The War on Fat

October 11, 2004

Is the war on fat going to tum out to be a big fat hoax? Now that the health care industry, the pharmaceutical companies, the media and yes the government have built obesity up into public enemy number one, there are questions yet unanswered.

It was my impression that obesity was becoming an epidemic. However, that may be an exaggeration. The average weight increase ofthe US population has increased about 7-10 pounds over the past 13 years. Thin Americans have not gained at all. And when we are looking at cardiovascular health, the important consideration is -- Are you fit? Not are you fat? This comes from a four year study done by the American Medical Association. Other reputable studies tell us that there is no relationship between your body mass index and premature death. In fact the fatter people are living longer than the skinny people. Does that make any sense?

I don't know that to believe. I have always been skeptical of the decision to classify obesity as a disease. It's not like heart disease or cancer.

For individuals that are really heavy, I know their problem is serious. Many of them have been fighting their weight for years. For some the problem is in their genes.

Scientists are working to find an answer. In the meantime, it looks like the best thing to do is get your exercise. You'll live a longer healthier life.

Next week I'll be talking to you from down on the farm.

I am John Block from Washington.