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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Paul Campos, "Our Absurd Fear of Fat": Pass Me the Ben & Jerry's, Please

Perhaps you remember Woody Allen's 1973 movie "Sleeper," in which Miles Monroe (Allen), part owner of the Happy Carrot Health Food Restaurant, wakes up after being cryogenically frozen following a fatal gall bladder operation. Two hundred years into the future, Monroe's physicians comment:

Dr. Melik: Well, he's fully recovered, except for a few minor kinks.
Dr. Agon: Has he asked for anything special?
Dr. Melik: Yes, this morning for breakfast. He requested something called wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk.
Dr. Agon: Oh, yes. Those were the charmed substances that some years ago were felt to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies? Or hot fudge?
Dr. Agon: Those were thought to be unhealthy, precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Remarkably, some 40 years after "Sleeper" was filmed, these lines have assumed new meaning.

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "Our Absurd Fear of Fat" (, Paul Campos draws our attention to a study appearing this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which determined that extra weight is not so dangerous after all:

"The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead."

And to think that there were those who laughed all these years at my ice cream for breakfast routine . . .

1 comment:

  1. Oh, don't get me started. Just last week, I spent some time thinking which I always enjoyed doing. This time I thought about the absurdity of so called ideal weight.
    I spend my young years blissfully unaware of the ideal weight concept. Now I am aware of this concept, but I am pretty sure that I never was near this ideal, even though I probably met some other ideals of proportions. I checked myself and concluded that I actually don't have much fat now (I had several years ago) and, if I want to be "ideal," I probably have to chop off some parts which I actually like, such as hips and breasts. I wasn't ready to convert from my Jewishness to some non-Jewish ideal and I stop my pondering. Until today ....