Fat Discrimination Inevitable in the Next Presidency

As a disclaimer: I identify with, most closely, the libertarian party (see my post on FA and libertarianism). Logically, I would not be supporting any of the current candidates for the presidency based on my views; each of them hold some kind of deal-breaking beliefs which makes it impossible for me to rubber-stamp them in. I don’t do the “lesser-of-two-evils” thing. Perhaps it is convenient I live in Massachusetts, which is never a state in contention during the general election. Therefore I can write in my own candidate, which I plan on doing, without even the hint of the possible sabotage to the candidate of ‘least evil.’

That being said, this post is merely educational. I’m not for any of the front-runners right now over another; I want to illustrate that, in their own words, we are careening ever deeper into the inevitability of fat discrimination in the next presidency.

Hillary Clinton

From her Senate web page:

Obesity/Eating Disorders

The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and eating disorders is increasing at an alarming rate in our country. It is time that we recognize the causes and costs associated with poor dietary behaviors and physical inactivity and begin to focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors. To address these issues I have co-sponsored the Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity (IMPACT) Act with Senators Frist (R-TN) and Bingaman (D-NM). This legislation, which passed in the Senate in the 108 th Congress, would provide grants to train health professionals and students in obesity and eating disorders; grants to promote increased physical activity and improved nutrition; and provides funds to collect and analyze data related to obesity and youth health behaviors.

Here’s my analysis:

Line 1: indicates that she firmly believes in the verity of the junk science behind the so-called “obesity epidemic.”

Line 2: indicates she believes that obesity causes disease and poor health, and suggests the government intervene with anti-obesity programs.

Line 3: confirms she believes in government-sponsored and -enforced programs to ‘combat’ obesity, and in fact has co-sponsored a bill to that effect.

Line 4: details the anti-obesity initiative: the first part would either create new anti-obesity sections in health classes in high school or reinforce those existing, as well as “training” care-givers to accept and/or promote the junk science behind the so-called “obesity epidemic;” the second part would give monies to create programs which would further regulate and ritualize what children eat, and get them to exercise more; and further creates programs to find more correlations between “youth behaviors” and “obesity,” cementing the idea that obesity is behavioral, not genetic, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

John McCain

From his personal website, bullets taken from his “health system reform” page:

  • Childhood obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are all on the rise. We must again teach our children about health, nutrition and exercise – vital life information.
  • Public health initiatives must be undertaken with all our citizens to stem the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and to deter smoking
  • Bullet 1: confirms his believe in the so-called “obesity epidemic” rash of diseases. “We must once again teach our children about health,” etc indicates that the Thin People of Yore had apparently more nutrition and exercise training than children do now. “Vital life information” suggests that fatter people won’t live as long, which has been shown to be false.

    Bullet 2: not only indicates that obesity/diabetes is a choice like smoking, but says that “public health initiatives” i.e., government intervention, “must be undertaken to stem the growing epidemic…”

    Barack Obama

    Taken from his official healthcare policy.

    The nation faces epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases as well as new threats of pandemic flu and bioterrorism.

    This nation is facing a true epidemic of chronic disease. An increasing number of Americans are suffering and dying needlessly from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and HIV/AIDS, all of which can be delayed in onset if not prevented entirely. One in 3 Americans—133 million—have a chronic condition, and
    children are increasingly being affected.52 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.53

    Childhood obesity is nearly epidemic,59 particularly among minority populations,60 and school systems can play an important role in tackling
    this issue. For example, only about a quarter of schools adhere to nutritional standards for fat content in school lunches.61 Obama will work with schools to create more healthful environments for children, including assistance with contract policy development for local vendors, grant support for school-based health screening programs and clinical services, increased financial support for physical education, and educational
    programs for students.

    NOTE: Obama uses statistics from this CDC 2004 obesity study, referenced in his plan. This study was investigated and shown to have inflated its numbers. A JAMA study later on showed that the CDC’s numbers had been, in fact, inflated by about 400%. A good exposition of the CDC 2004 study is here.

    Points: I don’t have much to say about this that hasn’t already been said in response to Clinton’s and McCain’s plans and observations. Also, my “NOTE” at the end of the quotes from Obama’s plan discredits his major source of information, likely cherry-picked to push forth an agenda considering it just took me a quick Google to discover the JAMA refutation to this study (which his staffers should/could have done).

    Conclusion

    A fat acceptance activist would be hypocritical to support any of these candidates, given their anti-FA beliefs about fat, obesity, and required government intervention. Furthermore, there is every indication that they would vigorously promote those same anti-FA beliefs, spending tax dollars on ignorant and biased programs that would only serve to in one way or another harm future generations of Americans.

    Plan of action: Write in your own candidate. Seriously. Stand against fat discrimination, ignorance, and hate in a consistent manner. What does it serve you to vote for these candidates based on 90% of a platform you agree with, when that last 10% is so discriminatory, ignorant, and potentially harmful?

    Given that I don’t expect all FA activists to do this, and most to vote for one of these three front-runners, please resolve to do all you can to educate your favorite future administration as to their error of their ways. For their error will become our terror, if we give them, with our vote, the power to commit it.

    Contact forms:

    Hillary Clinton

    John McCain

    Barack Obama

    5 comments on “Fat Discrimination Inevitable in the Next Presidency

    1. vesta44 says:

      I went to Hillary Clinton’s website and submitted a question about her stance on the obesity epidemic and health. Not once, but twice, I submitted that question. That was 2 months ago. I still have not gotten an answer from her or her campaign. As much as I agree with most of what she says, I am really pissed that she is so ignorant when it comes to fat and health. I really don’t know who the hell to vote for, based on the positions of the front runners about obesity. But are we really surprised by this? Of course they’re going to listen to the ones who can scream the loudest and have the most money to throw at them, and it sure as hell isn’t fat people. Yeah, I’m cynical, I’ve thought for years that we get the candidates in office that big money buys (big pharma/oil/big business). It takes money to run for office, and the contributions of the common man just don’t add up to the millions that the candidates think they need to get their message out.

    2. chiara410 says:

      I am finding it very depressing that there is no viable option to vote for more freedom rather than less, and this is the screaming example right here. My child is very young right now, but I am pretty sure we will not be sending her to government schools. “School based health screening programs” GAAAAAA!!!!! I’ve been out of school a while, but I can’t imagine that EVERYONE in the school wouldn’t know who was getting targeted there, making special trips to the office, forced to have the diet lunch, and whatever other “healthy” “interventions” can be dreamed up. Evidently, with enough motivating humiliation, fat kids can get skinny! Awesome!
      I’m opting out of the whole damn scene, whether my kid is fat or not.

    3. anamericanaries says:

      I know he’s not considered a front runner, but Mike Huckabee is virulent against the fat after shedding his extra weight. But he did carry a few states with “high” obesity rates.

      And yeah – I’m pissed that Obama thinks I’m a disease. I think he just lost my vote. If he truly believes in his messages of “hope” and “change,” maybe that should expand to those of us with extra pounds. Because we’re people too, believe it or not.

      But where do I go from here? The hatred against fat people spans all political and philosophical groups – even many fat people believe they are unhealthy and have to lose weight in order to be “normal!” It’s frustrating.

      I’m glad you brought this topic up though. Maybe it will cause some people to think hard about what they are supporting, no matter what political party they follow or adhere to.

    4. BigLiberty says:

      Considering the high likelihood I will be at least trying to conceive in the next five years (my DF had a vasectomy, and we can’t afford a reversal, so we’ll likely try other routes), I’m pretty concerned about this next presidency. We all know that once government programs have been created and agencies to run them, it’s pretty hard to get rid of the bureaucracy. The next president will be laying the path for the presidents to come after him/her. I just don’t want that path to lead to the erosion of my, and my children’s, freedom. I certainly don’t want to have to combat fat discrimination until the day I die. Who would? But what kind of choices are we being given, here? Where’s even a ray of hope amongst political officials of any major party stripe? They’ve all gone happy on the Obesity Epidemic KoolAid.

    5. [...] February 25, 2008 Posted by phledge in fat, yellow bile. trackback So, bigliberty put up a post about the presidential candidates and their position on fat discrimination.  I was going to [...]

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