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Medical researchers have completed experiments indicating that obesity may be caused by various viruses. Can you imagine the implications of those findings! In a society where we are quick to excuse our own responsibility for our actions and latch on to some environmental or genetic causation factor, these results should be quickly applauded.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison have found that mice and chickens infected with a common human virus put on much more fat than uninfected animals. They have also discovered that the same virus is more prevalent among overweight people, a strong indication that it may also cause obesity in humans.

The scientists add the caveat:

The latest results do not indicate that all obesity is caused by viruses, But they strongly suggest that infection plays an important role.

But of course who is going to read the fine print when they hear this encouraging news.

Of course we all know that the main cause of obesity in our sedentary culture is overeating and under-exercising … Duh! (That’s not to say that there is not a wide range of special conditions impacting specific situations – genetic factors, metabolic, etc.) But in general for my middle-aged peers, it is no great mystery when we contemplate that extended gut.

Interesting that legislation just passed protecting the fast food companies against lawsuits that would claim damages for the obesity resulting from eating too many cheeseburgers:

The “cheeseburger bill,” as it has been dubbed in Congress, stems from class-action litigation that accused McDonald’s of causing obesity in children.

So here are my Top Ten Reasons for wanting to link obesity to some virus:

10) If it’s just a virus I have a lot more confidence that I can recover quickly and regain my svelte form.

9) It certainly would be very politically incorrect to make fun of people because of a virus. This would cut down on an entire genre of offensive fat jokes.

8) I can now gulp down those orange floats and devour my Russell Stover’s chocolates with impunity. It takes away any sense of guilt over the condition since once again the environment has been proven to be the culprit.

7) You have heard the adage: “Feed a cold, but starve a fever” – maybe the best way to address the obesity that stems from a virus would actually be by eating!

6) Doctors would have to stop lecturing us on lifestyle changes. Counselors would have to take a vastly different approach.

5) I could switch my exercise time at the YMCA to more enjoyable pursuits.

4) It could spawn a whole new category of over-the-counter remedies to address the manifestations of the virus – clothing that would make you look slimmer, etc.

3) I could refuse to allow an overweight person to squeeze in next to me on the airplane – since I would not want to catch their virus.

2) This would provide for another protected category of citizens that could seek legal remedies for discrimination. In fact they could lobby for preferred treatment – maybe pre-boarding assistance on airplanes, their own section in restaurants, etc.

1) I can just call in “sick” – “Sorry, I’m too fat today, I won’t be able to make it into work.” (credit to Jay Leno for that thought) It opens up the door for long-term disability claims as well.