We've tried fighting fat with diets, pills, exercise, and surgery. So what's the latest weapon on the weight front?
The U.S. government has just said obesity is a "critical public health problem." And some estimates say all that extra weight costs more than $100 billion dollars per year in medical expenses. But "fat acceptance" advocates say it's costing them more than that. They claim attitudes toward the overweight are costing them their self-respect and the kindness of others - and they believe that overweight people are treated unfairly.
But fat acceptance advocates aren't about sitting on the couch and eating chips. They stress exercise and healthy eating as ways to feel better and be healthier. But being thin, they say, shouldn't be the goal.
And fat advocates don't like obesity being labeled a disease. They're afraid that sort of thinking will lead to more fad diets, eating disorders, and risky surgeries.
Those extra pounds, they say, aren't an illness. They're "a natural human characteristic".
But numerous studies say that being overweight is as harmful to your health as smoking.
So what's the answer? If you're worried about your weight and your health, talk to your doctor. They can get you going on a healthy eating plan that won't involve crash diets. But no matter what overweight or not the "fat acceptance" advocates are right--We all deserve to be treated with respect.