The Big Fat Con

The Big Fat Con Sto­ry: Size real­ly does­n’t mat­ter. You can be just as healthy if you’re fat as you can if you’re slen­der. And don’t let the obe­si­ty ‘experts’ per­suade you oth­er­wise, argues Paul Campos

Con­sid­er this: from the per­spec­tive of a prof­it-max­imis­ing med­ical and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try, the ide­al dis­ease would be one that nev­er killed those who suf­fered from it, that could not be treat­ed effec­tive­ly, and that doc­tors and their patients would nev­er­the­less insist on treat­ing any­way. Luck­i­ly for it, the Amer­i­can health care indus­try has dis­cov­ered (or rather invent­ed) just such a dis­ease. It is called “obe­si­ty”. Basi­cal­ly, obe­si­ty research in Amer­i­ca is fund­ed by the diet and drug indus­try — that is, the eco­nom­ic actors who have the most to gain from the con­clu­sion that being fat is a dis­ease that requires aggres­sive treat­ment. Many researchers have direct finan­cial rela­tion­ships with the com­pa­nies whose prod­ucts they are evaluating.

As The Hand­book Of Obe­si­ty Stud­ies notes, “In het­ero­ge­neous and afflu­ent soci­eties such as the Unit­ed States, there is a strong inverse cor­re­la­tion of social class and obe­si­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly for females.” In oth­er words, on aver­age, poor peo­ple in Amer­i­ca are fat and rich peo­ple are thin. The dis­gust the thin upper class­es feel for the fat low­er class­es has noth­ing to do with mor­tal­i­ty sta­tis­tics and every­thing to do with feel­ings of moral supe­ri­or­i­ty. Pre­cise­ly because Amer­i­cans are so repressed about class issues, the dis­gust the (rel­a­tive­ly) poor engen­der in the (rel­a­tive­ly) rich must be pro­ject­ed on to some oth­er dis­tin­guish­ing characteristic.

Extract from The Obe­si­ty Myth: Why Amer­i­ca’s Obses­sion With Weight Is Haz­ardous To Your Health by Paul Cam­pos. I want this book!

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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