February 1, 2007

Star Wars: Anorexia vs obesity; thin beats fat

I see all the celebrities talking about anorexia on TV, the news shows, the morning shows, the red carpet; but I don't see anyone talking about obesity. Is the O-word, an obscene term in Hollywood? Well, we know the A-word isn't. Just take a look at how everyone is outraged by the thinness of supermodels.

Reading newspapers, magazines, and blogs you would have thought anorexia had replaced heart disease as the #1 killer in America. It seems that every celebrity has something to say. Tyra Banks, Dr. Phil, Paula Zahn, Katharine McPhee, all have come out against anorexia recently.

In fact at the end of this month is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Anorexia nervosa kills between 100-950 people a year, that's the same as lightning or accidental discharge of guns. That is horrible. But no more horrible than obesity.

Obesity kills between 100,000-365,000 people a year, and costs about $130 billion in direct medical care. (How many it kills is a huge political and scientific issue.) There's little doubt however that the rate is rising, as is heart disease and diabetes.

Why is it OK to talk about anexoria? However, I've never seen a celebrity on the red carpet come out against huge food portions and obesity. And it would be so easy. They don't have to endorse a particular diet program, or diet food, or tell people that obesity doesn't look good. They don't have to endorse gastric bypass. All they have to do is tell people to eat appropriate portions, and ask restaurants to serve the RightSize.

Of course we know the answer why. No celebrity wants to be associated with obesity. Who wants to be the poster boy or girl for that addiction. Even former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee -- who lost more than 100 pounds, and promotes appropriate food portions and exercise -- didn't mention that topic on "Meet the Press" last week. Too bad. He had probably the biggest audience in America he'll ever have. What a good message he could have sent to Americans.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that we stop fighting anorexia, because more people are dying of obesity. But because hundreds of thousands are dying, because our children are getting diseases and illnesses, and because it's the right thing to do, I am advocating we do something about food portions in America.

Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said, "We can't afford to be complacent about the epidemic of obesity." Note, she's chief of preventive medicine. Obesity is one of the few completely preventable diseases. Unfortunately, nearly everyone thinks you are the problem, not the government, not farmers, not restaurants, not Kraft or Nabisco or the beef industry. It's only our problem.

Let's share the blame, and the solutions. Let's have a Star War against inappropriate portions. Maybe Jubba the Hut could be the spokes...alien.


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