Why are skinny people featured in the media as healthy, sexy, and successful?
Why do ad campaigns repeatedly teach us, “New ways to get rid of ugly fat?”
Why do most people want to be thin?
Back in the day, having a few extra pounds was a sign of wealth. It meant having more than enough food to be satisfied, and it meant having the leisure time to enjoy that food. Yet, over the past century or so, having a lean, hard body has become equated with success, while being heavier has become cause for ridicule.
For starters, it has been argued that a lean body highlights the beauty of the human form. Curves and bulges in the right places are beautiful. But therein lies the paradox. Women undergo potentially risky surgery to enlarge their breasts and buttocks. Men get calf and pectoral implants. All in the name of achieving an ideal look, which is based on what the entertainment and fashion industries determine to be attractive. Kids (and adults) develop eating disorders. Weight loss products have become a multi-billion dollar industry. Millions of people wreak havoc on their metabolisms every day by undergoing costly (and risky) crash diet programs, which just end up making more money for the Program CEOs.
However beautiful the pure, physical human form may be, there is a much deeper reason to want to reach an ideal weight than just to be appealing in a bathing suit, or to emulate one’s favorite movie star.
The real issue is that death arrives faster as the number on the scale goes up. The National Institute of Health published consensus data on weight as far back as the 1980’s that showed that, as weight goes up beyond normal, mortality goes up. They showed an increase in weight-associated medical problems (co-morbidities) on a dizzying scale.
We all know about the increases in diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sleep apnea that occur when people are overweight; but does the public know that the risk of numerous types of cancer goes through the roof when people are even a few pounds overweight? Colon, rectal, and prostate cancer rates are significantly elevated in heavier men; while breast, uterine, gallbladder, ovarian, colon, and endometrial cancer rates are markedly increased in heavier women, compared with their normal weight counterparts.
Controlling one’s weight is much more than just feeling better, or parroting the latest reality TV celebrity. It’s about living longer, about being around for one’s children, about increasing fertility to be able to have children, about preventing cancer, and about living a fuller, happier life.
Bariatric surgery is currently the only treatment that can help reverse all those aforementioned medical problems, and, for people that are really struggling, surgery is the most powerful tool available to help achieve a healthy weight. Weight loss surgery, in the right hands, is safe, effective, and even less expensive than many of the prepared-food diet plans that are on the market.
Let’s get healthy together!