Obesity is Not a Disease

And a pitch for a limited series

Barry Lyons

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About twenty years ago I worked at a small hedge fund. One of my coworkers was rail thin and constantly eating. No three meals a day for this guy. He was eating something — yogurt, a banana, nuts, a protein bar — at least every two hours throughout the day, every day. When I made light one day of his apparent failure to put on weight amidst all his gluttonous behavior, he said he ate all the time because his metabolism was off the charts. He said he had to be eating all the time in order to not lose weight. Fascinating. But it would be odd to say that my coworker had a disease that “forced” him to eat more than most people. He had a condition. Maybe it could be considered a disorder. But he certainly didn’t have a disease — and the same goes for people who have slow metabolisms. If you’re born with a slow metabolism, you learn (or you ought to learn) how to adjust one’s intake of food in order to combat or offset weight gain.

Which brings me to the three gentlemen you see above. From left to right they are Lou Costello, Oliver Hardy, and Jerome (“Curly”) Howard. For those of you of a certain young age, all three were members of comedy teams that thrived primarily during the 1930s and ’40s. That’s a detail you can investigate on your own. My question for right now is this: Is it accurate to say these three men had a…

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Barry Lyons

Not a fan of sports or religion. I guess that makes me a bad American.