Jennifer Livingston the American news anchor was right on the button about cyber bullying after receiving an email commenting on her weight. ( The Guardian 3rd October)
The person contacting her was rude and personal. However, this still doesn't mean that she is not neglectful of her weight problem and the health issues it brings with it and that as such she is not a good physical role model to the youth of America or anywhere else for that matter.
This fact was overlooked by many in the media who should have known better than to give gratuitous support to someone who now amounts to a fatty enabler. Eleanor Mills, a large lady who writes for The Times newspaper quickly jumped on said bandwagon commenting on the lack of larger women on television. Sorry Eleanor, you know deep down that you would like to be in control of your weight and this 'sisterhood' act is merely confirmatory bias.
Jennifer Livingston went on to tell us all on US national television in a broadcast that quickly went viral that we have not met her personally so we don't know anything about her. I don't need to have met her personally to know that like all large ladies she knows how depressing it is to struggle to put on an item of clothing that fitted just a few weeks ago. She knows how it feels to be out of breath just from climbing a flight of stairs. She may even know how it feels to get stuck in the tub - I have met many ladies who have fessed up to such embarrassing things but only when they are ready to take positive action about their weight.
If you don't like this emotional argument then let me put it to you rationally; experts estimate that as many as 98,000 people die in any given year from medical errors that occur in hospitals. That's more than die from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS - three causes that receive far more public attention than obesity. Indeed, more people die annually from medication errors than from workplace injuries. Add the financial cost to the human tragedy, and medical error easily rises to the top ranks of urgent, widespread public problems. People worldwide continue to get sick at a rate that we will never find affordable in a million recession-free years let alone these fiscally challenged times. Our elected leaders can't fail to see the global pandemic of health concerns that threaten to engulf us daily. Yet they are helpless in their efforts to stem the flow of sickness and disease, pushing a metaphorical finger into a hole in a dam as a thousand more spring open. The failing healthcare system in modern western society threatens greater disaster to our economy than any other long term misfortune ever could. More and better healthcare is not coming our way. The money poured into health services would be better spent in prevention. The health problem is not bad people in health care - it is that good people are working in bad systems that need to be made safer by having their workload reduced by people taking better care of them selves.
Our main objective then as individuals should be to stay the heck out of hospitals! We also should be helping others to do the same by living healthily. Obesity is a choice, granted it may be an economically influenced one in some cases (people who eat junk tend to be less educated than those who do not) but by putting a fast food shop in walking distance of every school are we really being smart? When fast food companies are amongst the main sponsors of our Olympics is that really judicious - in the long term? Obesity is up by 12% between now and 1993. What we don't need is influential big people telling us that being overweight isn't a problem. Just eat the cookies and don't worry about the weight piling on. Really? What happens when the youngster has to take gym classes? True no one should laugh at a fat person puffing with effort trying to climb a rope but they will.
Being overweight isn't a disability or a disease or any other such nonsense. To tell youngsters this is to condemn them to accept the role of the victim. Those girls we were all so proud of taking part in the Olympics recently got there through discipline, hard work, sacrifice and dedication. Obese people generally get that way through gluttony and inactivity. That's why the physical result is nothing to be proud of. This of course does not mean that anyone who doesn't have a body beautiful is worthless. Far from it, some of the greatest people in history have been all shapes and sizes but neither should obesity be presented like wearing a medal! Any lack of discipline in one's lifestyle takes away from the whole. I have helped many hundreds of ladies lose stones in weight and not one of them ever told me that they were happier when they were big - not one. The changes did not need to be colossal for them to start taking back control of their weight. They changed the mid-morning muffin for an apple. They took a walk around the block instead of spending all evening in front of the TV. Before they knew it they were buying the health magazine instead of the one full of cheesy celebrity gossip. In short, every discipline they added to their life added to the whole.
A few small lifestyle disciplines repeated every day leads to a happy and healthier life. Likewise a few small errors in judgement repeated every day leads ultimately to physical disaster. By the way Eleanor should know that the only large women I could think of on TV were Jo Brand, Dawn French and Sarah Millican. They are all comedians who make fun of their weight. Now that's interesting....
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