Yesterday I read about all the controversy over this article published in Marie Claire and have been thinking about it ever since.
I don’t agree with the article (which comes off as a juvenille, superficial rant about not wanting to look at obese people), but what still has me thinking about it was how I didn’t like most of the responses to the article either.
The responses were overwhelmingly against the author, lots of emotional reactions about how mean, insensitive, biased, ridiculous her statements were, how she has never been fat so she doesn’t know what it’s like, how it’s not people’s fault they are overweight and she has no idea what she’s talking about.
There were thousands of responses and I only read a few dozen, but didn’t see any that reflected my feeling: No, I didn’t like the article, but YES obesity is a PROBLEM in our country that’s only getting worse and shouldn’t be ignored.
There are a couple reasons I feel strongly about this and they’re not about being the health police or about insurance costs.
One: How it affects kids.
I don’t give a shit what people eat or how bad their health is, it doesn’t affect me or my health. But the idea of parents raising their kids on a diet of processed and fast foods really pisses me off, because of course the kids don’t know any better and you’re setting them up for a lifetime of health problems, physical and probably emotional too. It’s just not fair.
But, I don’t think most parents out there are all “oh, who cares if my kid is overweight, give them all the sugar and chicken nuggets they like and let them enjoy life!”. Which leads to another reason for my anger on this topic:
Two: Companies who market their shitty products as healthy (to both kids and adults).
Yeah, there are the obvious ones like cereals full of sugar that somehow manage to claim “fiber and antioxidants” on their advertisements.
But then there’s stuff like chicken and milk.
Most animals are given growth hormones to make them grow faster or produce more milk. Much more so today than in past years, and companies are always looking for ways (additional drugs!) to produce more at a cheaper cost.
Can you imagine the power of a drug that will make a chicken grow to twice its normal size in a fraction of the normal time? And how it affects your body if you eat this meat grown with those drugs as part of your regular diet?
There’s so much information out there on the scary things that go into food products and the side effects they can cause in humans, I won’t even try to go into it here.
Unfortunately there is even more (misleading) information put out by people who stand to make a profit trying to convince people these products are healthy. To get people who desperately do want to be healthy to buy products like Lean Cuisine and magazines like Marie Claire that will tell you the 10 best foods to lose 10 pounds by summer! (Alongside pictures of unrealistically perfect bodies and ads for the same shitty food products that make me so mad.)
I’m not sure what my point in all this is. Maybe that people should stop and think more about the issue of obesity, how complex it is, and some of the root causes of the problem. Put down the women’s magazines and read a real book like The China Study, or anything by John Robbins or Michael Pollan. Educate yourself and try to find ways to educate others. If none of the above, at least acknowledge that the rate of obesity in our country is a problem along with your rant about how wrong Maura Kelly’s article is.