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The Chunky Side: Shape of Things to Come?

August 4, 2008

It seems Americans have adopted an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach to the raging obesity epidemic. According to a new study, pretty much everyone in the country who can lift a fork will be overweight or obese within the next two decades.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health _ clearly unconvinced that we’re going to stick to that new diet we started _ are saying that more than 86 percent of Americans will be super-sized by the year 2030.

The report appeared in the July online edition of the journal Obesity _ a publication looking forward to an ever-widening reader base _ and it’s unnerving for a number of reasons.

It warns of skyrocketing health-care costs and a sharp rise in heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes. It also could jeopardize the future of people like myself, people who went through high school chubby and were called mean names that may have seemed harmless but caused serious self-esteem issues, forcing us later in life to write snarky newspaper articles incorporating low-brow fat jokes.

How am I going to sell low-brow fat jokes when everyone’s fat? And how unfair is it that I had to go through high school when it was uncool to be heavy, while future generations get to revel in an age when only the thin are outcasts?

Imagine it for a moment. Fat will be the new thin, and most people will shop Gap and Benetton for the latest in stylish elastic-waistband jeans, leaving the scrawny minority to browse un-hip “minus-size” stores.

Bingeing will be in and purging will be passe, as supermodels feast lustily in full view of paparazzi.

An aging Eddie Murphy will don a rubber “thin suit” so he can play every character in a movie about a jocular family of fit people. Fat Albert will be known simply as Albert.

And after the inevitable collapse of the fitness and organic vegetable industries, the once-righteous skinny folk will find work only in the fields of sprawling Midwestern pancake farms, forced to lunch on deep-fried radicchio and high-fructose corn syrup-infused sea-bass-on-a-stick.

It all makes me shudder so much I just spilled my Slim-Fast breakfast shake.

This apocalyptic new study, funded by a weeklong bake sale at Johns Hopkins, also projects the cost associated with America’s chubification could be as high as $956.9 billion. That’s roughly equivalent to 956.9 billion items from a McDonald’s dollar menu.

Speaking of which, I believe it’s cheeseburger time. No sense waiting until 2030 to celebrate the revolution.

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(c) 2008, Chicago Tribune.

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