New normals

One of the problems with the obesity epidemic is that we’ve reset what we consider to be “normal”.  I see this all the time with my residents in clinic.  Since they see so many children and babies who are overweight, they have come to view that as “normal”.  This can sometimes result in bizarre scenarios where they see a perfectly healthy infant or child and assume they are failing to thrive because they aren’t fat.  It would be funny if it weren’t so horrifying.

I was thinking of that when I saw this blog post today:

Alex Tabarrok posts the above picture of “Chauncy Morlan (1869-1906) who, because of his ‘freakish’ weight, people once paid good money to see as he toured Europe and America with the Barnum & Bailey circus” and asks:

While that gentleman is certainly obese, I imagine we all see people that overweight every day (if not many times a day).  And yet, in his lifetime, he was considered large enough to warrant “freak” status at the circus.

We’ve reset the bar for normal way too far.

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