Wednesday, July 31, 2013

As If To Illustrate My Point...

#1 Blogdaughter sends this one in. I think it dovetails nicely with my last post. Imagine the kind of "nudging" this sort of study would engender...

Weight discrimination may lead to more weight gain
Discriminating against people because of their weight may only increase their likelihood of gaining more weight,new study shows.

The researchers found that among people who were not obese, those who reported experiencing weight discrimination were 2.5 times more likely to have become obese four years later.

Among people who were obese at the start of the study, those who experienced discrimination were three times more likely to remain obese, compared with those who did not feel discriminated against, the study found.
I won't bore you with my first reaction, except to say that it rhymes with Roo Trucking Goo. See, this is one of those areas where I happen to have direct experience. Ten years ago, I weighed close to 300 pounds, had painful gout flare-ups several times a year, and was on medication for high blood pressure. Seven years ago I decided that I needed to make changes to correct that, and for the past six years I've been within 10 pounds of my goal weight, I've been off blood pressure medication for that entire time, and I've had one gout flare-up (directly related to, ironically enough, a cessation in coffee consumption).

Yes, I understand, for some people there are physiological reasons why they cannot lose weight. Metabolic glitches, thyroid conditions, etc. - there really are valid medical reasons why some people can't simply go on diets. But the vast majority are overweight because of one simple reason: They eat more calories than they burn off in a day. It's quite simple. You want to lose weight? Burn more calories in a day than you take in. Want to eat cheeseburgers and fries? No problem - just bike 50 miles or so after a 10 mile run. Problem solved.

Now, they don't actually describe what "weight discrimination" - they simply link to an article about how overweight women can face social stigma. It's hard to effectively counter the claim that "weight discrimination" leads to more obesity if you don't define what "weight discrimination" means. I suppose it might mean that obese people are less likely to get something - jobs? dates? promotions? - but without defining the extent of the discrimination it's mighty hard to counter. Is this study honestly making the claim that overweight people have more trouble getting dates? Welcome to my entire high school and college career, folks.

More importantly, what are we expected to do? Is there going to be some sort of "date parity" test, where a certain number of cheerleaders are going to have to go out with the fat kid? The article references how "weight discrimination" is an accepted form of discrimination - but, again, fails to adequately define what they mean by discrimination. There's no evidence presented that overweight people are turned down for promotion, or don't get jobs, or suffer any of the other forms of discrimination that occur on a regular basis.

There's just this claim that being "discriminated" against makes it worse - which, again, is another attempt to take the responsibility away from the person and put it somewhere else. You see, it's not my fault I'm obese - I suffered "weight discrimination" and turned to eating to make it better. If it's "discrimination" at fault, we can pass laws and make rules and force quotas and such. And, naturally, have a "Anti-Obese Discrimination" Bureau responsible for making sure that [X] number of overweight people are hired/promoted/displayed in ads/etc. All to combat some nebulous "discrimination" which, as far as I can tell, means "some people treat me differently than a skinny person" - IOW, welcome to life.

I like the way my blogdaughter put it: "If weight discrimination makes heavy people fat, does height discrimination make me taller?"

That is all.


Dave H said...

I imagine the "weight discrimination" they tested was "whatever makes the person feel discriminated against." Hell, I feel discriminated against every time I go into Target because none of their clothes fit me. But the reason I'm so overweight is my drug of choice is food. If I'm sad, angry, depressed, worried, or even just bored, I eat. So no, I don't doubt that weight discrimination can cause weight gain in some portion of the population.

But the solution isn't to remove the cause of the sad/angry/depressed/worried/bored feelings. There'll always be something to cause them. (Is life. Is not safe.) It's learning to deal with them without food as a crutch.

Brad_in_MA said...


You said it just as well or better than I could have said it. I'm a stress-eater, plain and simple.

I have started on a exercise routine which is helping me feel better. I have more energy, I have better mental focus, I have more "drive" in the nether-regions of my "naughty bits", I sleep better, and, as I slowly get my caloric consumption down, my clothing is starting to get looser. Win, win, win.

Looking forward to meeting face to face on Saturday and running a magazine or two through the P64.


Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

no height discrimination makes ME shorter (I'm5'4")

Rich in NC

Daniel in Brookline said...

"I'm not overweight, I'm undertall." -- Garfield the cat

"I'm old for my age."
-- Dennis the Menace

Bubblehead Les. said...

I live in America.

I don't have to get my Food from the U.N.

If I eat too much, it's my Fault.

I don't need any "Special Privileges," nor do I want to be told by some Nanny State Gestapo Asshole what I can or cannot eat or drink.

Fuck You Mike Bloomberg.

Ed said...

A taller male is often perceived (rightly or wrongly) as possessing greater leadership skills.

Angus McThag said...

I'm fat because I found the weight that JayG lost.

He's a big meanie!

He probably made me bald too.

Jay G said...

Nah, if you wre finding things I lost, you'd have a full head of hair...

But no mustache.

Geodkyt said...

There are studies that identify statistically significant indicators of a bias against obese people in getting jobs, gettig promotions, etc.

Of course, those indicators exist for ALL people who are less attractive than societal norms -- and the reverse indicators for those who are more attractive than societal norms.

People (in general) like "pretty" people, tend to provide them breaks they do not offer "plain" people, and offer "average" people breaks they do not offer "ugly" people. Go figure.

Then there is the societal bias that says that of all unattractive traits, fat people are fat because of their own choice, so their appearance really does reflect on who they are.

Meh, whatever. I'm a chunky monkey, and I agree with that bias -- my big ass is entirely due to my poor choices and unwillingness to walk past a pizza without snarfing it.

Wraith said...

I keep catching flak from people about my 50 lbs. of extra weight...but I pee out of the damn thing, so my options are limited.