Ted Kyle Presenting Bias Data at ECO2018

“Let’s Not Be Rude to Fat People” Says The Times

Well, at least we have their attention. The Times of London reported yesterday on our presentation at ECO2018 about explicit weight bias in the UK and eight other countries around the world. Chris Smyth wrote a good, brief story and correctly reported that Britain seems to harbor especially harsh weight bias. The Times paired it with an editorial stating “There is never a good reason to be rude or unkind.”

But then, they added a stereotypical butt-and-gut picture of a headless person eating fast food.

“Everyone Can Do Something”

The editorial leaves no doubt about the biases of The Times. It tells us obesity is a “great thing” because “everyone can do something about it.” But they’re not so clear about what that something is. Maybe they want everyone to go on a diet. Noting that the conference was in Vienna, they wrote snidely:

Where better than the world capital of apfelstrudel and sachertorte to make the case that being overweight is something thrust upon you?

That jab at Austrian food missed the mark. For one thing, obesity rates are higher in the UK than Austria, according to the 2017 OECD Obesity Update. For another, apfelstrudel simply doesn’t explain the complexity of obesity.

A Conversation Sorely Needed

However, we prefer to set aside the obvious bias of the editorialist. The Times reported on the study accurately. Despite obvious editorial bias, it called for an end to rudeness and disrespect. On top of that, it called for civilized compassion and flexibility from employers.

That’s good enough to start a sorely needed conversation about rampant weight bias in the UK.

Click here for the slides presented at ECO2018 by Ted Kyle of ConscienHealth. The report and editorial by The Times can be found here and here.

Ted Kyle Presenting Bias Data at ECO2018, photograph by Abd Tahrani / Twitter

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May 27, 2018