The Lancet published a piece by Stuart W. Flint and Sophie Reale called “Obesity Stigmatisation From Obesity Researchers” The authors attended the Association for the Study for Obesity conference and were “surprised at the stigmatising comments of some of the presenters”
So-called “renowned” “professional” researchers in the field of “obesity” presenting to their peers and making fat jokes from the stage. Jokes about fat people and sex, public transportation, and all manner of stereotypes and stigma that the research they are involved in has shown to be rampant, and harmful.
The authors were surprised by this, but I am not. There is no way that “researchers” who do not hold their subjects in complete contempt could possibly produce the type of drivel that comes off the “obesity” research line:
A study of the fuel costs of fat people that uses body size information from the 1960s and doesn’t have any information about how many fat people have driver’s licenses or what kinds of cars we drive.
A “study” of the cost of fat people to businesses that so debauches research methods in general, the scientific method in specific, and statistics, that it would get a first semester freshmen banned from taking any future classes on research or statistics.
Dietetic literature on weight management [that] fails to meet the standards of evidence based medicine. Research in the field is characterised by speculative claims that fail to accurately represent the available data.
The incessant use of a number (BMI) that has been shown to be deeply problematic, not to mentioned lowered at the recommendation a committee driven by people with financial ties to the diet industry.
Not to mention the massive conflict of interest that happens when most of this highly questionable research is funded by companies that profit from the highly questionable conclusions. Pair this delightful group with a media that wants eyeballs and is willing to stereotype and stigmatize fat people to get them, and you have a perfect storm to create the fatphobic, sizeist society in which we now live. Where billions of dollars are made off our backs.
Where the government encourages appearance based bullying from not just government entities, but employers, individuals and healthcare practitioners – in fact waging “War” on every citizen whose weight in pounds times 703 divided by our height in inches squared is greater than 35. Where the FDA and pharmaceutical companies want to eradicate obesity by either making fat people thin, or killing us and they don’t seem to care which, where political groups that received hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies that profit from weight loss actually think they can fool us into supporting them by suggesting that they want to eradicate fat people from the Earth, but are against stigmatizing us while they do it, and they say it with a straight face.
I live in this world and deal with the consequences of it each and every day so imagine my complete lack of shock that the so-called researchers who purport this shaming, stigma, bullying and oppression hold appearance-based prejudice against the people on whom they focus . My appreciation goes out to Stuart W. Flint and Sophie Reale for publicizing the truth about this and reminding us that sunlight is the best disinfectant. I only wish they had named names.
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