According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The number of Australians with eating disorders has doubled in the past decade and specialists think obesity hysteria could be to blame.
The constant barrage of fat phobic news is having a negative effect? It’s a wild hypothesis. It’s hard to imagine how…
- putting children’s BMI on their report card
- employers bullying workers to lose weight
- comparing fat to terrorism, global warming and the bird flu
- articles about just how much fat discrimination is ok in the workplace
- the AMA issuing press releases announcing fat people cost employers money
…could be harmful. Who could have predicted it? Obesity crusaders are brilliant and pure of heart; but they’re not psychic.
Which brings me to my favorite news story of the week: Reading about the obesity epidemic causes weight gain. I had to read that twice too.
The theory here goes if you read about the obesity epidemic, and realize how many people are fat, you’ll gain weight just to fit in. I think they got this from Zelig. It’s also known as the lemming hypothesis.
Goddammit. Either obesity hysteria turns people into weight obsessed compulsive dieters, or it turns them into conformist complacent fatties (I raise my hand). But it can’t be both.
Because the singular of data is anecdote, I’m turning to my own experience to resolve this koan. Over the past few months I’ve skimmed dozens of stories about the obesity epidemic in the popular press, and I have to admit there was a definite effect on my eating.
In the interest of science, I will reveal that every time I saw the phrase “lifestyle changes” I popped an Oreo. This stuff gets pretty repetitive and I had to do something to relieve the monotony. It became a game, sort of like “Hi Bob.” Anytime “lifestyle” was code for: “fat people eat burgers all day while sitting motionless” – well that was two Oreos.
You get the idea. Just some examples of my system:
Fat compared to a natural disaster, nuclear explosion, or meteor strike: 3 Oreos and a half hour of Tetris
Weight Loss advocated at the end of an article about the futility of weight loss. 4 Oreos.
Fat children being punted around as political footballs: 4 Oreos and a shot of whole milk.
The American Obesity Association referred to as a “patient advocacy organization:” 5 Oreos, a bottle of high fructose corn syrup, and a nap.
All of which had the predictable effect, I guess. I’m still fat.