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You know how women have fat clothes - outfits they wear that are forgiving of body flaws and make them look slimmer?
Dr. David Lipschitz probably wouldn't characterize the natty black suit he was wearing as a ``fat'' suit, but it did give his 6-foot-3 frame a slender appearance.
At 230 pounds, he didn't feel slim.
I'm fatter than I should be. I'm overweight,'' he said, clutching his midsection to demonstrate hisroll.''
The confession was surprising, because he was in the middle of talking about how wrongly weight-obsessed we are as a society. It's a key chapter in his book, ``Breaking the Rules of Aging'' (Lifeline Press, $24.95), and part of the speech he was to give at a seminar for the Biomotion Foundation in Palm Beach.
Being morbidly obese - 70-100 pounds overweight - isn't healthy (think high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease) and isn't advocated, but Lipschitz, 60, says that ``beyond age 45, there is little evidence that being pleasantly plump is bad for you.''
Instead of focusing on weight as a number as we age, says the head of the Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, we should be concerned with eating well and getting enough exercise.
He walks 4 miles three to four times a week and trains with weights twice a week. But he admitted he was relieved when he woke up that morning to find it raining.
``Yeah! It's raining! I don't have to exercise. But we have to do it, even if we hate it, if we're going to be independent 80-year-olds,'' he said.
He then related a quick story about how he was going to dinner the night before at Chez Jean-Pierre, a restaurant a short walk from The Breakers, where he was staying, and asked the front desk for directions.
The staff offered to get him a ride.
``It's a three-minute walk, but they wanted to get me a cab,'' he lamented.
Since he wrote the book on aging, which came out last year, he has developed ``a far more concrete view about living a long and independent life,'' he said, and loss of independence is ranked as his No. 1 health threat.
How to counter that threat?
Stay active, eat well but don't diet, have love in your life, hug and touch, have faith and spirituality, remain creative and occupied well into old age, and have high self-esteem. In short, be healthy and happy.
In fact, that's his next book. Exploring happiness. So move over, Charlie Brown. Happiness might be a warm puppy, but nuzzling your canine just isn't enough.
(The Cox web site is at http://www.coxnews.com )
c.2003 Cox News Service