Gladly! I’m very much enjoying this conversation: an opportunity to have a calm, rational, factual discussion, exploring different viewpoints.Thank you for taking the time to type out such a response. I will try my best to respond.
Right there on your first point, we run into a problem: what is the definition of healthy? Health is a continuum, not a binary, and different people (experts and non-experts) draw different demarcation lines for where their take on “healthy” ends and “unhealthy” starts.I do believe in obesity myself, unlike Shotha -- there is no way someone can be, say, 600 pounds and healthy, right?
I do not have a precise definition of “healthy” even for myself in my own mind—just vague generalizations. Like many people when i see people moving around playing or dancing or running, i tend to think “healthy”, and if they’re having trouble moving, i tend to think “unhealthy”. I believe these thoughts of mine are imprecise, biased, and ableist. This is its whole own long discussion which we can get into if you want. My example is mobility as a proxy for health, which is problematic in several ways at least, not the least of which being that there are so many other dimensions to existence.
There are quite a number of people 600+ pounds in our community who are happy (via self-reports). I’ve not had the opportunity to personally ask them if they believe they’re healthy (which would have to be by their definition). Orthodox medicine is as biased as i am, except in an opposing polarity, so they may claim that categorically it is not possible to weigh that much and be healthy. I stridently disagree. Common?: maybe not. Possible?: absolutely.
Differences in the specific nature of available foods. Cultural cuisine factors. What i’ve seen as a sweeping generalization is that countries/areas which adopt a 20th. century-style “western” diet and especially an American diet and even more so with actual American food being imported tend to have growth or even an explosion in what i call greater fatness and you may prefer to call obesity.Why do other countries have so few fat people?
Much of the manufactured American food tends to be particularly unhealthy, which i know from direct personal experience in ways other than fatness. Effects in terms of people’s fatness are well documented. Hormones, processing—many things.
Culturally, many Americans subscribe to the “I’ll do whatever the hell I want!” philosophy, most definitely in terms of eating. Orthodox U.S. medicine tends to codependently (my opinion) abet this behavior: “Sure! Eat whatever you want and take these pills if you have any problems”. I learned the lesson long ago taught by many other cultures around the world: food is medicine, medicine is food. Whatever the body absorbs is both at the same time: food, liquids, air, pollutants, etc.
We’re all a wildly uncontrolled science experiment: living in a world bursting with natural and human-made chemicals used for manufacturing, food processing, packaging, and much more. I don’t even know what-all exactly happens between when a chicken is slaughtered and shows up in that nice package of ground chicken at my local market. Far too many variables to track, and no one’s tracking much of anything that i know of.
Research and science does happen, and sometimes i even have the saved articles filed away properly [where’s my dunce cap smiley?]. Samples of intriguing titles from some of the ones on paper:
All from Science News, early 2000s:
Gene variations police the storage of fat (vol. 159, 2 June 2001, p. 342)
Genetically Driven: Mutation shows up in binge eaters (vol. 163, 22 March 2003, p. 179)
Calcium may become a dieter’s best friend (discusses calcium channel opening, which some scientists claim is a factor with millimeter wave R.F., which is the science being argued behind the EMF exposure outrage, which gets hyperbolized and extrapolated to where people tear or burn down 5G towers. But that’s a separate topic)(vol. 157, 29 April 2000, p. 277)
Virus boosts fat in chickens and mice (vol. 158, 5 August 2000, p. 87)
Then there’s the Wall Street Journal of Tuesday 18 November 2014, section D starting on page 1: In the Gut: The Mix of Bacteria Can Affect Your Weight
I’ve had the great honor of meeting and starting to get to know several people (mostly women, in my case) in or very, very near that category. It was in a party setting, where there were many opportunities to watch them walk, sit, stand, get up, sit down, and otherwise move around or not move around. One or two moved as easily as i do (and i’m pretty energetic)—most impressive. The majority moved more slowly and waddled, which would be expected, with all the weight they’re carrying which i’m not. Some had exposed legs, others did not. One or two used assistants to help them move, from what i could see more for guidance from objects they could not see around themselves than motive power (which they themselves provided). None of those with exposed legs showed discoloration which caught my notice, nor did i notice such things on their arms. Some of those wearing pants happen to be famous models in the fatlovesex community, so we can all see from their free photos that in general for most of them they lack obvious limb skin discoloration (and is discoloration necessarily a bad thing, depending on specifics? Sun tanning is skin discoloration after all).I have seen people 500+ plus and they can barely walk, if at all. Their limbs are discolored and even basic tasks are an ordeal.
I recall one woman saying that washing her hair tired her out, as it was too much to keep her arms up to complete the task.
Have i seen other large supersized people as you describe them?: absolutely yes. I know one personally, at acquaintance level. I’ve been over to her house with my housemate, the two of us occasionally helping her out. Her mobility is marginal, she’s in a lot of pain. She’s also a classic example of someone who is going to eat whatever she wants all the time dammit!, even when specifically told by her doctor(s) who know her and her medical history and situation don’t do that! There are basic, simple, easy, low-impact exercises she could do like sitting in her chair and flexing her feet forward and backward that would help, and she doesn’t even do those. Her body, her life, her choices, and i respect those, painful as it is to witness the visible external results. I can only hope that maybe deep inside she has some secret internal joy or pride or other positive experience that makes her choices worth it to her.
Beware sweeping generalizations: even if a majority of 500+ pound people exist as you describe them—and i am not sure they do—it may not be that much of a majority, e.g. 55% (a number i totally made up out of nothing as an illustrative example of my point).
Absolutely there is a standard range for which our bodies evolved, and without question physics tells us that additional mass on moving surfaces such as joints increases friction. But we’re dealing with biomechanics, not passive hunks of metal, plastic, etc. While i don’t have a grasp of the specifics, apparently bone grows and depletes throughout each human’s life. Apparently, slowly over time, bone structures can increase (size? density? I don’t know) to handle increased loading.One thing these guys say that I will agree with is -- or is hard to not believe -- is that the human body isn't meant to carry so much excess weight or fat. I don't recall them saying what amount, exactly, but I am guessing that starts from over 200 pounds. It surely must wear on the joints.
This gets back to We Don’t Yet Know the demarcation points, or if there even are rigid demarcation points. Some people’s genetics may allow their bodies to grow more bone, muscle, whatever else to support successfully and readily carrying more weight. Others may not.
I’m mostly writing about bone because joints get even more complicated, with synovial fluid and all that. The point is: they’re alive, they can change, and i’m not sure that we humans yet understand how that works, nor what the limits are. And, once again, most researchers doing any research in these areas are 100% human, with biases, likely biased against fat people. They may be intending to do the purest science they can, the way i believe you and i would. They may be unconsciously framing their findings into a world view which might miss other possibilities.
Another point: anyone can have mobility problems, for varying reasons. Slender and average-weight people can and do have debilitating joint problems.
Here and now, we may not have anything better than one’s own personal experience. Follow what there is of the science, but make personal choices based upon direct personal experience.
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