Are Fat People Happy?
Actuarial studies have shown that as little as a 5-percent excess above ideal weight is associated with a diminished life expectancy. A 50-year-old man who is 50 pounds overweight has half the remaining life expectancy of a normal-weight man of the same age. Excess weight can aggravate existing health problems. On the positive side, losing weight increases the number of years you’re likely to live and live healthfully.
However, contrary to what you might think, it is also not healthy to be too thin. The latest insurance company studies showed that the thinnest people-those more that 10 or 20 percent below ideal weight-had a higher death rate than the heaviest people.
Experts estimate that one-fourth of our problems with cardiovascular diseases are attributable to obesity; hypertension is twice as common among obese as among lean persons. Obesity is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure. Many people could bring their pressure down to normal levels without drugs by losing weight.
Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes, and also promotes heart attack, blood clots, varicose veins, gout, respiratory diseases, arthritis and liver disease. Fat women suffer more from toxaemia during pregnancy. Recently, obesity has been linked to disorders of the menstrual cycle, including infertility.
Overweight people are clumsier, react to unexpected events more slowly, and more likely to have accidents than normal-weight people. Compared to the general population, overweight people are more likely to die in automobile accidents. They are also more susceptible to complications from surgery, infections, and delayed healing of wounds. In short, being overweight is not good for your body.
Nor is it good for your mind. Fat people are often subject to ridicule and, because of the way society regards them, they tend to have a poor self-image, thinking of themselves as weak-willed, ugly, and shameful. They are also commonly victims of job discrimination. On the average, overweight executives earn $1,000 a year less than their normal-weight peers. Some obese persons are caught in a devastatingly vicious cycle: miserably unhappy, they turn to food for solace, which in turn makes them fatter and even more unhappy (Contrary to the myth that fat people are happy people).