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View Full Version : Govt. has no business policing weight (article)


Meredith
19th April 2011, 20:54
From bullying schoolchildren about their weight to policing advertising, the government is behaving in an increasingly oppressive and hysterical fashion when it comes to bodies and food and weight. This article effectively sums up the case against the growing intrusiveness of the government into our lives.

http://www.examiner.ie/opinion/columnists/stephen-king/the-body-politic-has-no-business-telling-us-how-we-should-be-eating-149045.html

It takes the points that writers like Paul Campos and other debunkers of the "epidemic" myth have made and collates them into an irrefutable case. Here are some of the high points, but the whole article is a must-read:

Not only are the claims of an ob***** epidemic often wildly exaggerated, but the science linking weight to unfavourable mortality outcomes is also frequently non-existent or distorted.

It is as if there were universally accepted definitions of "overweight" and of "ob***" when there are not. The idea that children weighing over a certain amount are f** or ob*** has no scientific foundation, as the dividing line between f** and "normal" is purely arbitrary, representing nothing more than a public health bureaucrat’s notion of where normal ends and f** begins.The latter is a brilliant point, and I'm surprised that it doesn't come up more often. Giving someone an "overweight" label isn't like seeing whether a colour is blue or red. It's just an arbitrary slur that someone could hurl at anyone, no matter how big or small they are. It's meaningless.

This is also a compelling point:

The entire idea of f** children is largely a cultural construct, not a scientific one. A hundred years ago, today’s penchant for thin children would have been considered a shocking instance of child neglect.This ties right in with the arbitrary redefinition of female "beauty" as somehow suddenly meaning skeletal-looking rather than soft and curvy. We have all become so brainwashed by the warped standards of the modern media that if someone were transported to our time from a saner, healthier age, like a century ago, they would think that we have all gone mad, after seeing how we deprive young girls of food, just for fear of their being too curvy.

In fact, there is little difference in rates of illness and mortality for people in the "normal", "overweight" and "mildly ob***" categories.

Indeed, the whole problem of ob***** is greatly exaggerated...For the vast majority of people, from those at the bottom end of the "normal" weight range through to those categorised as mildly ob***, body weight make little or no practical difference to their lives or life expectancies. Defining the majority of the population as "overweight" — and, by definition, ill — is absurd and has no basis in evidence.

Annoyingly for the health establishment, though, we are living longer than ever in spite of our supposedly bad behaviour...We know intuitively that carrying a few extra pounds is not a death sentence.

But what about the more basic questions: is it really the place of doctors and health officials to tell people what to eat or how much we should weigh? Who are they to label us f** or ob*** anyway?

If people don’t know they’re f**, it’s not necessarily because they are in denial – it might just be that they’re not f**. Ob*****, as defined in terms of body mass index by the medical profession, certainly doesn’t match what the rest of society understands as f** or ob***.

So, regardless of whether the officially approved label is "f**" or "ob***", it doesn’t necessarily follow that you can "take responsibility" (a favourite phrase of theirs) and lose weight in any lasting way. Moreover, given the low health risks attached to mild ob*****, there is no particular reason why you should want to.

It would be better if politicians just stopped talking about the shape of our bodies altogether. It’s just none of their business. We are more than capable of working out what is best for us all on our own.
Countless studies have confirmed what this article states -- that being full-figured is not detrimental to a woman's health. On the contrary, it actually increases life expectancy. Moreover, dieting actually IS harmful to health. Add to that the fact that extra weight keeps a girl looking youthful and attractive, and there's no reason why any woman would want to starve herself.

But as this article points out, this is also a matter of basic human liberty and freedom. The government has no business forcing schools to bully children about their weight, and it certainly has no business policing the bodies of its citizens.

It's time for the public to reject this totalitarian intrusion into their lives, especially because it rests on junk science that has been completely debunked. It's none of the government's business.