Re: “An unfair target – It’s time to shut up about the ‘cost of obesity,’ says Daniel Engber,” last Sunday Points.
Obesity’s price tag isn’t the only misconception commonly perpetuated in the debate over America’s waistlines. Obesity experts also exaggerate the actual risk associated with our love handles. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study showing that fitness, not fatness, is the key to health. Regardless of body weight, Americans who are physically active live longer than their couch-bound counterparts. This study is just the latest entry in a long line of scientific research showing that physical inactivity, not excess food consumption, is the real culprit behind many of the health problems associated with obesity.
A few extra pounds aren’t bad for us. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a little more weight is a net plus. What’s unhealthy is the activist-driven public obsession with weight, which redirects energies away from programs that encourage exercise and toward ineffective government control of our food choices.