Thin, apparently, is no longer "in." According to recent studies, fat is where it's at, within a certain range on the body mass index scale (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight - considerably more accurate than those old insurance scales that said if you're 6 feet, you should weigh 170 lbs and so on).
Fat is no longer the villain we once thought it was, leading to a plethora of medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and inevitably, an early death.
Turns out moderately fat people live longer. The death rate for thin but unfit people is twice that for those who are obese but fit, and study after study finds that the ideal weight for longevity is overweight.
The researchers might also have pointed out that if you get hit by a car or struck by a falling object, your excess weight will protect you by cushioning the blow more than if you were a skinny.
Wow, what a relief! Here I was worrying about the 25 or 30 pounds that I have gained since my retirement nigh on these three years ago. If I listen to these fat researchers, I've just been making myself healthier by packing on the pounds.
There is one minor complication, however: where we put on the fat seems to be more relevant to our health than how much of it we carry. Ergo, people who are apple-shaped (ironically, I eat an apple every day and it certainly hasn't kept the doctor away!) with more fat around their middle (men?), seem to be at higher risk than those who are pear-shaped (hips and thighs - women?).
This all has to do with visceral fat which collects around the liver and the heart (I'd like to thank my researchers at Maclean's magazine), blah, blah, blah.
So next time you're at a party, up to your elbows in appetizers, and you find some stick-thin runway model looking at you disdainfully, you can tell her or him that you'll be eating those little sausages at their funeral.
Mind you, when it comes down to attraction, we might have a problem with the whole fat/thin dynamic. Speaking from the male perspective, some guys like a lady who is thin, but not to the point of Third-World-starvation thin - men like a little something in the hips and the buttocks and, needless to say, in the boob department.
Oh, and we like smart women, too, of course: once the uh, "fun" (family newspaper euphemism for sex) is over, we like someone who can talk about politics and literature and the NHL lockout.
Some guys, on the other hand, like a chubby gal, and now we know why - they live longer.
That's why we go for the ample lass - their lifespan, and not all that bountiful, curvaceous flesh.
There are a lot of variables here, not the least of which and probably the main factor in fatty longevity is - and how often have you heard this here? - exercise! Fat is fit because he/she does 30 minutes of cardio three times a week and eats well: lots of fruit and veggies and fewer bacon/ peanut butter/jalapeno burgers (I kid you not!) or buckets of chicken or deep-fried anything (and they do deep fry anything).
I might also point out that genetics plays a part here: mom and dad can pass along a tendency for high-blood pressure, depression, alcoholism (I have to blame someone!); but these can also be alleviated through exercise, which I find very therapeutic and involves endorphins and/or women in spandex.
In any event, we're seeing a transition here, a change in perception of fat persons, I suppose, who heretofore have been discriminated against in dating and hiring and other areas. So next time you see an overweight person at the gym, give him/her a hug, carefully. Or, offer them a job.