In 1927, the world population was two billion. Now the world has more than two billion humans who are overweight, half of whom are obese. According to data from the World Health Organization, obesity has tripled in the last half-century.
This should alarm everyone.
Given these rates of obesity in humans have not been observed in the history of our species—and considering the long and growing list of diseases and symptoms associated with obesity—we should be extremely critical of this trend. The rate at which people are gaining weight is beyond extraordinary and the costs are extremely high and still climbing. Indeed these figures are far more concerning for humans than any statistic we have observed regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Yet on this front there are relative crickets.
FAT VERSUS FLU
Through 2020 and 2021, governments around the world have attempted to battle COVID-19, a seasonal influenza-like coronavirus which causes brief mild-to-no symptoms in healthy populations. COVID-19, while virtually harmless to the overwhelming majority of society, does present a legitimate mortality threat to those with certain comorbidities, such as people with existing respiratory issues. The data we have from two years of dealing with the virus suggest that two things render COVID-19 an order of magnitude more severe: being old or being fat. Those young and slender have a survival rate of at least 99.9%, often even higher than that.
Effectively, it’s rather difficult to die from the virus; most often one must die with it.
According to a study published in the journal Obesity, COVID-19 patients classified as obese (with a BMI north of 30) are at greater risk of heart attacks and stroke. The physical threats that linger among our excessive adipose tissue are only one category of symptom, too. Reduced mobility in day-to-day life, and the accompanying mental and emotional draining, dampen many obese persons’ zest for life. Furthermore, obese persons are more likely to inflict their unhealthy habits to others in their life; studies show obese parents are far likelier to raise overweight children. According to the book Forever Dog written by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker, obese households even cause their pets to gain excess weight. It’s a Domino effect of cruelty.
The kicker, of course, is that obese people are at greater risk of all the same health concerns even without the virus floating around—and their risks won’t subside when COVID-19 does. While the virus may cause symptoms for a short period of time, obesity is far more likely to linger indefinitely; the difficulty of permanently reversing the process of gaining excessive adipose tissue is for many tremendous.
Despite dangerously false claims from “Fat Acceptance” campaigns and the “Health at Every Size” movement, evidence suggests zero upside to obesity—and this maxim holds true at the individual, societal, or economic level. It is a fact that on average slim persons possess more stable platforms on which to build healthy lifestyles while also being considerably less threatened by COVID-19. This surely is the ideal basis for a happy and productive population. And it is a tunnel in which we clearly see the light at the end, even though we are being pulled backward.
Yet…! Crickets. Absolute silence from the powers that be on killing two birds with one stone.
THE STATE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU
Instead of solutions to problems, politicians flex their incompetence with such asinine implementations as locking down gyms. I must ask: what could be more counterproductive than shuttering the hub of physical health for each community? Beyond the physical protections that resistance and cardio training provide—now more vital than ever—gyms often act as places of essential mental therapy and crucial interpersonal socialization. As does obesity carry no upside, nor does a gym-free society. The alternatives to daily training for many come in a negative form—drug abuse, isolation, binging of food and/or propaganda, etc.—pushing us toward the very thing we must vehemently oppose becoming.
Again, the magnitude of this issue should warrant high prioritization. Diabetic teenagers were once an anomaly; now they represent one-third of new diagnoses. How horrific! And such statistics are moving in only one direction. Our obsession with a flu-like virus has society missing the forest for the trees. Health is declining for the first time in centuries and it’s nothing to do with COVID-19, but rather obesity and our broad refusal to objectively define and emphasize physical and mental health. From this one grave error we can point to so very many of our modern ailments.
What we are currently doing is not working. This much is well known by anyone paying attention. Part of the problem is that we are doing very little. Another part of the problem is that much of what our leaders have done recently have only exasperated our health issues. Government continues its eternal pattern of being incapable of deliberately improving life quality for the people who sustain its existence.
Western governments’ efforts to prevent and reduce obesity in recent decades have been as rational and scientific as erecting metal fences and cloth masks to limit the spread of an airborne virus. In fact, it may be far worse. While the ebb and flow of COVID-19 bears no association with draconian counter-measures from the state, obesity does in fact correlate with state-initiated shifts in diet and culture. For example, ill-informed food industry regulations, such as the vilifying of fats and glorifying of sugar-added alternatives, have over decades spurred an abundance of over-processed foods rife with misleading labels and diminished nutrient profiles.
Such irresponsible actions have indeed ruined many lives; imagine following government guidance precisely only to end up with your entire family overweight and suffering consequences for the remainder of life. Abysmal nutritional education—the Food Pyramid, only recently nixed, was a bastion of terrible diet advice that misguided an entire generation—further contributes immensely to obesity en masse, now even in infants. This is effectively child abuse at scale.
As American endocrinologist and Professor emeritus Robert Lustig points out in his book Fat Chance, our modern urban environment strongly encourages obesity, from the household we live in to the work we perform to the stores at which we buy and consume. Corporations corrupted by profits have not been stopped by government. If neither the Market nor the State considers our health a priority, we must assume individual responsibility—while also firmly holding accountable the entities which have abused their positions of power at the expense of citizen wellbeing.
OBJECTIVE HEALTH + PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
The government may be no more responsible for COVID-19 than it is mass obesity. It is a multi-factor issue, obviously, and people must be at least partly responsible for their health outcomes. However I do ascribe much of the problem to government; where they do not deliberately debase our health, they are complicit in other entities (such as food manufacturing conglomerates) doing equally dirty work.
Exhausting those who actually aim to forge healthy and durable communities, our leadership has managed to make both Pandemics worse than necessary—and for now will likely prove a barrier to forging a healthier society in the future.
Why the low-trust pessimism? After all, the Food Pyramid was finally updated, now suggesting a more reasonable balance of the food groups. It may have take decades to fix a very simple problem, but progress is progress right? No. This utterly lame response to a population’s declining health is too little and too late.
A drop in the bucket will not keep this sinking ship afloat. We need to crash ashore and restart our voyage with a new captain.
It is to the threat of the citizen that official government messaging around physical health remains negligible and what education does exist—while now roughly accurate—is effectively hollow. This has, is, and will continue to create problems around mental health and healthcare, among other areas of critical concern. Shouting platitudes from the rooftop is not charismatic leadership, nor is ignoring present data and the concept of science (which has no “consensus,” as religiously rigid thinkers may posit) an admirable behaviour of elected representatives. These are dangerously ignorant manouevours when mass health and happiness is at stake. Our captain is steering us into a whirlpool from which we may not have an ability to escape.
For an example let us return to the context of the Pandemic crossover. Consider how obesity is the worst comorbidity to have when receiving the COVID-19, according to analyses of patients. Now ask: In response to this information about the virus, how many governments advocated for physical health and nutrition of their people with an aim to reduce the severity of symptoms? Approximately none. As mentioned many instead shuttered gyms through lockdown; they also lowered access to essential goods (such as fresh and healthy food) by adding occupancy limits, forced masking, and other points of friction.
My local gym was shut down three times inside of two years by my province’s bafflingly ignorant Health Officer Bonnie Henry. These commercial shutdowns have benefitted exactly zero people, except for perhaps Dr. Henry, who made sure to keep the private companies she is personally invested in open for business throughout. Henry, like so many politicians of the COVID era, has been caught multiple times flouting her own rules, but this does not stop her from brainwashing people repeatedly with blatant lies during televised “updates” on the Pandemic situation.
I am expected to trust my health in her hands?
Hiding behind capital-S “Science” and egregious abuse of State of Emergency powers, Canada’s leaders have torn apart the fabric of our society, dramatically lowering quality of life while overseeing the largest transfer of wealth—from poor to rich—in history. And they accomplished this all with farcical and performative theatre.
Two years deep we now know this circus-like affair did next to nothing with regards to ending or slowing the spread of the virus. However, it has served to weaken the resolve of many; obesity skyrocketed through 2020 and 2021 across all age groups, while drug overdoses and suicides also climbed to disturbing highs. In BC, opioid overdoses outnumber COVID-19 deaths, yet “Health” Officer Henry and her ilk are more concerned with vaccinating and masking children (who are at no risk of dying from COVID-19) than preventing drug addiction or obesity. More child abuse at scale, the negative effects of which will unravel decades to come.
Why such irrationality from our leaders? As famed Dilbert creator Scott Adams noted in his book Win Bigly, people are not rational beings outside of work, so our expectation of rationality in the workplace is, well, misplaced. This disconnect has been the source for much of Adams’ comedy. Keeping in mind that government is just a collection of irrational people in their workplace, we can understand the disconnect between the realities of mass obesity and COVID-19 and their respective handling from elected leadership. (And if it is not irrationality in this instance then we may be looking at malevolence, but let us not get ahead of ourselves.)
Terribly sad to think about. However, we can shift the paradigm to being one in which the people re-establish control of their lives. After all, is this not the only real way forward, as it has always been? Our tremendous wealth of historical information shows clearly that the overwhelming majority of progress is bottom-up, not top-down—which is to say the history of States around the world reveals the pattern that innovation is borne from the passionate and sporadic labor of societal foot-soldiers, not all-encompassing decrees from arrogant figureheads propped atop an ivory tower.
All evidence available points to Big Government as a force of stagnation; an administrative body to be limited in size, scope, and power. In its purest form, theoretically concocted but never practically implemented (due to human nature), a government may serve as a minor public good. However, it is ultimately a parasite, gorging on the resources of its host (a region of taxpaying citizens) in order to maintain or grow.
Let us return to an older definition of “health,” where drug addiction and obesity are recognized as objective negatives and society actively roots out and jointly opposes the factors creating such problems—even if that factor is the State.
TIME TO TURN THE TIDES
This millennium we have over de-stigmatized areas of social shame to our great detriment. Now one can be celebrated for mental illness; we are encouraged to gain fat; and destructive habits like overeating, Netflix binging, and refusing to work are seen as brave acts of self-care. We now have children taking injections and adolescents undergoing cosmetic surgeries in order to swap genders—as if gender is not a fictional concept imagined by a pedophile. As if the child’s problem is somehow rooted in their biological sex, or even in their own yet-established identity, rather than in the extreme forces of their environment (parenting, peer pressure, school curriculum, fear porn etc.).
The government will solve none of this for us. Even as these very real problems continue growing, the great majority of us stand idly by. We cannot assume something is okay simply because our leader happens to tolerate it. If government is part of the problem, it is a fool’s errand to turn to them for a solution.
Play stupid games…
The State’s best friend, a government-controlled demolition derby masquerading as a free Market, is no more intent on helping the little guy out. But at least we used to be aware of this fact. For decades we were warned to distrust Big Pharma’s greedy, corrupt ways—just look at the scum, always embroiled in legal matters as they deflect responsibility for side effect controversy while pushing their heinously overpriced “medicine.” Yet now our tax dollars fund pharmaceutical propaganda targeting young children for a virus which does not threaten their wellbeing. Yum, profit!
The Market—never truly free from government grasp—has become another State with a stock market for a voting booth. Company profit will always trump personal health. This equation will not change under current circumstances.
Detach your being from the grand illusion of top-down salvation. You are at the bottom. Start there; is it the true trailhead.
We must acknowledge how warped our sense of homeostasis has become: if you are on a pill stack but do not maintain a balanced diet and active lifestyle, you are not healthy, regardless of what your doctor proclaims. We must reclaim true health for ourselves and future generations.
ACTION OVER EVERYTHING
In my estimation the Obesity Pandemic is every bit as dire as other society-level concerns. It is certainly more concerning than the Covid Pandemic and I will argue here that its importance rivals climate change: once a concern only for the wealthy West, this plague now approaches the magnitude of being both global and species-wide.
There is some good news.
Unlike climate change, the solutions to the obesity pandemic are available to us. They may not be simple or easy, but we are at least equipped with the tools. The right to—and benefits of—a physically healthy society is of primal importance to a functioning civilization and therefore must transcend politics and theatre. Health of the citizen must be prioritized over the power-grabs of figureheads and money-grabs of corporate profiteers.
The people, however naively, placed trust in the State, in the Market (leashed and mutated by State), and in modern medicine (aka Big Pharma) to take care of them in the new millennium. Now age expectancies are stagnating and in some countries reversing. Obesity soars while mental health plummets. Addiction and violence are increasing in many regions of Canada, while productivity wanes. Labor shortages and supply issues batter commercial districts, trading routes, and livelihoods.
Today we rely on an economy kept afloat by the hum of a money-printing machine, leaving inflation to drown those cogs just naive enough to get caught in the gears of the system. Today we dwell and suffer inside an overly structured and artificial environment pumping out of addiction and lethargy like a factory while leaving no space for curiosity or freedom.
As we continually remove ourselves further from ancestral ties, we begin to resemble a different species: overweight, physically and mentally weak, unable to survive in the beautifully natural reality that lingers outside our fluorescent-lit bubbles of falsehood and fakery. We endured in that world for hundreds of thousands of years. But there is no majesty left in the way of things—no appreciating of Beauty and no revering of Truth. We exalt only the manmade and as a result exile ourselves from the ecosystem of our planet.
Small wonder many of us now begin to parallel rats in a lab, spinning on wire wheels, rambling aimlessly through mazes, pushing and pulling levers in the hopes of scoring a dopamine hit to bridge the gap from one meaningless day to the next. Today we walk a path devoid of purpose as invisible hands nudge us around each corner.
Alive, we are, and living a life I would not wish upon the dead.
In The Evolution of Everything, esteemed journalist and author Matt Ridley points out through several powerful examples how spontaneous “human action” (the chaos of society as a conceptual free market) advances our species at every interval, while “human design” (governments playing God) often slows, prevents, or completely reverses the progress of action.
Human action appears—especially to Designers—to be far too chaotic to produce consistent or positive results. And yet this is the very essence of evolution, our only true engine of tangible progress since the dawn of Time itself.
Rampant human design is what we notice causing a raucous in much of the world today. It contributes significantly to obesity and explains both the horrible response to COVID-19 from political leaders as well as the disastrous results of said response. Now this madness, which has always been an element of our species’ nature, is running loose on a global scale. If human design is notorious for spurring the collapse of regional empires, what might happen then when all the world is an empire, and perhaps more top-down than ever before?
Human design has failed us horribly. Let human action save us all once again.
Fight the real Pandemic, Champion: an environment—no, cage—designed from scratch to reduce the physical health and suppress the mental wellbeing of the human population. We must regain control of life to create health and happiness for ourselves and our future society. Do not settle any longer for being an experiment of political profiteering policies.
Do not think for a moment that your health is in anyone else’s hands. It is not. And it never was. But at least now it can be in yours.
Victory lies ahead.