At the Car Wash: Overweight and Obesity

Read time: 1.5 minutes

There are things in life we take as gospel, like one which tells us that overweight is caused by physical inactivity. Health professionals preach this for decades. So the culture blames the overweight and the obese for what’s considered a shameful condition: laziness. This mentality puts guilt on those already suffering a weight problem, but equally damaging is that it breeds hateful discrimination against those suffering a condition that might have nothing to do with laziness.

The popular notion is that inactivity causes weight gain, but the science shows that they are only correlated, that there’s no proof of cause-effect. In other words, we don’t know for sure if inactivity causes overweight, or even if overweight causes inactivity. There are many overweight people who are active, just as there are many normal-weight people who are inactive.

1-car-washThe other day I went to a car-wash (too lazy to wash my own car on this particular weekend!). This was a large-scale, all-hand-wash operation that moves dozens of cars through every hour, with swarms of busy employees with rags in hands and constantly in motion, bending and reaching and squatting. If there is a job that keeps you moving, this is it — 8-hour shifts of constant bending, reaching, and squatting.

What was particularly interesting in observation was that more than 2/3 of the car-wash staff was overweight. Here was a small population that was active all day long, yet their weight contradicts the conventional claim that physical inactivity causes overweight. And since overweight is associated with poverty, and people with lower-wage income tend to earn a living in manual labor  jobs, then a different mechanism might be the cause of overweight, and not physical inactivity.

2-car-wash1The discussion of body weight regulation (e.g. weight loss, management), therefore, ought to center on dietary control rather than exercise and physical activity.

Definitely NOT what you’d find at your typical car-wash place.

This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to At the Car Wash: Overweight and Obesity

  1. Grok says:

    I’ve been in jobs like these. These people are living on energy drinks (because they feel like shit and must have a need for more energy to keep working hard right?) pizza sticks, chicken crispitos and about anything else you can grow under a heat lamp.

    They probably all suffer from adrenal fatigue and a variety of stomach parasites, and/or leaky guts and teetering on the fence for diabetes.

    Pretty sad, but this is the norm these days 😦

  2. Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

    Grok, you’re absolutely right. About 15 years ago I worked for a summer on an airport ramp, under the sun, loading baggage, fueling planes, and dumping septic through a heavy hose. Although I didn’t eat much while on the job, at home or elsewhere I ate the typical fan fare like pasta, rice, chips, and lots of bread. I didn’t know. But as active as I was through my 8-hour shift, I was easily overfat by more than 30 pounds! AND, I went to the gym regularly.

  3. Tammy says:

    I just read down a couple of posts….I had to laugh out loud at the comment about your 3 yr old niece “getting down”, lol….I have a 4 yr old niece and she constantly has me cringing, but jealous at the same time that she can move like that!!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog…I just updated my blog with tonight’s post and found the comment on last night’s post. Intriguing about the book….can’t say I’ve got the cash to purchase it right now, but will definitely be checking it out…maybe I can get it on

    I’m adding your blog to my blogroll…I can see you’ve got some valuable info to pass along and I’m glad you’re so willing to share it. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop counting calories just yet, lol, but we should never stop learning….thanks for taking the time to visit me…have a fabulous day!!! 🙂

    Tammy @ From Fat to Fab

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