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A New Look at Obesity

October 6, 2008

We are all familiar with America’s obesity epidemic and its serious health implications on youth and adults, like cardiovascular problems, diabetes and some forms of cancer. This weekend, The New York Times magazine had an article suggesting that we should rethink our definition of health and our tolerance for fat: “Fat-acceptance activists insist you can’t assume someone is unhealthy just because he’s fat, any more than you can assume someone is healthy just because he’s slim.”

Some people could be perfectly healthy; eat all the vegetables, whole grains and fruit in the world and eat very little processed foods and still be heavier than someone who eats only processed foods.

When considering someone’s health it’s not only important to look at food, but also relationships, spiritual practice, career and exercise. If one is balanced in all of those areas and has a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains it really doesn’t matter how small or big they are.

Thinness is idealized in America and people often take extreme measures to get there—jeopardizing other aspects of their lifestyle. Many times it is the more robust people who are the healthiest because they have the most energy to put into their relationships, career, spirituality and movement. It is important to find what body type works best for you, not for America.