Obesity, Smoking, and Public Health

First of all, amen and hallelujiah!
Second, although I quit smoking in 2006 after smoking about a pack a week (Yes, a week, not a day) for a total of 20 years, I am not one of those sanctimonious ex-smokers. I think that the fact that the company where I work deprived smokers of their area by the dock and now forces them to go out to the sidewalk to smoke like pariahs is uncivilized.
Second, the approximately 25 pounds that I lost when I first started exercising again a year and a half ago came back. I’m not certain of the exact reasons. It could be that when my knee became so terribly inflamed because of having to climb four flights of stairs up and down several times in the night when the elevators where I work were down, it was hard for me to do any extra exercise. Or, it could be that my body just wants to be at this weight.
Long term weight loss has never worked for me, and I’m not going to try to force it to.

Dances With Fat

Public HealthIt seems like more and more often I’m seeing public health discussion in which fat is compared to smoking.  This is absolutely not an apt comparison and here is why.

The main difference is pretty simple.  Smoking in a behavior – every smoker smokes.  Being fat is a body size, being listed as “overweight” or “obese” in current medial science is a ratio of weight and height and it’s been changed over time, including at the request of companies that sell dieting.  Fat people are as varied in their habits and behaviors as any group of people who share one physical characteristic.

Now let’s talk about what a successful intervention looks like.  Smokers become non-smokers when they quit smoking – when they stop doing a single specific behavior. In order for  fat people to become not fat, they must change their body size.  There are no studies where more…

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