Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Are we feeding a fear of fatness? No shit, Sherlock!

This article is just too loaded with DUH! moments (and a lot of headdesk "idiots, WTF did you expect?" moments).
A nationwide obsession with childhood obesity is triggering a dramatic increase in the number of young people with eating disorders
No shit? Who would have ever guessed that harping about being fat and how disgusting and "deadly" it is would have that effect on kids. Who would have thought that kids would take those messages to heart and then go out and actually try to do something about it. I mean, really now, if those messages do that to adults who should have better critical thinking skills than children, why is it so surprising that those messages are fucking up the health of children? Do you assholes promoting this shit ever stop to think of the psychological health of fat people, or are you so fucking concerned with your idea of what is aesthetically appealing that you don't give a rat's ass about anything else?
A nine-year-old I know has recently “taken up” cycling. A few pounds over the mark, though by no means obese or even significantly overweight, he believes that exercise in regular bouts is the solution to his podginess. So on Saturday mornings he heads out with one of his parents on a predetermined bike route with the sole aim of burning fat. The farther he cycles the greater his sense of accomplishment, not in terms of sporting endeavour but because he can congratulate himself that day on expending more calories than he has consumed.
This boy equates exercise with slimness, and slimness with conforming to society's ideal of how a person of his age should look. He can tell you which foods are calorie-laden and the number of daily steps that need to be taken to stay healthy. On the face of things, perhaps, such a level of bodily awareness should be applauded among a generation so prone to obesity. Yet this boy is deeply self-conscious about his appearance and weight - warning signs, say experts, that he is one of a growing breed of youngsters with an extreme fear of obesity known medically as baryphobia.

And how is this boy going to feel if he doesn't lose those few pounds? Is he going to give up on exercise all together, even if he likes what he's doing, just because it didn't make him lose those pounds?
And give me a freaking break, this generation of kids is no more prone to "obesity" than any other generation of kids (if you put the BMI back where it was in 1998, you would see that the only increase in fat kids came about because the standards for being fat were lowered).
And baryphobia? WTF is up with coining new medical terms that don't mean jackshit? Call a spade a spade, assholes. It's not baryphobia, it's fat-phobia, the same damned thing you morons have been pushing on people for years now. You've been saying for years and years that fat is unhealthy, thin is healthy, and now you're surprised that people are getting eating disorders in order to be thin? And how long have you known that diets don't work? From the very beginning of pushing those fucking diets you've known that they don't work and make people fatter in the long run. But hey, that just keeps them coming back for a different solution (that puts more money in your pocket) that isn't going to work any better than the last one you gave them. So don't go all acting astonished that this kind of shit is happening, you created it.
There is no disputing the fact that more children than ever are too fat. Figures for 2006-07, published earlier this year by the NHS Information Centre from the National Child Measurement Programme, revealed that 22.9 per cent of children aged 4 to 5 in primary school reception classes were overweight or obese. Among those aged 10-11, the proportion rose to 31.6 per cent. But experts now say that such widespread condemnation of the obesity “epidemic” is triggering a new set of problems. With an overwhelming pressure to stay slim comes a fear of fatness that is now engrained in the psyche of many children long before they start secondary school. By the time they are teenagers, many are disturbingly obsessed about their shape and neurotic about totting up calories. For some, the fixation with food and weight becomes so extreme that they develop the eating disorders anorexia or bulimia nervosa.
Um, yeah, I'm disputing the fact that there are more fat kids now than ever before. See Sandy's article on kids and BMI if you don't believe me.
While it is important to raise awareness of the risks of being overweight, he says, the warnings should perhaps not be targeted at children. “We have spent a huge amount of effort getting obesity on to the public health map in recent years, but we have not been very selective as to which sections of the population the messages have been broadcast to. The result is we now have two problems - children with obesity and those who develop disordered eating habits because they are terrified of it.”
Dude, just because there is a risk associated with something, doesn't mean it's going to happen to every person every time. There's a risk I'll be in car accident when I get in my car to go somewhere. Doesn't mean that every time I get in my car and leave the driveway I'm going to be in an accident. Just because there's a risk of, say heart disease, associated with being fat doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to suffer from heart disease (and I'm almost 55, been fat for 30 of those years, and it hasn't hit me yet). Risks don't mean it's going to happen, risks mean it might/might not happen if circumstances are just right or if the Fates happen to frown/smile at you.
Last year, research at the University of Sydney demonstrated that a fear of fatness is causing more teenagers to starve themselves, abuse laxatives and smoke in an effort to avoid putting on weight. In the study on nearly 9,000 adolescents, funded by the Australian Research Council, there was almost a doubling of those aged 12-18 with “eating- disordered behaviour”, claimed Jenny O'Dea, the professor of nutrition who led the investigation.
Yep, and starvation, laxative abuse, and smoking are just so much more healthy than being fat. Give me a fucking break, what did you expect to happen when you push being thin at all costs as the only way to be healthy?
According to O'Dea, the heavy focus on childhood obesity and the media attention paid to “super-skinny celebrities” were to blame. “I think there has been undoubtedly a media panic and a moral panic about childhood obesity in the past six years,” she says. “I would certainly suggest that some of that comment has got into the minds of teenagers who think that losing weight will make them a better and happier person. But that's a big myth.”
Oh yeah, blame the media for the panic. The media is just following what governments and pharmaceutical/diet companies are pushing. If pharmaceutical companies weren't looking to make mega-bucks off diet drugs, and surgeons weren't looking to make mega-bucks off WLS, and diet companies weren't looking to make mega-bucks off diets that have never worked and will never work and none of them were pushing press releases about how deadly it is to be fat and how healthy it is to be thin, I don't think this would be nearly the problem it now is (I may be wrong on this one, but I don't think it's solely the media's fault). And of course, governments have to get in on it because they always know what is best for their citizens, we aren't smart enough to survive without NannyState telling us how to eat, shit, and breathe, ya know? More opportunities to take away our rights and tax us more into the bargain. Sorry, I'm not buying any of it, and I'm doing my damnedest to keep my grandkids from buying into the hype of "only thin is healthy".

H/T to wriggle99 over on Big Fat Blog

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