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Government-controlled weight

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–What do an overweight nurse from England and an Australian beauty contestant have in common? Both have been the victims of, what I like to call, Liberal Utopian Syndrome.

Liberal Utopian Syndrome insists that perfect ideals be imposed and enforced in every area of life. As the name suggests, it mainly afflicts those who embrace liberal philosophies. However, as more and more people become influenced by Liberal Utopian Syndrome, it begins to affect the whole of society — a reality the aforementioned ladies have had to deal with.

A British nurse was recently refused permission to live in New Zealand because she was deemed too heavy by the New Zealand government, the Telegraph newspaper recently reported. The rejection comes at a time when New Zealand is experiencing a nursing shortage.

Despite the fact the woman is in good health and currently puts in 60-hour weeks as a nurse, government medical advisors felt her 294 pounds and Body Mass Index (BMI) of 55.2 put “her at a high risk of developing health problems,” the Telegraph reported.

One certifying doctor told the Telegraph the woman could develop metabolic problems that could cost the government of New Zealand NZ$25,000.

A word and a phrase in the aforementioned paragraphs are worth noting.

The word “could” just leaps out at me. Of course the woman “could” develop any number of health problems and she just as well “could” remain healthy and “could” offer some New Zealand hospital many years of service.

The phrase, “could cost the government” also caught my attention. It is a direct reference to socialized medicine, to which New Zealand subscribes. When the government is paying for something it always leads to bureaucratic decisions based on averages, statistics and quotas, rather than on the needs or qualifications of the individual.

In spite of the fact that physicians indicated the woman was in good health, she did not fit into the ideal size, according to the BMI tables subscribed to by the government, and therefore was rejected.

I recently watched “The World’s Strongest Man” competition that airs on ESPN. One of the competitors stood 5-feet-9 and weighed 287 pounds, giving him a body mass index of 42.4. According to BMI tables the man is considered “very obese.”

I watched the gentleman dead-lift over 600 pounds more than 10 times in just over a minute and in 100-plus degree temperature. This same man went on to perform similar feats of strength in five other events in just a few hours’ time. While the BMI tables used by New Zealand say this man is “very obese,” his health is not poor. He could probably bench press the physicians that rejected the overweight nurse.

On the other end of the spectrum from the nurse is Stephanie Naumoska, who was a contestant in the recent Miss Universe Australia pageant. It seems that Ms. Naumoska was too thin.

At 5-feet-11, Naumoska weighs 108 pounds, which according to BMI tables gives her a body mass index of 15.1. According to the weight tables and health experts, Naumoska is not only underweight, she is malnourished. Some have even suggested she is suffering from an eating disorder.

The beauty contestant has appeared on a variety of talk shows to defend herself. “I think it is very unfair that I have been criticized that I’m too skinny,” Naumoska said on ABC. “I have never been malnourished or underfed. I live a healthy, active lifestyle. I don’t starve myself…. I eat six to eight healthy meals a day.”

According to one health expert I saw interviewed concerning Naumoska’s weight, one of the signs of an eating disorder is hair and skin being dry or in poor condition. According to this particular health expert, no such symptoms seem to be present in Naumoska.

Despite the fact that, other than being rail thin, Naumoska appears to be in good health, the president of the Australian Medical Association told Reuters that beauty contests should impose a minimum BMI cut-off of 20. According to many health experts, the ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.

These two women are victims of Liberal Utopian Syndrome because they are not the ideal or perfect weight. While they appear to be in good health, one is considered too large and the other too thin.

For the record, I don’t fit the ideal weight, either. Though I work out six days a week, am fairly active and eat reasonably healthy meals, my BMI is 29.6.

When Liberal Utopian Syndrome is coupled with a liberal or even socialist government, then the things the aforementioned women have faced become reality for anyone who does not fit the liberal standard.

But this perfect ideal does not just apply to weight, but to every area of life. I once heard an Oregon legislator testify in a congressional hearing that Oregonians did not know how to vacuum their homes properly. She felt standards and instructions should be developed.

If Liberal Utopian Syndrome ever takes over, government control, regulation and intrusion will become burdensome, obsessive and obnoxious. Can you say, “Big Brother”?
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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