Fat virus?

A so called “fat virus” has been found in chickens.  When Richard Atkinson, a scientist, did some studies, he found that 30% of fat people have this virus, only 11% of ‘lean’ people have it.  So, he started to do some more research, infecting monkeys with this virus, and says that all the monkeys became fat.  Here’s the link.

In googling this, I find I’m about 4 months behind on this, as this news came out in August.  At least I’m still in the same year.  The thing that gets to me is one website’s spin on this:

Researchers in Louisiana have found a link between a cold virus, adenovirus-36, and obesity. They found that around three times as many people who were classed as obese carried the virus, compared to a more normal setting. 

Notice how they say “three times as many people who were classed as obese carried the virus, compared to a more normal setting”?  That’s definitely skewing what the results were.  While technically, 30% v 11% is about three times more, 30% still isn’t a majority of the population.  So if 30% of obese people carry the virus and that “makes them fat”, what’s the deal with the other 70%?  And why are the 11% of the ‘normal setting’ people not getting fat? 

I hate when I hear about things like the so-called fat virus, because, really, it doesn’t matter why a person is fat.  Whether it’s a fat virus, or genetics, or some disease with obesity as a symptom, or no reason, it really doesn’t matter.  Trying to find reasons for obesity is trying to divide between the ‘good fatty’ and the ‘bad fatty’.

In the minds of people who think they are enlightened to allow for diseases and such, I would be a “good fatty” (or they’d think so).  I have an explanation for why I’m fat that doesn’t necessarily begin with “and the pumpkin pie was so good I just had to have three slices!”  I would be given a pass on the fact that I eat things on occasion that are “bad” for me, such as candy and cookies and white things like milk and cauliflower and (watch the video if you’ve not already seen it)…  And yet, do we care ‘why’ a person is naturally thin (unless it’s too thin, then people wonder about eating disorders)?  Naturally ‘normal setting’ weight?  So if we don’t care about why somebody who is 5’4″ and weighs 120 pounds (is it a virus?  genetics?), why should we care about a person who is 5’2″ and weighs 220 pounds?

The other side of this story is, while Mr. Atkinson thinks this may be a great thing, if some obesity is caused by this cold virus, and they do develop treatment for it, it will make it even worse for the fat people who don’t have the virus.  Everybody who the virus doesn’t work for will be judged even more harshly than they already are.  Once there’s a treatment for the ‘fat virus’, any fat person who it doesn’t work for will probably be the recipient of even worse treatment.   After all, if they obtained the treatment, and it doesn’t work, it’s obvious that they really do spend too much time on the couch and in front of the table (or at McDonald’s, or KFC, or the candy store, or where ever).  And if they refuse treatment, it’s their own fault they are fat by refusing to do something that is for their health. 

You know, like weight loss surgery is only for a person’s health.

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8 Responses

  1. […] Original post by A Day in the (Fat) Life […]

  2. Interesting study and wow the possible ramifications make me cringe to think about. Although, it isn’t as though those already set to belittle fat need any further justifications for their visual judgments of people.

  3. Did they take into account economic level? It seems pretty obvious to me that poorer people tend to live in more crowded conditions and under more stress, both of which make you more likely to catch a cold; and we already know that poor people are more likely to be fat (or fat people to be poor due to discrimination).

  4. It’s interesting to know these things, though. I’m genetically disposed to be large (my dad and I are the same shape, except I have breasts), but some (most? a little?) of my fat is definitely pumpkin pie and pizza. I think microbes are fascinating, though, so I’d like to know more. Treatment, I think, should be an afterthought, not the primary focus, because most of the medical treatments for fat are sort of horrifying. Starve yourself, take these pills that might kill you/give you bowel leakage/destroy your heart or kidneys, try margarine instead of butter (until we discover trans fats are EVIL), chop up your intestines. Forgive me if I’m not all enthusiastic about treating my adiviruses.

  5. […] it correlated with the experiences of An Actual Fat Person We’re Too Freaked We’ll Get Adenovirus From If We Stop And Talk To Them. […]

  6. Not to mention that the poor people who are fat won’t be able to *afford* treatment but that will still be seen as “all their fault” for not being “disciplined” enough to be rich. Isn’t it wonderful? Another thing to use to discriminate. You know, there are so many diseases that they could be working to cure if they’d just quit with the “obesity epidemic” crap. Think what they could do with all the money they waste on trying to find a “cause” and a “cure” for fat. If nothing else they could *feed* all the poor people in the world.

  7. It’s difficult to trust any of the statistics especially when they don’t cite how random the sampling is, how many people participated and so fourth. I take it all with a grain of salt (and maybe a nib of dark chocolate!).

  8. […] once in my life, I actually wrote on something BEFORE it became the newest thing!   Fat Virus?  At the time I wrote on this, the beginning of December, I was four months behind the times.  So […]

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