… As a culture, we must embrace different body types and accept that a person’s weight and waist circumference are not a commentary on their worth. Governments and societies must address the social deficits that contribute to obesity – poverty, food deserts (districts with no ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food) and lack of exercise spaces – to empower people to take care of their own health. In the long run, the medical community must find ways to help people stay healthy through lifestyle fixes, medical interventions, or both, regardless of their size.
I find it difficult to understand how the woman wrote the article that preceeds the above (final) paragraph came to these conclusions. I am glad those were her conclusions, but I wish she could have included more of what led her to this final paragraph because it certainly does not show in the rest of the article.
Caroline Weinberg is not exactly a fat-phobe – but there is a deep thread of healthism and thin privilege in her recent article.
Caroline Weinberg probably means well, but she doesn’t seem to understand that her attitudes are part of the problem when it comes to the stereotype of fat equals unhealthy.
The focus on weight by society as a whole, and the healthcare community in particular, is a major problem for fat people.
Let me reiterate (once again) – there is NO treatment that achieves significant long term weight loss for all but a small percentage of fat people.
I’m not saying we should not be looking for a successful treatment, but we do need to stop pretending that one exists. And we need to stop pretending we can treat fatness by using treatments that have and continue to fail while blaming and shaming the recipient of those failed treatments.
Implying that long term weight loss is achievable if us fatties would only try harder, is harmful. It leads to society believing being fat is a choice; that fat people are simply lazy and lack will power. It leads to fat people being blamed (and blaming themselves) for being fat . It leads to the acceptance of fat shaming. And it leads to healthcare professionals thinking it is the fault of fat patients (rather than the failure of the treatment) when the patient remains fat.
It leads to putting fat children on diets, something that pretty much guarantees that the fat child will grow up to be an even fatter adult.
For the most part, diets not only fail to make you thin, they make you fatter.
Is being fat unhealthy? It depends. Fat has protective properties, especially in regard to those conditions which fat people are most likely to develop (such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease). Yes, fat people, on the whole, tend to develop these conditions; however, fat people, on the whole, tend to have fewer complications and/or survive these conditions better than their thinner counterparts.
Is being fat unhealthy? Who cares? As of now, there is no “cure”.
[To be continued]