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19 Thu

Is overweight the new normal?

Is overweight the new normal?

Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CGFI


There’s an epidemic that’s taking over our nation.  Obesity.  More and more people are overweight or obese.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, two out of three people are overweight and one out of three are obese.  In children the rates of obesity have doubled and tripled since 2000.  I’ve wrote about obesity before, but now, let’s talk about the changes that are happening to our environment because of the “fattening” of America.

Recently, I’ve been reading about the changes that are going on. Crash test dummies are bigger.  Coffins are getting bigger.  Everything is getting bigger.  Our world, which catered to a more “normal” sized person in the past, is now changing to fit the more pudgy.   Revolving doors, for example, have widened 2 feet; weight scales that usually stopped at 300 pounds, now top at 400-500.  Clothes are now more commonly found in extra-extra-extra-extra large sizes.  Government regulations have changed the size of seat belts from 42 inches to 67 inches, what once was safe for a 215-pound man is no longer suitable for a 400-pound man.  Hospitals, buses, trains, and airplanes all now have to change their seats and beds to bigger sizes, thus changing the number of passengers they can hold.

And to add to all this, there’s actually an advocacy group called, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, where they fight against discrimination with their “fattitude”.  I wonder what their reaction would be to all the reality shows on television that feature obese contestants?

What we should really see is that all these changes are just to accommodate an increasingly, overweight/obese/out-of-shape population which carries with it a multitude of associated diseases that can further stress our medical resources.  When did overweight become the new normal?

Instead of accommodating to the change, why not fight it?

Why not start something as simple as reducing your screen time?  Just reducing the amount of time by 36 minutes a day has an effect at reducing weight.  That just means that you’re more up and active versus sitting and passive.  We all know that sitting is killing you.  We need to change our behaviour and fight this obesity epidemic.  We shouldn’t just accept it as evolution and make changes in our environment that make it easier for obese people to sit on the toilet comfortably by making it 19 inches wide.  My opinion is that if you can’t fit on a normal seat, then something is wrong, and it’s not with the seat.

Being overweight or obese is bad, it’s totally dangerous to your health.  We shouldn’t accept that bigger is better.  Diet, exercise, and increased activity are the answer.  You could feel better and move better.  Be active.  Fight the new normal.



Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 /

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