Stef (firecat) wrote,
Stef
firecat

They almost said it like it is



An abstract bemoaning the difficulty in treating "obesity":
http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Publications/HCR/Detail.aspx?id=6184
Obesity may be the most difficult and elusive public health problem this country has ever encountered. Unlike the classical infectious diseases and plagues that killed millions in the past, it is not caused by deadly viruses or bacteria of a kind amenable to vaccines for prevention, nor are there many promising medical treatments so far. While diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure can be caused by obesity, it is easier to treat those conditions than one of their causes. I call obesity elusive partly because of the disturbingly low success rate in treating it, but also because it requires changing the patterns, woven deeply into our social fabric, of food and beverage commerce, personal eating habits, and sedentary lifestyles. It also raises the most basic ethical and policy questions: how far can government and business go in trying to change behavior that harms health, what are the limits of market freedom for industry, and how do we look upon our bodies and judge those of others?
My rewrite of the abstract:

" 'Obesity' may be the most difficult and elusive thing that people looking to make money have tried to categorize as a public health problem. Unlike the classical infectious diseases and plagues that killed millions in the past, it is not caused by deadly viruses or bacteria of a kind amenable to vaccines for prevention, nor are there many promising medical treatments so far. In fact it doesn't affect health that much for the vast majority of people who are labeled with it, and is not really a big deal at all. While diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure can be accompanied by 'obesity', it is easier to treat those conditions than the plumpness that sometimes accompanies them. Also, treating those conditions actually works a lot of the time, whereas temporarily changing the plumpness doesn't do anything in the long run. I call 'obesity' elusive partly because of the disturbingly low success rate in scaring people about it, but also because creating that fear requires changing the patterns, woven deeply into our social fabric, of food and beverage commerce, personal eating habits, and sedentary lifestyles. It also raises the most basic ethical and policy questions: how far can government and business go in trying to change behavior that doesn't harm health, what does it even mean to call obesity a behavior when it's actually a descriptor, what are the limits of market freedom for industry, and how do we look upon our bodies and judge those of others?"

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Tags: fat, healthism, linkage, opinionated rants, things that piss me off
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