So, there’s a lot of discussion of some recent studies that have found a) thin people can have unhealthy levels of visceral fat, b) genetics plays a larger part in body size than people want to admit, and c) fat people can actually be quite healthy.
This is all really interesting news.
But here’s the thing. Health, much like fat, is not a moral issue. Nor is health so easy to define as “all body systems go.” Because if you are in peak physical form but your outlook sucks….
People make unhealthy choices every day. Fat people, thin people, in-between people. They eat undercooked meat, they don’t sleep enough, they indulge in the drug of their choice (nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, whatever). They use blow dryers on their hair (do you have any idea what that sort of heat can do to your hair?) and makeup on their face and deodorant in their armpits.
They wear clothes washed in detergents that are full of chemicals. They eat food grown with pesticides. They walk under the open sky and do not wear sun screen.
There are risk factors involved in BEING ALIVE. And, as individuals, it is our choice which ones concern us the most. For example, I am a total fatty, but I avoid the sun because I don’t really want skin cancer or wrinkles.
My health is a balance of how efficiently my body systems are working and how well my brain is functioning – whether or not I want to freak out and kill things, you know? My mental health is of more concern to me than my physical health because my mental health is… a little more easily shaken.
And my pursuit of health? It’s a personal choice. Do not lord the tyranny of “but you must be HEALTHY” over me. Because I don’t have to be healthy by your standards, just by mine. And that random person over there? S/he doesn’t have to be healthy by your standards either in order to be a good person. Hell, we don’t HAVE to be healthy at all to be good people.
The pursuit of health is not a moral imperative.
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, Social Commentary
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