UPDATE (as of June 20th, 2008): Breaking News
AUSTRALIA has become the fattest nation in the world, with more than 9 million adults now rated as obese or overweight, according to an alarming new report.
The most definitive picture of the national obesity crisis to date has found that Australians now outweigh Americans and face a future “fat bomb” that could cause 123,000 premature deaths over the next two decades.
Read the rest here.
This is nothing to celebrate over. It just goes to show you how the Americanophobic stereotypes don’t hold much weight, do they? (no pun intended)
In yet another futile attempt to humble imperialistic America off of her self-absorbed, “high and mighty” throne, Canadians and Europeans (both equally guilty on this one) remind us about the obesity epidemic in America on a daily basis… as if we didn’t know. “You yanks suck cuz you’re all FAT!” – I hear over and over and over again. I am genuinely clueless as to how our problem with obesity is affecting these people so much as to become obsessed with Fat America? Where is the hurt and anger coming from? Or is it one’s insecurity needing to be built up to feel secure? Is it about control? Is it envy? American Obesity is useful ammunition for those taking digs at the US. What does this accomplish, though? Nothing. Will we still be fat? Yes. Will we humble up and realize that we’re aren’t …. all that? No. Why? Because FAT-O-PHOBIA exists in the US as well…. believe it or not. Quite naturally, the BBC with an Americanophobic agenda won’t tell you something like that. They want YOU to think we’re “obesity-loving”. They also fail to provide the correct facts. Let’s take a look at the REAL statistics. Sixty million Americans are obese. This is 20% of the population unlike the “over 50%” that you learned on the CBC or the BBC. Could it be that your media got us confused with the middle east where over 50% of the women are obese? Aaah… I’ll let that one slide. You ARE aware that over 300 million people live in the US, right? So, how would YOU explain for the 240 million that AREN’T obese? I’ll wait on that answer, but let’s continue…
A woman from Britain (living in the US) writes an article on this very topic relating to some controversial news that she read on the “Times Online” by a columnist from the UK.
The article postulates that fatness and obesity are directly related to poverty and ignorance; that rich, educated people are rarely fat. Also, it says, “Obese means not just podgy, but dangerously, disablingly, distastefully fat, as in American fat.”
Not just in this article, but whenever I travel outside this country, I find the topic comes up an inordinate number of times. “Oh, you live in America; isn’t everyone beastly and fat over there?” To which, after today’s article, I can now respond “No, only the poor, stupid ones, apparently.“
I’d like to take some time here and clear up some misconceptions that people all over the world have about American Obesity.
First off, we invented it. It’s ours. Stop copying us. Obesity is one of those precious freedoms our ancestors fought for. We get to keep it.
On a serious note, according to this article, Australia is tied with the US in the “fat wars“. (They ARE one competitive group, aren’t they?)
Australians are now equal with Americans as the most overweight people in the world, with a new study showing that the rate of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years.
Professor Zimmet said an obesity summit held in NSW last year estimated it costs the nation up to $13 billion a year.
Nearly a million Australians now have type 2 diabetes. The figure has quadrupled in the past 20 years and led experts to coin the term “diabesity”.
This site addresses issues regarding the obesity crisis among adolescents in Australia.
Unfortunately, weight problems are common among adolescents in Australia. At least 1 in 4 young people in high school in Australia are overweight or obese.
Additionally, in Australia, obesity weighs in as a $21 billion-a-year disease. Do they eat twinkies over there too?
OBESITY cost Australians $21 billion last year in direct spending, disability and premature death, according to a report to be released in Canberra today.
And it is likely to get worse, with the Access Economics report estimating that by 2025 as many as 7.2 million Australians or 28.9 per cent of the population could be obese — and that’s obese, not just overweight.
How much weight can we put into all these statistics? Are they really tied with America? Another source notes that Australia is the fifth largest nation in the world.
Australia is now one of the fattest nations in the developed world, according to a new international report which singles out the country’s sky-rocketing obesity rate.
But again, 1 in 4 Australians….
But it was one of the worst performers on obesity, thanks to new statistics showing almost one in every four Australians now has a body mass index (BMI) over 30.
As of March 2008, Mexico is now the 2nd fattest nation in the world. America is now tied with Mexico. Greece and England aren’t all too far behind.
I was surprised to read this:
Australians are gaining weight even faster than people in the US, a notoriously fat nation.
“Using consistent measures of obesity over time, the rate of obesity has more than doubled over the past 20 years in the United States, while it has almost tripled in Australia,” states the report, Health at a Glance 2007.
Here’s my biggest problem: Nobody ever thinks to mention other parts of the world who are having similar problems. It’s always “The Americans“. My guess is that Americans get far way too much television and generalized media exposure across the globe. What can I say? We’re so “hated” that the world is obsessed with us. At the end of the day, Bush and the Iraqi War have very little to do with the collective bigotry toward Americans.
Also in regards to being simply over-weight, here’s an interesting chart that lists 194 countries and the “fat rank” in each one. And with that said, Canada doesn’t have TOO much to brag about.
To debunk another myth about obesity in America, it is thought by people from other countries that we are apathetic toward this crisis or even insomuch to embrace it with pity, adoration, and admiration. In this topic on Facebook, “Why does America have a bad image?“, one member suggests the following:
(sic) It’s a perculiar social quirke that drug addiction is often perceived as so evil, along with self-harm, and yet obesity is overlooked. Even though as you have said over-eating is a form of self medication and a form of self-harm. So shouldn’t that be looked upon in the same way?
It is probably due to misconceptions that obesity is a sign of wealth, that being fat is not looked down upon as drug addiction is.
Any Americans reading this with a half a brain would know that the above couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it IS true that Americans are more tolerant (somehow the Anti’s conveniently confuse tolerance with adoration) toward obese folk, fat people are far from being overlooked, and we ARE looked down upon *significantly* MORE than drug addicts or anyone else with unhealthy addictions.
Who’s going to get more pity: Fat people or druggies?
Who’s going to get more dates? Fat people or druggies?
Typically druggies are thin, so… druggies.
Who’s capable of giving a better first impression? Fat people or druggies?
Druggies. They aren’t stoned ALL the time. They are, again, mostly slender, and looks are EVERYTHING when it comes to 1st impressions.
America is just as superficial as every other country in the world. The only reason America appears to be “fat-loving” is because there are so many of us and also because victims of any societal prejudice and mindless cliches tend to be quite loud — and RIGHTFULLY SO! Being against the target of stereotypes is not the same thing as being “Pro-Fat”. Still not convinced? Try seeing a doctor or land in an emergency room in the US about a problem unrelated to obesity and be FAT. I’d be curious to hear your results. In the US, only a minority of doctors don’t bully or condescend to fat people. Read this and the comments (it’s very long but if you’re not American and/or fat, I can assume you’re not lazy, right?) that follow the article.
In fact, in America the fat are looked down upon MORE than murderers/criminals. Criminals get all sorts of letters in prison from women and men all the time. The worse the crime, the more love letters they get. There is much lust in society even on a global level for serial killers. If you didn’t already know this, shame on you!
And for the love of all that’s ‘holy’, OBESITY IS *NOT* A SIGN OF WEATH. Rather, just the opposite is true. The media outlets in Europe and Canada (because they are the “peace-loving” elitists staunchly against the evil capitalists), want YOU to believe that Americans eat out of pure greed and are a part of the “I-want-it-ALL/Evil-Capitalist-hog-resource-leeching-syndrome”. Some of you Europeans and Canadians are conveniently confusing the general public with the Corporate Giants that rule the US. The rich make up the smaller percentage in the US.
At an upcoming conference at the University of Chicago, researchers will investigate why obesity is now a bigger threat to poor people than starvation in the United States, and is growing in danger across the world. As scientists declare a “global epidemic of fat,” the University’s Center for Gender Studies will host the Obesity and Poverty Conference on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, to address the sometimes surprising cultural and medical reasons why the poor in post-industrial nations are now more likely than the rich to be dangerously overweight. This interdisciplinary conference will bring together doctors, scientists and humanists to analyze a paradoxical new world situation.
We shop at Whole Foods (a healthy, largely organic food supermarket) and Publix (a major supermarket chain). It is patently obvious upon simply perusing the receipts that when we do a weekly shop at Whole Foods, we are paying around $100 more than when we do it at Publix.
Healthy, natural foods are more expensive than processed crap. I recently heard an old lady in the checkout line explaining, as though ashamed since no one had asked her, that she was buying a loaf of 20 cent supermarket-brand white bread because it was all she could afford.
Eating right, new research shows, is getting so expensive that millions of Americans can’t afford it.
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Washington focused on the cost of eating foods that are rich in nutrients, and low in calories, like fresh vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meats. That’s the stuff we’re told we have to eat if we are going to shed a few pounds and remain healthy.
But when the researchers checked prices at numerous stores around the Seattle area, they found that the good, healthy foods had soared in price over a two-year period, jumping by nearly 20 percent compared to a 5 percent increase in the overall food price inflation. And during that same period, high-calorie foods had remained about the same price, and in some cases had actually dropped.
Many of our stereotypes about fat people, besides being cruel, are myths. Recent medical research shows that being overweight may not be a sign of prosperity at all, but of past poverty and starvation. The body has natural defenses against starvation, and when it experiences enough of it, it slows down the body’s metabolism to make less food go further. Because poor people are more likely to go through periods of starvation than rich people, they are more likely to trigger these natural defense mechanisms.
One can exercise, right? After all, it’s free! Wrong. Eating nothing but crap makes you feel like crap, and the last thing that you want to do is exercise (especially if you suffer from depression). And before you call Americans, “lazy”, read this.
To also debunk the myth that most Americans just simply don’t care about their weight….
(sic) American society has a neurotic obsession about weight. It worships an ultra-thin “ideal” personified by gaunt models and waif-like celebrities. So intense is the social pressure to conform to this unnatural weight that 200,000 American women suffer anorexia nervosa each year from trying. (1)
The flip side of this neurosis is intolerance towards fat people. And when such people also claim to be poor, critics can — and often do — erupt in open hostility.
Like so many prejudices, this one is rooted in myth. Dr. Martin Seligman, an authority on obesity, writes: “Nineteen out of twenty studies show that obese people consume no more calories each day than non-obese people. In one remarkable experiment, a group of very obese people dieted down to only 60 percent overweight and stayed there. They needed one hundred fewer calories a day to stay at 60 percent overweight than normal people needed to stay at a normal weight.” (2)
What’s going on here? In 1995, Dr. Jules Hirsch of Rockefeller University published the results of a landmark study that proved that the body has a “thermostat” when it comes to maintaining its natural weight. His research team recruited 18 people who were obese and 23 who had never been overweight. They were required to live at a clinical center while their diet and activities were carefully controlled. In volunteers who gained weight, metabolism was speeded up by 10 percent to 15 percent. In those who lost weight, metabolism was 10 percent to 15 percent slower than normal. (3)
In other words, when people fall below their natural weight, their bodies slow down metabolism to try to regain it. When people gain weight, it speeds up metabolism to burn it off.
Feel free to read more here.
Other critics of fat people will accuse them of making up excuses and also think that fat people are happy.
My question is
- Why would someone want to purposefully gain weight just for the sake of it?
- How on earth could a fat person possibly be content in a world where they are globally harassed, mocked and ridiculed by the majority?
Fat people are unhealthy. When you’re unhealthy, you don’t feel well. When you don’t feel well, you’re not happy. Even on the rare occasion where an obese person is loved and accepted by friends and family members, NOBODY is happy being LARGE. It’s unsexy. It’s VERY inconvenient, and it’s harder to move, have sex, take a shower, climb stairs, and participate in the things in life that give us pleasure that slender people can do effortlessly. There’s no rhyme or reason why anybody would envy the obese.
Read this blog post written by a doctor and then read the comments for an eye-opener.
And if you’re still not convinced that fat-a-phobia doesn’t exist in the US, read this.
FEBRUARY 1–Mississippi legislators this week introduced a bill that would make it illegal for state-licensed restaurants to serve obese patrons. Bill No. 282, a copy of which you’ll find below, is the brainchild of three members of the state’s House of Representatives, Republicans W. T. Mayhall, Jr. and John Read, and Democrat Bobby Shows. The bill, which is likely dead on arrival, proposes that the state’s Department of Health establish weight criteria after consultation with Mississippi’s Council on Obesity. It does not detail what penalties an eatery would face if its grub was served to someone with an excessive body mass index.
Here are some clues as to how people can get fat. (It is much more complex than than the overly simplistic black and white views that fat people get fat simply from eating too much of the wrong foods.)
There are some diseases and other physiological problems that actually cause obesity. Let’s take a look at them.
Obesity has become an all too common condition in many of the world’s industrialized societies today and is continuing to rise at an alarming rate. In the United States, which currently has the highest rate of obesity of any country in the world, some 60 million (out of 300 million) adults are classed as being obese and a staggering 9 million adults are considered to be severely or morbidly obese.
Although at first sight it might seem that this is simply the result of changes to our diet and a dramatic drop in the level of physical activity for many Americans in recent years, the reality is that scientific studies into the causes of obesity show that the condition results from a complex combination of factors. One such factor which has come under increasing examination over the past ten years or so is genetics and, in particular, the genes involved in the regulation of leptin within the body.
Continued reading about Leptin here.
- Cushings Disease and Cushings Syndrome (watch the below video and read Kate’s story here.)
Psychological and Environmental causes of obesity:
High-carbohydrate meal changes the odds in favor of tryptophan by increasing insulin, which pulls competing amino acids out of our blood and into our cells. Even though the actual amount of tryptophan in the blood hasn’t changed, more passes into the brain. This helps to explain why people often feel comforted after eating carbohydrate-rich foods (e.g., cake) and depressed people tend to binge on more carbohydrates.
For those that gain weight from over-eating fatty foods do so due to depression and post-traumatic stress disorders. This is fact. Fatty foods aid the brain to secrete a chemical called, “serotonin” which relieves depression temporarily. It is a trend that with those sexually abused as a child, grow to become very fat. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. Eating too much is not the result of ALL mood disorders, of course. However, those that over-eat are, in fact, not happy and are self-medicating. Everyone copes in their own way and over-eating is one of them. Canadians would be just as susceptible as Americans, right? But it could very well be that we’re a more depressed nation. Just ask yourself which is the most dangerous country to live in out of all the developed countries out there?
The reason it is so difficult to alter bad eating habits is that depleted, low levels of a chemical communicator in the brain called Serotonin, create overpowering cravings for junk-food carbohydrates (chips, bagels, sodas, sweets, white breads, pastries, chocolate, etc.) These ferocious cravings are referred to as hormone depleted cravings and they can be more savage than the cravings experienced by drug users for illicit street drugs.
In fact, the over-consumption of junk-food carbohydrate is the primary reason America has become the worlds fattest nation. The body instinctively knows that eating junk food will cause the brain to produce a burst of this feel good hormone, Serotonin. That is the reason it is often referred to as mood-food, comfort-food, or emotional eating. The problem is the price you pay for this short term fix is the overproduction of the fat storing hormone insulin.
You can read more on the link between depression, junk food, and serotonin here.
- tricyclic antidepressants
- some high blood pressure medications
- antipsychotic medications
More reasons why one can become obese:
New research suggests that lack of sleep and environmental toxins are just as likely to cause obesity as eating fast food or failing to exercise. Dr. Sydney Spiesel, a Yale Medical School professor and a contributor to Slate, talks with Madeleine Brand about new research that lists other possible causes of obesity.
Another one (quoted from here):
I think the obesogenic environment has a LOT to do with the obesity epidemic. It’s definitely not all genetics. If you look back 30 or 40 years, you see fewer processed convenience foods on the shelves, more people doing physical work, and more opportunities for exercise on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean that people are just doomed to be obese now; it just means that we have to be more conscious of our health decisions. I’m betting that a lot of obese people, if put in an environment from say 30 or 40 years ago, would lose weight almost without trying.
Read this article to find 10 factors that are the cause in the rise of obesity.
Next, I stumbled upon a blog entry written by a gentleman who had lived in Europe for several years. He cites an independent source and applies his own personal experience that is VERY eye-opening. Please take a look at it: “Why Americans are Fatter than Europeans”
Has anyone heard of addictions?
“America is a nation of addicts. We’re addicted not just to one thing, but often to several – like cigarettes, food, television, music, drugs, sex, even work. Each of these things is a kind of drug — because each temporarily gets your mind off of your pain.” –John Bradshaw (motivational speaker and family therapist)
Obviously America’s not the only offender here. But Interestingly enough, I found the above quote when reading an article on how to quit smoking. More importantly to consider, those people who whine, moan, and groan over fat people are addicted to something too.
You still think fat people are happy? I know one thing for sure. The fat-o-phobics out there can’t possibly be happy if they have to continuously taunt fat people to build themselves up. I cannot think of any other reason why others (including the fat-o-phobic Americans) would dislike a fat person other than the fact that his (it’s usually MEN that hate fat WOMEN) own mother was an angry, fat, slave-driving woman, and now as and adult, fat women will always remind him of his control-freak mother!
On Youtube in the comment section under the Cushings Disease video, someone posted the following that I totally agree with:
(sic) I am so sick of the campaign of hate that is going on in the name of health. You should never judge a fat people because you don’t know why they are fat. Why isn’t the medical community and more people standing up and reminding and educating people the fact that there are many reasons people are fat. They are reinforcing stereotypes to make people prejudice, as if this is going to help the problem. It’s wrong, and it’s not helpful.
Another common reason that slim people hate fat people: I often hear the following: “If they cannot take care of themselves, how are they going to take care of ME?” This is not only why slim people hate fat people, but it is why most people hate those with illnesses (especially those that are invisible like this one or this one). My answer is why are you looking for someone to take care of YOU??? Take care of yourself! If you have to depend on someone to take care of you and are over 18, you’re in pretty sad shape. Your mother should have already cut the apron strings and stopped the nipple by now!
And to those from other countries that accuse “yanks” for being “loud, rude and obnoxious“, your mocking obesity says that you’re not all too different from Americans after all. The hypocrisy in your criticism of us is overwhelming.
Last but not least, I’m getting tired of those from other western countries around the world whining that the reason their population is becoming so obese is “America’s fault” because of the “influence” we have on other countries. The last time I checked, the foods that you decide to eat are YOUR choice. The last time I checked, good parents watch after their children’s diet. No “evil Americans” have a gun to your head dictating you on how to live your life. Take responsibility for yourself! Additionally, if you get a disease that causes you to gain weight, that’s not “America’s fault” either. Quit playing the “blame game”. But I understand. It’s always easier to blame every little thing that goes wrong in your lives on “the Americans”. If anything, you should appreciate us more because if it weren’t for us, you’d have nothing to use as a crutch for your OWN shortcomings!
In conclusion, America has problems. BIG ones. We’re aware of it. Bullying us is only going to cause the arrogant to become more arrogant, and the nice people to become arrogant. Hatred serves no purpose for the common good. Give us something to look up to. If your country is truly superior to America, lead by example. The last thing you want to do is be hostile as that’s the same word you use to describe Americans. Consequently, we won’t listen.