Or so says UK doctor Michael McMahon, who has exactly zero vested interest in making sure people understand that the only thing fat people should focus on is their own self-loathing, weight-loss and obviously limited career potential!
McMahon, who is flacking a study done by the private medical provider Nuffield Health, says that the advent of fat celebrities who aren't constantly on rollercoaster diets and publicly flogging themselves for their inability to live up to societal standards are responsible for people thinking they can live normal lives without either being or trying to be skinny.
Professor McMahon, of the Nuffield Health private healthcare chain, said: 'The increasing profile of larger celebrities means that being overweight is now perceived as being 'normal' in the eyes of the public.
'We talk about the dangers of skinny media images but the problem actually swings both ways.'
Well, not to get all etymological on McMahon's ass, but the definition of "normal" is actually what most people are, which is not celebrity-style thin but rather something else. According to the CDC, for instance, more than 20 percent of the population of every state but Colorado qualify as obese with a BMI of greater than 30 (though the debate about BMI and its effectiveness at diagnosing health-risking obesity is a question for another time), which means that, in fact, obesity is increasingly "normal." Whether it's a health risk for everyone — or even for as many people as we're all constantly being told — is not the same thing as "normal," though many people with the audacity (or genes) to be remotely larger than McMahon's idea of "normal" are often told that they are not.
"The danger of celebrities who flaunt their weight is that viewers admire them and do not take their own weight as seriously as they should," said Professor Michael McMahon, Nuffield's consultant.
Yes, because being content with one's size is the same as "flaunting" it. Oprah long ago established that the best way to deal with one's weight in public is to struggle valiantly against it, regardless of the health consequences of yo-yo and fad dieting.
The Daily Mail's Fiona Macrae adds this wonderful piece of commentary:
The high profile of larger stars such as TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, comedian Johnny Vegas and singer Beth Ditto has shown that being plump is no barrier to success.
James Corden and Ruth Jones, of award-winning sitcom Gavin and Stacey, are also of generous proportions.
What everyone failed to Google, however, is Dr. McMahon's professional credentials as an "obesity expert." Those credentials, of course, include being a bariatric surgeon who makes his money off performing risky and expensive procedures on obese people outside of Britain's National Health System (i.e., for cash). Who signs up for surgery that includes, according to the Mayo Clinic, the following risks (if you survive the surgery and don't get a life-threatening infection, blood clots or a permanent case of the runs)?
* Vitamin and mineral deficiency (iron deficiency anemia, vitamin B-12 deficiency and vitamin D deficiency)
* Bleeding stomach ulcer
* Intolerance to certain foods
* Kidney stones
* Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) related to excessive insulin production
People, of course, who are truly unhappy about their weight!
But, hey! McMahon's employer also operates a series of fitness centers to help its customers lose weight.
Anyway, if one were operating on logic, one might assume that the obesity "epidemic" — which the CDC chronicles as going back more than 20 years — might be completely unrelated to the recent arrival on the celebrity scene of a small handful of celebrities who are not actively bemoaning their bodies and trying to lose weight. Apparently, though, logic isn't part of the weight-loss plans at Nuffield Health.
Note: The comments on this post have been closed.
Related: U.S. Obesity Trends 1985–2007 [CDC]
BMI Not An Accurate Obesity Measurement [Red Orbit]
Prof M J McMahon [Nuffield Health]
Gastric Bypass Surgery: What Can You Expect? [Mayo Clinic]
Bariatric Surgery Patients At Higher Risk For Broken Bones [Ortho Super Site]
Gastric Bypass Surgery: What Happens If I Regain The Weight? [Mayo Clinic]
Bariatric Surgery [Wikipedia]