Thursday, January 24, 2008

Survival of the fittest/fattest

Nowadays, thin is in. Celebrities are whittling down to ungodly sizes, being envied and idolized by society.

Ironically, in medieval times, the more weight you carried, the more beautiful you were. Plumpness reflected a complete diet, and the wealth necessary to afford exuberant (or just fulfilling) amounts of food.

It's hard to find a common denominator between these judgments at face value because skinny is the complete opposite of fat. But there is a underlining factor that does link the "ideal body type" in each time period-- lifespan.

As obesity rises in modern day Americans, health risks follow suit. Obesity is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes, and can also result in high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, sleep apena and other extremely dangerous conditions, according to the Mayo clinic.

A thin figure suggests a healthy diet and high fitness level, even if in actuality the physique is attained by adopting unhealthy habits. Ultimately, truly fit people lack healthy complications and ideally will live a long life.

And I think that is what people find attractive.

The potential for someone to live a long life is an attractive thing. The heartbreak of losing a loved one is a deep-rooted fear. Would it be that far fetched to think that people are subconsciously drawn to people that will postpone that pain?

The same mentality goes for the well-fed of MacArthur's time. In those days, well-fed meant a longer life untouched by malnutrition or starvation.

So as much as people try to challenge society's constructs for beauty and attractiveness, it is hard to figure out what dictates these norms. If it really does depend on lifelines, perhaps science will have to create some kind of medication to live longer before we see a change.

Or find that whimsical Fountain of Youth. It's hard to tell which research would be a better investment.

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