I’ve been wondering for a while just how long it would take for Obesity to move from being a medical issue to a social one, it seems we are right now on that cusp. Obesity has had so much bad publicity - deservingly so – over the past 5 years that the obese are striking back, no longer satisfied with the social stigma, and often unable to lose the weight, the obese are becoming a large majority.
Fat activist Jackie Wykes recently posted a volatile question via theconversation.edu.au, asking How Anti Obesity Campaigns Re-inforce Stigma. Ms Wykes says “By focusing on weight as the problem and weight loss as the solution, social and economic inequalities are made invisible.” I’d reckon that in this country at least – and the world generally – supermarkets would disagree entirely, never have groceries – fresh included – ever been so inexpensive, there is literally NO excuse today for BAD EATING HABITS!
According to Ms Wykes, health disparities between groups are blamed on individuals for not making healthy choices, ignoring the ways that the choices available to comfortably middle-class white Australians are often very different to those available to people on low incomes, to recent immigrants, or to Indigenous Australians.
This rhetoric clearly scirts the issue – yes obese people have rights, more rights than drug addicts, less than breast cancer patients, and about the same as rights as smokers – in my mind the formula is pretty simple, EAT LESS! If you wish to make the argument complicated - it’s still diet based for the majority of obesity – then EAT CAREFULLY! ::::
The sadness of obesity is that it takes a fundamental human need – food – and turns it into a costly medical problem. One of the most confusing issues for me is personal choice, media seems to be buying into the excuse Nobody Wants or Chooses to Be Obese, are we implying that this fat epidemic is being inflicted on people? Are we saying that as a society that we’d like less personal choice? Obesity is an equation - food in energy out.
In 2008 the World Health Organisation – WHO - reported that the planet had 1.4 BILLION obese inhabitants, by 2010 that number had risen to 2.5 Billion, today the estimation tops 5 Billion. What’s most surprising is that the growth in the obese population isn’t limited to the usual suspects, the USA, UK and other western/OECD nations watched massive growth in the numbers of obese.
My favourite stat is 25 PERCENT! Just a quarter – 25 per cent – of Australians are at a healthy weight. A 2011 study put the total cost of caring for the nation’s fattys at more than $56 billion a year. Direct health care costs totalled $21 billion, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, while government subsidies cost another $35.6 billion a year.
In 2007 researchers at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health predicted that by 2010 obesity is expected to reach 35, 36, 33, and 55 per cent in 2010 among white men, white women, black men, and black women, respectively. Amusingly in 2007 the US governments Healthy People 2010 program had set a goal of 15 per cent, clearly that program just went away? Actually they simply shifted the goal posts to 2020 and removed the Obesity targets all together, they have however left the fallout diseases – Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke – Not a sign of OBESITY! Healthy People 2020?
Eating Yourself Stupid
Scouring the internet for a cure to disease is a wondrous thing, Goolge pneumonia and your instantly hit with almost every available variable, Pneumonia - Causes symptoms treatment support, Pneumonia Fact Sheet | BodyAndSoul.com.au, it’s almost endless, from history to cure, everything you ever needed to know about the disease. Google obesity and your on your way to a glut of pages, everything from government warnings to fad diets, available drugs and fitness clubs, the cause is in there plain as day: Eating out of proportion to energy expenditure, so why is this such a hard message to get across?
Dr Marion Nestle has one of my favourite quotes on the reason the message is so often missed “…most people don’t think critically when they’re eating” Clearly the problem is much more complicated than simply diet, the solution surely isn’t though, finding a way to impart it is the critical point here.
Back to Fat Studies Ms Wykes and her dislike of the negative stigma fat people have harshly had to wear. “…the emphasis on individual responsibility amounts to a sort of victim blaming that allows structural inequalities to remain unaddressed. Individuals who don’t or aren’t able to lose weight are branded as non-compliant. Fat people are seen as having a “bad” attitude.”
To my mind, as a lifestyle choice obesity is doubtlessly a wonderfilled thing, so it’s absolutely correct to regard those who have CHOSEN obesity to be offended by the stigmatization of the diseases, for the other 99.3 per cent of obese patients I whole heartedly disagree and point back to other successful stigmatizations – ad campaigns based on the profundity of the negative - It’s like saying that cigarettes should have No Stigma attached, we should coerce faggers of the addiction with pansy filled images and love, perhaps a little Schubert with that nicotine? The fact is that in most cases the cure for obesity is quite simple, it’s lengthy but not complcated. And perhaps thats part of the problem, we want everything fixed NOW!
The Fashion of Fat
“From a person who is fat, and has been fat for many years now. I’d believe these campaigns were all about concern for my health a lot more readily if there were some actual evidence of attempts to make it easier for persons who are already in the “overweight” or “obese” groups to participate in sporting activities. As it stands, as a woman who is size 24 in clothing (and who has a bra band size of 20, with E – F cup breast size on top) I find one of the big disincentives toward participating…”
The Fashion of Fat is no doubt huge business, vanity is present in every single human being regardless of shape and size, the young lady that left the above comment for me epitomizes the crux of the problem – in this country at least – It’s not so much an excuse, it’s more that it’s a responsibility of society, it’s that line, it’s become medical, a disease, she goes on:
“I find one of the big disincentives toward participating in sporting activity is the complete lack of sporting gear in my size. If I go looking for a sports bra (essential when you’re my size) I’m looking at needing approximately a day free in order to search through all the various speciality retailers in my city (Perth) in the hopes that they’ll have something in the correct size. Most likely outcome: I’ll need to get something ordered in specially from overseas. I’m also looking at a minimum cost of approximately $100.
If I go out to the local sporting goods store (full of all that neato sporting gear) I can be confident the only things they’ll have to fit me are shoes, bike helmets, and maybe a couple of sweatbands.
If I do manage to find something which fits, it may not suit the purpose for which it is ostensibly designed. In this category I put all the women’s swimsuits which appear to be built on the principle “the largest cup size on any living woman is a B-cup”, and which therefore cover my E-cup chest for a whole five seconds before subjecting me to a wardrobe malfunction… in the fitting room. I haven’t gone swimming (a sport I love) in over five years because I can’t find a swimsuit which fits me (and these days, on a low income, I can’t afford one either – again, that $100 minimum applies).“
Sorry for the length of that quote, I felt it important to get the entire rant in, it’s unlikely that this young lady will ever feel the turf of a sporting field, though I’m pleased she gets out and harangues shop assistants, it all seems to lead back t that initialy question, If you hadn’t been such a good friend to the fork…
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index – BMI - is a very basic index of weight-to-height, BMI is the most commonly used calculation to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
The WHO definition:
- BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
- BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity
According to WHO, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese. 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.
This startling Foreign Correspondent special exposes the shocking explosion of global obesity in places where just a few decades ago hunger was a headline health concern.
“No third world nation has moved from poverty to wealth without obesity”
This astounding special feature from ABC’s Foreign Correspondent is filled with gritty little facts that add up to one huge porridge if filthy fatty facts. the Full program is available below or at Foriegn Correspondants website: www.abc.net.au/foreign/
“Part of the problem is that third world bodies are programmed for food scarcity”
One of my favourite thoughts from this brilliant doco is that of the EVIL multinationals like Unilever and Coca Cola. Food Company’s don’t take into account the human carnage caused by sugar or fat, they sell a product, it’s up to government to react to those products.
The doco takes a look at China, where the consumption of sugar and oil has led to an exponential expansion of waistlines. Brazil where multinational food behemoths have fundamentally altered traditional diets and sent the national scales spinning.
India where it’s predicted 100 Million people will be suffering diabetes in the not too distant future and Mexico, the biggest consumer of soft drink in the world, where diabetes is already the number one killer and where the weight problem is so huge, special programs have been developed offering free exercise classes and stomach reduction surgery. If you thought obesity was just a problem in the developed economies like the US. UK and Australia, Foreign Correspondent’s feature length special Globesity will set you straight.
Foreign Correspondent [full presentation] GLOBESITY
Darren Powell, another Conversationalist has a great post on the impeding legal ramifications of child obesity. Mr Powell asks if a child’s obese bodyshould be used as evidence to support their removal from their parents’ care? According to a recent report in The Age newspaper, the Children’s Court of Victoria thinks so.
Victoria’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has cited a young person’s obesity in at least two child protection cases this year. A spokesperson for the DHS told The Age obesity was not of itself grounds for child protection workers to become involved with a family. Nevertheless, the fact that obesity was used as evidence at all demonstrates that a child’s obese body is considered proof of abusive or neglectful parenting. But should it be?
Both Victorian children seem to have been placed into care, in part, because their mothers contributed to their obesity. The teenage girl was allowed to eat too much, while the boy’s medical intervention had failed because his mother let him sit “in his room, eating and inactive”. The courts and DHS assumed that if these children had different parents – or no parents at all – they would not be obese.
The central argument in these two cases is that the parents have neglected their child’s medical needs: the need to not be obese. Indeed, much of the debate around this issue (and childhood obesity in general) frames obesity as a medical problem that may be solved by medical intervention – including hormone treatment, medication and surgery – and of course, by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Read Mr Powell’s Full Post >> https://theconversation.edu.au
A third of the world’s adult population is physically inactive, the couch-potato lifestyle is killing around 5 million people each year, experts contributing to a special feature in the medical journal The Lancet say.
“Roughly three of every 10 individuals aged 15 years or older – about 1.5 billion people – do not reach present physical activity recommendations,” Dr Pedro Hallal and colleagues said in a report that described the problem as a pandemic.
The Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group paints an even grimmer picture for adolescents, with four out of five 13 to 15-year-olds not moving enough, the report said.
Inactivity was described for the study as failing to do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week, 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week, or a combination of the two :: Read the full article »»»»
Admission! This post was inspired by a FAT CHICK – a self confessed – apparently happy FAT CHICK! Chrissie Swan, ex-The Circle, and regular contributor to Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, penned a piece for the afore mentioned newspaper that has me ever so slightly incensed. The Age’s Sunday Life – Life Matters - is all fluff, it’s meant to lighten up our Sunday read, feel good articles that mix well with coffee, bagels and balmy afternoons. What’s so standout about Ms Swan’s piece is that a half dozen people have so far had a good grizzle about what a trollish, trashy tale this happy fat chick has penned.
Clearly gnawing on fat isn’t a light hearted ramble.
“I’m overweight and happy” Chrissie Swan said “It hasn’t always been this way, I mean, I’ve always been happy, but I’ve lived with the dream of a goal weight hanging in front of me like a carrot (cake) since I was about 11 years old”
Shock Horror, it’s a hard concept to grasp, someone happy being a fatty!?
No one wants to be fat, it’s a myth, no one wants to feel unwanted or worse wanted for being a complete oddity. Being over weight is a complicated place to be. Losing weight is a massive chore, trust me inside this average body lurks a fat person trying to get out. Keeping that fat chick in check is a daily struggle. Emotions, Hormones, Food and even Genes all seem to be against us staying thin :: Read the full article »»»»
“If our estimates are correct, then TV viewing is in the same league as smoking and obesity”
In a new study into the healthy habits of couch potatoes, a University of Queensland study has compared watching television to smoking and similar unhealthy habits. This comes on the back of a study last year with similar findings, do we sense a theme?
Professor David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, and colleagues, last year found an hour of TV viewing a day led to an 8 per cent higher risk of premature death, especially from cardiovascular disease. His team estimates that every single hour of TV watched after age 25 is associated with a reduction in life expectancy of around 22 minutes.
Each hour of TV you watch could cut 22 minutes from your lifespan,Veerman’s study has found.
Dr Lennert Veerman, from the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and colleagues, report their findings today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine :: Read the full article »»»»
The Nutrition Transition Program Prof. Barry Popkin
Food Politics Prof. Marion Nestle
PloS Medicine Open-access journal, original research relevant to human health
IANPHI International Association of National Public Health Institutes
Obesity Foundation India
World Health Organisation
World Public Health Nutrition Association World Health Organisation and the UN – The Future of Nutrition
International Diabetes Federation IDF partnership with food behemoth Nestle
source: marion nestle
source: the conversation