Saturday, February 7, 2015

Have You Noticed?

The picture of my grandparents standing side by side on their 25th Wedding anniversary is one of a handsome, happy and healthy couple. Both in their forties they are dark haired, rugged and able bodied. The photo of their 50th anniversary is much different. She is bound to a wheel chair, he walks with a stoop and both are but shadows of that strong stalwart pair of a short quarter century before.

To say that aging changes us is a profound understatement. Think of your own grandparents, parents or even yourself: dark hair turns gray, smooth skin becomes wrinkled, eyes once clear and sharp grow blurry and dim and strength gives way to weakness. With age comes change and these are only the tip of the iceberg.

Aging changes every conceivable attribute of the human frame and yet we are constantly told that we should aim to stay thin throughout our lifespan. Why is our weight the one facet of aging that should not change? What if weight gain is simply a natural part of the aging process? And if it is then why does medical science insist that we maintain our college freshman weight into our senior years?  

Simple observation points out that almost everyone gains weight as they age. Some gain a little while others gain a little more. Even those who are naturally thin in their twenties will weigh more as they enter middle age and beyond.

This simple observation seems to be lost on those in the government/medical/nutrition establishment. From them we constantly hear that maintaining a healthy weight is within our grasp and that weight gain is a factor that we can and should control. Moreover they assert that maintaining a healthy weight (insert your definition of that concept here) will stave off many of the associated ills of aging.

The traditional point of view on weight and obesity says that it results from laziness and is the root cause of every major human malady from hypertension to diabetes and stroke to heart disease. In truth these are by and large diseases of aging.  Once a person reaches the age of 60 then their likelihood of succumbing to one of these major contributors to mortality increases no matter what the scale says.

As long as researchers can rake in the cash, politicians can pontificate and doctors can dictate to us about our weight nothing will change. It is a racket giving those in authority, only by nature of position, to tell us, the huddled masses, what is good for us. Maybe its time to rethink who the experts are because they are so often wrong. Have you noticed?  

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