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HBO Weight of Nation Under Attack: Called Fear-Mongering and Unscientific
With Federal government support, HBO is airing a supposedly civic-minded documentary on obesity. But scientists and health professionals call Weight of the Nation a misguided attack on fat people and an invitation to prejudice.
In the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
"We may be seeing one of the most misleading and misguided public health campaigns - ever," writes the website of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), "which has set up a site, "Debate the Weight," (http://sizediversityandhealth.org/
As Michele Simon, attorney and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How to Fight Back, writes on the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
"The war on "obesity" is a war on PEOPLE!," writes Marilyn Wann in the SF Weekly blog (http://blogs.sfweekly.com/
When "obesity" is the target, sound medicine falls by the wayside. Unforeseen costs run from ineffectual medical interventions (like futile advice to reduce) to the collateral psychological damage that arises from stigmatizing fat. Meanwhile, billions of taxpayer and consumer dollars have disappeared in pursuit of a slimmer future.
Rather than a worsening health crisis, size acceptance proponents say, government data shows that people are actually living longer and healthier. And then there are the many studies demonstrating that a focus on weight loss leads most often lead to weight gain over time and to "yo-yo'ing" weights that can increase risk for heart disease and other illness.
"The data is out there," charges Bacon, "so only prejudice against the aesthetics and 'otherness' of fat people can account for the hysteria behind Weight of the Nation. Movie-makers who truly mean well would do better to shift their lens from fat people to public policy and following the money behind the anti-obesity industrial complex that has emerged in past decades."
Have a weight-related story or question? Contact Linda for critical perspective and connections to additional experts and resources. Linda has been interviewed and quoted in national TV and radio broadcasts, and in blogs, reports and feature articles in outlets including the World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, New York Times, and Prevention magazine. She has also addressed significant professional gatherings including the American Dietetic Association and the UCSF Center for Obesity, Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST). More info can be found on Linda's website (www.lindabacon.org)
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