Weighing In On Obesity

Americans are too fat. There, I've said it. You can use all the polite terms you want -- plump, hefty, overweight, body mass challenged, over-gravitized -- but it boils down to the same thing. If you're a guy and you look like you're pregnant, you're too fat. If you're a woman who looks like she's pregnant and you're not, you're too fat. If you think I'm starting to sound like Jeff Foxworthy, please, stop me now. One is enough.

Should you be thin and reading this, feel free to move on to the in-depth analysis in People of why Ashton and Demi are the new J-Lo and Ben and how this will affect all of their chances at this year's Academy Awards. Hell, it certainly can't hurt their chances. At least not unless mathematicians have rescinded the rule against negative probabilities, which would be good news for me since it would go a long way towards explaining how I do as, uh, well as I do in the lottery. Then again, if you're thin you might just want to stick around. After all, fat people were thin once, so it could happen to you too. Think about that the next time you go to Cinnabon and ask them to supersize it.

The United States is the world's fattest nation. It's true. Government statistics -- and if you can't believe the government who can you believe? -- show that 65 percent of Americans are overweight. Yes, 65 percent! That's more than pretend they didn't reply to a spam email offering a copy of the "Par!s H!lton v!deo" yet wonder why their mailbox is now filled with offers for things they never dreamed were possible, even though we have a space program that's constantly developing incredible things like Tang, ball point pens that write upside down, and foam mattresses which are hawked on infomercials.

Think about it. This means two out of every three of us are toting around excess weight, and no, I'm not talking about that backpack filled with Krispy Kremes, potato chips, and 3-gallon Big Gulps. No, this excess weight is much more attached to us than that. It also means two-thirds of Americans are putting an unnecessary strain on their hearts, lungs, feet, and the good nature of those people who have to sit next to them on an airplane. And don't blame that on the airlines, they supply seats which are perfectly suited to fit, oh, maybe a 4-year-old. A small one.

Now before you go getting your elastic waist slacks in an uproar, it's okay for me to talk like this. After all, when I was a kid my mother dragged me kicking and screaming into the husky department at Euphemism's Department Store to buy my clothes. Calling them husky may have helped my mother feel better, but it didn't do a thing for me. They might as well have called them tubbies. Or blimpies. Actually, they probably would have called them that were they not so afraid of being sued by the sub sandwich company. But I managed to lose those excess pounds, which proves that physical baggage can be easier to shed than emotional. It also proves that stopping eating can be an effective diet plan, and had I not named my book The Biafran Diet I'm sure it would have been as big a seller as the Adkins, South Beach, or Lose Weight While Eating Everything You Want Because Your Wallet Will Be Lighter Thanks To Having Bought This Book diets.

Trust me, I understand it's easier to put on weight than lose it. Well, unless you're Lucica Bunghez, the Romanian woman who recently lost 175 pounds in 10 hours. It's true. Unfortunately her excess weight was in the form of a tumor which the doctors removed. A tumor, mind you, which weighed almost twice as much as the rest of her body. The operation went well and, according to the head of Plastic Surgery and Understatement at the hospital in Bucharest, "The lack of the tumor really suits her." I'm sure if she didn't feel better after the operation she definitely felt better after hearing this. Face it, nothing can bring you down as much as knowing you looked better with a tumor the size of New Hampshire on your back. Okay, maybe hearing Howard Dean scream with joy at the news could bring you down more. Sue me.

It's not surprising we're a nation of fat adults since we're also a nation of fat children. A recent issue of Time stated that on the average, a child in this country eats 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they graduate high school. Well, assuming they complete school in 12 years, but that's another problem to be discussed at another time. A few weeks later the magazine featured a 10-year-old girl who weighed 220 lbs and developed diabetes. The family was shocked. Uh, exactly what were you thinking when you kept feeding her and she continued to grow out more than up? Hey, if you aim your car at a brick wall and stomp on the gas pedal, don't be shocked when you smash into the wall and get hurt.

To be fair, there are a lot of people who are trying to lose weight. Unfortunately most of them are anorexic and don't need to. But not all. In Nevada County, CA (motto: "Confused? So are we.") 800 residents have joined a communal weight loss program called the Nevada County Meltdown. Lets hope no one in the Three Mile Island area picks up on this idea. The members of the Meltdown hope to lose 4 tons of fat in two months. That's 133 pounds a day, which is 532 Quarter Pounders with cheese, $240.84 at the current exchange rate, or nearly one Romanian tumor. That may be a drop of fat in the oversized bucket, but hey, it's a start.

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