Tag: obesity panic

Fighting bad health, not obesity

In the Guardian this week I’m writing about how advocates for healthy food and journalists covering addictive junk food should focus on the bad health outcomes of that food instead of body size. I differ with much of the Feministe commentariat on a lot of food issues, especially insofar as I think the government should absolutely incentivize healthy eating and exercise, and I’m fine with limiting sizes of nutritionally useless, almost-entirely-bad-for-you processed items like soda (I’m also fine leveling taxes on products like soda, alcohol, cigarettes, etc). I prefer positive incentives — letting food stamps count double at farmers’ markets, for example — but I’m fine with doing both. That’s because at a basic level, it is the government’s job to promote the public health. How we eat is central to our health. My issue comes in with the obesity justification. Promote everyone’s health, whether we’re fat or thin or somewhere in between — because bad food is damaging to all bodies, not just fat ones. A piece of the column:

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta shames fat kids to save them

It was surveys of two towns in Georgia that convinced Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta that the nation’s relentless campaign against childhood obesity wasn’t hitting hard enough: Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the U.S., and parents in the towns surveyed seemed unaware of their kids’ obesity. So to promote their Strong4Life campaign, Children’s decided that a painfully blunt approach was necessary, and damn the consequences–even if those consequences involved putting sad, overweight children on billboards and TV ads to shame their parents into action.

An appetite for moral panics

Anthony Bourdain has had freakouts over Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, Alice Waters, Guy Fieri, and now Paula Deen. The most recent pissiness–the carping on Deen–was because (he said) she is beholden to corporate interests and she features foods (southern foods,…

Fat, Gender and Achievement

File this one under “Fat is a feminist issue“: MUCH of the debate about the nation’s obesity epidemic has focused, not surprisingly, on food: labeling requirements, taxes on sugary beverages and snacks, junk food advertisements aimed at children and the…