UCLA Professor Abigail Saguy on What's Wrong with Fat?

"The problem is that if we can't link it to obesity, people don't care so much" says UCLA sociology professor Abigail Saguy. "But since we're all so obsessed about weight, linking issues of nutrition to 'We're going to get fat, our children are going to get fat,' that draws people's attention."

Saguy is the author of the new book, What's Wrong with Fat? and in the book looks at how obesity became framed as a public health crisis--an assertion she says is blown out of proportion. She says that when we talk about an obesity epidemic we assume moving from non-obese to obese is like moving from health to illness. There are plenty of people with a BMI over 30 that are healthy and plenty of people with a BMI under 30 that are unhealthy and the obsession with being over or under that line is the real problem.

That obsession is only fueled by attention seeking politicians and the media. A large portion of the book is devoted to a study of the media and its thirst for sensational headlines about an impending epidemic. Saguy asserts that the headlines may be dramatic but offer little to the discourse about healthy living.

She also points out that when health messages like Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign link nutrition and physical activity to obesity, it could have a negative effect on how children view their own bodies.

"Here they are being told by adults, adults in position of authority, that their bodies are not okay. Is this going to have a positive effect on them? Is this going to make them take better care of themselves, probably not," says Saguy.

Approximately 7:07

Produced by Paul Detrick. Camera by Alex Manning and Zach Weissmuller

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  • ||

    My crystal ball sez a sarc/John flame war s about to begin....

  • Randian||

    more like lamewar amirite?

  • ||

  • sarcasmic||

  • Libertarius||

    What's wrong with fat? Aside from sexual desire and physical health, the state of being fat is an anti-value; it requires no effort to achieve this state, save for sitting on your ass and consuming more calories than your body burns in productive activity.

    It is tiresomely predictable that the egalitarians would lump onto a pro-fat movement; according to their premises, its normal and ok to be fat, lazy, poor, stupid, and a loser; it is the purposeful achievers who reject egalitarianism who have been targeted by the DSMV as "sociopaths" and such, because they do not fit the rotten norm which egalitarianism enshries as the perfectly healthy and normal form of human existence.

    Any rotter can sit around being fat--to the extent that he is heroic, a man who chooses to live will face this adversity and conquer it.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    So... no fatties for you?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Moar for the rest of us!

  • John Galt||

    Yay!

  • Hugh Akston||

    I find your ideas intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • $park¥||

    it requires no effort to achieve this state, save for sitting on your ass and consuming more calories than your body burns in productive activity.

    Which explains all the skinny people who can consume 10000000 calories a day while remaining inactive and not put on a pound.

    to the extent that he is heroic, a man who chooses to live will face this adversity and conquer it.

    To the extent that a man doesn't have crippling self-esteem issues, he can not give a shit what people think of him.

  • Libertarius||

    That's not even a good try at evading what I said. It is the man who has self-esteem who will value himself highly enough to conquer his adversities--he will not pretend that he can profit by projecting his failings onto others in order to evade them, nor will he try to twist logic into a pretzel as means to escape what he knows to be true.

  • $park¥||

    who will value himself highly enough to conquer his adversities

    What adversities?

    projecting his failings onto others in order to evade them

    What failings?

    nor will he try to twist logic into a pretzel as means to escape what he knows to be true

    What does he know to be true?

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    What adversities?

    He's fat.

    What failings?

    He's fat.

    What does he know to be true?

    That he's fat.

  • $park¥||

    So, fat people are a disgusting waste of space. Also, all fat people are useless, worthless, lazy, stupid, and poor. You hate fat people for the simple reason that they are not skinny. Fair enough.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    You hate fat people for the simple reason that they are not skinny. Fair enough.

    Not me, I dislike individuals, not classes. And only then when they do something to deserve my scorn. But I think you have pegged Libertarius fairly well.

  • Bill||

    LOL P-H

  • kinnath||

    That's not even a good try at evading what I said. It is the man who has self-esteem who will value himself highly enough to conquer his adversities

    Married 37 years, two kids, four grand kids, high salary, big house, fast car, 17 patents and counting.

    Go fuck yourself if you think being fat or not is a real measure of a person's self worth.

  • GILMORE||

    its normal and ok to be fat, lazy, poor, stupid, and a loser

    they taste better too. you just have to grill them longer.

  • RBS||

    No, braising really brings out the succulence.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Don't forget the brining.

  • Professional Target||

    Libertarius is doing his best Ayn Rand impression, and he looks to be trolling with it.

    Acting like "a calorie is a calorie" is like saying a mile is a mile. He's either shallow or disingenuous. Try claiming a mile canoeing a lake is like trudging a mile through three feet of snow. Ignoring the terrain is no worse than ignoring the biology.

  • jester||

    Kathy Bates in a hot tub scene?

  • John Galt||

    I like a full bodied woman.

  • jester||

    More cushion.

  • John Galt||

    And you'll never starve if your airplane crashes in the Andes. Try that with one of those emaciated bone-bag ladies.

  • Killazontherun||

    I like when they reach peak mitoses and split into twins. That's when all those months of wooing a fatty really pays off.

  • RBS||

    I lol'ed

  • Killazontherun||

    I'm still laughing and annoying the people around me even though it was my stupid brain that came up with it.

  • Art Vandelay||

    Damn you! I can't stop laughing now.

  • A Serious Man||

    Depends. Pretty face, big boobs, big butt. Sure.

    Arms that look like something hanging in a Kosher deli and all the fat situated away from the chest and in the stomach and thighs? Not so much.

  • John Galt||

    Pretty face, big boobs, big butt.

    Does it get any better?

  • A Serious Man||

    What's wrong with being fat?

    Well if you're a progressive it means you are of little service to the state. Now to a weight loss camp, go!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Worse than being little service, your fat ass is a burden on the state's healthcare coffers.

  • John Galt||

    Now that our bodies are the exclusive property of the state it's a given that like it or not we will be caring for them as our overlords order us to.

  • ||

    I refuse to buy the idea that fatties are a burden on healthcare costs.

    The average obese person incurs an additional $1400 or so a year than someone who isn't obese. However they also live 8 fewer years than a normal person. Since the average yearly cost of healthcare per person is a little over $8K a year, this means that you have to live 45 years of your life in a state of obesity before you are a net drag on the healthcare system.

    Not to mention the less likely they are to make it to an age where they receive social security.

  • ||

    Meant to say Medicare, not Social Security, since we were only talking about healthcare costs.

  • kinnath||

    Fat isn't the problem. Sedantary is the problem. Of course one of the key symptoms of sedantary is fat.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I refuse to buy the idea that fatties are a burden on healthcare costs

    Yeah, it's absolutely no coincidence that obesity rates and healthcare costs have skyrocketed in tandem with each other.

  • ||

    Wow, H&R is reaching some epic levels of insipid today. Well done!

  • $park¥||

    Oh yeah, well who asked you?

  • Hugh Akston||

    They couldn't have done it without you, Epi.

  • ||

    Hey, don't sell yourself short, Hugh. Your contributions are significant.

  • GILMORE||

    HUGE

  • Killazontherun||

    I was hoping for a Warty siting given this is a health related topic. He is a ray of death shining on a world of false hope. An inspiration even.

  • ||

    Enh, I'm not feeling particularly hateful. Keep being fat, fatties. Maybe you all should squat less.

  • Killazontherun||

    Every little bit is greatly appreciated.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I stopped squatting a few years ago because I kept getting floor gunk all over my manboobs when I did.

  • Restoras||

    You meant to type lipids, right?

  • SKR||

    damn you restoras and damn my inability to scroll down first.

  • SKR||

    and here I thought they were reaching new levels of lipid.

  • GILMORE||

    NO FATTIES

  • John Galt||

    You ever try to steal some warmth from an unhealthy skinny bone-bag girl on a sub-zero night? That'll change your tune real quick!

  • GILMORE||

    You eat those ones for calories. bone marrow is underrated.

  • mr simple||

    Did the skinny woman have anything important to say or does she just want to make sure we're not shaming fatties?

  • sarcasmic||

    She's a professor of sociology and gender studies. What else needs to be said?

  • GILMORE||

    What else needs to be said?I

    She can bite her own nose? seriously.

  • John Galt||

    Thank Dog for school and government otherwise she'd have zero skills with which to earn a living?

  • AlmightyJB||

    She actually seems somewhat bright for a professor. I would have to see if she applies the same skepticism towards other media bogus scaremongering. If so, that would be refreshing.

  • RBS||

    What's wrong with fat? Fifty Shades of Gray that's what.

  • Jordan||

    "What's wrong with fat?"

    Dietary fat? Nothing; it's perfectly healthy. Body fat? It looks disgusting. It's pretty simple.

  • Drake||

    Yep.

    I prefer women to be attracted to me - not disgusted. I also prefer women who are fit - not crazy skinny and definitely not blubbery.

  • sarcasmic||

  • A Serious Man||

    When did anyone ever say that they were?

  • ||

    New here?

  • A Serious Man||

    Been posting here for almost two years but I'm unfamiliar with this alleged Jonn-Sarcasmic feud about fat women.

    Can anyone link some examples?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oh God Please No!

  • SugarFree||

    It mostly comes out in the Morning Links. Mostly.

  • sarcasmic||

    I put up a link to some fatty I found on the Daily Mail as "John pron," or something about Kate Moss still being hot, he says I am repulsed by the female form, I find more fatties, he gets all huffy, the end.

  • tarran||

    I must say, your campaign has convinced me never to question your heterosexuality, Sarcasmic, not even tangentially.

    Nor will I ever imply that you have a fascination with women built like lean adolescent men.

  • Lord Humungus||

    fag!

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    or something about Kate Moss still being hot

    I don't get this. But different strokes. Otherwise, you have pretty good taste.

  • R C Dean||

    different strokes.

    Indeed.

  • ||

    I can't believe someone who has been here for two years hasn't been exposed to the most dull and tedious fake feud since Kim and Nene.

  • A Serious Man||

    I've heard of it and have seen jokes to that effect, but I can't recall ever seeing a thread about it.

    Then again I don't remember every day on this barren sand heap.

  • ||

    Thing is, the "feud" is every day. Hence, tedious.

  • A Serious Man||

    Well I never look at the AM Links so maybe that's why.

  • Restoras||

    Barren sand heap? You mean Ceti Alpha 5?

  • ||

    In brief, sarc doesn't want to touch a woman if she's over 100 lbs., and John doesn't want to touch a woman if she's under 225.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's not true! I draw the line closer to 130. Maybe 140.

  • ||

    I'm with you. 140 is pushing it for me(height-dependent, of course).

  • Art Vandelay||

    So.....4'2", 140 is about right for you?

  • shamalam||

    So, Sarcasmic is Jack Spratt and John is his wife...

    Got it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    lol:)

  • AlmightyJB||

    Where are their boobs?

  • sarcasmic||

    Here's a link to Gwyneth's boob.

    I believe Katharine is single.

  • ||

    That's what makes them not fat, JB.

  • ||

    ^^Nicole is notoriously jealous of not-fat girls.

  • A Serious Man||

    Not necessarily. There are girls that are just gifted with a huge rack and have the right metabolism and exercise habits to keep the rest of the body in shape.

    Which reminds me of a certain Brazilian exchange student I know...I'll be in my bunk.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, photoshop is the best.

  • Killazontherun||

    You know who else would do Paltrow?

    The late MNG, that's who.

  • sarcasmic||

    You know who else would do McPhee?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs.....ikini.html

    Me. That's who.

  • Killazontherun||

    McPhee, now, absolutely.

  • John Galt||

    She's obviously gotten over her bulimia. Nicely marbled with just enough fat.

  • Gladstone||

    We all know Sarc is most attracted to skeletons.

  • Professional Target||

    Not fat. [Gwynneth Paltrow link]

    "No dairy, eggs, sugar, corn, wheat, gluten, potatoes, tomatoes, red meat, shell or deep-water fish." What the hell does she eat?
    Of course I love the fact she's shown holding 3 dozen or so eggs, but she wouldn't eat them. Oh, is that a wheat field?

  • A Serious Man||

    OT: What a good example of the progressive mindset? Go to this YouTube video about Rachel Maddow and gun control, click on my threaded conversation with 'MsWiggity' (among the three most recent comments) and enjoy!.

  • Killazontherun||

    I was flipping through the channels last night and caught something so ill conceived as to be revisionist reality.
    Peter Griffith making this comment, 'you know that thing after classes get shot up no one will talk about banning that thing?'

    Holy fucking shit I wanted to grab Seth McFarlane's throat through the TV screen and yell 'STOP YOUR FUCKING LYING!'

  • Libertarius||

    That'll teach you. I cannot fathom what any conscious being could possibly find of value in that show, it seems to be a bunch of random pop culture references strung together by a thread of nihilism.

  • Killazontherun||

    I was on it for like a minute. Got caught up in the scene.

  • Killazontherun||

    I was even flipping to escape another travesty. The new God of War trailer. God, I so hate that thing. Faux melodrama and terrible song.

  • Randian||

    Yeesh, somebody's ODing on Annoying Objectivist Pills today.

  • John Galt||

    In the beginning it had some shock value. But when there's nothing more than shock for the sake of shock it doesn't take long to become about as entertaining as 3rd grade poo-poo pee-pee jokes.

  • sloopyinca||

    You missed the end of the show where McFarlane totally redeemed himself.

    They caught the Muslim terrorists and Peter said, "Good. Then these guys will all stand trial for their crimes, right?"

    Joe responded by mumbling a bunch of gibberish and the scene cut away uncomfortably.

    It was priceless.

  • Killazontherun||

    I once caught one where a bird was attacking Peter, and Joe shoots it. He looks around and then plants a knife on its corpse. It's those moments that make it such a love/hate relationship. Default it is dumb as dirt, but then they'll bring in a writer with a decent joke or two in them.

    Seth sounded like he was enjoying the obnoxious factor of his lines last night though. Not in ironic way, like with Lisa Simpson's overly done sincerity, but that he really thought what he was saying sounded clever.

  • sarcasmic||

    She said she goes by the facts. I wonder if the fact that most if not all of these shooting have happened in gun free zones means anything to her.

  • wareagle||

    yes, it means that there are not enough gun-free zones or those that are need larger signs.

  • Randian||

    I would rather watch the Maddow video than read the sanctimonious youtube comments of her most fervent fellators.

  • ||

    When the Second Amendment was written some 137 YEARS AGO

    Excellent.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I have a message for Ted Cruz...see if he can wrap his brain around this one. The constitution also calls for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    No, it doesn't.

    That means that we should all be able to go to a movie or send our kids off to the school without fearing someone in possession of assault weapons will kill us.

    No, it doesn't.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well you know alchohol has a lot of empty calories. They should outlawing that and see how it goes.

  • Marla Singer||

    I'm going to drink to that, sir.

  • John Galt||

    Seems like a perfect time to dedicate all my efforts towards making myself as obese as possible for no other reason than our Nation's "Mommy and Daddy" wouldn't approve.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Obese heart patients fare better.

  • Zeb||

    Anything based just on BMI is highly suspect.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Is there no lengths to which reason will sink to contradict state edicts? Next up: Blowing Cigarette Smoke in Each Other's Faces Enhances Vitality!

    I don't think being a fatty should be outlawed but don't heap butter on my flapjacks and call it a panacea.

  • R C Dean||

    I wouldn't call anything as carb-laden as flapjacks a panacea.

  • Lord Humungus||

    as a forever skinny man, hahahaha fatties!

  • ||

    Video games caused Newtown, because scores.

    How did no one notice that the kid had a 7'x4' spreadsheet keeping track of murders? That may have been a clue that something was amiss.

    "I see you like cutting the eyes out of photos with women. My son is a big fan of that too."

  • wareagle||

    Mike Lupica is insufferable enough on sports; pass on his meanderings into other areas.

  • $park¥||

    Everyone needs a hobby.

  • sloopyinca||

    I could care less if someone is skinny or fat until they directly affect my life. I could see me bitching at a fatty if they walked onto a swinging bridge I happened to be on. The combination of the two things scars me something terrible.

  • ||

    Well then lose some weight, fatty.

  • jester||

    Seriously, what does Michelle say to Oprah?

  • sloopyinca||

    I would imagine the conversation would be sparse if they were anywhere near a buffet table.

  • jester||

    My guess is that Oprah eats modestly publicly but has a stash of doughnuts by her bedside. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  • NeonCat||

    "What is thy bidding, my master?"

  • A Serious Man||

    It's 1:39, do you know where your PM Links are?

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, seriously.

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