“What’s the key to tackling obesity? Fine fat people if they don’t exercising, tell experts, ” wailed a headline in The Daily Mail on Tuesday.
“FINE fat people if they don’t exercising, ” is actually what it told. With “FINE” in all caps. When The Daily Mail shouts, you better believe it yells.
But, um. Fine people for being fat? Like, charge them actual fund? Seriously? This is a thing? Why?
The righteous declaration was based on the results of a single analyse recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which looked at 281 people who had BMIs over 27( around 27 is considered “overweight” on the Body Mass Index scale, although the actual usefulness of BMI as a measure of how fat or not fat someone is has been a source of much dispute ). The researchers rewarded people in one group with $1.40 per day if they met a situated aim of 7, 000 steps. They gave people in the other group $42 up front, but docked them $1.40 per day if they didn’t meet the goal.
Sure enough, the people of the working group that was being fined fulfilled their step aim more frequently.
As a fat person who likes maintaining all my fund as opposed to forking an arbitrary percentage of it over to judgmental scientists, this didn’t genuinely sit right with me. So I did some digging to prove this idea is, in fact, as ridiculous as it seems .
Spoiler alert: It didn’t take much digging.
1. The whole premise of such studies rests on a really shaky assumption.
A money fan. Photo by Steven Depolo/ Flickr.
Researchers tested their monetary loss/ reward hypothesis specifically on fat people. And it’s not astounding it worked! I t’s pretty well-established in psychological research that people are typically more motivated by fear of loss than potential of reward. And, fat people are, of course, people .
The problem is that this particular experimental setup assumes that “obesity” is the opposite of exercise. Which is a bit like saying that going to a French eatery is the opposite of going to a Mexican eatery, or that kayaking is the opposite snorkeling, or that watching “The Bachelor” is the opposite of reaching yourself repeatedly in the head with a small hammer. The the situation is kinda-sorta related, but actually not immediately opposed. You can do/ be both!
It’s hard to blame the experts for framing such studies that style. The assumption t hat fat people are people who don’t exercising and that people who exercising aren’t fat is super-double-plus-infinity ingrained in our culture.
But that’s not actually true.
2. Exerting doesnt inevitably induce people lose weight.
“With obesity levels reaching epidemic proportions. Global experts in the field concentrate on one aim reversing the trend. Key to the combat is encouraging people who are overweight or obese to exercise more.” That’s how The Daily Mail frames the study. Exercise more, shed pounds.
To that I tell: This is Prince Fielder.
Prince Fielder. Photo by Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images.
He’s a professional baseball player. Not only any professional baseball player a really, really good professional baseball player. One of the best, even. In order to be such a good baseball player, he has to exercising virtually every second of every day. He’s constantly in the gym. He runs gale sprints after batting practice. He has to do that high knee thing.
If exerting reliably induced people skinny, Prince Fielder’s torso would look more like Trey Songz’s torso.
Trey Songz x 2= Prince Fielder. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/ Getty Images.
But he doesn’t. He’s fat. Which is not surprising! And not a bad thing! Lots of researchers believe that exercise has little to nothing to do with weight loss.
“A lot of people probably think I’m not athletic or don’t even try to work out or whatever, but I do, ” Fielder told ESPN in 2014. “Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And only because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12 -pack.”
“OK, ” you’re probably yelling at your screen, “But that’s only one guy! I am a casually professional statistician, and that is what we in the stats biz like to call an ‘outlier.’ Little statistics jargon for ya. Like what I did there? ”
To which I tell: Fine. Exhibit B, suckers.
Take a gander at Cecil Fielder.
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images.
Back in the ‘9 0s, he was one of the best baseball players alive. He hit over 300 home run in his career, including 51 in 1990. He can probably lift three of you. And he was also fat.
He also happens to bePrince Fielder’s dad.
What are the odds? Two men in the same family a parent and son! both athletes who, when at the top of their game, were better than basically any of their peers, who also happen to both be fat.
It’s almost as if how fat you are has a lot more to do with your genes( and environmental factors) than with the fact that you’re a lazy hobo who only absence willpower and doesn’t deserve respect or even love.
3. You can be fat and in good shape.
The premise of the study presumes the need to force fat people to do more physical activity. But not only is it wholly possible to be fat and not in bad shape, it’s possible to be fat and actively in good shape . Really good shape, even.
Like Mirna Valerio.
( That takes run! You try that shit ). Fat people who could beat you in any tournament of physical ascendancy known to man while still being undeniably, incontrovertibly fat.
Also, remember Richard Simmons?
Photo by Stephen Shugerman/ Getty Images.
He was in amazing shape. Dude was in such good shape he got paid millions of dollars to yell at other people to get in shape. And he was kind of fat.
( Side note: Remember when the mere fact of Richard Simmons’ existence was a joke that people would laugh at? Just “Richard Simmons! ” That was the whole joke. That was all the work you needed to do. Because he was sorta fat and seemed lesbians? People 25 years ago were so dark !)
4. Whos going to enforce this fat person penalty and how?
Sir, please step out of the vehicle. I need to jiggle your belly. Photo by Lennart Preiss/ Getty Images.
OK, so let’s tell we take the conclusion of such studies at face value and “were starting” fining fat people. Who serves the fat people penalties in this scenario anyway? Physicians? Personal trainers? Will cops start pulling fat people over on the street? What if a fat person is driving a auto instead of jogging? That’s not physical activity! Can you be pulled over for driving while fat? What if the fat person is riding a Segway? A fat person on a Segway! Is that exercising? Are enough muscles engaged? Some poor nation legislator will have to miss his daughter’s T-ball game to stay late at the office that are intended to game out the precise policy and legal status of a fat person riding a Segway.
It would be chaos! Bureaucracy will explode! Your taxes will go up!
But I’ll give the paper the benefit of the doubt. The Daily Mail is published in the U.K ., and the laws are different over there. Perhaps they’ve figured out a simple way to go about this. Well only bobby the carriage on the loo! the Nottingham North MP might be saying right now.
And that’s great. Perfect, even. Perfect British solution. Don’t understand it, but perhaps they know what they’re doing.
Next question, though:
5. Let’s back up even a little further. Who decides who is fat and eligible for a fine in the first place?
Your Aunt Caroline. Photo via iStock.
Is it your Aunt Caroline? Because it doesn’t matter how skinny you get, she still thinks you’re fat.( Except when you’re truly fat. Then she thinks you’ve lost weight .)
6. Is this another thing that’s for “our own good? ” ‘Cause lots of people like being fat and/ or genuinely dont give a shit about how much they weigh.
Barney Frank, patron saint of not devoting a shit. Photo by Win McNamee/ Getty Images.
Former congressman Barney Frank once quipped, “The day I die, I will either be fat or hungry.” It’s a sentiment that a lot of fat people relate to. Which makes a lot of sense, as life is finite and food is delicious! So even if you do care about how much other people weigh or how much you weigh, there’s a good chance that other people don’t and they genuinely aren’t all that interested in inane policy solutions to their non-problems .
7. And by the tell, that examined the Daily Mail was citing? It wasn’t as conclusive as the article builds it seem.
meet their aim on more of the days, but their average number of steps didn’t increase by a statistically significant sum over the required baseline.
You’ll also notice that participants weren’t genuinely “fined, ” per se. They were rewarded in advance and docked portions of their reward for not meeting the goal. Which is less like paying a fine, and more like … paying taxes. Which everyone loves to do and is no problem at all. Ever. Right?
8. Why does anyone care how much other people weigh?
Undoubtedly, there are many people in this world who are both fat and don’t exercising. You might think this is unjust. You might experience a upsurge of fury at this thought. You might have half a intellect to burst into the apartment where the fat and lazy people live( we all room together) and shove a container of celery down their throats. You’re just so mad!
It’s an interesting outlook, and it raises a critical question …
Why do you give a shit?
Don’t you think it’s weird to care about what another human being weighs. I entail, when you think about it? Would you like to distract yourself from something? Are you bored? Do you need an activity? What about skiing? I ran skiing last February with my old boss, and it was actually pretty fun!
Of course, I’m fat and don’t exercising, so I was pretty much done after 90 minutes, but you’ll definitely do better.
Just, like, genuinely? Penalty fat people? This is a serious suggestion?
GIF from “Saturday Night Live.”
10. How about we all only STFU about how much other people weigh.
Basically, the best style to get fat people to lose weight is to STFU and mind your own business. It may or may not actually have your desired effects, but it will help you not lose friendships and/ or get punched in the face by people who already know they are fat and don’t need you telling them that’s a bad thing( which is not only unbelievably vexing and rude, it actually does not work to induce people not fat anymore ).
In conclusion, regardless of whether or not they exercise, don’t fine fat people.
In special extra conclusion, here are some fine fat people:
Ooh, 2010 Chris Pratt , you’re fine! Photo by Frazer Harrison/ Getty Images.
Damn, Octavia Spencer ! Photo by Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
William Howard Taft , you’re not especially fine, but you’re so fat all the presidents when you are stopped being even a little bit fat because why try? And that’s just so much respect right there. Photo by Hulton Archive/ Getty Images.
Rebel Wilson . Nice work! Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/ Getty Images.
And of course …
Richard Simmons in the ‘9 0s . OG. Photo by Stephen Shugerman/ Getty Images.
Read more: www.upworthy.com