Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obesity: Public Health Problem or Basic Human Right?

We all know about the health issues that come with obesity. Increased risk of diabetes, cardiac issues, some cancers, liver and gall bladder problems among others.

What I did not know until today is that there is a publication called "The International Journal of Obesity", and it publishes articles about things like the problem of weight discrimination (of course it also publishes articles like "Effect of dairy and non-dairy calcium on fecal fat excretion in lactose digester and maldigester obese adults", but that doesn't get picked up by NPR)!

I certainly am not in favor of discrimination, but I guess I have enough Puritan/Calvinist DNA still running through me to worry about a slippery slope here.

On the public health side of things, we want to get out the message that obesity is bad, but we somehow still need to treat obese individuals with respect and fairness.


Tom said...

I'm certainly am not in favor of LEGAL discrimination. But other kinds? I discriminate all the time -- against those I think are lazy, or slovenly, against those who seek governmental (that is, violent) solutions to perceived social problems, and Yes, against those who care so little about their own health as to carry around a huge girth.

If I were a cop of a judge, I'd have a professional duty to be fair. But I'm not that.

mjh said...

Consider reading The Obesity Myth. It surveys the medical literature and concludes that the negative health impacts from obesity are overblown. And that our obsession with fat is more about a socially acceptable way to create 2nd class people.

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