Social Justice Dieting: Fat Shaming to Blame for Obesity, Not Overeating and Lack of Exercise

It’s not your fault, it’s the bullies.

Well, we’ve gotten to the point in Social Justice America where fat people no longer need to blame poor eating and lack of exercise for their weight problems but the bullies who have fat-shamed them.

The Obesity Action Coalition — yes, there is such a thing — states that fat jokes “remain a socially acceptable form of prejudice in American society.” This “weight stigma” is what leads to chronic obesity.

So, in OAC’s assessment, what causes obesity besides the occasional thyroid condition? Weight bias -- at work, at school, and even by doctors whose job it is to point out that losing weight will make you healthier:

Negative attitudes about individuals with excess weight have been reported by physicians, nurses, dietitians, psychologists and medical students. Research shows that even healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment of obesity hold negative attitudes.

Bias may have a negative impact on quality of healthcare for individuals affected by obesity.

Research indicates that 46 percent of women affected by obesity reported that small gowns, narrow exam tables and inappropriately sized medical equipment were barriers to receiving healthcare. In addition, 35 percent reported embarrassment about being weighed as a barrier to care.

OAC offers many suggestions to doctors on how they can protect the feelings of their embarrassed patients. Here are some of them:

  • Wide examination tables, bolted to the floor
  • Hydraulic tilt tables
  • Open arm chairs that can support more than 300 pounds
  • Ensure 6-8 inches of space between chairs
  • Weight-sensitive reading materials [no health magazines, then?]

Leftist outlet Mic.com raved over OAC’s recommendations with its own social justice commentary:

Seemingly well intentioned instances of fat shaming — like discouraging someone from eating dessert or telling them they need to be more active — are socially acceptable because they're framed as concern for someone's health. But in a sick twist, fat shaming is proven to be counterproductive. The language we use to talk about weight and the assumptions we make based on a person's size can contribute to more weight gain and less self care, like seeking medical attention.

The shame people feel about their weight doesn't work as inspiration for dropping pounds. In fact, the stress associated with being overweight could potentially have the opposite effect. Numerous studies show weight stigma and discrimination can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that's been linked to overeating, binge eating and weight gain. 

Further “research” suggests that controlling what you eat and how much you exercise is making people fatter. Because diet and exercise are “stressful,” the anxiety leads to binge eating.

These groups also blame shows like The Biggest Loser for “suggesting getting thin is about working hard and really wanting it.”

It's time to check our thin privilege.

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