I suspect that, while terribly non-PC the Minster’s suggestion is a bloody good one! I don’t think I’m fat, I think I may be a bit obese (BMI of around 25-26, I believe) but I wouldn’t consider myself ‘fat’. If I were to be described as ‘fat’ I think I would want to do something about things. I also think that if I was FAT I would probably recognise the fact by certain levels of discomfort, by poorly fitting clothes (chosen from racks with fitting letters from the wrong end of the alphabet!), by disinclination to walk/climb stares/participate in sports, and of course with a raft of associated health problems that lessen my quality of life, and impact unfairly on my family. I would probably only feel really comfortable/happy/at peace with my world if I was eating- breakfasts, snacks/snacks/snacks, morning teas, snacks/snacks/snacks, lunches, snacks/snacks/snacks, afternoon teas, snacks/snacks/snacks, dinners, snacks/snacks/snacks, suppers, and if I was peckish during the night, I’d happily lumber out to do a bit of fridge-raiding. If I chose to do nothing about it, then I would be much happier to be classified as ‘obese’ because that almost suggests an illness. Of course we can’t avoid illnesses, can we? I would also develop a mindset that had me believe that I am now owed free treatment by medical services for the obesity generated illnesses that I have, including the surgical procedures that have been urged to undergo before my problems get REALLY serious! (God forbid I should try cutting back on eating and ramping up the levels of exercise before trying stomach stapling or liposuction!)
Good on you, Minister. Coincidentally this comes shortly after an informal ‘greatest loser’ challenge in the New Zealand Parliament whereby a bunch of MPs from both sides of the House decided to bet $20 that they could lose more weight than their colleagues. It has to be said that (a) not ALL of the participants were fat, although they would all admit to being a kilo or two overweight, and (b) not ALL of the FAT MPs in The House participated (probably because they are perfectly happy to waddle through the Corridors of Power, forgoing the gym, pool, or offers of walking, jogging or cycling with colleagues at lunchtimes …gets in the way of lunch!!!). The sad end to this story was that the person most in need of weight-loss did not even declare his achieved weight-loss at the final weigh in. Of course the poundage that it looks like he has put back on since his stomach-stapling might indicate that his heart was perhaps not completely in it!