In this third, and final, installment of my Modest Proposal Regarding the Obesity Epidemic, I will focus on how “The Biggest Loser” can save us all from the horrors of obesity and latent obesity, and how that it’s clear that we must be thinner at all costs.

Speaking of, “The Biggest Loser,” it is clear that this authoritarian method of health and fitness should be adopted as the national and global philosophy of dealing with fat people. The fitness profession should accept the fact that this system works; select from thousands a handful of people who fit a specific profile, browbeat them constantly mentally and physically for at least 8 hours a day, force them to make the “weight-loss equals health” connection, and make them feel like failures when they can’t live up to the expectations of the Apparatchiks. And of course, pick only one winner because losing the most weight is the most important thing ever.

The genius of, “The Biggest Loser,” is that it takes advantage of the Stockholm Syndrome to achieve its goals. We must harness this power if we are to coerce people into living the lifestyle that is best for them. And I mean coerce in the most positive way possible.

In a global system of mandatory weight-loss and exercise, these Apparatchiks can match-up fat people with the instructors that would have the best chance to make them lose weight. Fat kids would be separated from their fat parents and the non-fat kids of fat parents would be put in a Fat Foster Home program for obvious reasons. The reward system should be set-up so that until and unless weight loss is achieved these fat families will not be allowed to reunite, and even then these families would be subject to constant monitoring and frequent re-education refresher courses.

Despite the fact that a growing body of legitimate research shows that being underweight carries just as many, if not more, risks than being overweight, reasonable people should agree that it is way better to be thinner, regardless of the existence of these null studies. Just like with Global Warming, we can’t let scientific findings dissuade and discourage us, or get us off message. We know people are too fat and too unhealthy and these people need our help, no matter what science says. The diseases that are associated with being thin clearly must be preferable to the diseases associated with being fat.

Despite the indications that people can be healthy at any weight and that a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting and weight loss is fiction, clearly as a people, we are much better off being virtuous and thin.

This is part two of my essay, “A Modest Proposal Regarding the Obesity Epidemic.” Everyone is either obese, fat, getting fatter or going to be fat and we can stave off and alleviate this catastrophic pandemic if we follow my prescription.

There has been a lot of emphasis on dietary issues over the past few years, but these half measures haven’t been bold enough. It’s time to flat out ban fatty foods and sugary drinks. And tobacco, too. The government shouldn’t just tax people for consuming soda and Big Macs and smoking cigarettes, and let them go on their merry, fat way. The government has to take these products out of the hands, and mouths, of the people. Of course, just like with any other piece of major legislation, our politicians should exempt themselves from these bans, as elected officials are clearly able to control their appetites.

There needs to be government re-education camps for those who are not fat, but still choose to consume whatever they please. After all, it looks bad to have people running around eating and drinking whatever they like and doing things counter to the ways of the Food Poilce. For their own good, and the good of all the fat people, people who want the freedom to consume need to learn that this “freedom” is the reason we have all of these horrendous problems, whether or not these people themselves are fat or display any signs of disease.

It takes a village to help people lose weight and live a healthy life, and people who eat poorly but aren’t overweight and don’t show signs of any disease need to see the errors of their ways. The message needs to be sent that there are consequences to suffer from exercising free-will, a notoriously undisciplined impulse, especially in nutritional matters. A great indication that these camps are needed are the little brats in the Chicago public school system who are turning up their noses at healthy lunches and need to be taught a lesson.

The Chinese have made fantastic use of a system called, “Re-education Through Labor,” where the police, without oversight from the judicial system, can incarcerate people (for up to 4 years) for minor offenses. This system would be perfect to change people’s eating habits and combat the obesity epidemic. There is no need to involve the judicial system and waste time contending with due process when it comes to matters of fatness, as the scale, a tape measure and the BMI computation can serve as the judge and jury. The habits of drinking alcohol and smoking can serve as prima facie evidence that a person needs to spend time in a camp.

These labor camps will serve many purposes; they will re-educate, they will force people to lose weight for their own good, they will force people to exercise for their own good, they will provide jobs and cheap labor, which in turn will create goods that we can sell at home and abroad. These Re-education Through Labor camps are a win-win for everyone involved.

The Food Police, should change their name to “Public Health Bureaus,” and have a real, tangible purpose and be free to operate in everyone’s best interests without worrying about our pesky legal system or the inconvenience of having to provide scientific basis for any or their edicts or actions. Added benefits to incorporating this Re-education Through Labor system are that people would be able to exercise the whole time they are under control of the State and, since the Chinese own everything in the US and will be taking over soon, using this program is a good way to suck up to our eventual masters.

Just like the government knew best and created internment camps during World War II to deal with the domestic threat from Japanese-Americans, our elected officials owe it to us to put the obese, potentially obese, and sure to be obese into diet and exercise camps. These camps would be more intense than the re-education camps, and would be like living an episode of “The Biggest Loser,” 24/7. We are in the midst of a staggering crisis and everything possible needs to be done to avert the Obesity Armageddon.

In my next installment, I will discus how the show, “The Biggest Loser,” can save us all from the horrors of obesity and latent obesity.

Do a Bing search for reviews of “The Biggest Loser’s” Jillian Michaels’ Extreme Fat Burner weight loss supplement and you’ll find the results on the first page of Bing agree with the HealthAndFitnessAdvice.com position that this is a product to stay away from.  You’ll find most of these same reviews if your search engine is Google.

Here are links to the seven Jillian Michaels’ Extreme Fat Burner reviews that appear on the first page of Bing when using the search phrase, “Jillian Michaels’ Extreme Fat Burner review.”

http://www.ultimatefatburner.com/jillian-michaels-extreme-fat-burner.html

“Bottom line? Despite the impressive looking label, this is a caffeine + synephrine blend that is likely potent enough to have you jittering merrily through your day.”

http://weightlosssupplements.net/jillian-michaels-extreme-maximum-strength-fat-burner/

“Jillian Michaels EXTREME Maximum Strength Fat Burner contains a fairly average formula.  This product is claimed to target unwanted fat while building lean muscle.  I was unable to find any scientific proof backing their claims on the website.”

http://www.godietpills.com/jillianmichaelsextrememaximumstrengthfatburner.htm

“Jillian Michaels Extreme Maximum Strength Fat Burner is a formula that is supposed to give you fat burning results. It uses caffeines to promote a thermogenic result and CLA, which is a natural and caffeine free fat burner. However, they fail to actually use the right amounts, leading to a serious issue with the product. They use enough caffeine to cause serious side effects to be certain. But half the ingredients are not even related to weight loss at all.”

http://www.weightloss-hq.biz/diet-supplements/jillian-michaels-maximum-strength-fat-burner-review.html

“The impressive ingredients on the list are synephrine, coffee bean extract and guarana.  All of the other ingredients included in this product are not ingredients that have any significant effect on the final outcome.  If there is a reason to purchase this product, it would have to be within one of these three ingredients because all of the others at best are supporting ingredients and at worst are just tossed in for appearances.

 

Coffee bean extract and guarana are both natural sources of caffeine.  Caffeine is easily one of the best ingredients for burning fat because of the thermogenic properties that it has.  In other words, it has the ability to stimulate the body into burning fat.  The presence of caffeine in reasonably large quantities in this pill is encouraging, but on its own is not enough to validate purchasing this product for the high price that it commands.

 

This analysis leaves synephrine as the last hope for giving this product a positive review.  The synephrine ingredient has long been thought of as a substitute for ephedrine that did not have the same deleterious side effects, but to this date the research has not really validated that point.  There is no reason to believe that synephrine has the same abilities as ephedrine and therefore no reason to believe that this product will do as well as a product that still contains ephedrine.

This product will act as a mild stimulant that will make you feel good and energized throughout the day.  However, you can get that same effect from other products that are far cheaper than this one.  It seems to be riding more on the fame and popularity of Jillian Michaels more than anything else.”

http://www.weightlosspills.net/weight-loss-pill-reviews/jillianmichaelsextrememaximumstrengthfatburner/

“Jillian Michaels Extreme Maximum Strength Fat Burner is supposed to be the ultimate way to burn more fat and increase your weight loss results. They claim it is backed by the personal trainer Jillian Michaels of course, and so it must be impressive. We are not sure if she actually made it or if they just paid her to put her name on it for greater publicity. But it sells out in GNC stores on a fairly regular basis. The problem is that it does not actually have really powerful weight loss ingredients, or the ones it does have are found only in a fraction of the amount they would be required to use. All in all, it would literally be impossible to get results from this formula. If using the right diet and exercise program, you would see results. But it would have nothing to do with this.”

http://www.consumerpricewatch.net/jillianmichaelsextrememaximumstrengthfatburner.php

“Jillian Michaels Extreme Maximum Strength Fat Burner relies on the name behind it rather than the actual formula. They don’t have many valid ingredients, and the ones that they do are in extremely small and insufficient amounts, and many of them are simply caffeine based. They don’t provide the results you are actually looking for, and you will experience more side effects than anything else. We would recommend staying far away from this product.”

http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/70/fitness/blog/General/Fitness/Jillian_Michaels_Extreme_Fat_Burner.html

“I was shocked and had trouble understanding how she could put her name and face behind such a crappy fat burner.  It seems like such hypocrisy!  How can she sit on that show and tell people to eat well, train hard, stay focused on their goals and never give up but then turn around and promote a quick fix, weight loss product that is absolute garbage! There is no scientific proof that backs up any of the claims made by Jillian Michaels Extreme Maximum Strength Fat Burner, it’s not recognized by the FDA and many of the ingredients are caffeine based. I don’t know how she can endorse this product but I imagine a lots and lots of money had something to do with it.”

Ouch! My bet is that all of this bad press is worth its weight in the cold, hard cash that Jillian Michaels is making off of gullible and trusting consumers.

An article in the Wednesday November 25th edition of the New York Times, titled “In Reality Show, Health Can Be Lost in Frenzy,” reveals what responsible fitness professionals have said for years, in that the television show, “The Biggest Loser” can be bad for your health and is hardly “reality.”

The New York Times front page story is a good first step in peeling away the first layer of BS and secrecy that surrounds this purported healthy lifestyle reality show.  The story starts off telling us about season one “winner” Ryan Benson who lost 122 of his 330-pounds, only to gain it all back once the show ended. As a result of Benson’s public comments that he resorted to fasting and dehydration – a practice apparently commonplace among the show’s contestants – he has been ignored by the show.

Benson and other anonymous contestants tell a story of marathon exercise sessions, exercising while wearing excessive clothing, purposeful pre-weigh in dehydration and severe caloric restriction. These extreme behaviors have caused contestants to lose more than 15-pounds in a week, results and behaviors that are anything but healthy.

Most contestants speak anonymously because of releases that subject contestants to severe financial fines of up to one million dollars for speaking to reporters without the show’s consent.

Speaking of releases, according to the Times story contestants sign a release that says, “no warranty, representation or guarantee has been made as to the qualifications or credentials of the medical professionals who examine me or perform any procedures on me in connection with my participation in the series, or their ability to diagnose medical conditions that may affect my fitness to participate in the series.” Keep in mind that this year’s show features some the heaviest contestants to appear.  There are five contestants over 400-pounds this season, and they all have signed a document that certifies they are in, “excellent physical, emotional and psychological and mental health.”

It’s no wonder that during the first episode of this season’s first show two contestants  were sent to the hospital for heat stroke after collapsing during a one-mile race.  And it’s no surprise that the release signed by the contestants makes no guarantees about the qualifications of the medical professionals connected with the show.  In response to this disgrace the show’s medical consultant said, “If we had to do it over, we wouldn’t do it.  It was an unexpected complication and we’re going to do better.”

Unexpected complication? Taking morbidly obese, out-of-shape people and having them run a mile is stupidity, neglect and exploitation at its worst.  Does any rational person accept that the problems encountered by these people are unexpected and can be classified as a complication?
The medical advice given to the producers of, “The Biggest Loser” is a bad as the guidance provided by their so-called fitness experts.

There’s too much info in this New York Times story to include in just one post, so check back for more in the next few days.

If your trainer takes after the trainers on the reality show, “The Biggest Loser” it’s time to get a new trainer.  Rather than tell you – yet again – about the problems with the trainers on the show, I’ll let the following clip do most of the work.

Watch the clip and put yourself in the position of the client; would you want to be treated in this manner by any employee of yours?  Never forget that as personal trainers we are your employees, we work for you.

The personal trainers on the show, “The Biggest Loser” have won the fitness lottery, but have decided not to use their platform to represent the high end of the profession.  They disrespect their clients and the fitness profession with just about everything that they do on the show and have created a class of health and fitness victims.

I was fortunate to learn the right way to do things from some of the people who were responsible for personal training becoming a mainstream profession.  Back in the late 1980s I was taught how to be a personal trainer by the staff of New York City’s Plus One Fitness Clinic. Training members of Manhattan’s elite – show business, the financial business, the art and publishing world – we were taught that it was all about the client.  And it still is.

At some point over the past 20 years personal training became all about the personal trainer; in the mainstream the personality of the trainer became more important than the client.  There is no way that the antics of the personal trainers on the show, “The Biggest Loser” would have been tolerated by the clients or the management back in the day.

Your personal trainer doesn’t know what he’s doing if he treats you like you’re on, “The Biggest Loser.”

I’d like to thank MsFitOnline for allowing my “Biggest Loser” video blog (Vlog) entry to appear on her site.

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MizFitOnline is one of the most influential fitness bloggers on the Internet and last week I was lucky enough to have her appear as a guest video blogger on HealthAndFitnessAdvice.com.

In what can be filed under the heading of, “One Good Turn Deserves Another,” MizFitOnline was good enough to feature my video blog on the problems that I have with “The Biggest Loser” on her site, MizFitOnline.com.

Regular readers to the site know that I think “The Biggest Loser” represents all that is bad with the fitness business and how personal trainers are portrayed.  Check it out.

 If you use the coming of spring and summer as an incentive to get into shape, you better get started.

I don’t think that people should just get into shape just because the warm weather is coming.  However, I do recognize that people use the change of seasons as motivation for starting to exercise or for making changes to their existing routines.

So I’ll get the “you-should-know-better” part of this piece out of the way and tell you that taking care of yourself is a 12-month proposition.  If you are consistent all year round with your workouts and nutritional habits, you won’t have to worry that bathing suit weather is right around the corner.  I know all some of you hear is, “Blah, blah, blah,” but I speak truth.

Okay, so now that I’ve told you that you shouldn’t look at following a healthy lifestyle as a seasonal pursuit and recognize that real life indicates that people do this, I’ll try to help you get into shape for the spring.

First of all, you need to start making this change right now.  Not in March, April or (certainly not!) May, but in February.  This means those of us who live in places where Old Man Winter has us in his grip cannot wait until it gets a little nicer outside to make additions or changes to our activity routine.  If you live in the Northeast or Midwest and wait until it starts to get less horrible our, it’s too late.  You can’t depend on outside exercise to get you into shape.

Making changes to your routine and fitness level takes time.  Despite what television shows like “The Biggest Loser” preach, you cannot cram five or six months of exercise into 6 weeks.

That being said, even where I live in New Jersey the weather is rarely that bad for a long enough period of time where I cannot get outside for a 20-30 minute workout at least once per week.  I’m not a crazy person who heads out in the foulest of weather to workout.  Not me.  But I recognize that exercising in the cold winter air is a great way to shake off the winter doldrums.

Those of you who are regular visitors to HealthAndFitnessAdvice.com have seen my outdoor videos and know that I practice what I preach.  Do yourself a favor and practice what I preach.  Throw on some gloves, a hat, sweatshirt and whatever else you need to keep you comfortable on a cold, sunny day, and go for a walk, do some sprints, calisthenics or Kettlebell swings.  Your neighbors might think you’re a bit odd, but we’ll know you’re cool.

Price reduction on Kettlebells, Buy now and SAVE!

Anyway, if you’re afraid of or unwilling to deal with the cold – even though cardiovascular equipment is not my favorite kind of aerobic activity – given the alternative of doing nothing to walking on a treadmill or elliptical-ing on an elliptical trainer, choose the machine-based activity.

If you don’t have access to cardio equipment, calisthenics can provide you with an effective means to develop and improve your fitness level.  Actually, calisthenics are preferable to any machine-based cardiovascular exercise, but I’m not going to make that argument now.  I’ll just leave it at this; if you want to get into great cardiovascular shape you will choose to do jumping jacks, squat thrusts, leg drives, grasshoppers, push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.

So if you want to get into shape for spring, start now.

Information contained in a paper from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Health Professions, Department of Physical Therapy published in the May 2007 edition of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, reveals some interesting info that fitness consumers should be aware of.

The paper provides evidence that muscle power is a more important predictor of functional performance than muscle strength and that peak muscle power could be a more critical part of the resistance training programs of older men and women. If the technical jargon intimidates you don’t fret, I’ll simplify the point for you.

Muscle power is a measure of how quickly muscle can produce force – think, “jumping” – and muscle strength is the ability to produce maximum force – how much weight you can lift.  “Functional performance” simply means the ability to perform daily activities like walking up stairs and getting out of a chair.  To make it simple, this means that the ability to move quickly is more important in determining performance than how strong a person is.

The conclusions presented in this paper can be illustrated by this study conducted by the University of New Hampshire that found that exercise can help seniors get stronger, but does little to prepare them for the rigors of daily life.  This UNH study posits that certain kinds of exercise cannot help seniors develop the power necessary and that other training interventions need to be explored to determine how to assist seniors.

Muscle power certainly can be developed in people of all ages if the correct types of exercises are included in the program.  People of all ages and ability levels should perform ground-based, compound movements in order to develop the muscle power necessary to perform daily functional tasks.  Athletes use these exercises in their training programs because they are the most efficient and effective modes of exercise, and develop balance, stability, coordination as well as muscle power.

Regular folks like us, regardless of our age, fitness or ability level, must perform exercises that develop our ability to produce muscle power.

MY TWO CENTS

If you’ve poked around HealthAndFitnessAdvice.com you may have figured out that I’m not a big fan of the reality television show, “The Biggest Loser.” There are a ton of problems with this show, not the least of which is the emphasis on weight loss and the assumption that proposition that losing weight improves fitness.  Despite what’s represented in the mainstream media and in the advertising and marketing materials employed by diet programs, people can improve their fitness without losing a pound.

A growing body of research tells us that weight is no more responsible for a person’s health than being left-handed and despite all the time, effort and money people spend on diets they haven’t improved their health.  “The Biggest Loser” takes this obsession with weight to an unhealthy and irresponsible new level.

I’m amazed by the unprofessional ways of the personal trainers of the show, the way these contestants” accept this behavior and the larger acceptance of these unacceptable practices by the viewers of this show.  “The Biggest Loser” perpetuates harmful myths about the connection between body weight and health and the way in which personal trainers can treat their clients.

CURRENT EVENTS

The Air Force has decided to train their combat medics in “battlefield acupuncture” to help wounded troops deal with pain. The Air Force has run the military’s only acupuncture clinic is training their doctors so that they can practice this ancient Chinese practice in war zones and the Navy is following the flyboy’s footsteps and has initiated a similar program at Camp Pendleton in California.

This “battlefield acupuncture” is a variation of the traditional method of ear acupuncture and uses shorter needles so that soldiers can receive treatment, wear their combat helmets and continue their missions with the needles in place to continue to relieve pain.

Despite what you might think, acupuncture isn’t new to the military.  During the Vietnam War an Army surgeon chronicled the use of acupuncture by local physicians who practiced at a U.S. Army surgical hospital and administered treatment to the locals.  Acupuncture was offered at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey back in 1995 and there are now 50 active duty military physicians who practice this ancient Chinese art.

The military takes a realistic approach to this treatment and recognizes that acupuncture isn’t a cure all and that sometimes it doesn’t work at all.  But in the efforts to provide military men and women with non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical means of pain relieve the U.S. Military deserves credit for being open-minded while offering troops alternative methods of treatment.

The television show, “The Biggest Loser” is bad for your health as it provides us with a cornucopia of dysfunctional and unhealthy behaviors that causes more problems than it solves.  Fitness professionals shouldn’t pattern themselves after the trainers on this show and consumers shouldn’t let themselves be treated with the disrespect displayed by trainers on the show.

It’s hard to imagine any situation or atmosphere that is more negative, harmful and dysfunctional than the one presented on the television show, “The Biggest Loser.”  Everything from the misguided emphasis on weight loss, the rampant display of disordered eating, the mistreatment of the contestants and the inefficient and random nature of the training sessions and “Last Chance Workouts” is a testament to what is wrong with the current state of mainstream diet and exercise.

The Biggest Loser Chronicle will be a regular feature at HealthAndFitnessAdvice.com and provide commentary on the training and nutrition methods used on the show.

During episode 703 the contestants are forced to compete in a fitness challenge that involves jumping over a swinging beam, the winner being the last one to jump without hitting and breaking the beam.  Picture a swing set with giant swings that have a balsa wood board where the seat would be and that swings about 6-inches from the ground with it comes around.  This was what the 285-pound plus contestants were forced to do.

Kind of like the water-boarding torture, but for fitness.  Well someone’s idea of fitness anyway.

In the intro to the challenge we’re told “The Biggest Loser” record for this challenge was 40-minute, and a former Biggest Loser winner set the record.  There’s an oxymoron for you.  Anyway, from what we’ve seen from these contestants thus far in the show it’s apparent that at least 3 or 4 can’t even walk properly, so quick exits are certain.  Sure enough once the swing starts these contestants fail and are removed from the challenge, the first one eliminated couldn’t even step over the swing once.

There’s quite a battle for first place as several contestants make it past the old record of 40-minutes despite the 95-degree heat.  There are 3 people left as the swing is sped up after the contestants completed around 700 jumps and at this point one contestant breaks the board and is removed.  The 2 girls left battle it out for 300+ more jumps, and the winner smashes the record as she completes 1030 jumps in just under 2 and a half hours.

The winner vomits after the event ends and tells her fellow competitors that she was vomiting and re-swallowing it during the competition so that she wouldn’t lose fluids The runner-up who complete 1029 jumps was distraught because she “lost.”  There was not one redeeming aspect in this inappropriate lesson in how not to treat and train people, as contestants who complete hundreds of jumps were in effect losers.

What was worse than this “challenge” was the behavior of the trainers throughout the show.  Personal trainer Bob yells and curses at clients, and called one woman “a mess” as she tried to complete sprints during a treadmill workout.  During the “Last Chance Workout,” which is right before a weigh-in, he tells us he’s going to, “Put a whole week’s (worth of exercise) into one workout.”  And during this workout, after pounding a young contestant he proudly crows, “That’s what I wanted (to make this kid cry).  If I can get him to cry I’m doing something right.”

There isn’t a club in the world that should employ a trainer that expresses this sentiment and isn’t no one should endure this kind of treatment.  Behavior like this serves as an insult to the personal trainers out there who adhere to a professional code of conduct.

Personal trainer Jillian is just as bad, if not worse, as during the ridiculous “Last Chance Workout” she says, “It’s fun watching other people suffer.”  Her most embarrassing moment is during her “Trainer’ Tip,” segment where she presents her 3-step interval course, where she shows us how to do a 3 exercise circuit that features jumping, bicycle abs and running in place.  The application of these kinds of exercises is inappropriate for a general audience and the “workout” is constructed in a ham-handed manner.

Her jumping technique is horrible as she doesn’t properly bend her knees during the take off phase and her landing mechanics are improper - she allows her knees to buckle inward when her feet hit the ground.  Women have a particular problem with ACL tears that are partially due to structural issues, but this problem can be greatly minimized by proper landing mechanics. From watching this demonstration you can say that either Jillian is unaware of the proper techniques involved with jumping and landing or is aware of the proper mechanics but didn’t care enough to make sure that these techniques were properly demonstrated during the demo.  From this demonstration you have to wonder if Jillian has really ever performed this movement.  Any way you slice is, this substandard and slipshod workout is a great example of everything that’s wrong with “The Biggest Loser.”

There are other examples of questionable personal training methods and philosophies just from this one episode – the treatment of clients, exercise selection and technique, messages that further disordered eating, and the establishment and reinforcement of negative attitudes and connections between exercise, eating and weight.

The Biggest Loser” is a part of the problem, not a solution.

I’m not talking about cops who are fat, but the butt-in-skis who are obsessed with body weight and body fat.

Unless you’ve been unconscious, live in a cave, or are a member of the lost tribe of the Amazon, you’ve heard about the overweight/obesity “epidemic.” You’ve also been subjected to myriad reports, studies, reviews, and opinions that fat is bad and that too many people have too much of it. Television shows like The Biggest Loser portray health as a matter of losing weight at all costs, and media outlets provide us with almost daily reminders that fat is bad.

Fat people are portrayed as lazy, greedy, lacking moral character, and there have even been opinions they are using up more than their fair share of natural resources (check this out; it isn’t from the Onion.com, it’s meant to be serious).

For almost two generations, society has tried to eradicate forms of discrimination based on gender, sexual preference, religious beliefs, and race.  However, now we have cultivated dislike, distaste, and derision for people who are stamped with this innocuous label of “overweight,” or who violate the tenets of the Body Mass Index (BMI).

In the 1950s we had the Red Scare and the fear that there was a “Red under every bed.” Now we have the Obese Police and their cry that there is “Fat under every hat.” The obesity scare is just an updated form of irrational hysteria.

People are – and have been – dieting more than ever, but according to the “Obese Police” we still have way too many overweight folks out there. Personal trainers and other so-called exercise and nutrition experts are delivering the message that thinner equals healthier, and that a lower BMI score is a valid measure of a person’s level of fitness and health. 

The problem with all of this is that there really isn’t any reliable scientific evidence to back up these sky-is-falling assertions that obesity is a disease, an epidemic, a pandemic, and that fat itself is responsible for any diseased condition of any kind. However, what we have in spades are half-assed studies that produce half-assed conclusions that are reported as bona fide proof that fat is the root of all evil.

Playing Devil’s Advocate – or Healthy Skeptic – since this study included healthy middle-aged adults, these researchers could have just as easily concluded that increased muscle mass can help speed up the brain’s aging process, but that conclusion would reveal how silly this research is.   Plus, it’s easier to pick on fat than it is to do the work and find the real reason that people get sick.

How many different ways can I say that the BMI is nonsense?

Another problem comes in the form of a contradiction provided by the researchers themselves. The study is described as looking at 50 healthy individuals, and yet 20 of these folks are obese or overweight as determined by the researchers. How can this be? If obesity is a disease and fat causes all kinds of problems, how can these people be considered healthy? People who are overweight are in a diseased state, so how can people be categorized as healthy by the very same folks who have determined that they are sick?  This would be like saying smokers are healthy.

The more you read about this study, the more you realize that “there isn’t any there there.”

The Reuters story concludes with this passage, “The data didn’t allow them [the researchers] to determine if the brain abnormalities might be related to body fat alone or if it suggests other health problems, nutrition, or sedentary living, they add. But if other research that does address these factors confirms the current findings, the researchers say, the results could provide important clues to changes in the brain that might precede dementia [emphasis added].”

Basically this is like saying that research indicates that coughing can lead to lung cancer. Seriously, coughing, like body fat, is a symptom and not a cause. If these researchers had given some serious thought to the design of the study, they could have added fitness, lifestyle, and nutritional components to their research, but they didn’t.  As a result, we’ll have to rely on other researchers to do a better job and come up with more conclusive data that will allow for a valid conclusion, one way or another.

The real cynics out there might say that these researchers wanted to reach an inconclusive conclusion, a conclusion that points an impotent finger of doubt at fat as a health risk, and that maybe a well designed study would have found that inactivity, a bad diet, or smoking is the real culprit. Others might say that some people are so sure that fat is the fall guy (or fall girl) that some researchers have gotten lazy.

My solution is to ignore the Obese Police and their hysterical proclamations.