In order to make an informed decision about the long-term use of diet pills, the beneﬁts and risks of being overweight must be weighed against the beneﬁts and risks of using diet pills. This chapter describes the discrimination against overweight people and some of the risks of being overweight.
Discrimination of Overweight People
The evidence of prejudice against overweight people is overwhelming. Here are a few examples.
School discrimination. Colleges have been shown to discriminate against overweight people. Obese high school students are less likely to get into a prestigious college than normal weight students of equal intelligence.
Job discrimination. Overweight people are discriminated against on the job. 0 Employers rated obese employees as less desirable when compared to normal weight employees of equal ability.’ 0 Obese job applicants were rated as having poorer work habits, more likely to miss work, and more likely to fake an illness than non-obese applicants.‘ 0 After viewing videotaped job interviews of several applicants with equal qualiﬁcations, people rated obese applicants to be:
- less qualified
- less likely to be hired
- having poorer work habits
- more likely to fake an illness and stay home from work
- more likely to have emotional problems
- more likely to have problems with fellow workers when compared to non-obese applicants
(Contrary to popular belief, overweight people do not have more psychological problems than normal weight people!) 0 44% of employers said they would not hire an obese person under some circumstances; another 16% said they would not hire an obese person under any circumstance. According to a 1974 survey, every extra pound of fat on an executive cost him/ her $1,000 a year in salary. Obese women were also found to have an average household income $6,700 less than normal weight women.
There is a discrimination against overweight people when it comes to likelihood of marriage. 6 Obese women in their 20’s were 20% less likely to be married than normal weight women. Obese men of the same age were 11% less likely to be married. According to a survey, college students would rather marry a cocaine user, a shoplifter, and a communist before they would marry an obese person.
Doctors’ prejudice. Doctors have also been shown to exhibit a prejudice against overweight people. A group of physicians described their patients who were obese as “weak-willed”, “ugly”, and “awkward”.“
Preludlce starts early. Even young children have been shown to be prejudice against overweight people. Children 6 years old and younger described an obese child shown in silhouette as “lazy, dirty, stupid, ugly, cheats, and liars.”
A drawing of an obese child was considered to be the least likeable by children and adults when compared to: a normal weight child, a child with missing hands, and a child with facial disfigurementmi“ Even obese people rated the obese child as the least likable!
Being overweight is a terrible burden. Most people believe obesity is caused by over-indulgence and lack of will power, an example of personal failure. But is it?
Risks vs Benefits
Being overweight is associated with serious health risks. Researchers have said that obesity (deﬁned as being more than 20% over one’s ideal weight) may be the most important nutritional disorder in the world.
Overweight patients who lose as little as 10% of their weight gain significant health benefits. In a retrospective analysis (looking back after an event has happened) of type 2 non- insulin-dependent diabetic patients it was concluded that for each 2.2 lbs of weight loss life span increased by 3 to 4 months. A weight loss of 22 lbs increased life expectancy by about 35%!
When used properly, diet pills can be very beneficial in promoting weight loss while posing very little risk. As with any medicine, the benefits should out weigh the risks.
Being Thinner = Living Longer
Myth of belng too thin. Many people may have heard that being too thin is unhealthy and actually shortens life expectancy; that being a little overweight is healthier and leads to a longer life than being a little underweight. This conclusion is dead wrong! Let’s understand why.
Smokers tend to be thinner and die sooner than non- smokers. But the reason they die sooner is because they smoke not because they’re thin. Cancer patients also tend to be thin, but again, it’s the cancer that shortens life, not being thin. The problem with most studies that have looked at body weight vs life span is that they have not accounted for smokers, forrner- smokers, or people with cancer. When these studies have concluded that being too thin people shortens life, what they have really found is that people who are thin because they smoke or have cancer die sooner!
The thinnest people live the longest. A recent study that accounted for smokers, former smokers, and cancer patients found that the thinnest people lived the longest. This study only looked at people who had never smoked and adjusted for people with cancer by discarding deaths that occurred in the first 5 years of the study. (While this adjustment is not perfect, it does account for many people who might be thin because of cancer and would be expected within 5 years.)
Thinner older people were also healthiest. This study also found that older people who were leanest also lived the longest. (Previously researchers have suggested that older people may be healthier if they are overweight According to this study, this is not true.) Again, the leanest people lived the longest. Even slightly overweight can double the risk of dying from heart disease.
Being thln from smokng is not healthy. While it is true that smokers tend to be thinner than non-smokers and they often gain weight when they stop smoking, being a fat fonner-smoker is healthier than being a thin smoker. This study found that even the Ieanest group of smokers were still 39% more likely to die than the fattest group of former smokers. Smoking is not a healthy way to lose weight.