Last year, when my medical benefits fund wrote to it’s members and advised them of yet another increase to premiums, they gave their usual justifications for the increase. But in amongst reasons such as rises in cost of living, world financial crises, etc, was a reason I had not encountered before. They stated that part of the increases in cost was directly caused by obesity related diseases.
Maybe this was meant to be a wake-up call to those with weight issues. But the thoughts it actually generated in my mind were somewhat different. What I understood in effect, was that I, and every other person, who makes the effort to eat properly, to exercise regularly, and to take care of our health, are being penalised…along with those who take none of those preventative measures. Kind of seems unfair, don’t you think? Oh, probably not for those who have been diagnosed with obesity related illnesses. They are very fortunate that others are subsiding the health care costs arising from their personal neglect of their own health.
I also read a story back last year, discussing the rising number of organ transplants, again as a result of obesity. A surprising number of them were for children. Now many people out there, including myself, are organ donors (well, in event of sudden death, anyway), and I am sure that many of us would be gratified to think that under those circumstances, that children’s lives would be saved and they would go on to lead long and fulfilling lives.
Riiigggghhhttt…how happy would you be to learn your liver had gone to a thirteen year old, who had destroyed his first liver as a direct result of massive over eating…and who, as soon as he was home, totally disregarded all medical advice, and returned to the same eating patterns? Frankly, if someone gets my very healthy liver, then I would want it to be on the terms that he or she then did their level best to keep it that way. If I thought it was going to someone who was going to destroy it…well then, what’s the point of donating it (and upsetting certain family members). It might as well rot in the grave with me.
We have heard, and will continue to hear, stories of people who claim they are being discriminated against because of their weight. I believe at least one person has tried suing airlines, because they were told they would have to purchase two seats to accommodate their physical bulk. I am personally starting to favour the idea that our individual luggage allowances should incorporate our body weight, with perhaps some allowance for age and height (and pregnancy); i.e. if you weight fifty pounds/twenty kilos more than you should, then it’s coming out of your luggage allowance!
Now, it might sound like I am being unnecessarily cruel to a certain segment of the population. Unfortunately, the way things are going, I cannot be accused of intolerance towards a minority…mainly because the obese are rapidly becoming the majority (and this is per capita, not simply in terms of mass). This means, over the next few decades, we are going to see more and more people fall ill with obesity related diseases such as Type II Diabetes, heart disease, strokes, gout and it goes on.
It is estimated that one quarter of American adults are actually obese, and more than another thirty five percent are overweight. Then of course there are the obese children. It is estimated that the current generation of children will be the first generation in many years who will not live as long as their parents. Seriously, how can that be, in a supposedly modern society, that knows more about preventative health care than ever in our history…and yet, we are killing off our children, faster than ourselves!
What happens, if the level of obesity in society, continues to spiral at it’s current rate. Who is going to be caring for these people when they become bed-ridden by awful debilitating diseases (as if being grossly overweight isn’t debilitating enough). At some point, there will not be enough fit and healthy people to do the work. I suppose they could all just abandon the obese to fend for themselves – it’s not like the obese could stop the healthy people, even if they outnumber them…they couldn’t run fast enough to catch the healthy people for starters. I guess at that point, fat people will rather be like beached whales…left to die because there is simply no helping them.
Yes, that sounds cruel too. That’s because it’s meant to be cruel. The person ultimately responsible for your personal health and well-being is…YOU! Not the government, not the schools, not your employers, or the fast food chains, or commercial food manufacturers (alright, you can blame your parents if you are under eighteen and obese). Many of these institutions are exacerbating the problems, but you are still responsible for you. If that was not true, then everyone would be fattened up like beef cattle. But some people choose to take the harder road, and work to prevent their health being destroyed. If some can do it, all can do it.
One of my major goals in life is to help other people take ownership of their lives, of their health and fitness and overall wellness. What I can’t and won’t do, is enable people to continue living lives where they wilfully and deliberately, eat themselves into sickness and death. I won’t be tolerant of it, I won’t endorse it, I won’t excuse it, and I won’t support it. I don’t believe I or any other healthy person should subsidise the medical costs of deliberately inflicted illnesses…just as I don’t believe I should subsidise the medical costs of smokers, alcoholics, or drug users. Life insurance companies penalise smokers, and I think a similar approach should be taken with the obese.
Enabling their lifestyle choices does not help the fat and obese. Being politically correct towards them does not help them to lose that fat. Accepting their excuses for their size does not achieve anything.
It is time for the tough love approach. Time for the ever smaller minority of the fit and healthy to refuse to participate in this deadly and inequitable state of affairs. Where we say to people…”you are way too fat, and way too unhealthy, and I am not going to support you to stay that way or to get worse. I will give you support while you work to lose that fat and become healthy again, but if you choose not to accept that help, then you are on your own. And you can cope with the consequences by yourself”. And if the consequences include penalties in health benefit payments, denial of organ transplants for obesity caused organ failure, and paying extra every time they fly, then the obese are going to have to live with it – or die as the case may be. In effect, if they choose to continue with their lifestyle choices, then they are choosing to euthanise themselves – because obesity is a death sentence.