Archive for the ‘Health Policy’ Category

Is Grinch Cutting SNAP or Promoting Work?

December 5, 2019 — Just in time for Christmas, the Trump administration has new rules for food assistance. They’ll tighten work requirements for single adults getting food stamps. The effect? Most likely, says USDA, they’ll be cutting SNAP benefits for 688,000 adults. According to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, however, this is not about cutting benefits. Rather, it’s about promoting […]

Weight Stigma: Mark, Label, Threat, and Blame

December 3, 2019 — How do people with obesity – or any other health condition – become stigmatized? It turns out that words are very important for weight stigma. In Communication Theory, Professor Rachel Smith offers us powerful insight with a classic paper. Four elements are critical. Thus, we should be careful about letting those elements creep into the […]

A Modest Proposal: Treat Obesity Seriously

December 2, 2019 — We have a chronic disease problem. It started in America. It’s spreading all around the world. And already in the U.S. it’s playing a major role in reversing long-term gains in life expectancy. Yet, the response has been tepid, says William Dietz with two commentaries published in the last month. Dietz is Director of the […]

Fighting for the Moral High Ground of Nutrition

November 30, 2019 — Human history is full of bloody conflicts to claim moral high ground. The Thirty Years’ War pitted the Holy Roman Empire against Protestant states. But we can find nothing holy in the carnage that resulted. Now we wage our wars on twitter. And true believers go at it to claim the moral high ground of […]

Obesity, Despair, and Mortality in the U.S.

November 27, 2019 — We’ve only just begun. That was once a hopeful refrain. But now, it applies to a worrisome trend. Working age people in the U.S. are dying at rates that are unprecedented among wealthy countries. This finding comes from a stunning, comprehensive study of a reversal in U.S. life expectancy. Because it’s now in its third […]

Is Public Health Only for Thin People?

November 26, 2019 — Let’s be clear. Anti-fat bias is everywhere we turn. It’s less explicit these days. But implicit anti-fat bias is stronger than ever. And you can find it in people who are thin and people who are not. There’s actually research on that. However, that same research tells us that thinner people tend to have stronger […]

Sleep More, Weigh Less? Actually, Probably, Yes

November 23, 2019 — Sleep, stress, and obesity are clearly related. But the relationship is complicated and causality is tough to unravel. Stress interferes with sleep. So does obesity. And then, too, both stress and too little sleep can contribute to obesity. So if you sleep more, will you weight less? A natural experiment in Korea tells us for […]

A Confusing Snapshot of Obesity Self Care

November 20, 2019 — Sad but true, most obesity care is self care. For the most part, that means personal efforts to lose and maintain a lower weight. Recently, a study in JAMA Open Networks, by Liyuan Han et al, generated a flood of headlines on this subject. Bottom line, the story was that “more people are trying and […]

Conscientious Objectors in Healthcare

November 19, 2019 — Bias, beliefs, and moral convictions live alongside the human capacity to rationalize just about anything. Some people see obesity as a moral failure. They see obesity treatment as a moral hazard. Others regard it as a non-issue. Merely a symptom of moral panic. But despite – or perhaps because of – all these conflicting views, […]

A Sad Tale of Two Bypass Surgeries

November 18, 2019 — Let’s talk about two different kinds of bypass surgeries. Both of them are the subject of studies presented at the American Heart Association’s scientific meeting this past weekend. But that’s where the similarities end. Operation C We’ll call the first of these procedures Operation C. More than 200,000 people have these surgeries done every year. […]