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Does Fat By Any Other Name Still Look Bad In Lycra?

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2008-06-15-images-00Harajukufashiongasmask.jpg

From the country who gave us both Harajuku and Ninja Warrior, we now get a new trend.

Are You Metabo?
The New York Times recently introduced us to Japan's aggressive yet motherly new public health mission of reducing the national waistline. All of which is very interesting in a can-you-legislate-health way. But the part that caught my eye was the new nomenclature:

"Before we had to broach the issue with the word obesity, which definitely has a negative image," Dr. Sakamoto said. "But metabo sounds much more inclusive."

"Metabo" is referring to metabolic syndrome, characterized by abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar - the syndrome Americans know as What Ever Happened to That Funny Guy In Tommy Boy? (Note to David Spade: not you.)

The Japanese claim using the word "has made it easier for health care providers to urge their patients to lose weight."

I'm Not Fat, I'm Fluffy

But does it really matter what one calls being overweight? Is it somehow more motivating to identify as "anti-metabo" rather than anti-obesity? And does anyone else hear this word and just think of diet pills hawked by white-coated people far too young and good looking to have actually spent eight years in medical school?

Personally, I would rather my doctor would just come out and say "You're fat. Lose weight." But then I am easily motivated by fear - I own Black Sheep on DVD.

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