Opting Out Of The Illusion Of Immortality

Deb Burgard has a terrific post on the latest “being fat makes you die, damnit” study

Masters’ central argument seems to be that even though the repeated findings for decades of rigorous research (reviewed by Flegal, 2013) has found that BMI and mortality are only weakly correlated, and that higher BMI may actually correlate with longevity in old age, this set of findings must be wrong, because 1) fat elderly people are more likely to be unable to participate in the surveys due to being “institutionalized” more than thin elderly people (no citation), and 2) there are apparently going to be major differences in longevity between people who were fat in their 60′s in 1995 and people who will be fat in their 60′s in 2030 because of the latter group’s “longer exposure to the obesogenic environment.” I guess that is an interesting thought experiment, but if you look at current trends it would seem that fat people are more likely to be healthier in the future if we continue to improve access to healthcare and continue the progress in managing hypertension and diabetes.

Catastrophizing isn’t exactly new in writing about fat, but it does get attention, if only because it gives the fear-of-fat industry something new to write about. Deb responds to this in an inspiring way:

My body […] is not a cautionary tale, a ticking timebomb, or a battleground for corporate adversaries trying to make money on marketing to fat people (weight cycling industry! workplace wellness programs! Big Pharma!) or trying to save money by hoping fat people die  (health insurers! HMOs! Cost-of-obesity policy wonks!).

My death will not be a point for one side or the other.  I am opting out of the illusion of immortality[…]. I am going to live as well and as long as I can, and then I have to get off the bus. It is not different for any of us, and the best use of my time is to make this world a place that gives every one of us the maximum chance at happiness and well-being.

I’ve buried both of my parents. At the risk of sounding trite, it brought home the very real fact that people don’t live forever. Turning that into marketing just feels wrong.

2 thoughts on “Opting Out Of The Illusion Of Immortality

  1. Do these fat hating idiots ever once stop to realize that they are going to die too? Of all the stupid arguments people use to try to convince fat people that we are bad & MUST buy all the available products & services in a futile but expensive attempt to get thin, the “but you are going to die!” argument is by far the dumbest & most pointless one. Yeah, right, buddy, I am going to die, but guess what? So are you & you have no guarantee that you will not die before I do. I expect that is one of the things which really pulls their chains, that a lot of us actually outlive a lot of them. I will live however long I live (& I will turn 64 in 19 days) on my own terms. I have a long time to be dead, I don’t intend to waste the time I have here worrying about it. Nor will I waste another moment trying to live up to someone else’s expectations or a penny trying to be who I am not.

    • Happy future birthday. I agree: we have so little time on Earth compared to the rest of time (unless there is reincarnation) that it’s plain stupid to worry about how you look. I’m just starting to realize that after 22 yrs of dieting and am now 31 yrs old. My bf from the 3rd world is my anchor and has been a big part of that, as fat/thin is a non-issue for them.

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