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The news has been heavy lately. As in fat.
Two items that have recently hit the national conscience involve weighty matters.
The first is that the United States is no longer the fattest nation on earth. Mexico, of all countries, has supplanted us as the country with the greatest percentage of its people falling into the obese category.
Or should I say that Mexico now has the largest percentage of ill people. That's because the second news item tells us that the American Medical Association (AMA) has deemed obesity to be a disease.
More on that later.
Mexico now has 32.8 percent of its people deemed obese, a full percentage point higher than where the United States weighs in, literally. Still, the Mexicans are a far cry from American Samoa, which logs in with 74 percent of its folks in the obese category. (Think about that the next time you order a few boxes of Samoas from the Girl Scouts.)
I used to live in El Paso, Texas, just across from Juárez, Mexico. Therefore, I have some expertise in this area.
I (briefly) dated a señorita from across the border. While she was of slender figure, having met her madre and abuela (grandmother), I could tell she was destined to become a massively Mayan matron.
Second, I'm fairly certain that one of the reasons for the shift in Mexican meatiness is that the skinnier folks are the ones who are emigrating to America. That a) lowers the U.S. obesity rate and b) drives up the Mexican figure.
That's because, while their leaner, lither brethren are heading north, the chubbier chicos are staying put, likely because a) they are quite content to sit around the casa eating gorditos and b) they can't squeeze their corpulent carcasses through the border station turnstiles.
By the way, "gorditas" means little fat ones. With dishes like that one, it's no wonder they're packing on the pounds south of the border. Of course, we in the U.S. live in the Land of the Fries and the Home of the Whopper, so I guess we really shouldn't point fingers.
The upshot is this is a positive side effect of the immigration controversy, in my opinion. That is, we're letting skinny new arrivals from Mexico improve our collective body image.
But, that might not even be needed anymore, thanks to the AMA's announcement.
Let's be clear here. The AMA carries a lot of heft when it comes to declaring the status of medical matters. Its branding obesity a disease is a big deal.
With the stroke of a pen, the AMA has deemed roughly one-third of our population (and even more of Mexico's!) to be ill.
Apparently, the whole impetus of the move is to give doctors the ability to discuss obesity with their patients. As in, "Mr. Schmedlap, I have the results of your tests: You have obesity."
As opposed to, "OK, Mr. Schmedlap, step up on the scale here. OK. Five-foot, four. Hmm. 325 pounds. Jumpin' Jehosaphat! Pork-city, baybee!"
I can't wait for the time when someone tells me they can't do something because, "my obesity is acting up." Or, "Mama's taken to her bed, poor thing: The obesity's flared up again."
Look, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of folks (but not all) who are overweight are so because they are on the wrong end of the following equation: input = output.
That is, they're putting too many calories in or not working off enough calories (or both).
By declaring obesity to be a disease, the AMA has opened the way for you and me (as in everyone) to pay for weight control treatments, bariatric surgery and all sorts of pharmaceuticals via our private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.
Ever notice the ads for electric scooters on TV? Invariably, they tout the fact that you can get the government or your private insurance to pay for the scooter. That's fine and dandy.
Don't think for a minute that ads aren't going to pop up all over the place, promoting all sorts of remedies for "your disease." And the best part? "You won't have to pay a dime."
Look, I'm far from svelte myself. But I at least keep active. This job has me doing physical exertions such as typing, sharpening pencils and reading "The Onion" online.
In addition, I take three walks a day (two of them with Razor the Dog) for a daily total of 5-6 miles logged. Unfortunately, the wife (blueberry buckle, cinnamon peanut butter cookies and cheese pie) as well as Sam Adams (Boston Lager, Noble Pils and Summer Ale) have conspired to work against me.
Ah, who am I kidding? You and I are responsible for our own bodies and their maintenance; what we put in them and what we work off of them.
Calling chubbiness a disease doesn't make it so: No matter what country you call home.