Recently I had a physical and, as expected, my doctor encouraged me to lose some weight and cut back on sugary foods. During the drive home I tuned in to a podcast where, coincidentally, they just happened to be interviewing an expert on the obesity crisis. The hosts of the show pointed out that while everyone has an opinion on health care nobody likes to talk about obesity because we don’t like shaming fat people—even though we think nothing of shaming smokers. The expert replied that, in his opinion, the obesity crisis is now more expensive and more deadly than smoking.

I’m overweight and I’ve got a real junk food problem so I’m not trying to throw any stones. But I do think it’s fascinating how we tend to view some addictions as foolish and hideous while others that are just as unhealthy are shrugged off as acceptable. Maybe it’s just human nature. We have an amazing ability to pounce on the sins of others while being much more sympathetic and understanding about our own failings.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I am fascinated by the dissonance in our cultural discourse.

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