Are you becoming a fattist?
By Ken Burger
The Post and Courier
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Some people are racists, some are elitists. Some people are fattists.
While you've never considered yourself a person who discriminates against others, you might be in danger of becoming a "fattist."
A fattist is a term coined to describe people who are prejudiced against overweight people.
You know, people who complain about obese people taking up too much room on airplanes, lapping over from their seat into yours.
They also roll their eyes when they see overweight people in line at the grocery store with a basket full of Twinkies and powdered doughnuts.
If you are a fattist, you might be the type who always points out fat people in the mall, or wonders out loud how they poured themselves into those jeans.
According to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, almost 30 percent of South Carolinians are overweight or obese.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 25 or higher. In layman's terms, that means if you're about 25 pounds overweight, you're officially obese.
That means the Lowcountry is a target-rich environment for fattists.
Consider that in the tri-county area, 70 percent of the population in Dorchester County is considered overweight; more than 60 percent in Berkeley County; and at least half of the people in Charleston County are carrying a heavy load.
That, sadly, includes more than 30 percent of high school students in our state and nearly 48 percent of rural black children.
All this helps make the Palmetto State fifth in the nation when it comes to adult obesity.
Fortunately, Mississippi ranked first, furthering our unofficial state motto, "Thank God for Mississippi!"
All you can eat
As a result, nutritionists are sounding the alarm about what all this extra weight can do to the health of our state.
There are plans afoot to teach people to eat better, exercise more and take better care of themselves.
The one thing that's not mentioned in all these plans and studies is the embarrassment factor of being fat. That's where fattists come in.
Here's a simple test to see if you might be a fattist:
If you won't sit by a fat person on a bus, you might be a fattist.
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If you avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants, you might be a fattist.
So fattists make fat people feel bad about their extra weight by pointing, snickering, sneering and laughing about other people's appearance.
Unfortunately, it's counterproductive. It only makes overweight people feel worse about themselves and they instinctively do what fat people do best -- eat.
Reach Ken Burger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5598.