Can you believe the CDC recently reported that the life expectancy in the U.S. is up? So much for an obesity crisis!
What about data suggesting that we will be the first generation to outlive our kids? Or facts proclaiming that childhood diabetes is approaching epidemic proportions?
It's all B.S. according to the CDC, which is actually based on research -- instead of hysteria and discrimination against people of size.
U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high: 80.4 years for females and 75.3 years for males!
Fewer deaths were reported from almost all leading causes of death, and for every race and ethnicity. This report was based on approximately 90% of the death certificates collected in 2007, and compared to 2006 data.
We are now living an average of 0.2 years longer than the previous year... and way longer than former generations.
Here's the piece de resistance: Deaths from diabetes fell about 4%, while death from heart disease dropped 5%. Weren't these levels approaching epidemic proportions, given mass consumption of nutritionally void, sugar laden, hydrogenated fat-loaded foods?
So, who's hyping an obesity crisis... and why?
Selling weight loss products that don't work, and creating a need for more gimmicks is big business. Many people are naturally turned off by fat, so it offers a convenient, acceptable outlet for discrimination. Blaming rising health costs on them offers justification for marginalizing people of size, when research shows that proper nourishment, exercise, and healthy coping skills produce healthier people, regardless of size.
Shall we take torches to those who are lazing about in front of a screen, and offer a surcharge for insurance, regardless of their weight? What about those who don't eat fruits and veggies, or drive without seat belts, or drink and smoke -- are they a bigger collective problem?
Perhaps we are amidst an obesity blessing. Maybe weight gain has been misinterpreted as bad, and actually signals that people are getting more nourishment and health care than in the past. Very obese people are surely getting heavier, as they are biologically programmed to store fat. Might this ensure survival of the species in case of food shortages? Perhaps we should be thanking them instead of admonishing them, evolutionarily speaking.
In truth, we must be accepting of others and ourselves, live without judgement, and do our personal best most of the time.
Diversity is a beautiful thing. And focusing on the process of living a relatively healthy lifestyle -- rather than an outcome of weight loss -- can help us to make peace with food and body image issues.
For more information, click here. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_01.pdf
Dr. Abby graduated from Columbia University, and holds 2 masters degrees and a Ph.D. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa. As a psychologist in private practice for 16 years she helped people with a wide variety of concerns, and has spoken on many topics related to weight loss, mental health, parenting and relationships. Dr. Abby is also president of DAA, Inc. For information regarding coaching, speaking, or therapeutic products, please visit her website at www.DearDrAbby.com.