After reading this article and study, I’m thinking maybe classifying obesity as a disease isn’t an absolute negative after all.
A New York Times article, however, disagrees with me and claims that while the classification improves body image (yay), it leads to acceptance of weight – and that’s a bad thing.
Excuse me, but I think this is a win-win. Fatties have an improved body image and stop trying to lose weight (or even better develop a weight-neutral attitude)? Fuck yeah.
Let me be clear – I do not agree that obesity is a “disease”, it is a natural state of being. Part of nature’s great and wonderful diversity. But I’m happy to find a little bit of a silver lining to this cloud.
The article looks at a study that was supposed to measure the psychological effects of the classification of obesity as a disease by having participants read various articles regarding obesity. One group read an article that said fat is a disease, another read an article about weight loss goals that said fat isn’t good for you, and the third group read an article stating fat is not a disease. Then they filled out questionnaires relating to attitudes about weight loss and eating.
In the first place, having people read an article is all well and good but these people have not been living in a bubble. The fat participants are going to bring a whole world of experience to questions about being fat and eating, and all of the participants are going to have a lifetime of living in a society that demonizes fat to bring to the party. Just saying.
To the horror of the researchers, when given a choice of sandwich options, the fatties in the fat-is-a-disease category chose sandwiches that had 7% more calories than fatties in the other two groups. Non-fatty choices did not have a difference between the groups. I’m sorry but I don’t understand why 7% more calories is something to get your panties in a bunch over, and while it is interesting that this increase was correlated with the article read; there are just too many individual variances going on here to make any conclusion, much less the conclusion that fatties who are told fat-is-a-disease are going to run amuck at the sandwich shop every chance they get.
This seems to boil down, as usual, to the fact that there is no known way to achieve significant long term weight loss for most people, and since most weight-loss methods lead to fatter fatties, ditching the weight loss goals seems like a pretty good idea, especially since there are studies showing that a weight-neutral approach to health is more likely to be maintainable.
It’s all about the health, not the weight.