Tuesday, February 05, 2013
I am getting on my soap box for a minute:
A prominent bioethicist is offering a controversial fix for America's obesity epidemic: "fat-shaming." Daniel Callahan, senior research scholar and president emeritus of the Hastings Center, makes the suggestion in a new article, "Obesity: Chasing an Elusive Epidemic." Callahan likens what he calls his "edgier strategy" to anti-smoking campaigns of recent decades.
Really? Is this really where the world is headed?! I find it amazing in a time when bullying is brought to the forefront in the media as a BIG problem it would honestly be even considered that it would be ok to “fat-shame”. And at what weight would it be ok to start doing this when more than half of the country is considered at least overweight? I am OUTRAGED that this could be even considered in this day and age. Shall we shame those who are too thin? Shall we shame those who do something that we find not normal?
Dr. Callahan feels that it will combat obesity the same way it worked to defeat the smoking of cigarettes. Personally I do not see the correlation. Smoking is a voluntary habit that is picked up at some time in life (really when was the last time you saw an infant take a drag?). Obesity has a more systemic fight. Some people are predisposed to being larger than others. I am not using that as an excuse to my figure but it sure did not help. (oh and I have seen fat infants/toddlers). Some people have illness or disabilities that throw hurdles in the way of staying thin. Children only can eat what their parents give them.
But ultimately the largest difference between cigarettes and obesity? You can’t stop eating. I can go cold turkey and not smoke. I can not decide to not just eat. (Well I can but it wouldn't be very healthy). So as we still must eat, you need to be taught what you should eat and how much of it you need to eat. There is never an okay number of cigarettes to smoke or a right way to smoke them.
Most obese people will indicate that they have some emotional eating problems. Does no one think that are emotions will go into overdrive when we are picked on and humiliated everywhere we go? Teenage girls will often report bullying about their weight as reasons they have eating disorders (bulimia/anorexia), does this seem the “better” way to go?
So government sanctioned fat shaming? No thank you.
(If you would like to read more of Callahan's article, http://www.thehastingscenter.o