In fatness news, there’s been some talk about how there are now a lot fewer fat children ages 2 to 5, and how wonderful that is. Here’s the study: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1832542, and here’s a (mostly) glowing report on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/health/obesity-rate-for-young-children-plummets-43-in-a-decade.html. And, of course, anti-fat warriors have questioned the significance of the decrease: http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreykabat/2014/02/27/how-credible-is-cdcs-43-percent-decline-in-obesity-in-young-children/
In this case, I think the anti-fatties are right in that the decline is not important. And the prior increases in fatness are also not important, although the fat haters don’t agree with that. The really interesting outcome of this study to me is that the rate of fatness has been essentially constant for nearly all age groups over the past 10 years. That means that there’s no big fat crisis on the horizon; the “crisis” is here, and it turns out to be no big deal. (By the way, the billions of health care costs due to fatties? Most of that is really due to failed weight-loss attempts, and is therefore caused by hatred of fat rather than fatness itself.) The leveling off of this trend, which dates from just after World War II, means that we’ve already shown that we as a society can deal (however imperfectly) with the current level of fatness.
This post by Paul Campos puts this latest news into perspective: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116774/childhood-obesity-rate-declines-dont-give-michelle-obama-credit
Personally, I’m not concerned with the fatness rate because, as I said above, we already know that it’s no big deal. Also, keep in mind that many of the stated causes of the fatness trend, such as the green revolution in agriculture, television, and the ever-increasing array of electronic distractions, are for the most part good things that have made lives better.