No one studies “fat people.”

Pattie has an interesting discussion on the inherent bias that exists in obesity research:

“Fat” is a descriptive term. “Obesity” is a medical term implying that fatness is a disease. While there might be some credible research that links the physical characteristic of fatness with certain diseases and physical ailments, I have found no credible argument that demonstrates obesity as a disease in and of itself. Yet it is constructed as one constantly and any further obesity research, no matter how scientifically sound that research may be, is tainted by this lack of credibility. No one studies “fat people.” They study “obesity.” There is a world of differences, as Tish’s discussion with the pediatrician points out. A fat kid is a real person with considerable complexities, including, but not limited to, the stigma he or she suffers from being marked as inferior because of his or her fatness. An “overweight” kid is a medical entity that will be measured with some meaning attached to changes in that measurement. The fact that the “overweight” label might hurt the “fat kid” is irrelevant to the doctor because she continues to unmark the politics of “overweight.” The only solution to the stigma that the doctor offers is to be removed from the stigmatized class (lose weight) and the implication is that all those left in the class are indeed a product of their own making.


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