a whole.

Being obese is not a disease; it's a choice. One that, in most cases, can be reversed.

1 Response to “NAAFA”:

  1. shevrae says:

    This is one of the most annoying things about American society - we're so extreme. On the one side, if you're larger than a six 6, you're fat. On the other, big is beautiful. There's no place for being responsible for your health, but accepting that after 4 kids, you'll never see your size 4 jeans again (unless you save them for your daughter, in the hopes that they'll be back in style and it will save you $100!)

    Things always seem to be horrible and you should never do them or wonderful and should be indulged all the time (particularly in parenting). Unfortunately, according to the media, what's good and what's bad changes every week! That's why I rely on my good old common sense.