Another Unasked Question

Can anyone tell me what a "healthy weight" is? That term is tossed around as if it has actual meaning but I can't find it. Is a slender person who has type 2 diabetes  at a healthy weight? If so, then weight is not relevant to her illness. Is a fat person who has normal blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels healthy? Then one would have to assume that hers is a healthy weight. See -- it is a term that makes no sense because for the most part weight does not map to health.

This past week we heard all about how we are fatter even than we thought we were, because -- surprise surprise -- BMI is not a good measure of obesity. So now we are supposed to look at percentage of body fat and lo and behold this will result in even more people being considered obese, and thus candidates for any of the emerging and existing treatments which will allegedly make them slender and  "healthy". 

In an article in Time, Dr. Eric Braverman says:

“People aren’t being diagnosed [as obese], so they’re not being told about their risk of disease or being given instruction on how to improve their health,” 



Of course he is ignoring the fact that one cannot be diagnosed as obese because it is not a disease. And the fact that there is no means of losing weight that is effective for the majority of patients over the long term. And the fact that fat is not a marker for health any more than height is. But his article in PLoS One managed to add to the volume of cries and hand wringing about fat nevertheless.

he[Ivan Illich} argued that American society promoted a definition of health based on an unattainable ideal, one that made no room for suffering, aging, dying, or other natural processes.


Metzl, Jonathan (2010-11-23). Against Health (p. 5). NYU Press reference. Kindle Edition. 


© CHERYL FULLER, 2010. ALL  RIGHTS RESERVED.