If you want a fresh understanding of how the national discourse about obesity has taken a wrong turn toward the wrong destination, Fat-Talk Nation is well worth reading. In her new book, Susan Greenhalgh sets aside the dogma of fat acceptance and anti-fat bigots. She sets aside the dizzying complexity of this metabolic disease. She straightforwardly examines the real human consequences of the dysfunctional way Americans are addressing obesity and obsessively focusing on body image.
She does this by simply and clearly presenting the personal stories of 45 people and how pervasive fat-talk has caused terrible, often invisible harm to them and ultimately to all of us.
Speaking recently with NPR about her book, Greenhalgh said:
The harm to individuals includes emotional distress and, often, physical injury from trying too hard to lose weight. The war on fat is also damaging critical social relationships, especially the crucial bond between mother and daughter. The stigma and discrimination against fat people are now well known; what isn’t known is that the human costs of the war on fat itself are harmful to people of all sizes and to us as a nation.
Health policy that ignores the humanity of millions of people profoundly affected by our flawed response to obesity is part of the problem that Greenhalgh describes in compelling terms. Do yourself a favor and get the book.
“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and when people start getting it confused, that means they need to sit down with some real people.” — Chuck D
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