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I was inspired. February 25, 2008

Posted by phledge in fat, yellow bile.

So, bigliberty put up a post about the presidential candidates and their position on fat discrimination.  I was going to comment but HEY I have a blog now too!  So I am a Barack Obama supporter and I decided to up and write him a little letter on his website.  Who knows if it will be read, but it made me feel better.  This is what I wrote:

Dear Senator Obama, I have thus far strongly supported your campaign, as has my whole family, and I have donated more to you than I have ever donated to any other political figure. I believe in you and your vision for a better America. Please understand that your campaign means more to me than any other presidential race I have been privileged to observe.

It is because I so highly respect your commitment to Americans that I am deeply saddened to hear about your ignorance regarding what is called the “obesity crisis” in the United States and even globally. What you are reading about in the newspapers and hearing on television is at best a misunderstanding and at worst a lie. There are many motivations for misinterpreting the true science and most of them are at the core of that against which you purport to stand: political and financial interest groups making up crises so their coffers will fill. The diet, pharmaceutical, and bariatric surgical industries all profit wildly from confabulated epidemics and inflated death rates, while the true evidence for intervening in patients’ weight status is, no pun intended, slim at best. Were you aware that fully 90 to 95% of people who lose more than 30 pounds of their adult body weight regain all of it–and sometimes more–within five years? Were you aware that the lowest mortality rates are not in the “normal” BMI range, but in the “overweight” category? Did you know that obesity has a genetic preponderance of almost 77%, second only to height? All of this information can be found on websites like http://kateharding.net or http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com, as well as in books like “Rethinking Thin” by Gina Kolata, or “The Diet Myth” by Paul Campos. I encourage you to explore this evidence and evaluate for yourself whether this “obesity crisis” is something on which you want to stake your reputation as someone who chooses to be informed and compassionate to all people. Please do not underestimate how important this is to people of all sizes; fat discrimination is the last socially acceptable bastion of hatred in this country and your administration would do well to extinguish it.

I signed with my full name and declaration that I am a second-year medical student.  Whomever you support, check out bigliberty’s post–she’ll show you that the top three in the running are not our friends here in the fatosphere.  I encourage everyone to take their fave to task.  You can use my letter if you like!  (And if not, well, that’s why I’m me and you’re you.  Isn’t diversity the shit?)



1. fillyjonk - February 29, 2008

It’s a great letter. I think it’s fruitless to get worked up about the candidates having bad information, because they’re given bad information, and they’re asked to repeat bad information — I was just on the phone yesterday with a health care economics expert who went on and on about how both Democratic candidates are going to save money because they both have plans to reduce obesity! But giving them good information… that’s going somewhere.

Can I just mention again how much I love the four humors categorization? I’m so mad I never thought of that when I was science blogging (but glad that you did!).

2. BigLiberty - March 1, 2008

Hi phledge,

I’m glad you liked the post, and I absolutely love your letter. While I understand fillyjonk’s point above that candidates are given bad information (they can’t be expected to be experts in everything, and have to trust others with more expertise to do certain kinds of research), I think that it’s very important for voters to know what their candidates believe. It gives people like phledge the opportunity to use her passion and support for her candidate to send him such a great letter, and perhaps it will wend its way down the political pipeline to someone who has some measure of influence.

And, on that subject, I took your advice and read through Obama’s healthcare plan, fillyjonk. 😉 I’m still not a fan, but now I’m educated, which is extremely important. Constructive disagreements are one of the most important parts of an intelligent, active society (since it requires many to meet on a common ground of some sort). Cheers, both of you! 🙂

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