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CHRONIC FAT: Do Fat Chicks Have More Fun?

Posted: April 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Hard Pill to Swallow, That Human Condition, Verity Penfold | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on CHRONIC FAT: Do Fat Chicks Have More Fun?

CHRONIC FATAdmission! This post was inspired by a FAT CHICK – a self confessed – apparently happy FAT CHICK! Chrissie Swan, ex-The Circle, and regular contributor to Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, penned a piece for the afore mentioned newspaper that has me ever so slightly incensed. The Age’s Sunday Life –  Life Matters – is all fluff, it’s meant to lighten up our Sunday read, feel good articles that mix well with coffee, bagels and balmy afternoons. What’s so standout about Ms Swan’s piece is that a half dozen people have so far had a good grizzle about what a trollish, trashy tale this happy fat chick has penned.

Clearly gnawing on fat isn’t a light hearted ramble.

“I’m overweight and happy” Chrissie Swan said “It hasn’t always been this way, I mean, I’ve always been happy, but I’ve lived with the dream of a goal weight hanging in front of me like a carrot (cake) since I was about 11 years old”

Shock Horror, it’s a hard concept to grasp, someone happy being a fatty!?

No one wants to be fat, it’s a myth, no one wants to feel unwanted or worse wanted for being a complete oddity. Being over weight is a complicated place to be. Losing weight is a massive chore, trust me inside this average body lurks a fat person trying to get out. Keeping that fat chick in check is a daily struggle. Emotions, Hormones, Food and even Genes all seem to be against us staying thin.

CHRONIC FAT

Coincidently, the world is in-fact fatter than previously believed: The key index used to measure and tackle the obesity epidemic is seriously underestimating how fat we are, naccording to new research. A report published in the journal PLoS ONE suggests that the body mass index – BMI – the key index used to measure obesity, is fundamentally flawed. The BMI is based on a simple calculation that pits a person’s height against their weight to determine whether they are obese or not.  The US Centre for Disease Control says one in three Americans are obese, but Dr Eric Braverman, medical director of the Path Medical Clinic in New York and co-author of the new study, says it is much higher than that. If BMI tests were banished and new tests implemented, he says the rate would be at 50 to 60 per cent in America alone.

Dr Braverman says the BMI particularly underestimates the obesity levels of older women. “The older you get, the more fat you have inserted into your body’s muscle, and what you end up with is a very skewed idea of what fitness is,” he said. “You could be 5’5″, 125 pounds [57 kilograms] and look thin and fit in a dress, but you have so much fat. When we do a blood test with leptin we are able to adjust it, so at last obesity has a blood test that can be lowered and treated like cholesterol or the way sugar is treated in diabetes. We are able to change the whole scenario of obesity.”

Dr Braverman is concerned with the study’s findings, saying fat is behind today’s cancers, heart attacks, stroke and gall bladder problems. “Fat is what gives you a terrible future,” he said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Obesity may have significant health, social and economic impacts and is closely related to lack of exercise and to diet. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of suffering from a range of conditions, including coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, knee and hip problems and sleep apnoea. In 2008, the total annual cost of obesity in Australia, including health system costs, productivity declines and carers’ costs, was estimated at around $58 billion (Access Economics 2008).

The proportion of adults (aged 18 years or over) classified as obese or overweight has increased from 56% in 1995 to 61% in 2007-08. For men, the increase was from 64% to 68% in 2007-08, while for women, the proportion rose from 49% to 55%.

In 2007-08, one quarter of Australian children (or around 600,000 children aged 5-17 years) were overweight or obese, up four percentage points from 1995. In relation to obesity only, the rate for children (aged 5-17 years) increased from 5.2% in 1995 to 7.5% in 2007-08. Studies have shown that once children become obese they are more likely to stay obese into adulthood and have an increased risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

Burning Fat Myths

Clearly obesity is a major social problem, we constantly have numbers thrown at us 50-60 percent obesity, 70 percent chance of coronary disease, 80 percent increase in the incidence of diabetes. My favourite number is the simplest: 25 percent of the population is at a healthy weight. Diet plays a huge part in our lives, and is the biggest single contributor to obesity – I know, being fat has something to do with eating?  In Australia the NHMRC –  National Health and Medical Research Council –  gives more detail about what kinds of food help reduce chronic obesity. The NHMRC says that the rising incidence of obesity and diabetes shows Australians need to re-assess their diets. Review committee chairwoman Doctor Amanda Lee says the advice is based on a comprehensive review of the latest scientific evidence.

“What we have now is greater differentiation between different types of food; for example for the vegetable group we now know that we need to eat a variety of different types and colours to decrease our risk of various kinds of cancer,” Dr Lee  said.  Dr Lee says by the time children go to pre-school in Australia, 20 per cent of them are already overweight or obese.

“We need to eat double the amount of vegetables and fruits, double the amount of wholegrain cereals, much more milk, yoghurt and low-fat cheese, and increasing our lean poultry and fish,” Dr Lee said. “We’re all going to get fatter unless we think very seriously about the foods we need to eat less of.” Dr Lee says too many Australians underestimate just how much exercise they need to do to work off junk food.

Burning Fat Myths

Back to Ms SwanThe Happy Fat Chick – so where does someone who’s opinion apparently counts get to flick off such ridiculous headlines “Why I’m Overweight and happy

Ms Swan goes on “Do-gooders look at us with concerned eyes and talk about blood pressure, circulation, difficulty conceiving, the list goes on. I can only talk for myself and say that yes, I am overweight, but my blood pressure is normal, my circulation is great, I am not pre-diabetic and I conceived two children, one while I was on the Pill and the other after four days of thinking “Hmm, maybe a second baby would be nice. Life as an overweight woman is an exercise in apology. You always feel like you have to say sorry for your presence. That’s what those sad eyes on the awkward size-18 waitress are saying: “Sorry you have to see me.”

“Being overweight isn’t easy, normal-sized people like to talk about statistics so diabolical it’s a wonder we even see any chubby people at all, we should all have exploded from some cardiac-related disease years ago.”

I have to admit, I didn’t have a clue who Chrissie Swan was until I came across her I’m fat and Loving it piece, a little digging though and that sinking feeling crept across me like the fient smell of poo. Turns out Ms Swan was Australia’s first female runner up on that hideous television hit Big Brother, seriously people, celebrity sucks.

25 PER CENT

Obesity is a serious – capital S, SERIOUS – health issue, let me repeat my favorite statistic: Just a quarter – 25 percent – of Australians are at a healthy weight. A 2011 study put the total cost of caring for the nation’s fattys at more than $56 billion a year. Direct health care costs totalled $21 billion, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, while government subsidies cost another $35.6 billion a year.

Professor Stephen Colagiuri – Professor of Metabolic Health at the University of Sydney – and his co-authors analysed data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study. Professor Colagiuri said the research took account of all costs – borne by individuals and the taxpaying public – which flow from the problem of being overweight or obese.

“Traditionally, studies report only costs associated with obesity and rarely take overweight into account,” Professor Colagiuri said in a statement. “We found that the direct cost of overweight and obesity in Australia is significantly higher than previous estimates. As the number of overweight and obese adult Australians continues to increase, the direct cost of overweight and obesity will also continue to rise.”

The study took in body weight data from 6,140 typically middle-aged people, just over half (54.1 per cent) of whom were women. Just 24.7 per cent were deemed to be of normal healthy weight, with 32.4 per cent considered overweight and 42.9 per cent rated as obese according to their body mass index score or waist circumference.

Professor Colagiuri said it was important to account for both overweight as well as obesity as both were associated with an increased risk of health problems and cost. Healthcare costs flowing from the nation’s overweight and obese population include ambulance services, hospital visits, prescription medication and items such as blood glucose self-monitoring meters and strips. The research also took account of the cost of transport to hospital, supported accommodation and special food while the government subsidies included aged, disability and veteran pensions, mobility and sickness allowances and unemployment benefits. Professor Colagiuri says there is financial incentive at individual and societal levels for overweight and obese people to lose weight and/or reduce their waist circumference.

CHRONIC FAT: GENES

GENES

In 2009 Researchers in the UK said that people can hold a healthy weight, regardless of their genes. The study found people carrying a gene linked to obesity have a 30 per cent less chance of being overweight if they are physically active. Researchers said that it showed there should be less focus on genetics and more on the social and environmental factors that make people fat.

Scientists have discovered at least 32 genes that predispose people to being obese. The research found people with only one of the genes would probably be only slightly heavier compared to someone with similar exercise and eating habits who does not carry the gene.

However they found a combination of the genes was likely to result in the person being several kilograms heavier. “People who carry the gene but who are physically active have a reduced risk compared to people who carry the gene but are inactive,” Cambridge University medical researcher Ruth Loos said.

The new research analysed more than 50 studies of people with one particular obesity gene, and used data relating to more than 200,000 people in several countries.

Dr Loos says the research shows people can hold a healthy weight, regardless of their genes. “We show that actually they can do something about it, physical activity gives them the opportunity to lose weight. So it goes against the often held view that if it’s in your genes, it’s out of your control.” she said “We show that even though it’s in your genes, you still have control.”

The research raises questions about how useful it is to screen people for obesity genes. University of Queensland population health researcher Lennert Veerman says such screenings are pointless.

“It really doesn’t make a lot of sense because you have the gene, then you have to be physically active,” Veerman said. “Suppose you don’t have the gene and you’re too heavy, you also get the advice to be physically active, so it doesn’t really matter all that much.”

Dr Veerman says the focus on genetic screening detracts from other factors that make people obese. “It’s decrease in physical activity probably, but maybe more important is an increase in calorific intake, we now live in an environment where there is a lot of energy rich, often nutrient poor foods around, it’s everywhere. It’s cheap and it’s marketed a lot. So it’s very hard to escape that, and if people over time eat a little bit more than they expend, then generally you gradually accumulate weight. And once you have it, it’s very difficult to get rid of.”

You Know it’s Chronic, An Epidemic, When You have to Pay People To Get Less Fat

In 2009 The Pounds for Pounds scheme hit the headlines, a scheme to help obese people lose wieght and get paid for it.

Overweight people in the United Kingdom are being paid to shed pounds as part of a trial undertaken by the country’s National Health Service. Those who sign up to the program stand to gain up to $3,000 for losing 68 kilograms. The program is the brainchild of former banker Winton Rossiter. He set up a company called Weight Wins and brought the bonus culture to the weight loss industry.

“Our insight is that it’s not how you lose weight but why you lose weight. So we looked around for what motivated everybody. It turns out, not surprisingly, that it’s money,” Mr Rossiter said. “Money for having achieved your targets or gotten most of the way toward achieving your targets. And you give someone a long-term contract with money for reaching it, miracles happen, and that’s what we found out.”

Mr Rossiter says on average people who start the program lose about 12 kilograms a year. “That is over two times the weight loss of the next most successful method for weight loss, which is structured diets such as Weight Watchers and things like that,” he said.

Close to 40 per cent of Britons are now classed as overweight. A further 24 per cent are obese; that is six in 10 people suffering a weight problem. The National Health Service is treating it as a health emergency and is embracing this radical Pounds For Pounds program as a way of combating the problem.

There are now a bucket load of organisations that offer cash for fat, www.weightwins.com “These results suggest that long-term financial incentives could be the best single weapon in the war on obesity,” Mr Rossiter said. Weight Wins is now offering a maximum payout of £3,000 to private customers who lose 150lb over 21 months and keep it off for three months.

A Well Rounded Fatty?

Back to where we started, Ms Chrissie Swan. So our happy being fat chick is having a wonderfilled time being rotund? We Think Not!

In October 2010 Ms Swan told Womans Day that when she first started on The Circle (television show) she had just come from radio, where you could turn up looking shocking and it wouldn’t matter “Then, all of a sudden I was on camera, and I’m looking at myself thinking, ‘Oh my God! I’m dressed like a 60-year-old. You just can’t get the kinds of clothes you want to wear in size 26. Fast forward six months and, thanks to Jenny Craig, Chrissie has added another 20kg to her total weight loss of almost 50kg. “I have actually lost 47kilos since I had the baby (Leo, born in November 2008)” she said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s a person.”

At a size 26, the 36-year-old radio and television personality was all too aware that when it came to dressing for her daily morning TV show, there were some things she just couldn’t do. And squeezing herself into a pair of tight leggings was certainly one of them.

So is anyone truly happy being fat, seriously?

Accept that being over weight is a problem, sounds an ease, it’s not, it takes a heap of fortitude to look deep within ourselves and accept faults enough to want to change them. Eat for health, rather than attempt to instantly become a skinny person, work toward it, eat healthy – NO JUNK! – food, try to cut back portion sizes. Build up to exercise, start out by walking, pick up your pace, extend yourself. When your comfortable with a bit of perspiration, get involved with a group trainer. Remember, the goal is long term, it’s about living a fully, happier, healthier life. Oh, and learn to pick when people – like Ms Swan – are full of sh_t, we have no doubt people in her game get paid a bundle of money to voice an opinion, a fat, skinny or indifferent opinion, their words are neither clever nor meaningful!

source: the age/chrissie swan

source: the age

source: essential baby

source: nhmrc

source: mja

source: university of sydney

souce: abs

source: plusone

souce: abc

source: the independant

source: womans day

source: csiro

image: www.ebaumsworld.com

image: www.sodahead.com


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