Jan. 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM ET
Those who are grossly overweight often feel guilty about many things. Now, add one more to the list: Their weight even gets in the way of helping others after their death by donating their bodies, according to an msnbc.com article.
If warnings about health issues don’t motivate people to lose weight, perhaps that reason will for those who want others to learn from their bodies after their deaths.
Fat bodies are not ideal for teaching anatomy in medical school. Given all the health issues associated with being blubbery you might imagine that students could learn a lot from an overweight corpse. But first, they need to learn what a body not affected by the ravages of too much weight looks like. You simply can’t start with the abnormal and work your way back.
The fact that so many of us are obese does not, contrary to the laments of some fat advocacy groups, make obesity normal. When it comes to learning about the body and its parts, a student needs to be able to see what a healthy body is even if there are a lot of folks who do not have one.
Another, more practical problem, is that anatomy class equipment is not built for plus-sizes. Even if those who run body donation programs want to take bigger bodies, they simply cannot manage them. The process of embalming involves 5 to 6 gallons of fluid which adds as much as one hundred pounds to an already heavy body. It is hard for the staff to transport, lift and manipulate this kind of dead weight.
As we know, Americans are packing on the pounds. The obesity epidemic will be a huge factor in driving up the bill for the next generation.
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of furniture, clothes, towels, seat belt extenders and funeral caskets aimed at large people. But, that revolution hasn’t and, given the cost, won’t reach the world of body donation and anatomy class.
If you want yet another reason to lose weight, know that if you want your last act to be the gift of helping medical students to learn after your death, you need to slim down.