Today, health writers for The New York Times and The Washington Post pose the same question: Is chubby “the new healthy?” The answer may surprise you. Referencing new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post’s Sally Squires notes that “just about 1 percent of cancer deaths were attributed to being overweight.” (That’s not enough to even be considered “statistically significant.”) Since almost one third of Americans — about 100 million people — fall into the “overweight” range, these findings are weighty to say the least. And that’s not all.
The Times’ Gina Kolata offers even more good new for those with a curvy physique. She mentions that the study’s lead researcher, Katherine Flegal, published a similar study two years ago showing that “overweight people had the lowest mortality rate of any weight group … And thin people? They had more deaths from everything but cancer and heart disease.” In terms of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions, an additional 25 pounds seems practically therapeutic.
If a little junk in the trunk is a biological plus, then why do most Americans hate their love handles? Dr. Peter J. Brown, an anthropologist at Emory University, argues that “being thin really isn’t about health, anyway, but about social class and control.” This means that health officials who aim to regulate the population’s diet and weight are not executing sound science, but legislating haute curvature.