Archive for the ‘Obesity Epidemic’ Category

Obese No More! (Still fat)

November 22, 2012

When I started this journey (again) at 237.8 lbs that put me at a BMI of 35.1, which is severely obese or obesity class 2.

< 18.5 – Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 – Healthy Weight
25 – 29.9 – Overweight
30 – 34.9 – Class 1 Obesity (moderately obese)
35 – 39.9 – Class 2 Obesity (severely obese)
> 40 – Class 3 Obesity (morbidly obese)

In some ways I have been more eager to hit the 202.8 lb mark than making my 40 lb goal (although that will be no small achievement). At 202.8 lbs I am officially no longer in an obesity category I am merely overweight.

I know this is really just some invisible, imaginary and in many ways arbitrary line. However it is a line that is felt, especially working in a health-related field. I constantly see the statistic:

“Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one-third of adults are obese.”

That emphasis on obese makes it feel like those of us who crossed that line are somehow pulling the western world into the dreaded OBESITY EPIDEMIC. We are pulling down the ship. I hear the word obesity and I think of all the stock footage of people’s disembodied stomachs and bottoms jiggling down the sidewalk on the 6:00 pm newscast. I worry that it could be me!

In reality I know it is not true. Even at 237.8 lbs and 5’9″ I looked more like the cute chubby girl, than I did the 6:00 pm news footage. And as Jimmy Moore pointed out in Fat Head, the “obesity epidemic” is in large part created by the CDC’s adoption of BMI. Before widespread knowledge of BMI ‘fatness’ was measured by a number of different factors including weight, percentage body fat and overall size. But since BMI we now do a simple square and lump people into categories.

BMI is a terrible indicator of health:

National Public Radio
Globe and Mail
The Guardian

It ignores other health indicators such as cholesterol and triglycerides, total body fat as compared to body muscle, and cardio-vascular health. And, at 237.8 lbs I was a healthy woman. No arthritis, no elevated levels of any kind to concern my doctor and good heart health.

However, I do have to admit that BMI is, in my case, a reasonable starting point for a health indicator. Yes, BMI may put the super-fit Russel Crowe or Olympic athletes into a morbid obesity category because their muscle mass tips the scales in the wrong direction. But I wasn’t overweight – or obese – because of an over abundance of muscle.

I’m just plain fat and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with being fat. I’m happy and healthy at a BMI of 35.1 and now at a BMI of 29.9. So, why worry about BMI? Why celebrate my transition out of the obesity category and into the overweight category? Well, because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m one of those people the health statistics are warning us about. I’m not an anomaly. I may be healthy now, but if I keep the weight on then I am increasing my chances for a whole host of obesity related health problems. I may never get any of those problems if I am not genetically inclined, but since I don’t know if I am genetically inclined why roll the dice?

I really don’t know how much I have improved my health or decreased my chances of becoming unhealthy by moving out of the obesity category. All the ‘obesity treatments’ simply suggest losing 10 per cent or 20 per cent of the body mass can ‘greatly improve’ health outcomes. So, I’ve done that. And, I think I’ll keep doing it for a bit. I know more than anything keeping the weight off over the long term is what will improve my chances of staying healthy into old age.

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Loving my body

March 15, 2012

I no longer accept that fat equals unhealthy, ugly, lazy or any of the other negative adjectives that are foisted on fat people, and most of all on fat women. Increasingly I also question our perceptions of what is fat. While I don’t deny that I am fat, I am very aware that the social images of “slim” and “fit” are incredibly unhealthy themselves.

At the same time I am coming face to face with the realities that obesity does come with quality of life draw backs that could, if left unattended, become health problems. I am deeply skeptical now of the hysteria around the obesity epidemic, but I do not believe that the concerns about obesity are unfounded.

At my last physical I was given a clean bill of health. Everything is in working order and all of my blood, cholesterol and other levels are appropriate for a woman my age.

This could be a great reason to tell myself that all of my body concerns are in my head. That I am sucumbing to the relentless media drive that fat is bad.

After two years of reading an incredible amount of body size/ body image / feminist / media literacy literature it is difficult to reconcile wanting to lose weight / size with accepting a positive sense of self. What I am coming to terms with is the idea that focusing too much on the size acceptance can be harmful, maybe not as much or in the same way as obsessive dieting, but still harmful.

Recognizing what my body needs is about finding that balance which includes loving my body at the size and shape that it is and still honouring my body when it sends me signals that I need to do something to care for it, which may include losing weight.

Loving my curves!

March 14, 2012

For the past three years I have bounced between 200 to 220 lbs. When I crossed the 200 lb for the first time around 2003 I was horrified. Crossing that mark, I think, sent me into my most unhealthy years since having been hospitalized for anorexia. While anorexia was unarguably unhealthier physically and psychologically, my response to crossing the 200 lb mark and struggles to get back below it have been unhealthy emotionally and intellectually.

I never abused myself emotionally as an anorexic as much as I have now that I am plus sized. Anorexia was very much about control, success, achievement and receiving validation for my efforts… well at least until it almost killed me.

Being fat however, is about failure, guilt, shame, ignorance, laziness, greed, ugliness. I can be made to feel like a pariah, someone not deserving of love, kindness, hope or charity.

Like many plus sized women I have been successful in other areas of my life. I have a good education, I am making progress in my career, I am in a committed relationship of over 10 years, I have strong family connections and close friendships, I have interests and hobbies that keep me busy and entertained. In short, I have a very good life.

So, why was I letting myself get so down about my body size?

I don’t really know.

It is hard to be self-evaluative about media influence, peer pressure, pop-culture medicine and how much all of this does or does not affect self-image. I could claim, as many do, that I am not affected by advertising. But, working in communications, I know that is simply not true.

What I have been able to understand is that my low self-image had less to do with how I felt about myself and more to do with what I thought others were telling me I should feel about myself.

Luckily for me I’m friends with a lot of free thinking women (and men) who are are good at pointing out toxic pop culture trends. I went down the rabbit hole and began to explore fat acceptance. What did it mean? Why would anyone do that? Didn’t they know that fat was unhealthy and unhealthy is bad?

Turns out there’s a lot that I didn’t know. Like epigenetics. Like the role the food industry plays in emphasizing fitness as core component of weight loss. Like the huge changes in the fashion and modeling industry. Like the existence of Photoshop Fluid.

On this journey, I learned to accept my fat body. To even love it. I am more comfortable, as a person in my fat supple soft skin that I ever was with my rib cage and hip bones sticking out. I’m warmer for one, and I have less body hair for another.

My partner who is a wonderful insanely-high-metabolism skinny boy (well not so much a boy anymore at closer to 40 than 30) also helped with this. He met me when I was over 200 lbs. He has seen me at weights ranging from 172 lbs up to 260+ lbs. My weight has never been an issue for him. No… I didn’t believe him either, but I did have to agree with him that after more than 10 years and me having no evidence that he has ever thought my body was not sexy I might have to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

WhenI look at women, the ones I do find attractive certainly fall into the plus sized category. They are round, soft, sassy, charismatic, and wonderfully erotic in a way that I simply do not find the super-skinny models on billboards and magazines to be.

So, I’ve reached 30, I’ve come into myself as a person, and I have accepted my curves. But, I’m still thinking of losing weight — does that mean I’m a hypocrite?

I know that I don’t know

March 13, 2012

My challenge, when it comes to hopping on and off the diet/weight loss/lifestyle change/nutrition/fitness/healthy body/healthy mind bandwagon(s) is that I really don’t know what is right and what is wrong.

Not knowing what is right and what is wrong is so much more than not knowing how to make the scale go in a downwards direction and then stay there.

As women our identities are so immersed in body size and body shape that it’s difficult to define what is and is not success. Are lower numbers success? If so, how low? What about higher numbers? Like more pay at my job, being able to afford more expensive foods, clothes, entertainment? Is it about numbers at all? What about happiness? Fulfillment? Sense of self? Accomplishment?

Isn’t it better to focus on self acceptance rather than weight and body size? Are the two mutually exclusive? Can fat acceptance exist at the same time as a weight loss plan? Can losing weight be a positive, empowering process or will it always be body-centric and objectifying?

I don’t really know what the answers are to all of these questions. I know what I hope for.

Oh FFS! Not again!

March 12, 2012

Image

In 2005 I reached my heaviest body weight ever at 260+ lbs. I say plus because I simply couldn’t face the scale at that point.

In 1996 I was hospitalized for my lowest body weight ever at 88.1 lbs. I know that weight exactly since I was obsessively weighing myself ever hour or so.

In 1990 I was a relatively normal weight kid, who ate healthy food, prepared at home by a stay-at-home mum, who was into whole grains, whole foods, organic foods, no processed foods etc. I was active and not too concerned about body image.

Today I am heading back towards my heaviest weight ever having climbed back to 237.8 lbs.

What happened between 1990 and 2012?

How have I spent the last 22 years developing a horrible relationship to food and my body swinging wildly from one end of the eating disorder spectrum to the other?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I don’t want to be writing this blog entry again in 2015, 2017, 2020 and 2024 and so on.

Fat Tax, Why Not?

August 7, 2008

Is there really a difference between Joe Camel and Ronald McDonald?

The knowledge of the negative impacts of moderate to high consumption of junk food on health are now running parallel to our knowledge of the impacts of smoking on health 25 years ago. The parallels are scary. The first lawsuits have been called frivolous. Individual responsibility and consumer choice/freedom advocates are paraded in front of the cameras; not to counter the facts, but to let us know it is our right to make poor dietary choices. As the debate rages on the scientific evidence and the bodies are piling up.

I can find no credible research that says that moderate to high consumption of calorie dense, low nutrition foods is good for you, or even, not harmful. Finding research on the effects of calorie dense, low nutrition diets is not difficult.

American Dietician Association – Fact Sheet on Healthy Eating on the Run
Government of Ontario – How To Read Nutrition Labels
Heart-Health Canada – Foods To Avoid

If we know with reasonable scientific certainty that junk foods are bad for us, why are we not taking action? Why have we not banned them, taxed them, or at least stopped advertising to our children?

Considering advertising may provide some answers. Junk food is big BIG business. I’ve stolen from Dr’s blog HealthHabits, his entry “Your Kids Are Being Targeted“, and here are some quick numbers on the advertising spending of the fast food and junk food manufacturers in the United States alone.

In short the Federal Trade Commission Reports that the nations largest food and beverage companies spent $1.6 Billion per year advertising products – especially carbonated drinks – to kids.

Here is the question for me, if America’s 44 largest food and beverage companies have $1.6 Billion dollars to spend on advertising each year, why should we not incrementally tax their products?

PERSPECTIVE

Before I get into this debate let me say that I am coming at this question from a Canadian perspective. As I see it there are three key differences in Canada that concern this debate. First, we have universal health care which we pay for through our income tax system. Second, we have controlled government-regulated access to alcohol and (less so) cigarettes. Third, we have mandatory food labeling.

WHAT WOULD A FAT TAX ACHIEVE?

Fat Tax, Twinkie Tax, Junk Food Tax. What I am referring to here is a tax that would be placed on high calorie, low nutrition value foods. Not a tax on individual people who are above a certain BMI or Body Fat Percentage.

    1. An Economic Dis-incentive to purchase junk foods.
    2. Create an Economic Incentive for the manufacture and production of more healthy food options
    3. A revenue stream that can be re-directed into public nutrition education, health care, healthy food subsidies, healthy food subsidies for low income households
    4. A reduction in the social acceptance of junk food consumption.

1. Economic Disincentive to Purchase Junk Food. A tax placed on the manufacture of calorie dense, low nutrition “junk food” has two potential outcomes. It may encourage the manufacturer to produce less junk food as it will now be more expensive to produce. Or, the manufacturer will pass the cost onto the consumer. If the cost is passed onto the consumer there is a wide body of research which shows that junk food is largely an impulse purchase item. Impulse purchase items are highly price sensitive, and, if the price is raised on impulse purchase items then it is reasonable to assume a decline in the rate of purchase.

2. Economic incentive for the manufacture and production of more healthy options. As the forced labeling of Trans Fats came in, there was a scramble by manufacturers to reduce and eliminate Trans Fats from their foods, then splash the news all over their packaging. As knowledge of the negative impacts on health of fast food has spread, fast food chains have increasingly offered menu items that at least appear to be healthier such as salads, soups, apple slices, wraps, veggie burgers etc… Forcing food items to be identified as junk food would create an economic incentive for manufacturers to healthy up their recipes or provide more health conscious options. This would work particularly well if revenues from junk food taxes were used to subsidize the cost of healthy foods.

3. Creating of a Revenue Stream That Can Be Re-Directed. If a new tax is created there are several options for the use of this new revenue stream. First, and foremost for our tax-sensitive citizens this new revenue stream could be tax-neutral. Tax shifting and tax diversification are both very desirable options to avoid continued tax burden on income and property taxes. If we do not opt for a tax-neutral solution, then revenue can be used to create education programs for our public or our children on better nutrition, dollars from the junk food tax could be re-directed into the anticipated health care needs of an increasingly obese population, a three tiered food ranking could be created where junk foods are subject to tax, foods that do not fit the junk food description are tax neutral and foods that are considered high priority for healthy diets could be given tax rebates, or we could re-direct the tax revenue into healthy food allowances or healthy food subsidies for low income families. There’s lots of ideas.

4. Making Junk Food Less Socially Acceptable. It took the Anti-Smoking advocates 25 years, limitations on advertising and many increases on taxation to reach a point where smoking is now increasingly socially unacceptable, and for the first time we are hearing reports of declining smoking among 18-24 year-olds, typically the highest category. In the long run the effects of a junk food tax are not to make people who are currently addicted to or heavy users of junk food reduce their consumption, but to make new entry into this market less desirable with more barriers to entry.

FAT TAX IS BAD!

The primary arguments that I have found against a fat tax are as follows:

    1. Will Not Reduce Obesity.
    2. Hurts Civil Liberties.
    3. Impacts The Poor.

1. Will Not Reduce Obesity. A tax alone will not reduce obesity rates, what is needed is more education on nutrition and exercise, better food labeling, and better health and nutrition programs in early childhood education.

2. Hurts Civil Liberties. Big Brother, The Government, and no one else should have a say on what I do with or put into my body. The Government is stepping into an area of private life where it does not belong, and it will cost the government billions of dollars to implement this tax. It is a waste of time and resources for an infringement on civil rights that should not take place to begin with.

3. Impacts the Poor. There is a socioeconomic relationship between obesity and poverty. Fatty junk foods cost the least. People with lower incomes are likely to have had or have access to less education and will not be as informed on food choices. By imposing a tax on junk food we would be taxing those who can least afford it, and who do not have the same tools to make nutritional decisions as upper classes.

REBUTTAL (Yeah, But…)

1. Part Of The Solution.

A tax on junk food will not single handedly reduce obesity. One tax increase won’t likely impact obesity at all in our generation. If there is a tax increase tomorrow, someone is not going to walk into McDonalds and think “$0.50 more for my Big Mac! I’m gonna go get that $6.99 free range organic chicken wrap down the street instead!“.

To reduce the rate of obesity and hopefully reverse it we need: better food labeling; better public education; more food, nutrition and exercise education for our children; and, less junk food advertising… In short we need a paradigm shift.

A junk food tax can be part of that solution. It can signal societies recognition that junk food, like cigarettes and alcohol are items that society considers indulgences and not entirely socially acceptable. The tax signals that more caution should be used when consuming these products than your average produce isle banana.

Claiming that the junk food tax should not be implemented because it will not single handedly solve the obesity epidemic is like saying there should not be a legal drinking age because there is still underage drinking.

2. Leave Some For The Next Generation.

The environmental movement has made it mainstream knowledge that what we do in this generation will impact the next generation. Every election in Canada Health Care is the number one issue. As we watch the baby boomers retire and consider the increasing demands on our health care system as better geriatric infrastructure and care is needed for our increasingly elderly population we need to consider what can be done to make sure that our health care infrastructure does not crumble.

Health Care is only part of the overall health formula. Increasingly research shows us that for every dollar we spend in prevention we save three dollars in health care costs. No one should be denied health care, but as long as we are sharing the costs of caring for our sick, should we not also try as much as possible to prevent our population from getting sick. This makes both humanitarian and economic sense.

3. Teach A Man To Fish.

The mark of a good society is how it treats is poorest citizens. We know that if you use junk food from moderate to heavy levels you are more likely to be obese, and obese people are at much higher risks for a very long list of diseases and health complications. To argue that we should not impose a junk food tax because it would hurt the poor the most, since they consume the most junk food to me is a complete deflection of the real problems in poverty.

If we accept that poor people are eating junk food because they cannot afford healthy food then we need to address why poor people cannot afford healthy foods. We need to provide better funding to our food banks, we need to provide more direct to family assistance, and we need to look at the cost margins of buying healthy vs. junk foods.

If we accept that poor people eat junk food because they don’t have the education to make better food choices. We are first making a huge assumption about the level of intelligence of lower income people. If we want to proceed down this path the solution is not to provide them with the tools to continue to make poor nutritional choices but to provide them with education programs in the communities, education programs in the schools and after school programs, pre-natal and post-natal nutritional information, and provide primary care workers nutritional educational tools.

CONCLUSION

I don’t see the downside to the junk food tax. We are going to need to generate revenue from somewhere to pay for our increasing health care needs, and I would rather have that revenue cost come from the manufacture and sale of junk foods than from the “Health Care Premium” recently imposed by the McGuinty Government.

Fat, Fatophobe?

August 6, 2008

Is this like being called a self-hating _______ (fill in the ethnicity)?

I spent too much time online yesterday discovering some new blogs that taught me some new words like Fatophile and Fatophobe. The terms seem to be the property of slang in blog land at the current time.

John of the Total Transformations blog has a good summary of the arguments on his entry titled Fatophile vs. Fatophobe

I should also thank McBloggenstein for introducing me to the term fatophobe on his blog entry, Wait… Does that make me a fatophobe?

To get the most acceptable definition of fatophile, or to be more politically correct “Fat Acceptance” I looked up the NAAFA: National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance Here is what they define as the issues:

Discrimination towards fat people in the workplace, education system, and healthcare system has been clearly documented and is growing rapidly. Weight discrimination was reported by 7% of US adults in 1995-96, and almost doubled to 12% by 2006.

To improve working conditions, healthcare, and overall quality of life for millions of Americans, weight must be added to the list of categories covered in anti-discrimination laws. This can be accomplished on a federal, state, or local level.

Size Discrimination Consequences are Real!

  • Creates medical and psychological effects
  • Results in wage disparity
  • Affects hiring and promotion
  • Affects academic options and advancement
  • Why Do People Partcipate in Size Discrimination? They Believe…

  • Stigma and shame motivate dieting and other attempts at weight loss
  • People fail to lose weight because of poor self-discipline and willpower
  • How Does Our Culture Allow Size Discrimination?

  • Sanctions overt expression of bias in social situations and through mass media
  • Says thinness is desirable & perpetuates societal messages that obesity = failure as a person
  • Places blame on the victim ignores contributing environmental factors
  • In response to the “Fat Acceptance” position people and organizations that promote reducing body fat do so almost exclusively from a health and wellness standpoint. A random google search can pull up any number of articles on the side effects of obesity on health.

    The Journal of American Medical Association: Vol 289, no 14, 2003 Effect of Weight Loss and Lifestyle Changes on Vascular Inflammatory Markers in Obese Women

    The Canadian Medical Association Journal: vol 160, issue 4 The cost of obesity in Canada

    World Health Organization Website: Obesity Epidemic

    The articles referenced above are from the most respected medial journals in the United States, Canada and the World Health Organization these are a very small sampling of what is available online.

    It is perhaps understandable that with national governments and international governing bodies lining up with health experts across the world to declare obesity a danger to individuals and society that a fat acceptance movement has emerged.

    Fat Acceptance: The Pro’s

    (Another good youtube video that takes too long to load – unfortunately http://www.youtube.com/watchv=YDakFfLQDF4&feature=related)

    There are some important points made by the fat acceptance movement:

    The flip side to obese is underweight or anorexic. There is a great deal of pressure on young women to be “too thin”. At the same time many women who are in a healthy size range report that they feel “fat” because they do not look as thin as the models, and women who are overweight are often vilified in popular culture.

    Increased images of a variety of body types and sizes in the media, advertising and popular culture could go a long way to building a society that is more accepting of difference.

    Research on size discrimination is not as widely available as research on the health effects of obesity, however there is a good body of credible research detailing the effects of size discrimination. The American Psychological Association agrees that size discrimination does occur and is in fact at its worst amongst children.

    Discrimination clearly does have all of the impacts listed by NAAFA

    Size Discrimination Consequences are Real!

  • Creates medical and psychological effects
  • Results in wage disparity
  • Affects hiring and promotion
  • Affects academic options and advancement
  • When considering wage, hiring, promotion, academic options and advancement, the only factors that should be considered are a persons ability as it pertains to the job, or field of study. Including factors that do not affect job performance or academic ability is unjustified discrimination to which I can see no social benefit.

    We also know that the highest rates of obesity occur in the lower middle classes. Higher education and higher incomes typically lead to healthier lifestyles.

    Finally there are environmental factors that contribute to obesity. The dollars spent on advertising of fast foods, junk foods, oversized restaurant foods and general consumerism of foods in North America is a multi-billion dollar industry that is largely unregulated.

    Fat Fear: Is it all bad?

    What if we were more afraid of fat? Can we be afraid of fat as a society without targeting individuals? If social values really do value thin is that a bad thing? Can we value thin without implying that someone who is fat is a failure?

    I agree that no one should be discriminated against in the job market or academic sphere because of elements that do not impact job or academic performance. I have trouble extending the Charter of Human Rights which in Article 2 is meant to protect people from discrimination based on physical attributes beyond their control or cultural practices which should be preserved to include the protection of fat people.

    As compared with hundreds of years of colonialization, slave trade, refusal of citizenship rights for minorities and women, the holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia, and now Darfur I can’t see the plight of overweight people in the same category of protected persons.

    Why should fat be a protected status? The difference for me is that a black, hispanic, asian, jewish, woman, can perform work of equal quality to a white man but cannot (should not have to) change the colour of their skin, religion/ethnicity, or gender.

    A fat person can in most cases change their body size. The question becomes should they have to?

    I have already stated that so long as a persons body size does not impact their ability to preform a job or academic appointment it should not be a factor. That being said there is an overwhelming body of research that shows the sever impacts of obesity on health. These effect range from chronic diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular risk and disease and many many more.

    Here in Canada we are constantly debating how to best use our precious health resources without having to further burden our tax base. I strongly believe in universal health care, I do not believe that anyone should be refused health care. I also believe in civic responsibility.

    In this way I do not believe a fat person should have to change their weight to obtain a job they are qualified to do. I do believe a fat person should be socially encouraged to get fit as a social good, just like not smoking is now a social good.

    I do not believe a smoker should be denied medical treatment, however I do believe the government can and should engage in campaigns that limit the accessibility of smoking, that promote smoke-free lifestyle choices, and that stigmatize smoking to the young as a poor lifestyle choice. Likewise I believe these tactics should and can be implemented to reduce societal risk of obesity. When we all pay for each other’s health care we should take care to preserve it and it’s availability.

    I’m sure at this point some people are asking what about the people who can’t help but be fat?

    There are lists of diseases that contribute to or exacerbate obesity, it is however difficult to believe that all of these diseases have increased at the astonishing rate of obesity in North America such that the majority or even a significant minority of the obesity cases could be medically induced.

    Furthermore I would argue that if obesity were to go into decline, and lifestyle choices leading to obesity become less and less common then less research and funding will go into studying obesity epidemic as a cultural phenomena. Then more resources and funding could be diverted to study obesity causing disorders. This would give more attention to those specific diseases as individual cases rather than an assumption that all obesity is caused by poor lifestyle choices.

    The final NAAFA position argues that there are environmental factors that contribute to obesity. Essentially that society is largely responsible for the obesity epidemic and as a result should accept obesity as our own creation and therefore protect it.

    There are billions and billions of dollars spent each year on advertising of food, fast foods, junk foods, fad diets, and fashions that all send very mixed messages about what we should consume and what we should look like. I don’t think that it is easy to be fit in North America in this consumer climate.

    There is however a danger in the environmental factors argument. While they do contribute to obesity, these contributing factors cannot and should not be considered separate from or instead of individual responsibility.

    The advertising makes it look good, the smell engineers make it smell good and the taste engineers make it taste good (uh, sort of)… but it is each of our individual choices to decide what we do or do not put into our bodies.

    Would it not be more productive to create better education for people to make better choices with? To limit and discourage the advertising of fast food and junk food in the same way that cigarette and alcohol advertising has been limited? We as a society made a mistake embracing the fast paced, instant everything, consume at all costs mantra, but that does not mean that we should accept the results of that mistake rather than trying to fix the root causes.

    If fat fear was more common, would we develop a corresponding fear of the choices that make us fat? Would this consumer demand be big enough to create a larger market for healthy organic foods and realistic images of portion sizes? Perhaps a dose of fear would not be an entirely bad thing.

    Fearing fat people as individuals is not helpful, but fearing fat as a society and it’s impacts on our social infrastructure could be socially beneficial.

    Am I A Fat-o-phobe?

    I think I can firmly plant myself on the fence on this issue. Or more accurately I think there is a wide stretch of middle-ground that can be covered.

    We can embrace different body types, sizes and shapes, value a diversity of colours, races, genders, heights and yes… weights without promoting obesity as a valid lifestyle choice or minimizing the risks therein.

    We can fight discrimination in our society while also fighting for the promotion of healthy living over junk food living.

    We can reconfigure our mental environment to value nature, out doors activities, meeting our neighbours and forming viable sustainable communities that make individuals feel included and people not consumers.

    I won’t be placing my own BBW ad anytime soon, but I am not going to dismiss my next job applicants capabilities based on their weight either.

    In short I don’t embrace and never will embrace the “fat acceptance” movement, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize that we are all human and all entitled to dignity and respect.