I'm starting think this obesity epidemic isn't all that big of a deal.
That isn't to say people aren't in fact getting fatter (they are), that being fat isn't bad for you (it is), or that people wouldn't be a lot better off if they ate less (and less garbage) and moved more (they would.)
I'm just not sure that I give a shit any more.
Don't get me wrong--I give a shit about how I look and feel, and act accordingly. I'm in about the best shape of my (adult) life these days. I'm not monastic about it or anything; I drink more than most doctors would say is OK, I love a good cheesesteak, and I even indulge in the occasional cigarette. But you won't find me touching a soda, and my fried potato consumption is probably 1/10th of what it was a few years ago. I shop the edges of the grocery store, and stay out of the middle. I exercise, hard and often. And I eat a hell of a lot of salad at dinnertime....
I'm just thinking that those of us who devote our careers to understanding the mechanisms of human disease are wasting our time, ultimately. We've largely gotten a handle on heart disease; which is to say, plenty of people still have heart attacks, but lots more survive them. Ditto strokes. A lot of cancers are a lot more survivable than they used to be. The positive returns to the decreased rates of smoking (which declined steadily for 40 years since the Surgeon General's Report, leveling off around 20% in the US five years ago) are undeniable, especially on the fronts of heart disease and lung cancer.
And yet...people stubbornly, persistently, and inevitably continue to insist on dying of something.
It's important to remember that all we can do is lengthen the journey a bit. The destination remains the same.
And frankly, I do not want to live on a planet full of centenarian baby boomers. The thought that it could be 2050, me in my 70's, and still having to hear about how great the fucking Beatles were, how important Woodstock was, and how they changed the world by smoking a lot of dope and fucking everything that moved, makes me think that a whole lot of life-shortening type II diabetes might not be such a terrible thing.
I probably need a vacation.