So the R W Johnson foundation, which for some reason is majorly invested in having people believe that fat is gonna kill us all, has come out with a new publication that tries to revive the notion that "obesity" "kills" a huge percentage of the USian population, and that unless something is done to prevent this, "obesity" is going to reverse "more than a century of steady gains in life expectancy."
I'm channelling the petunia from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series because this reminds me of the literally-created-on-the-back-of-a-napkin calculations that were often cited for a while that claimed "obesity" "killed" 300,000 people a year in the US. This meme was refuted by some papers by KM Flegal, whose studies claimed that not only was "obesity" implicated in less than one-tenth that number of deaths but also people who were in the "overweight" to "mildly obese" categories on average lived longer than people in the "normal weight" category.
Deb Burgard discusses the new RWJ paper and how it and other writings like it betray our culture's racism and "illusion of immortality."
Some choice quotes:
Look at how low Masters’ rate of death-attributable-to-obesity is for Black men – that’s not because Black men are living so long in “obesity-free” bodies, it’s because so many Black men are killed or die young from all the other assaults they face all their lives so that by the time we consider obesity it is at the end of a long line of much clearer causes of early death.
Why are efforts to police the weight of the bodies of people of color getting so much more traction, and yes, funding, than efforts to address racism, poverty, unequal access to education and healthcare, the school-to-prison pipeline, wage discrimination, unequal sentencing, death penalty decisions, etc.?
Fat people are the target of so much of the cultural baggage around our collective frozen denial about the actual life cycle of humans that I believe it is in itself a risk factor for our health.
My death will not be a point for one side or the other. I am opting out of the illusion of immortality as a solution to this terror of not being seen. Instead, I am going to struggle to be seen, and still know that I will die anyway.
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