‘Fat Shaming’ is the New Hate Crime

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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.

Why is this startling news? Could it be that people hold negative attitudes about obesity because obesity is actually a negative thing?

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.

But why does one go to the doctor? To get the truth … or to feel better about oneself? And of what value is feeling better about oneself if it’s based on a lie, or an evasion of the facts? How do we expect doctors and nurses to do their jobs if they don’t weigh you? These same patients are ready to sue the doctors and nurses at the drop of a hat, for not properly doing their jobs. And now we condemn them for weighing their patients in the doctor’s office, when failing to do so will make doing their jobs properly even harder.

The conclusion of these startlingly obvious research results, no doubt funded by government dollars? (Who else would fund it?) Health professions are engaged, they say, in “fat shaming.”

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.

But if telling the truth is now “shaming” and therefore automatically and always bad, then what’s the alternative? According to this Obesity Action Coalition, the only alternative is to impose the obesity equivalent of the Americans With Disabilities Act on doctor’s offices and hospitals, as if they didn’t already have enough to contend with, since Obamacare.

Examples of alternatives to fat shaming: Wide examination tables, bolted to the floor;  hydraulic tilt tables;  open arm chairs that can support more than 300 pounds; ensuring 6-8 inches of space between chairs; weight-sensitive reading materials (presumably no health magazines).

The Obesity Action Coalition, while sensitive to shaming against fat people, seems to suffer no reservations when it comes to shaming the health professions. They blame health professionals’ refusal to evade the truth of obesity on the fact that obese people end up eating more. They cite “numerous studies” (again, who pays for these studies?) showing 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.

Translation: “By telling me my weight when I go to the doctor’s office, you make me anxious and thereby raise the levels of cortisol in my brain. The cortisol levels in my brain cause me to stop by McDonald’s on the way home and order 3 Big Macs. It’s all your fault.” Try telling this to the people who used to be obese and no longer are. Did someone lower the cortisol levels in their brains, thereby causing them to lose weight? Should someone else get the credit? You better believe not. That successful weight loss is to the credit of the person who achieved it. Yet when it’s the reverse, we blame others — using government tax dollars to fund absurd “research” in the process.

Mental health is based on rationality, objectivity, reality-orientation, facing the truth and learning how to take responsibility for one’s actions. I’ve talked to people who use dread of going to the doctor’s office as an incentive to losing weight. Facing the consequences of the truth is not automatically and always a bad thing, and it can actually be a good thing.

On the premises of this latest propaganda masquerading as “research,” it’s just a matter of time before fat shaming morphs from yet another politically incorrect practice into the new hate crime. I can see it now. Doctors and nurses hauled off by the authorities for engaging in fat shaming. Neither Ayn Rand nor George Orwell could ever have come up with this insanity in what (during their day) was mere fiction.

And we wonder why America’s going down the tubes.

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