Sunday, 4 March 2012

Answers to the BIG post

I ruffled a few feathers with my post on obesity. I knew I would; I expected it. I want to respond to everyone who has commented and emailed to support, criticise or threaten me (yes, there are still a few idiots out there), just because my professional viewpoint doesn't suit them.

First of all, as I clearly stated in that post, I understand that not all obesity is the result of self-abuse and excess. I have crossed comments with individuals who have taken drugs that have fat-gaining side-effects, or those with other significant issues. But I have to stress that gaining weight is a physical thing. Those who pile it on surely know they are getting far too big for their own good. Too may calories and not enough burning.

I watched an episode of Supersize vs Superskinny, in which doctor Jessen exposes some horrific facts when he visits the USA. Statistically, a third of this nation's population is now obese. Click on this link and look at the map as it shows trends for obesity across every state. It is truly shocking.

One woman, weighing 50 stone, that's over 300Kg, complained about how unwell she was and how she hated the way she looked. She bemoaned the fact that her son's life was ruined by her excesses because he now had to take care of her. He fed her, bathed her and helped her get dressed.

This lady was so heavy that she often damaged the lift system on the bus she needed to travel in to get places.

But while she did all this complaining, she still took herself down to the local restaurant, in her over-sized mobility chair, and she still shovelled in more food than most of us could possibly eat in a day, never mind one sitting. She did that and then went home to lie down. She loaded on calories and spent very little energy getting rid of them.

When Dr Jessen exposed her on TV, showing us the crammed contents of her fridge and the snacks and unhealthy food she had been eating, the lady giggled and rolled her eyes like a naughty child. She had just been told that she would die if she did not stop, yet there she was, mocking the very serious nature of what she herself talked about and agreed upon, moments before.

Getting too fat to live is more than just about eating, whatever the excuse. It is about other issues; emotional, psychological, self-esteem, lack of confidence. Sometimes it's about greed and mostly I believe, sheer laziness. It's just too easy to eat rubbish and do no exercsie these days.

We must address this now. We must be frank, open and honest. We need to face the problem and deal with it, without judgment or criticism where possible. But if those who need help simply don't want it, then there is no solution and things will become steadily worse as time goes on.

Go back to the CDC link and look at their map again... and again. Tell yourself I'm a liar and that it isn't happening. Convince yourself that you are different and that it's everyone else who's to blame. And while you watch the map staining red across those states, copy the pattern in your mind and transpose it for the UK and Europe... and in time, the rest of the world.

If a third of the entire adult population of a continent is obese and cannot function fully as a result, what becomes of a nation trying to defend it's borders when, as time goes by and we ignore the problem, more than half of it is populated by fat soldiers?

Xf

20 comments:

Vivien said...

Good call. And good previous post.

Anonymous said...

Not only does it mean the military will be obese, evacuations in emergencies will be compromised, the national economy is stressed, children grow up not knowing how to eat right or be fit because they've never seen it be done, environmental resources are consumed faster than they have to be (amounts of food, fabric for clothing, fuel to transport, medical costs, materials to build everything bigger), and the people themselves suffer. It is already affecting day to day life. Ferries have to reduce the number of people allowed on for safety, health expenses are skyrocketing which raises health insurance premiums for everyone. Cars are getting bigger and bigger, SUV vehicles used to be a rarity and now they are the norm. When I go to a restaurant or to a store to buy clothes, the majority of people are overweight, and many obese.

How sad it is that one of the wealthiest countries has a section of its population eating itself to death while others starve to death. When I see the sheer amounts of food consumed coexisting with shortages of food for homeless shelters where the majority of recipients are disabled, many who are veterans or mentally ill, it is hard to understand how the obese are the victims.

Fiz said...

That woman mad me feel ill! Her behaviour was like that of a spoilt child. " I hate being like this, but I'm not going to do anything about it", as though she had no choice! she was either terminally stupid, or lazy!

MsLeftie said...

I know I am fully to blame, my parents or friends in my early teens did not make me secretly eat food when no one else was watching, it was my choice... mostly to do with the fact that I struggled to deal with issue from my childhood and the fact my mum was ill. I openly admit I caused my weight problem. I saw the Supersized vs. Superskinny programme you referred to last week, I too thought the woman in question was not taking her illness or weight problem seriously in terms of what she ate. I would allow anyone to come into my home and check the contents of my cupboards and fridge and you will find nothing that is unhealthy or fatting, my biggest issue now is exercise, I lack motivation... shame the NHS don’t give out personal trainers on prescription!

Anonymous said...

"it's about greed and mostly I believe, sheer laziness. It's just too easy to eat rubbish and do no exercsie these days."

" We need to face the problem and deal with it, without judgment or criticism where possible. But if those who need help simply don't want it, then there is no solution and things will become steadily worse as time goes on."


Is there much evidence that individuals who need help don't want it? Given that 95% of people that diet put the weight back on, its a miracle that anyone bothers to even try!

A 95% faiure rate means that even the best medical adivce, help and support isn't effective long term, for the overwhelming majority of people.

That only leaves bariatric surgery, which is not the panacea that some may imagine.

What about everyone rushing out to do exercise etc etc, it might help a bit, but no where near as much as people imagine and its effect on weightloss overall is negligible when compared to dieting.

I speak by the way as someone who has lost and gained 10 stone on 5 separate occasions and is currently 7 months into a diet to dlose it again, for the 6th time.

Whats the solution? no idea, as a biologist I am interested in the epigentics of weightgain, and in particualar whether the act of dieting actually brings about epigentic changes that promote weightgain (a diet equates to a faminie)

Until we know a lot more about the biochemistry and genetics of weightgain and loss, I think we should leave the handwringing and moralising alone - It only makes people feel self righteous, but does nothing to further knowledge or help people.

Anonymous said...

"it's about greed and mostly I believe, sheer laziness. It's just too easy to eat rubbish and do no exercsie these days."

" We need to face the problem and deal with it, without judgment or criticism where possible. But if those who need help simply don't want it, then there is no solution and things will become steadily worse as time goes on."


Is there much evidence that individuals who need help don't want it? Given that 95% of people that diet put the weight back on, its a miracle that anyone bothers to even try!

A 95% faiure rate means that even the best medical adivce, help and support isn't effective long term, for the overwhelming majority of people.

That only leaves bariatric surgery, which is not the panacea that some may imagine.

What about everyone rushing out to do exercise etc etc, it might help a bit, but no where near as much as people imagine and its effect on weightloss overall is negligible when compared to dieting.

I speak by the way as someone who has lost and gained 10 stone on 5 separate occasions and is currently 7 months into a diet to dlose it again, for the 6th time.

Whats the solution? no idea, as a biologist I am interested in the epigentics of weightgain, and in particualar whether the act of dieting actually brings about epigentic changes that promote weightgain (a diet equates to a faminie)

Until we know a lot more about the biochemistry and genetics of weightgain and loss, I think we should leave the handwringing and moralising alone - It only makes people feel self righteous, but does nothing to further knowledge or help people.

Xf said...

Anonymous

Self-righteous? And you are a scientist? How many intelligent people are going to make such simplistic remarks about something that is dangerous and is killing people?

Who is the ignorant one here? You can look into whatever you like, for however long you want, but by telling me and others to stop talking about it (moralising), is demonstrative of the head in the sand attitude that causes things like famine to continue happening.

Xf said...

Anonymous on the state of the US

And that, my friend, gets a nod from me.

I'm still, even now, being told how ignorant and arrogant I'm being just raising this issue, yet you have highlighted some of the very reasons why we MUST.

How dare those who eat so much continue whilst people die for the lack of basic nutrition. How dare they excuse their continual consumption of energy while the poor and the vulnerable of society scrounge and beg for enough to keep moving?

Stop this now. Get the facts right here and let's face the problem head-on and help each other out of this miserable future. That's what I say.

Xf said...

MsLeftie

We've all been there you know.... it is so difficult to find inspiration for exercise, which is, after all, hard work!

But you could just start by gently introducing yourself to more and more activities. Walking, for example. It's free and easy... doesn't need much motivation at all, as long as you have a target place to go to. That'll give you a start.

One of the biggest problems with the Americans (if they'll forgive me for saying) is that they became so used to driving everywhere... we've become the same. And there are always excuses (it's not safe to walk, it's too far on foot, etc.)

When we had no choice, it was never an issue.

Anonymous said...

As an American(same one from second comment), I forgive you for saying people here are too used to driving everywhere, it is true! They circle a parking lot repeatedly passing up spaces to get one within 20 feet of the entrance.

Around the world people are protesting Wall Street's greed, yet it is not politically correct to discuss obesity or search for a solution when fellow humans are starving. Having volunteered in soup kitchens and seen the gaunt faces, it makes me wonder how the obese can justify overeating. And they call you ignorant or arrogant? Studies show that some physicians here are afraid to bring up weight loss with patients for fear of being sued for harassment. Airlines have to tip toe around what to do when a passenger has a seat between two obese passengers and cannot fit in the sliver of space or put on their seat belt because their seat is engulfed with flesh. These occurrences are in our news more and more frequently, and yet it is the airlines fault, or the middle passenger's fault for not being understanding, understanding of what? That he has just been screwed out of riding in the seat for which he paid?

I don't know you but the fact that you risk your life to save strangers and are willing to speak up for the real victims when it isn't popular has my respect. From one of the few thin ones who works hard to stay fit and not eat more than my fair share, THANK YOU for speaking up. I get skewered for voicing my opinion here so I had to send you my support through your blog.

Anonymous said...

"How many intelligent people are going to make such simplistic remarks about something that is dangerous and is killing people?"

I had to laugh at that statement – coming from someone who wrote;

"it's about greed and mostly I believe, sheer laziness. It's just too easy to eat rubbish and do no exercsie these days."

The irony!

Anonymous said...

xf-
Sorry if I went off on a rant on my last comment (the one that hasn't been put up yet). We have a lot of homeless in the city where I work and it pains me that no one will address how obesity stresses the resources here. No one should have to dig through the garbage to eat, yet that happens every day.

No worries if you want to leave it off the comment section, either way is fine by me. Thanks again for what you do.

Cheers,
The American

Dan said...

<> I tend to think of it more like a drug problem. Carbohydrates turn to sugar, which affects the brain and body.

Anonymous said...

As an Ambulance Tech myself I have seen first hand what xf is talking about. We have a share of patients we have medical problems leading to obesity, but more where it IS the problem. And the link to laziness, plus the doctors being afraid of being sued was well proven to me just this week.

On call Dr on scene, bariatric patient faking unconsciousness. Dr acknowledges there is nothing wrong with the patient, but wants us to take her to hospital, an arse covering exercise that will cost £1000+ to the NHS.

When he leaves we mention leaving her at home on a 'self care pathway' as there is nothing wrong with her until a bariatirc bus can come out (about 4 hours), all of a sudden she is up and walking to get herself in her oversized wheel chair. Once on the Bus the chair is too big for the vehicle, she wants us to pick her up and put her onto the stretcher, when not 3 minutes before she was walking? Same at the hospital, she wants to be moved to the bed by us rather than standing up and sitting down for herself, when she has proven herself more than capable.

The GP also alerted me to something in her notes, a finding from a specialist that she DOES NOT have a medical condition for which she has rescue meds and stating these must NOT be given. Alarm bells ringing for me here, why has she not had the meds withdrawn if she does not have the condition? When I passed that information to the nursing staff the patient became highly agressive and threatned sueing, could this be why GP hasn't removed meds he knows she does not need?

And Cameron wants to put these muppets in charge of all our funds. Between RRV, Amb, A&E and pointless medication, not to mention all the cost to social services for specialist equipment and services, how much has been spent on this woman who has nothing medically wrong with her?

Xf said...

Anon Amb Tech

Yep, this is another major problem for which I (if I dared to discuss it frankly) would no doubt be hanged from the nearest tree!

There are many, many drug-seeking, drug-dependent individuals out there. Some of them are quite young.

I would argue that a doctor is negligent if he gives patients drugs they do not need and, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, does not remove them from a patient's care plan.

As for this lady being able to sue; I doubt it very much. She'd have to prove, in a court of law, that she does indeed have the medical conditions for which those drugs have been given. Unless she's a doctor with more expertise than the one who prescribed her meds, she's out of luck.

Anonymous said...

i am currently looking into becoming a paramedic and im doing a research project on ...

should families be allowed to watch cpr and invasive procedures and wish to know your views.

secondary research shows that within a hospital environment it would appear to be more acceptable however, i wish to know your views on the front line inside someone's house where you are seemed as a guests.

am i right in saying it should be te families choice however, paramedics should have guidelie with regards to age and watching cpr due to the psychological implication

many thanks nicola

Xf said...

Nicola

An interesting, if not remote, question :-)

I, for one, always ask that children and young persons leave the room if I am dealing with a serious call. However, you simply cannot dismiss people in their own homes because loved ones, for example, may actually want to witness what happens to their family member. They may even want to help.

It's not healthy for them to be excluded when they want to stay in the room, and so they have the right to do so.

The psychological effect is unmeasured as far as I'm aware, but my experience tells me that some of them, if not most of them, do not regret witnessing the attempted resuscitation of their loved one... even if it fails.

Leon Wolfeson said...

My BMI is 26. I've been nagged at before for being "overweight".

In fact, I've been told by doctors that have examined me I'm slightly under ideal for my build. And this is far from uncommon...

A third "overweight" when you use measures which have only a passing resemblance to reality, sure.

Xf said...

Leon

Not overweight; obese. That's not quite the same. And the only measure necessary is that of the eyes.

Anonymous said...

I share the same view but think at obese people should pay for there own health care related to the problem as well as smokers and drug a users.