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This place matters

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blaming the victim

I've been trying to put words to my hatred of the phrase obesity epidemic, and why I rankle at the crusade against childhood obesity.
I mean, there's the fact that only a tiny fraction of the health problems attributed to obesity are actually causal as opposed to correlative (so that's what the last post was about)Obesity itself - in a vacuum, say - has been shown to cause muscle, joint, back problems. In addition, there's some evidence that women with belly fat are more prone to a couple of types of cancer, or something. However, the issues with blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, and all that business relate not to obesity itself, but to the diet that usually accompanies obesity.
And that's what bothers me about the phrase obesity epidemic. It's kind of blaming the victim in a way. Now I realize that many of us, myself absolutely included, aren't exactly a victim of snacks. Really, snacks are a victim of me. But what I mean is that obesity isn't the cause of whatever's ailing us - ailing kids - it's a symptom. Of whatever - bad nutrition, food deserts (and food desserts), bad parents, and that burger they're selling at Friendly's that has grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun.
When Michelle Obama talks about the obesity epidemic, or childhood obesity, what she's referring to is one of the results of the bad stuff listed above. But what we're hearing is that the problem is fat kids. In fact, however, a skinny kid who eats nothing but Friendly's grease sandwiches and plays Grand Theft Auto all day is almost just as unhealthy as a fat kid who eats nothing but Friendly's grease sandwiches and plays Grand Theft Auto all day. Why don't we call it a lazy skinny kid epidemic?
I guess what I'm saying is that being obese is hard on a bunch of levels. To see the world pointing fingers at you and calling you an epidemic is kind of insult to injury. Especially when it isn't accurate.
I do have to announce, however, that as of today my BMI has gone from "Obese" to "Overweight." Huzzah! Remind me to tell you what an enormous crock BMI is someday soon.

The Loki, however, is still a fat bastard.

1 comment:

Cap'n Ergo "XL+1" Jinglebollocks said...

Well, even if we have no idea what to DO about the problem, at least we have a catchy phrase that we can bandy about to make everyone really, really worried.