OK. Here we go.
I had a bit of a Facebook (“FB”) “moment” recently where I made some offensive posts that I subsequently deleted and apologised for.
Now I’m going to “live and let live” – which actually means “live and let die” – as who am I to tell anyone what to do with their bodies.
But I thought I’d try and rationalise my outburst after criticism from friends and after a period of reflection/introspection/self-flagellation.
I think everything stemmed from my own selfish feeling of persecution because I took a “wait and see” approach to SARS-Cov-2 (“Covid-19”) vaccines on the basis of my own risk assessment that my unvaccinated body would probably survive catching Covid-19 (and subsequently proved correct).
However, after having made this choice, rightly or wrongly, I felt very much persecuted for holding out in this way.
And my personality type (I don’t think I am alone here) does not like being told what to do.
And, with regard to Covid-19 surviveability, people who don’t (or can’t) take care of themselves, or who are vulnerable through age or genetics, are most at risk.
And these most “at risk” people – ie., people who don’t (or can’t) take care of themselves, or who are vulnerable through age or genetics, should all have been targeted with the vaccine drive.
It seems that society (after a few road bumps) has got to grips with this but is now being overzealous in its application.
This was the cause of my outburst; and due, in part, to a report published by the Lancet in April 2021, obese people were my target.
It turns out that even young people between the ages of 20 to 40 years of age are vulnerable to Covid-19 if they have higher (and lower!) than “normal” BMI’s.
This, of course, is an emotive subject, but empirically not “sweep under the carpetable”.
Yet, apart from a few press mentions back in April/May 2021, obesity as a cause of Covid-19 morbidity got very little media coverage.
Possibly because circa 60% of our adult population in the UK are clinically obese.
And we ALL know that it’s very hard to lose weight quickly (unless you get Covid-19).
Dealing with this obesity issue; at risk obese people should think about getting vaccinated, in the same way that the frail and elderly should.
But don’t target young fit people for vaccination, or indeed fit older people like myself.
So what really got up my nose and caused my FB rant?
i) The fact that Governments over successive years have only paid lip service to trying to deal with the obesity epidemic; and
ii) Society politely, but wrongly, not recognising obesity as being a problem as far as Covid-19 morbidity is concerned; and
ii) perhaps, partly as a result of the above, people generally not giving two hoots about their bodies; being quite happy to inject alcohol, smoke and donuts into their bodies as if they were immortal gods.
But also, idiots thinking that unvaccinated people should be jailed AND anti-vaccers believing that Covid-19 doesn’t exist. What a world we live in!
What follows is my initial attempt at posting these thoughts.
Fortunately I left this unpublished for a couple more days of reflection.
Hopefully what follows is not too offensive now that I have added some context.
The problem I have with writing things down and sending them to people these days (think email) is that because of the limited attention span that we all suffer from – epitomised by the number of characters in a tweet (although Mr Dorsey doubled this – which is a hopeful sign) – that unfortunately only the most emotive messages, short and shocking, are the ones that penetrate the information fog.
Which may explain why I am reminded that “blogs are so old school”.
So I got into a bit of trouble recently for short emotive (amongst other things) fatty bashing posts on FB.
But as a result of my offensive posts (since deleted and sincerely apologised for) I found myself, one evening afterwards, in a defensive position in a setting of good old fashioned verbal discussion with friends who I respect and have upset.
And I have to applaud both my protaganists for standing up and debating the issue and the lovely compassionate company we were in for creating an arena where all parties were sufficiently comfortable and uninhibited to allow the debate.
This is indeed a rare thing these days particularly where passionate views are held.
So, I had been offensive, and I got a kicking.
But I defended myself.
And when you are put on the spot you have to try and verbalise the thoughts and rationale that you have in your head that are responsible for firing out the offensive sound bites.
My first thought was positive in that I had pissed people off sufficiently to trigger a debate; because generally when people don’t talk they can instead spontaneously fight.
Talking is good!
And apparently I debated sufficiently well that I was asked to consider writing down my thoughts.
So I will try and summarise my arguments that evening.
Firstly human to human talking is the best. It can avoid conflict and there should be more rather than less of it.
Secondly, I struggle with being mean. I struggle with upsetting close friends and family members and also the nearest and dearest of my friends (who may be strangers to me) and so vicariously these friends too.
But SARS-CoV-2 has shone a light on what I feel intuitively.
That being overweight (i), alcoholic and/or a smoker probably do not improve your chances of survival if you catch this virus.
It would be conveniently twee of me to say that I care too much; however, there is truth in this; my fat friends will tell you that I’m fattist. I’m rude because I care. I’ve convinced my twin brother to use filters in his rollies because he can’t give up smoking. Selfishly, I want him to be around for a bit longer because I like him and enjoy his company.
I don’t have a problem per se with fat people; we’re all biologically different.
What I have a problem with is societal blindness to the fact that it can do you harm.
And people who obviously don’t care at all for their health, particularly under the current circumstances.
I have the odd cigarette, I drink and I have a sweet tooth. But I try to restrain the urge to excessively indulge all of these habits.
If I thought one of my adult kids was smoking or drinking too much I’d tell them. The same with eating.
And whereas society has put mechanisms in place to help people with alcohol, drug or smoking addictions, where is the help for people who struggle to keep their weight down?
People need help not feeders or sympathisers.
It’s not just a human condition.
I’ve owned two types of dog in my life. One Labrador and two Beaucerons. The Labrador would wolf anything you put in his plate down immediately and you could repeat this process incessantly. The Beaucerons will only eat what they need. Usually there is uneaten food in the Beauceron bowl (dog food – not human food – obviously because human food is irresistible which is the problem!) . The Labrador needed assistance.
At a BMI of more than 23 kg/m2, we found a linear increase in risk of severe COVID-19 leading to admission to hospital and death, and a linear increase in admission to an ICU across the whole BMI range, which is not attributable to excess risks of related diseases. The relative risk due to increasing BMI is particularly notable people younger than 40 years and of Black ethnicity.
My layman’s take away
Younger (< 40 years) people are at risk; it seems that nature cuts us old farts some slack in this regard.
Stomach fat (visceral) seems to be the problem not fat stored in organs like the liver (ectopic fat).
Bizarrely, the risk of admission to hospital and ICU due to COVID-19 associated with unit increase in BMI was slightly lower in people with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease than in those without these morbidities.