Sunday's Letters to the Editor
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
EDITOR: I have a question for Connie Mariano, the former White House physician who said that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is too fat to be president (“Too big to be prez?” Thursday): What about President Barack Obama's cigarette smoking?
Smoking is indisputably a far greater health risk than being overweight. Indeed, a recent study by Katherine Flegal and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health offers further evidence of a truth known to many obesity researchers (but seldom reported in the mainstream media): The vast majority of large people are just as healthy as everyone else.
As long as Christie gets moderate exercise and doesn't smoke, his life expectancy is the same at that of a thin, nonsmoking person who also exercises (and better than that of a thin, sedentary person or a thin smoker). I happen not to share Christie's political views, and so I would not vote for him if he ran for president, but my decision would have nothing to do with his body size. Prejudice against fat people — one of the few remaining socially acceptable forms of bigotry in the U.S. today — has no place in politics.
EDITOR: As a psychotherapist trainee, I want to thank Jeremy Hay for courageously and compassionately writing about bipolar disorder and his personal struggle with it (“Quest for mental health: A story in first person,” Feb. 3). Each time that someone in our community steps forward to talk about his or her struggles with mental illness, it helps decrease the stigma that can keep others from seeking help.
He also raised the crucial point that, with health coverage, supportive friends and family and the ability to successfully navigate the confounding maze of insurance procedures and medical policies, he was able to get to a “safe shore.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 58 million American adults have some form of mental disorder. As Hay pointed out, how many of those people are fortunate enough to have so many fail-safe systems in place?
The Mayo Clinic website advises those living with mental disorders to become advocates by speaking out, which can give courage to others and provide much-needed public education. Hay has done just that by writing so candidly about his experience. Thank you, again, for raising awareness around the fact that so many in need of help fall through the cracks, and by planting seeds of hope for those who need to know they are not alone.
EDITOR: The killings in Forestville just amplify the need to treat pot like tobacco (“Triple killing blamed on pot deal,” Thursday). We need to legalize, tax and distribute it in the same manner. Until we take the profit out of this product, and remove it from the underground economy, this will continue to happen. I'm sure others feel the same way.
Oysters lose; so do we
EDITOR: Designating the Point Reyes estuary as wilderness in Point Reyes National Seashore does not mean it is understood as an ecosystem or, more to the point, that the National Park Service, strapped for funds, has the knowledge or personnel to maintain it as a healthy estuary.
It takes expensive, sophisticated equipment and smart marine biologists to stay on top of this type of system. Do we really think the park service can do a better job than the 8 million oysters that presently are continuously testing the estuary for us? Oysters have the science down from millions of years of training. They bet their lives on it.
They are sustainable, provide jobs, food for humans (a good source of iron) and communicate daily the status of the estuary; if they get sick, we get sick. They have a track record few food providers can match.
Sadly, the law will prevail, the estuary will lose, the people involved will lose their jobs, the area will lose a sustainable business and food source, taxes will increase to cover job loss and National Park Service hiring to do what the oysters did for nothing. And, of course, 8 million oysters will lose.
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