26 July 2007

Contagious

I saw this story on the news last night here in Australia and awoke to find it on the web as well - I got to it through Boortz's page. The claim is that obesity is contagious.

While the article itself goes on to say that it means "socially contagious" and not like a cold, there are some pretty clear connotations that go with contagious. First off, if a person catches something, it's not really his or her fault. They just got sneezed or coughed on, touched the wrong faucet or door handle. The "it just happened" reasons are endless. Second, since catching a contagious disease - and obesity is considered a disease these days - isn't a person's individual fault, then that person is relieved from the responsibility of their current state of being and even from recovering themselves from their current state.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that when a person surrounds himself with people who exhibit some kind of behavior that it is more likely he will adopt that behavior? I'm no scientist, but I would suppose that eating to obesity is just one facet here. Binge drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco, all sorts of risky behavior might be covered by this simple thought.

But one simple word injected into the discussion can absolve so much responsibility. It's contagious - not my fault. How far could that excuse go?

1 comment:

kmb said...

i could not agree with you more. these were exactly my thoughts when this news story hit the airwaves. refusal to accept personal responsibility for even the most basic behaviors really hacks me off.