Monday, April 7, 2008

Obesity: One Question We Can Answer?

There was an infuriating piece on the Huffington Post this morning by John Ridley about a proposal to make it illegal to discriminate against overweight people. I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to be providing any page-views. Also because I'm not doing any fancy interpretive work here.

The part that pissed me off was just this:

"For the vast majority of those who are obese -- those with a Body Mass Index over 30 -- their size is their choice. They choose to take in more calories than they burn."

Good. Lord. There seems to be this idea out there that lots of people are overweight because they choose to be. But that idea is insane. Just to mention one thing: in interviews people often say they would prefer various disabilities over being overweight. Duh.

There are obviously lots of factors involved in weight. But look, there is one question it should be absolutely straightforward to answer: do some people get fatter than others while eating the same amounts of food?

Because I bet the answer is yes. And the methodology would be totally straightforward: get some people to commit to a few months under lock and key, feed them, and weigh them. I'm sure you could find volunteers if you paid them enough. It could be like a vacation. Doesn't some rich person want to fund something like this?

I am so tired of people saying, "It's basic physics! Calories in, calories out!" This is obviously nuts, as anyone knows who has friends with serious intestinal problems. If you're sick, you can eat a lot and still lose weight, because you're not absorbing the calories. So obviously it's not a simple equivalence. And it's not freakin' physics! Geez.


Captain Colossal said...

I am so with you on this. And normally, when I just agree, I don't post a comment, but I'm so sick of that line of argument that I wanted to sign on.

Noko Marie said...

Yeah. You know, the whole "agreeing" thing is something blogs haven't really worked out. At blogs that get lots of comments it's considered bad form to just write, "Yeah," or "Me too." But sometimes that's just what you want to say. Yeah. Me too. And sometimes it's worth saying.

The "gold star" clicky system -- having a "I like this comment" or "I like this commenter" -- seems to me to quickly degenerate into stupidity and popularity contests.

What you want is some internet equivalent to a bunch of quiet nods, or something. I'm sure the gods of the internets will come up with something.

Anonymous said...

how about 'yup!' (Since "right on, man!" is so passé)?