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During a long period the obesity has been treated as the health risk factor and the threat to the normal functioning of the organism. Numerous studies have reported the evident link between the obesity and other diseases as well as the health problems. In the light of these findings, the attitude to the fatness has become strongly negative and critical. Many have viewed it as the disease that brings unfavorable effects on the human body.
Nowadays, the new observations and researches present another picture, claiming that obesity is not a cause of serious diseases and health defections. On the contrary, the issue has plenty to do with the ethics, freedom of individual choice and preferences. Some claim that obesity should be regarded as a natural and normal state of the body, which satisfies personal interests, values and preferences. Therefore, the obesity should not be understood as an illness, as it does not lead to any health deviations or problems, but rather assists in revealing personal preferences and lifestyle.
Obesity Is Not a Disease
The statistics shows that approximately one third of the American population suffers from the corpulence. Surprisingly, in the recent years, it has become the problem of all age generations and groups. The reports indicate that 35% of the elderly are obese, and such percentage reveals the tendency for increasing in the near future. Moreover, the same applies in relations to the young adults and children, the great number of whom is also liable to the fatness.
The American Medical Association (AMA) reports the necessity to regard obesity as a disease. It explains the decision with numerous factors witnessing the destructive influence of the obesity on individual health. For example, it is estimated that obesity leads to such health problems as hormonal imbalance, neurotransmitter deficiencies and nutritional exhaustion. Doubtlessly, nutrition alterations can negatively affect the normal functioning of the human organism and result in the inevitable health changes. However, the researcher Szalavitz states that the main problem with the fatness consists in the lack of knowledge about its appropriate treatment and perception. Thus, he proves that the medical problems caused by corpulence are exaggerated and conditional.
Additionally, doctors often compare obesity with the depression, alcoholism or other mental disorders. In other words, they suppose it capable of reducing the quality of life, changing the personal outlook and even causing physical problems. However, the practice shows that the treatment of alcoholism and depression as diseases brings no positive results: conversely, it amplifies the negative self-perception and reduces self-esteem, personal motivation and enthusiasm. As a result, Szalavitz argues about the uselessness of the decision to regard obesity as a disorder. The researcher suggests adopting a new attitude towards the obesity as a normal phenomenon and regular condition of the body.
Furthermore, the acceptance of the diseased nature of corpulence leads to the corresponding prescription of medication, treatment and professional support. Szalavitz supposes that this idea aims at getting an additional income from the affected people. It is easy to assume that such an attitude bears a mercantile character and focuses on the creation of the new treatment and rehabilitation programs for the clients. From this standpoint, the obesity has become a commercial tool, which provides a new distorted vision on the familiar things and phenomena.
Additionally, the notion has found its reflection in the studies of the professor of Yale University David L. Katz, who states that the very term disease presupposes some malfunctioning of the organs, development of some deviations and disorders. However, the accumulation of fat or obese does not contribute to any significant changes, as it reflects the normal performance of the organism, which in its essence consists in the storing of fat for its needs. Correspondingly, the obesity does not harm the organism or cause any new diseases and disorders.
In fact, it is difficult to provide a clear definition of the obesity. Since every organism is individual and unique, the fatness can display itself differently in various cases. Obviously, such conditions make it difficult to find its universal and objective evaluation, symptoms and sources. All in all, it is frequently measured through the correlation between the body mass index and the body weight. Nevertheless, different doctors and scholars provide various tools for weight measures and evaluation.
Finally, the connection between the corpulence and other diseases can be explained by the individual health conditions and the quality of one’s life. For instance, Kabat states that cardiovascular diseases or heart strokes can result from the diabetes, hepatitis B or other problems, rather than from the obesity. In other word, the studies, which regard obesity as a source of diseases, do not consider the existence of other individual health risks and problems. Overall, the fatness itself does not lead to any harmful consequences or negative results connected with the personal safety and health.
Obesity as an Ethical Dilemma
Presently, the society is likely to adopt the idea of the obesity as an individual choice and a way of revealing personality and private lifestyle. The doctors and researchers speak about its harmlessness and treat it as the way of self-actualization and social realization. However, the new issues concerned with the ethical and moral aspects of obesity have arisen. The matter is that obesity has become a reason for bullying, mocking and other discriminatory actions. As a result, there is a pressing need in establishing relevant and suitable legal and moral norms to overcome its inappropriate treatment.
As a matter of fact, the international law prohibits and punishes any manifestations of the discrimination and harassment based on the personal qualities and characteristics. It means that the differentiation on the ground of corpulence is illegal and unacceptable in the majority of countries. Any harassing or offending actions can be punished by the juridical law and corresponding regulations. Consequently, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 together with the new amendment regulates this statement and protects the US citizens from the unlawful and inappropriate offenses (Pomeranz and Puhl 469). Such legal regulations are essential for the protection of personal freedom and choice. It also contributes to the establishment of a moral and ethical attitude towards the issue. To a great degree, obesity is a question of ethics and personal values. In other words, the society should develop a tolerant and respectful attitude to all citizens, despite their physical qualities and personal preferences. Such approach will assist in setting the right perception of the obese people and the issue of obesity in general.
Currently, the matter of fatness has a cultural, ethical, social and moral character, as its appropriate and relevant perception should correlate with the social traditions and values. What is more, it should consider the culture of food and gastronomy as well as the sense of the social identity.
Overall, the ethics and morality can help overcome the existing stereotypes, biased judgements on the corpulence and create a fair system of views on the issue. Firstly, the moral perception of the obesity would assist in respecting the human dignity and providing every individual with the convenient conditions of living. Moreover, it would help overcome the customary cases of bullying and mocking at schools and workplaces. All things considered, the relevant comprehension of the obesity is one of the steps toward fair and moral society.
Alternative Views on Obesity
Furthermore, there is much evidence claiming the ethical character of the obesity issue, rather than its medical nature. Nevertheless, this point of view is not universal and only partially objective, as the alternative opinions exist. For example, some researchers refer to the direct connection between the obesity and the inflammatory processes in the organism. In particular, they assume the obesity can be a primary aspect, leading to the health problems and inflammations. The scholars argue that obesity leads to the inevitable changes in the molecular and cellular structure of the organism’s tissues, and results in the serious health alteration. Nonetheless, the idea has not found any solid conformations and support of other scientific sources. Thus, it can be regarded as the hypothesis or an assumption.
Another study conducted by M. Kratz, T. Baars, and S. Guyenet discovers the consequences of the high-fat dairy consumption, its impact on the fatness and risk of incidence of the cardiovascular diseases. The research states that the obesity as the state of the organism increases the chances of heart attack occurence as well other diseases. However, the scholars conclude that such theory neither works in all cases nor shows a general tendency. As a result, it is impracticable to speak about the direct and doubtless association between the obesity and other diseases of the heart and the cardiac vessels.
Overall, the concept of the obesity remains controversial and notional. The latest studies reveal new aspects and features of the corpulence and its connection with the other diseases and health mutations. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that every human organism acts individually and uniquely, thus, obesity can influence various people in a different way, due to many external and internal factors. From this point of view, it is considered as an individual choice and ethical dilemma, rather than medical deviation or health risk.
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To sum up, the issue of corpulence remains actual and topical, as it closely relates to different social, ethical, medical and health aspects. Despite the impossibility to make the only solution and judgement leaves it available for the future debates, fatness should not be viewed as a disease, as its impact on other health deviations and problems is not clearly researched and proved. Moreover, the obesity cannot be treated as a disease, since it does not cause any permanent serious changes in the human body. The scientists (for example, Carey N. Lumeng and Alan R. Saltiel) conclude that the obesity can lead to the health problems only in combination with other risk factors and deviations. All in all, it is the ethical question and individual choice, thus, there is no legal or moral background for representing a negative attitude to this natural state of the organism. Modern societies should develop new systems of values and opinions in order to overcome the destructive attitudes and stereotypes about it. Such strategy would help establish a healthy and normal perception of the issue and treat it as a natural phenomenon and the representation of personal freedom.
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