Dec. 19th, 2014

liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
A while back, I made a post related to weight loss dieting, and in the comments, [ profile] shreena asked me why I do believe that politically and scientifically, health at every size and similar approaches are 'better' than weight loss dieting, commenting:
I'm interested in the evidence base on this. I have not looked into it so I don't really have an opinion but I'm interested by the fact that many intelligent knowledgeable friends of mine hold the view that you [...] have expressed but so many health institutions and guidance hold the opposite view (i.e. that health and size are correlated.)
I possibly shouldn't have shoved this in with the December Days prompts, because really I want to put in lots of links to evidence rather than just writing off the cuff as I end up doing when I'm trying to post every day. But equally, I don't want to duplicate the work that lots of other fat acceptance / HAES bloggers have done really comprehensively, so I'm going to try a brief run-down here, and follow up in the new year if this isn't satisfactory.

In order to address this prompt, I am going to talk about weight loss and dieting and also about the medical establishment's attitude to fatness and fat people. My plan is to take this post in a fairly sciencey way, given [ profile] shreena asked for the evidence base. I have a political opinion, which is strongly body positive and against medical and other discrimination against fat people. But I'm going to try to be as neutral as I can, and I'm going to entertain various possible interpretations of the evidence that I'm discussing. I'm aiming to present a case to intelligent, open-minded skeptics, basically, and I appreciate that even acknowledging the possibility that fatness may cause bad health is going to be offensive or upsetting to some people.

Further, I'm talking purely about the connections between size and health. I am committed to the view that health is not a moral imperative, so even if I saw enough evidence to completely convince me that it's always healthier for everybody to be as thin as possible, I would still argue that people have the right to choose whether they want to go on weight loss diets or not. But that's not the point of this post, I want to explore the question of whether losing weight actually is beneficial to health.

I should also warn about the comment discussion that might come up. I didn't do so last time I discussed this topic, and some of the comments ended up upsetting some friends – I'm very sorry about that. I generally get a lot of pushback when I talk about this sort of topic, because some of my friends are more politically radical than me, and some are convinced by the orthodoxy about fat and health. I hope everybody will be civil and sensitive about discussing a fraught topic, but I expect a fair range of opinions here. I may also not have time to answer comments, partly because it's about to be Christmas and partly because I'm trying to keep up this daily posting for another couple of weeks, given it's been so satisfying up to now.

wow, that was a lot of disclaimers! )
Does that help? Basically that's where I'm coming from on the issue, scientifically, though my political views do follow on from and extend that. I don't think it's going to be enough to help my brother and his housemate argue against the weight centric approach being applied to care home residents, but it's the best I can manage in an evening.

[December Days masterpost]


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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