Fat Acceptance and Medical Care

And just one more thing and then I’ll leave everybody alone on this subject.

It’s not feasible to have a public health insurance system in a country that invented and normalized things like the fat acceptance movement. When people insist on leading aggressively and unapologetically unhealthy lifestyles, it’s unrealistic to ask those who don’t to subsidize the treatment of the consequences of these lifestyles.

Yes, the movement is small and marginal. But obesity rates aren’t. “Every industrialized country but the US”, which is a cliche that dominates these discussions, doesn’t have anything like this. I’m sure there are folks who have the godlike magnanimity to be happy to pay Scandinavian tax rates while seeing their next-door neighbor who weighs 350 lbs, smokes, and has 5 chronic health conditions by the age of 30.

Right now the grants and the publications of the FAM look funny. But they would look a lot less funny if my tax rates went up to 50% (that’s the Canadian rates. It’s worse in Sweden)

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28 thoughts on “Fat Acceptance and Medical Care”

  1. 3 comments:
    (1) The Germans have caught up with US obesity rates.
    (2) In comparing the US with countries with higher tax rates, economists have shown that residents in places like the Netherlands have greater disposable income than most US households have. That’s because of the services the government provides for which US residents pay out of pocket.
    (3) Since most likely voters are overweight, especially in GOP states, the chance of creating a “war on obesity” in the US something close to zero.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (1) I was in Germany very recently. This is not even remotely true.
      (2) My sister in Canada pays 50% income tax and pays out of pocket for absolutely everything. She needs to work 10 times what I do to have a similar lifestyle.
      (3) That I completely agree with.

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    1. Germany is an aging society and so the 65% overweight might be part of that. The last couple of times I was there young people are not overweight on average but older people could be a little chunky.
      Of course the young drink, drug and smoke a lot so… swings and roundabouts

      Interestingly Polish youth is definitely getting fatter and there is a portion of younger obese people in the last 10 years which I would credit to the rise of junk food and snacking culture (traditional Polish meals are heavy but people didn’t have snacks between meals like they do now…)

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      1. Absolutely true about smoking in Germany. I hadn’t seen anything of this kind for twenty years in North America. But here in the US vaping is insane among young people. My students told me when I mentioned the smoking in the US that everybody in their generation, and many underage kids, vape like it’s nobody’s business. So smoking is coming back to the US but it’s in this new form that is harder to notice.

        Obesity is absolutely ridiculous in Mexico, especially among kids and teenagers. I think it’s worse than in the US, from what I’ve seen. It’s painful to see so many kids so obese. It’s the fucking sodas and Pringles and stuff like that. I’m not letting my kid be in the same room with soda until she is an adult, that’s for sure.

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        1. And all that junk food is new — this child obesity rate is sudden. I’ve seen it in Brazil too, sudden and new, something like what Cliff describes in Poland.

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          1. “And all that junk food is new — this child obesity rate is sudden. ”

            • Absolutely! And it’s scary to see such a sudden and horrible change. Mexico, as always, gets severely punished for whatever crap happens in the US. And they don’t have the healthcare to compensate adequately for this development. It breaks my heart.

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        2. ” But here in the US vaping is insane among young people”

          In Poland it’s especially young guys with those bulky box looking things which apparently look a little more macho than the older models (there’s some smoking too among the young, more girls though)

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        3. in Kentucky and Virginia, the rate of smoking among adults is 45% or higher, exclusive of vaping.
          A number of studies have shown that obese children turn into obese adults. That was the driver in China’s programs to combat childhood obesity. They estimated the incremental medical cost of obesity would reach $500 billion if they didn’t act.

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    1. I think it makes more sense to look at a culturally, linguistically and geographically closer country. The Netherlands has a population that is just a tad larger than Illinois. It’s a small country with an entirely different culture. I don’t see how we can make any valuable comparisons between the Netherlands and the US.

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      1. When I go to NE, especially outside Amsterdam and the university towns, I am amazed at how much it is like the standard US. Not the US I know, because I’m not from the parts that were British colonies, but Midwest and Mid Atlantic, the places that are supposed to be “American.”

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            1. “parts of southern Scandinavia”

              I like Dutch architecture better though I generally like Scandinavian culture (Dano-Norwegian) more. The weird thing for me in Denmark (Odense) was people not having curtains in their windows… I don’t mean keeping them open I mean not having any at all, not because they couldn’t afford them but apparently it’s some old cultural thing… weird.

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  2. Job wars in YA. Established authors lead a crusades against authors/books they declare to be bigoted. In this instance their target is a new, upcoming author. For people who are skeptical of the job wars explanation for witch hunts, this might convince them:

    https://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html

    The gay rights movement is fully consumerist at this point. It’s all about corporations boycotting areas with bad laws, making sure you’re buying from pro-gay companies and avoiding anti-gay companies, and stuff like the article below. It’s very sad to me, especially because I remember a time when that wasn’t the case. There is still important work to do both in the US and abroad but we choose to ignore it:

    https://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html

    Anti-surrogacy article from the Federalist. This issue needs more attention, and I’m happy to see it from the left or the right. Note that the writer takes on consumerism in a way the left never does nowadays:

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/01/21/ben-shapiro-dead-wrong-endorse-surrogacy/

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    1. That’s exactly what I think about surrogacy. And yes, I’m glad somebody is saying these things. Feminists should be all over this because it’s as obvious an example of the exploitation of the bodies of poor women as anything one can imagine. But. . . feminists are still way more interested in the vapid dramas of the wealthy women. I tried to point this out at my recent MLA talk, and people were extremely confused when I said that wealthy, privileged feminists tend to project their concerns onto the entire female population of the world. It’s not a new idea by far, but people still react like it’s very outlandish. Intersectional, for them, means never condemning the barbaric cultural practices of anyplace in the world and not paying attention to class struggle.

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      1. Although in the maligned 70s feminists would have been against it. And I clearly remember mid 80s when surrogacy first came in, feminists were on tv speaking against it. Later in 90s things got weird, and have been since.

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  3. Unsurprisingly, sounds like Sherrod Brown is sensible on healthcare. You can see his stance towards the end of this article; most of the article whines about how the fact that he’s sponsoring a bill that would give retired cops and firefighters access to Medicare before they’re 65 means that he’s a filthy bootlicker who worships the police and doesn’t care about anyone else.

    https://splinternews.com/sherrod-browns-cop-out-on-single-payer-1831950740

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    1. I really like his position. I honestly believe this is the direction we should move towards because it’s the most likely to work. And it is a lot less disruptive than scrapping the whole private insurance industry altogether. But neoliberalism always chooses the most disruptive policy possible. That’s its nature.

      Nobody wants to believe me today that Kamala is the essence of neoliberalism, just like nobody wanted to believe me when I said this about Obama. And then suddenly everybody agreed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been very obvious to me from the start, so I don’t know why people can’t see it. I think it’s because all that matters to them is whether their preferred candidate supports their pet policy/policies. Kamala supports M4A, Bernie supports M4A, therefore they are exactly the same. It doesn’t help that the real Bernie is nothing like the mental image of Bernie these people have in their heads.

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        1. The difference between the two for me is that Bernie is a sincere, life-long believer in everything he proposes, and I respect that, whether I agree or not I do with some things and don’t with others). And Kamala just says whatever she thinks is going to attract voters in the moment without even thinking it through.

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          1. I couldn’t even say what Kamala’s message is or what she stands for. I can do that for Bernie. And it doesn’t just apply to politicians I like; it’s very clear with Trump. But when I don’t know what a politician believes in, I don’t know really know what I’m even voting for. At this point I still think I’ll vote for Kamala if she’s the nominee, but it will be with great trepidation (Beto or Gillibrand would be enough to make me sit the election out.)

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            1. “(Beto or Gillibrand would be enough to make me sit the election out.)”

              • Same here. And I so, so don’t want to sit it out. All I want is somebody I can in good conscience support, and it can’t be that hard to nominate somebody like this when the opponent is Trump, of all people.

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  4. While you’re making arguments about not wanting to pay high taxes to accommodate the reckless lifestyles of a select percentage of fellow citizens, my argument for a national healthcare system stems from those occasions where one’s health can be put in jeopardy from other kinds of reckless behaviors
    …like, for example, you’re crossing the street—in a proper intersection, with the WALK light in your favor—and some jackass suddenly comes out of nowhere at full speed—without slowing down or yielding—and slams into you, sending you into Intensive Care. There was no way you could have even known this clown was coming as he was still half a block away when you stepped into the crosswalk, as he was going so fast
    Should you, under circumstances like that, still be subject to “having to be responsible for your own state of health”?
    Wouldn’t it be great to know you were covered for medical expenses in a situation like that?

    Remember: There’s always two or more sides to every argument.

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