Monday, March 31, 2008

The Inflated, Overblown "Cost of Obesity"

Daniel Engber (associate editor at Slate) wrote an excellent op-ed for Sunday's Dallas Morning News slamming politicians for consistently blaming the "obesity crisis" for the rising costs of health care. In fact, our country's abysmal body image problem is the crisis we should really be talking about.

Research shows that body image has a bigger impact on overall health than weight does. Moreover, the rush to institute childhood obesity prevention programs may actually be turning kids on to disordered eating habits--and eating disorders certainly won't minimize health care costs. "[P]residential candidates should pledge support for a federal ban on weight-based discrimination," writes Engber. "If we stop blaming fat people for our problems, they might start feeling better – and start saving us money." [Dallas Morning News]

Illustration: Dan Page

1 comment:

Elaine Vigneault said...

We should certainly stop blaming fat people and put pressure on the industries and businesses that actually cause the health problems associated with the Standard American Diet (SAD): diabetes, heart disease...

We should get fast food out of elementary and high schools. We should eliminate soda and candy machines from campus, too. We should limit the liquor stores' proximity to each other (low income, dense, urban areas have liquor stores every corner and fresh, healthy foods are harder to find). We know high fat, high sodium, low fiber, high sugar or sugar substitute foods are dangerous. We should treat them like we treat cigarettes and alcohol.

And we should encourage positive body images in children regardless of size. We should promote health, not thinness.